A GARDEN’S SECRET… Touring (Part IV)

Crossing over the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island…

Welcome Back!

I’m so glad that you are able to join me to continue the tour of Carolyn Aiken’s gardens on Prince Edward Island.  Are you as excited to find out what is beyond the door to Carolyn’s garden shed, as I am to show you the ‘BIG REVEAL’?!

For those of you who may be joining ‘The Tour’ for the first time (this is Part IV), my husband and I live on the island of Newfoundland and have not long returned from visiting beautiful Prince Edward Island where we met the inspiring and emerald-thumbed Carolyn Aiken. Just weeks ago, we hopped on a plane to Halifax, rented a car, and drove several hours to meet Carolyn and to tour her and husband Andrew’s romantic home and gardens on this gentle green island!

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.   Mother Theresa

It all began when Carolyn and I became ‘blogging friends’ (only in recent months) and discovered that we happily share many common interests: decorating, baking, entertaining, photography, antiquing, pink transferware, books and magazines including ‘Victoria’ (our all-time favourite) and most certainly a love for gardening.

Carolyn is a gardener who we know and love.  She has been generously sharing her home and gardens with devoted readers of her blog for several years.  I, on the other hand, began a blog just this past February as a positive focus during my recovery from breast cancer treatments – a form of ‘happy therapy’ and an attempt to learn some new technology while on medical leave from my work. I hardly knew what a blog was before then!  I’m not even on Facebook!  LOL   Blogging has surprisingly brought me special connections with people whom I would never have otherwise and believe these are meant to be…

PHOTO:  Does this beautiful teapot happen to look familiar to some of you?! This lovely vintage vessel is apparently quite old. It appeared frequently throughout Carolyn’s blog and was of her most cherished teapots.  Carolyn knew that it was my favourite, too. On the first day I visited Carolyn, she generously gifted me her prized antique! I didn’t know what to say – and still don’t – I was overwhelmed by her heartfelt gesture.  This teapots means a great deal to me. It is a gift I will forever treasure…Thank you, Carolyn. 🙂

Gardens are believed to be nourishing for the soul and healing in many ways – Consider that more and more hospitals and seniors’ homes are either featuring gardens in their builds, or are finding creative ways to incorporate them afterwards.  Because I found Carolyn’s blog photos of her private gardens to be so tantalizing, I was enticed to make the trek to Prince Edward Island to experience her and Andrew’s gardens first hand. I knew it would make me feel better. I had been anxiously anticipating our trip all summer, and it gave me something wonderful which to look forward. And, I was certainly NOT disappointed!  It was everything I knew it would be and so much, much more.  In fact, my visit to Carolyn’s gardens has been one of the wonderful highlights of my life!  I am so thankful that I discovered Carolyn! She is the most wonderful person. And, talk about green thumbs!
You may already know that there are thousands of Japanese tourists who visit Prince Edward Island each year, particularly during the summer months. Like so many of us, the Japanese people adore Anne of Green Gables and travel to Prince Edward Island to view the Parks Canada Green Gables heritage place that inspired the setting for the story of lovable Anne; as well as to see the birthplace of  the heroine’s genius creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery. I think Anne Shirley and Carolyn would have been kindred spirits, too.  It is no wonder, then, that Island tour operators often make Carolyn’s private residence and gardens a must-visit place on their touring itinerary for the Japanese people.  Carolyn welcomes them with open arms. Indeed, many of her Japanese visitors remark that their visit to Carolyn’s home and gardens is the highlight of their trip to PEI!  And, I would certainly agree!

IMG_6299-723840.jpg (1600×1067)The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. Author Unknown

2011-06-12-1535-152-741578.jpg (1600×1237)Carolyn is the Queen of Hospitality.  She doesn’t just invite you into her gardens, she also invites you to her table for tea.  On ‘tour days’, Carolyn may host as many as 30 Japanese visitors – she serves smaller groups of individuals tea and dessert on her magnificent screened-in porch. For larger groups, lemonade and cookies are the order of the day…

It won’t be long now before you’ll discover what’s inside Carolyn’s garden shed…

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we’re expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house.  ~Robert Brault

Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about Carolyn’s celestial haven is that while strangers come from as far away as Japan and Newfoundland 🙂 to meet her and enjoy her gardens, many of her fellow Islanders, and even neighbours, are unaware that she even exists!  Carolyn and Andrew’s ‘not-so-secret-anymore’ gardens are a hidden gem on tiny Prince Edward Island. Why, I think they just may be its Crown Jewel!

IMG_9015-789671.jpg (1600×1067)

A view of the garden shed from Carolyn’s bedroom balcony…

I am so delighted that we made the trip to Prince Edward Island to meet Carolyn and to feel the embrace of her gardens…Now, let’s have a look inside the garden shed, shall we…(HINT:  Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

Isn’t Carolyn’s imaginative garden shed just amazing?! Could you ever have envisioned such a pleasant surprise as this fairytale setting?!

NEXT POST:  We’ll tour the interior of Carolyn’s romantic home.  I absolutely loved it, and I just know that you will, too.  So, I hope you’ll return for this special treat in the coming days. I’m thrilled that you stop by today and hope your day is beautiful! I look forward to seeing you all again soon…


  1. 2011/09/06 at 8:02 am

    So nice….

  2. 2011/09/06 at 8:04 am

    So nice…

  3. 2011/09/06 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Linda,

    Once again, you didn’t miss a detail! I am happy you are enjoying the teapot. Thank you for such a lovely feature. Hope you are enjoying these late summer days in your beautiful garden. I was thinking of you today as we ate our lunch at Leonards.

    Take care,

  4. Tammy Fry
    2011/09/07 at 1:01 pm

    Simply Stunning! Can’t wait to see the rest…

  5. 2011/09/09 at 3:11 pm

    Carolyn does indeed have a beautiful spot here on PEI. A lot of love and hard work went into the making of it. Thanks for sharing yet another array of photos from your visit; beautiful! Enjoy your weekend.


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