2021 Secret Gardens Tour

Secret Gardens Tour poster, 2021, artwork by Ralph Heather

Sunday, September 12th
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Rain or Shine

At long last, get ready to celebrate the 27th Annual Secret Gardens Tour.  This year’s tour features six gardens located in Dundas and Ancaster.  Gardens range in size from a half-acre suburban garden in Ancaster to pocket gardens in Dundas.  To ensure that all visitors are safe, masks will be required and hand sanitizer will be provided at each garden.  As some gardens are small, the number of entrants at one time will be limited to ensure social distancing.

Read about one of the six gardens on the tour!
~ Article by Rob Howard “Ancaster man transformed unmowable hill into dramatic garden tapestry”  (The Hamilton Spectator. 28 August 2021).

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Carnegie Gallery and The Keeping Room. Your ticket provides you with the map for the self-guided tour, this year’s artist’s poster featuring a print by Ralph Heather, and the chance to win a door prize.

We recommend buying your tickets early to avoid the rush the morning of the tour.  You can purchase tickets over the phone at 905-627-4265 or ONLINE.  Tickets can be picked up during regular Gallery hours and outside the Gallery starting at 9:00 am the morning of the tour.


**Please note that tickets purchased over the phone and online MUST be picked up at the Gallery.  Tickets will also be available at the Carnegie Gallery the morning of the tour.  Patrons paying with cash can purchase tickets at the Ogilvie Street door.  Credit and debit cards will be accepted inside the Gallery.

Permaculture Gardening

We have one permaculture garden on this year’s tour, Deborah Boyd’s garden at 11 Tweedsmuir.  Permaculture is not so much a gardening philosophy as an all-encompassing life philosophy.  Deborah’s 7-layer Edible Forest design is based on the 3 Permaculture Ethics:  Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.  Below is a chart that outlines the 12 principles of permaculture that support these 3 Ethics taken from the website Living Permaculture “What are Permaculture Principles, and how do I use them?“.

Chart on permaculture principles

An 18-minute Youtube video showcasing a permaculture garden near Peterborough is “What is permaculture?

Here are a few permaculture principles you can look for in Deborah’s garden.

Catching and storing energy: Deborah’s eavestroughing-water container system stores water; the various swales and mounds (hügelkultur) conserve water as well as enrich the soil; she has planted guilds and annual veg crops to receive the maximum amount of sun.

Obtain a yield: Deborah has replaced grass, ivy, periwinkle with crops and plants for pollinators/insects.  She has planted semi-dwarf trees to grow fruit efficiently and then used their structure to support climbing vines.

Use and Value renewables: She has used woodchips for paths rather than concrete pavers and tree limbs to create pyramids for climbing beans and other vines; she uses neighbours’ grass clippings to create compost and food scraps to produce bokashi compost. She follows the adage “Chop and Drop” when harvesting and weeding.

Produce no waste:  She has repurposed a packing crate to create a raised vegetable garden based on Australian water conservation principles, given climate predictions of less frequent, more intense rain.

Integrate rather than segregate: She has used principles of companion planting to increase her food yield and limit insect damage.

Deborah has applied all 12 permaculture principles in her garden design.  Above are only a few examples.


Please understand that a limited number of visitors are allowed in the garden at one time.   You may have to queue in line, 6 feet apart, at the gardens.

– wear a mask.
– use the hand sanitizer provided.
– stay 2m/6ft apart from visitors not in your group.


Tour Sponsors


Creative Organics Inc.

Weeks Home Hardware

Turner Family Funeral Home

Canadian Tire

Realtor Garden Sponsors

Karen Lilja, Sales Representatives, Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc.

Donna Lavin, Sales Representative, Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc.

Debbie Mitchell, Sales Representative, Royal Lepage State Brokerage

Steve Roblin, Sales Representative, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd.

Judy Shepalo, Sales Representative, Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc.

photo of one of the gardens on the Secret Garden Tour 2021 (photo credit: Richard Kowalchuk)
Photo of one of the SGT gardens (photo credit: Richard Kowalchuk)

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