The Luxton Garden
It is hard to realize how untouched by the hand of settlement Banff was at the turn of the twentieth century. This garden is emblematic of much larger social improvement movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when citizens sought to civilize, beautify, and improve the new land through the medium of landscape gardening and specifically by practicing principles of the British Landscape Gardening tradition.
The Luxton garden still provides a quiet space in the busy downtown area of Banff. Every effort is being made to keep the historical aspect of the plantings. A spacious lawn bordered by magnificent old trees is host to garden parties for visitors and Banff residents. From the beginning of July to mid-August this unique historical garden is in its full bloom.
Georgina Luxton loved her garden, and we have ample vintage seed catalogues and seed packages in the collection to show this. She also depended on the old fashioned advice found in books like Flower Growing in the North, written by Norman Luxton's brother George E. Luxton.
George Luxton was a well-known horticultural columnist for the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. His column often offered advice given by the Luxton boy's grandmother, such as:
"Grandma had no commercial fungicide for mushrooms in her lawn. When she was making soft soap for family washings, she used to pour a cupful of the lye water over the fungi, and they disappeared overnight. In a few days, Uncle Jerry would cut out the dead spot and put in a plug of green sod. It was as simple as that."
"When buying grass seed, don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. No matter how good the earth may be a garden or lawn is no better than the seed you put into it."
Perhaps those words of wisdom and others like them contributed to making the Luxton garden in Banff the showplace it has been for nearly 100 years.
Over the years we have had to remove a few old trees, and, to fill in gaps, some seeds have been planted, particularly alongside the house. Seeds planted have been chosen according to research done with the seed packets in the home, Georgie's garden notes, and discussions with friends of the Luxton family.
Here is a look at the historic planting scheme that we still try to follow, as best we can and depending on various conditions. (Garden Map coming soon)
Visit the Luxton Historic Home while you are in Banff. Please visit the Tour Information page for further details.
Drop by to enjoy the garden anytime.