How a seed of interest in Japanese
Text by JENNIFER D. FOSTER | Photography by DONNA GRIFFITH
gardening turned to a full-grown passion.
At One With Nature
It all started innocently enough with one Japanese maple tree. Troy and Michelle
Miller planted it in their Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., backyard in honour of the birth
of their son, Weston, after moving into their unassuming “cottage bungalow” a stone’s
throw from Lake Ontario. Thirteen years later, their passion for the modern Japanese
garden aesthetic has moved them to entirely transform the 50-by-65-foot garden. What
was once nothing more than mossy grass surrounded by a shrub-covered chain-link
fence is now a tranquil oasis where just the act of sitting becomes a meditation.
For Troy, gardening borders on obsession — but then again, as a garden designer for
his own company, it’s an occupational hazard. The same goes for Michelle, who now
TOP LEF T: With no colours jostling the eye,
Troy and Michelle Miller’s Niagara-on-the-Lake yard offers a calming retreat. Winding
pea gravel and flagstone paths beckon
visitors, while a large screen offers just a
glimpse of the treehouse and studio beyond.
Hostas, Japanese maples, purple sand cherry
and porcelain vine thrive here. Plants, Mori
Gardens; gravel, Allen’s Half-Way Sand Pit.
TOP RIGH T: A lush Carpet rose adds a pop of
colour in the front garden. Hemlock bonsais
fill the potting bench. Planters, Regal Florist.
ABOVE: Troy (pictured with Michelle) created
the traditional woodblock and ink carvings
that grace this wall by the deck. A black
lantern and metal gong further the Japanese
aesthetic. Chairs, lantern, Regal Florist.
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