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Passersby have to stop and stare at the garden

The Grand Garden in Alberta

Alberta’s Garden grandeur

One house stands out as you drive along the street. It’s not the house itself, although it is stunning. It’s the grand garden in this Alberta city that monopolizes the entire front yard that makes you stop in awe. 

The garden is a perfect balance of texture and colour complemented by two statuesque urns, a sundial and rockery-style plantings. Evergreens and deciduous shrubs and trees grow side by side. The vibrant blue needles from spruces mix harmoniously with the delicate green of junipers and cedars. Dainty features such as the red-winged samaras from a tatarian maple and branches of the weeping larch are balanced by the coarser-shaped leaves of blooming ligularia. Burgundy ninebark and elders contrast with the variegated leaves of lungwort and green leafed shrubs of varying shades. The result is breath-taking. 

There is no room for ordinary grass here. Tall statement grasses grow along the house next to a raised wooden walkway reminiscent of a lakeside boardwalk. Rocks are used throughout the front half of the gardens adding to the appeal while wood mulch keeps plant roots moist and happy along the upper garden. 

A dry stream bed runs under the boardwalk and is used to funnel rainwater away from the house via a rain chain and long copper trough. Boulders punctuate the landscape and a stone path snakes along the side of the property leading to the backyard. Creeping jenny spills over the rocks and onto the sidewalks and paths. Even the boulevard is immaculately maintained with wine coloured heuchera, hostas, lilies and sedum.

Grand front garden

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A place to entertain

The garden in the backyard is just as grand though understated compared to the front, but by no means boring. The area has been created for entertaining. A pergola spans the entire length of the house, covering the deck and jutting out to enclose a comfortable seating area. The garage accentuates the space with a statement wall made of slate to match the home and houses a fireplace to add warmth on cool evenings. Everywhere, containers overflow with colourful blooms. 

The back gardens surround a patch of lawn adding to the social space and like the front are expertly designed with contrasting colour and texture. The use of rock has been carried through; they are used to edge the garden, on a small flagstone path and as accents. As in the front, Sharon and Ken O’Reilly have found unique additions for the garden including an industrial style fountain.

The Back garden.

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You can read about this grand garden in Alberta in our Summer issue of Alberta Gardener 2017.

By Tania Moffat

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