Beechwood Gardens

Beechwood Gardens

Photo Courtesy of Robert MacMillan

The Beechwood Gardens were located at the MacMillan property just off the Ferry Road, and were the pride and joy of Mrs. MacMillan.  Mabel, or Mrs. Gordon MacMillan as she was more commonly called, had a great passion for gardening and created a beautiful haven of plants, perennials, biennials, annuals and especially roses.  The gardens were huge, encompassing several acres, and were enclosed by a large spruce hedge.  A beautiful latticed archway allowed visitors entry into the gardens.  A small fee of twenty-five cents was recommended for admission.1

  
Mrs. MacMillan considered every detail when arranging her gardens.  “She understood all about timing of blooms, arrangement of beds, so that all through the summer there was color in bloom, always beautifully arranged, complimenting colors, short ones in front, high plants in back.”2  With a special fondness for roses, Mrs. MacMillan started off with rose beds and always had many roses in her garden.  The garden also included a bird bath and benches.  Mrs. MacMillan had strategically placed colored chairs and benches around her garden, believing that it was important to have rest spots.  She also believed that they were “useful when placed where the borders need some bright color.”3  Both the gardens and lawns of the MacMillan property were kept in immaculate condition.  Apple tress surrounded the property as well and added to the beauty and aroma of the gardens.4

For more than thirty years (from approximately the 1940 to 1970) Mrs. MacMillan entertained visitors in her gardens.  Tourists from every part of the world came to enjoy her gardens.  There was a cow bell at the entry-way of her garden and a home-made sign which read, Please ring cow-bell vigorously.  Upon hearing the bell Mrs. MacMillan would happily make her way to the gardens and ask her guests to sign the guest book before providing a guided tour.  Mrs. MacMillan estimated approximately one thousand visitors a year, which over the period of thirty five years, proved to be a great number of visitors.5

Tending to her gardens by herself for a good part of her life, Mrs. MacMillan hosted many events there.  The ladies of the Women’s Institute were frequent visitors.  Conventions, receptions, and garden and tea parties were a common occurrence at the gardens.  Mrs. MacMillan’s gardens also provided a beautiful background for wedding photos.  She would even make flower arrangements for weddings and other special events.  Both Mr. & Mrs. MacMillan were supportive of Scottish ancestry and held highland dancing events at the gardens.  Mrs. MacMillan also delighted in playing the piano and would play for hours.  She was able to read music but also played by ear.6  Many fond memories were made at the gardens.

Mrs. MacMillan’s passion for gardening expanded much farther than the confines of her property.  In addition to participating in flower shows and rural beautification projects, Mrs. MacMillan also wrote articles about gardening for The Guardian and the Patriot for ten years, during the 1950s.  She also wrote articles for magazines and participated in radio programs.  She was a member on the Advisory Board of Rural Beautification and participated as a judge in the 1964 Centennial Competition.7  Senior residents had only pleasant memories and stories of Mrs. MacMillan and her beautiful gardens.
 

B&W Beechwood Gardens

Photo Courtesy of Robert MacMillan

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