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Friday, September 30, 2022
‘Secret’ video highlights Shaw Guild’s fall garden tour

The Shaw Guild has been cooking up a special surprise for avid gardeners.

This year, with the regular June garden tour cancelled, the guild instead hosted its first fall garden tour, offering a different view of Niagara-on-the-Lake gardens.

Now, the guild is releasing a special video that highlights the tour's eight gardens in both spring and fall, so people can get a better sense of how the gardens change through the seasons.

The 20-minute video is narrated by Shaw Festival actor Ric Reid and highlights the gardens over a three-month span.

Dave Hunter, a volunteer with the Shaw Guild who helped co-ordinate the video and tour with Peggy Bell, said they have been working on the video in secret since they realized that not everybody could get out to see the tour this year due to the pandemic. So they got creative with the help of NOTL videographer Rene Bertschi and produced a video of all the gardens.

“(Bertschi) said, 'Look, we've got videos of the gardens in June and, of course, we have the videos for the gardens in September … Let's set up a video where they're side by side, that people can see that change sitting in the comfort of their own home.”

The video is now available to view for $11 on the Shaw Guild website. Hunter notes that's basically the cost of a nice glass of wine.

“Rene has done some really gorgeous work,” Hunter said, adding that there's one particular garden on the Niagara Parkway of which he was fond.

“(The garden) just opens up like this and there's this great big expanse and an old small stone shed. I's just like going back in time.”

Unlike the typical tour which focuses heavily on the Latin names for plants, Hunter said the video is more about the visual contrast between seasons. It is stitched together to make it seem like the viewer is travelling between the gardens.

“There's one cute scene, it's somebody who's got a vegetable garden — and I'm talking about a real vegetable garden — and the difference between June and September is really amazing. And Rene did some interesting things. He just didn't fill the 20 minutes with the gardens. He's interspersed some glimpses of Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

Hunter said he's not sure if the video tour will be something the guild starts to do every year. It depends largely on where the world is at with regards to COVID-19, he said.