Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beautiful, Georgian Bay in Northern Ontario

Every summer our family has an opportunity to visit with friends who have a place in northern Ontario, Canada.  While visiting with friends is the priority, it is hard to ignore the incredible natural beauty.  The place is MacGregor Bay, on the northern part of Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.

The place was shaped by the glaciers and receding ice has left a series of rocky islands that reveal soil creation and the plant growth process in its simplest form.  With years of weather, the rocks fractured and formed smaller rocks and grains.  As seeds and organic matter were blown, carried or drifted from place to place, plants started to grow.  As plants decayed, they formed more organic matter that ultimately supported larger plants.  Only the most rugged and adaptable plants survive on these islands

The evergreens are a mix of Pines, Spruce, Hemlock, Cedar and Juniper, while the deciduous trees seem to be mostly Maple, Ash and Birch.  Rarely do they grow to full size or have perfect form, but they simply try to survive long enough to set seed and hopefully start another generation.  Birch is by far the most prolific as it grows in just about any open space, and as it dies and decays, it provides much needed organic matter to continue the cycle.

The rocks in time become covered in 'soil' for plants, as well as lychens and moss.  The Cushion Moss is stunning and forms a natural garden that I could never duplicate.  Through the moss smaller plants and seedlings will grow.  This summer was tremendously dry up north and plants have definitely suffered, but they will return in future years.

I am continually amazed by the beauty of nature even with a limited palette of plants in the harshest of conditions.

It reminds me that we don't always need to cram in more plants, textures, colors, or fill every space.  We need to spend more thought to better use the space.  Beauty can often be found in the space not occupied.

Islands framed by a grouping of Pines.

Some seeded and native plants, grasses and sedges in the rocks by the water

A large field of Cushion Moss on a slope.

One of the few cultivated gardens in the ultimate
rock garden

Sunset on a calm evening.

Another sunset in unstable weather.


  1. We're blessed to have the natural mosses here run amok in our woodland on the property in winter. If I tried to plant it, it could never look half as good as the moss that Nature plants.

    As we're low down in a valley here though, I really wouldn't mind being able to plant a few more sunsets! Your last two photographs are stunning! We never see sunsets like that here. I'm so jealous!

  2. Beautiful. Reminds me of the northern shore if Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

  3. I love the cushion moss and the serene atmosphere it creates. Truly a beautiful spot. The sunsets are also wonderful.

  4. I have heard of this stunning place but your pictures have brought its beauty to life. That cushion moss is just amazing. I love moss in my garden and do not discourage it at all.