The stunning gardens of Carolyn and Andrew Aiken in Warren Grove, P.E.I., can now be seen not only by the thousands of followers of Carolyn's popular blog, but now also by nearly half a million readers of Victoria magazine, published in the U.S. by Hoffman Media.
The magazine's editors noticed the Aiken House & Gardens blog, on which Aiken shares her adventures in gardening and decorating her heritage home and large property.
"We found her blog online and thought it was pretty," said Victoria's managing editor, Cynthia Constantino, via email from the magazine's offices in Birmingham, Alabama. "The abundance of beauty made it an easy decision."
The article, entitled Where Love Grows, is an eight-page spread. It hit newsstands Tuesday as part of Victoria's annual May-June garden issue.
'On my bucket list'
"I was pretty excited — because I have to say, it's on my bucket list," said Aiken. She's subscribed to the magazine for 30 years, saving every issue and frequently re-reading them.
The Aikens' gardens feature colourful perennial flowers like peonies, lilacs and roses and is punctuated with romantic Greek-style statuary and a couple of meticulously-decorated summer out-buildings.
Victoria's editors knew the romantic beauty of the gardens, set off by the couple's collections of antique linens, china and painted wooden furniture, would resonate with the magazine's readers — women with an average age of 62 who earn about $82,000 U.S., according to the Victoria's website.
'Excellent eye for design'
"Carolyn's property is not far from the setting of Anne of Green Gables, a book series that is beloved by Victoria readers," Constantino noted.
"She and her husband also raised their children in a century-old farmhouse, which Carolyn has given her own unique stamp with her excellent eye for design."
The Aikens developed the gardens around the old farmhouse from scratch, starting about 20 years ago. Andrew built all the fences, arbours and trellises.
The couple spends about 30 hours a week working in the garden in the spring, which drops back to about 10 hours in the summer.
'Her own private haven'
"She has truly created her own private haven," said Constantino.
Canadian gardens are only occasionally featured, Victoria said, pointing out most are in the U.S., France and England, as it publishes special British and French issues each year.
This isn't the first time Aiken's gardens have been noticed: they've also been shown in Country & Country and Romantic Country magazines, blogs including the Old Painted Cottage and the Norwegian books Sensual Christmas and Summer for all the Senses. Aiken has also published a couple of her own books about the gardens.
If you want insight as to how Aiken went about creating her garden, she's blogged about it in a post here.
The garden is not open to the public, but Aiken holds an open garden day once a summer — keep an eye on her blog for that. The Aikens also host about 80 Japanese tours per summer.
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