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Safely protected from ravenous deer by ten-foot-tall fence
Manitoba Gardener

Garden Beauty outside the city

There is a quiet garden beauty living just outside the city. You can have land, an acre or more – space to spread your wings and give birth to your gardening inspirations. Some properties have wooded areas where you can enjoy your own park like setting. You have space to plant trees. There is no need here to worry about crowding plants as you would in city-sized lots.

It was 27 years ago when Jeanette and her husband, David, moved onto this small acreage just south of the city. At the time, the property was largely undeveloped, save for a woodlot of century old oak trees. Wanting more trees for aesthetics, privacy and windbreak, the couple added a great variety of trees and shrubs (over 35 different types) throughout the years. According to Jeanette this made a significant change to the property,  “If you could look at photos from 25 years ago you would not recognize the yard.”

David assists in the garden, but the design and much of the daily caretaking is done by Jeanette. “I find working in the garden so relaxing and soothing. Looking back, my first foray into gardening was with my grandmother. She had this beautiful rectangular flower garden. I remember getting lost in between the flowers and being so happy; my goal was to recreate those memories.” Jeanette reminisces.

Many of the perennials she grows today are heritage varieties that have been passed down through the family for several generations. These include hostas, peonies and Floribunda roses among others.

Deer and garden galas

Having a garden beauty outside the city increases the number of garden visitors you are likely to have; unfortunately, they are  mainly of the four-legged variety. Deer are the biggest problem for Jeanette, “We are along a migration path for deer, so they come in numbers. They will eat the tops of our carrots and then come back to dig them up with their hooves and finish them.

“I finally came up with a solution, our garden in the round. Mapping out a 60-foot diameter circle David and I enclosed it with conduit pipes and wood in 18, 10-foot-tall sections. The pipe is easily removed allowing us to add soil or compost.

“When we started the garden, I was gung-ho. I had originally created a formal English-style garden, with drawings and plans documenting the height, colours and locations of the flowers. I soon realized how hard it was to maintain and have since decided just to grow what I want and enjoy it,” laughs Jeanette.

The garden is stunning. A small pergola covered in grapes welcomes you inside. Stepping through the gate, you are transported into a beautiful garden. A raised wood path leads to a rounded platform in the middle of the garden adorned with an intriguing metal wind spinner. To the left are flowers galore, this year Jeanette has chosen a palette that complimented her youngest daughter’s wedding bouquet as the entire affair was held in the family’s gardens.

Seed-starting and plants

By the time February rolls around Jeanette is itching to get her hands in the dirt. To satisfy this need, and fill her bountiful garden, she begins seeding. The couple’s home is blessed with several large windows, and one south-facing room has been allocated for her plants and seedlings. And so, it is that during our Winnipeg winter, Jeanette begins to sow a couple of thousand seedlings. This past year she tried a variety of new annuals including ammi majus (faux-Queen Anne’s Lace), malva and brain celosia for the wedding.

An interior designer, Jeanette, is very aware of how the garden increases the home’s footprint. Large windows provide a sense of continued space, making one feel as if the garden is part of the home. She has designed her property in such a way that each of the home’s windows looks out onto a garden. Plants are indeed a focal point for Jeanette, who has several indoor plants that get a chance to enjoy our beautiful summer days outdoors on a lovely back porch adorned with greenery and a mulitude of containers brimming with colour.

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By Tania Moffat for Manitoba Gardener Summer issue 2017

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