GARDEN ROUTES HOME: Lotsa time, lotsa hosta

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By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

There’s nothing quite like a morning at a hosta farm.

And as it turned out, on Thursday, we had lotsa time for lotsa hosta.

A favourite place to go: Bruce Cumpson’s Olde Towne Gardens in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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CAPTION: Bruce Cumpson is the perfect host for visitors to his hosta farm. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

Welland hosta gardener Ron Lemon brought me here a few years back. And we’ve been back, a few times each year, ever since that first excursion.

On Thursday, Lemon was there to shop. He wanted hostas and maybe other perennials to “fill spots” in his magnificent garden. I was there to gawk – the place is breathtaking, and to take the occasional photo or two.

Cumpson has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of varieties of hosts on his grounds. He knows just about each and every one by name.

What’s equally amazing is that when you come here, don’t expect to be given the bum’s rush by the chatty proprietor. He loves to talk, and talk he does. Chances are he will still be talking about hostas as your vehicle is pulling out of the parking space and heading for Lakeshore Road.

His knowledge is encyclopedic. That’s not exaggeration on my part.

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CAPTION: More to see than hostas, these ferns, for example, are tantalizing eye candy. 

Each and every time you come here, you leave a little better off for the experience. Oh, your pockets might be lighter but you’re richer for the wealth of information he has shared.

Feel free to roam the grounds, check out the greenhouses and the gift shop. Make sure you walk to the back of the property – a stream runneth through it. Actually, it’s Six Mile Creek, and the view can be just stunning at different times of the year.

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CAPTION: A section of Six Mile Creek is found at the back of the hosta farm.

One last word of advice: be sure to have time on your hands when you get here. You probably will not want to leave – even after you’ve picked out a hosta or two.

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CAPTION: Still lotsa work to do on the hosta farm after the long winter.

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CAPTION: A small part of Cumpson’s collection.

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(A former reporter and editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. GARDEN ROUTES HOME appears on the blog Fridays)

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