The main attractions at the 2019 Garden & Tour did not disappoint. Talented gardeners from near and far made this year’s tour the best it could possibly be. Keep on reading to learn a little bit about each garden and gardener.
Elly and Bob Garrett
The Gaynor Family Regional Library is dedicated to providing public access to the resources required to facilitate lifelong learning in our communities. Public library services will be provided in an environment that encourages and supports all members of the public to develop their full potential.
A partnership with Lake Friendly Manitoba and the East Interlake Conservation District was created to establish an Urban Prairie oasis
behind the Library. Some three (3) acres of urban prairie was planted in 2014, a site of recreated tall grass prairie habitat, adding to the few thousand acres remaining in Manitoba. The space acts as a natural system of bio-swales that were introduced to direct water to the existing natural drainage creating a water run-off management system for this Green Globe building.
Over fifty different grass and flowering plant species native to the tall grass prairie community, along with interpretive signage depicting the ecosystem, will inspire ways to mitigate habitat loss. Plant identifications signs on tall grass prairies as an endangered ecosystem and a critical component of the Manitoba Landscape are in place. Local farmers helped provide the composted biomass for the soil used in the Urban Prairie project.
This Urban Prairie will enhance the experience for residents and visitors giving an opportunity to educate themselves while enjoying a touch of nature just steps away from the library doors. Gaynor Family Regional Library is an all-season Tourism Visitors Centre for Selkirk and area, with free Wi-Fi access.
A short trip down a country road and you’ll come to a tree lined driveway directing you to a garden with a park like setting.
This garden was moved from our last home, including trees, shrubs, plants, stones, and statues. Three full size moving vans were used to move it all! I have travelled the world and my heart is in Australia always, so I have tried to create some of the Aussie views with large tropical looking plants.
Zones are pushed here with plants such as cactus, bamboo, rhodos, catalpa, and many others. We utilize used items and trade plants to cut costs.
At the end of the day, our garden is a place that brings me to a place and time when nothing else matters. This garden is forever changing and growing, and always will be a place where you can’t grow that will be forever tried.
Red Feather Farm
Red Feather Farm was once a part of a chicken farm owned by A.A. Gilroy, an executive of the T. Eaton Company. In 1913, the farm was sold to W.L. Parrish for use as a summer home, one year later it burnt to the ground. Just before the fire, the local paper described the grounds as decorated spectacularly with bunting, wildflowers and potted plants.
After the fire, Parrish turned the property over to the War Department for use as military barracks. The chicken barns were used as quarters for the 108th Selkirk & Manitoba Battalion.
The property was eventually split into a residential development and a city-owned green space. In 1977, June Minish, founder of the Selkirk & District Horticultural Society and her husband Albert, planted the trees and flowers creating and maintaining a beautiful garden complete with a memorial dedicated to the 108th Battalion.
We purchased this property from Mr. Ted Purvis who developed the man-made pond and landscaping approx. thirty-five years ago.
My husband and I built our house on this garden site in 2013. Our youngest son got married in the garden in August of 2013. They are now our neighbours which is fortunate as now we can combine our two gardens as one.
We have added planted hundreds of perennials. I have also taken out lots of shrubs, dogwood, and potentials and added varieties that we like, including hydrangeas, lilacs, nine bark, and roses.
We have added 50 or more trees including four fruit trees, two apple, and two Plum, some blackcurrant bushes, gooseberry, raspberries, Nanking cherry, Evans cherry, and my husband has his vegetable garden. All of this has been done over the last few years.
I have enjoyed gardening over the years. My first garden being in the south of England, where you can garden all year long, but over the years my gardens seem to have gotten larger every time we move.
I hope you will enjoy your tour of our garden as we enjoy it every day, summer and winter. It’s always something to look at, especially when the birds, ducks, and geese pay us a visit. In the winter the grandchildren, skate on the pond and in the summer months they enjoy the paddle boat.
Shawna and Bob Witko
We purchased the property in 2006, subdivided the land into 3 parcels and the construction of our home began a few months later. We planted trees and grass while keeping spring flooding in mind which can be an issue every year. We enjoy boating, swimming and fishing in our backyard in the summer months and snowmobiling, sliding and skating in the winter months.
We built our house in 1972 next to Nia’s parent’s cottage in what, at that time, was a wheat field on the bank of the Red River. The cottage is still here and is used as a guest house called Summerthyme Cottage.
Over the years we have planted many trees and shrubs: ornamental, fruit bearing, and native. Other than a basic vegetable garden, nothing much was done for flower beds until Nia retired in 1996. Since then, flowers have taken over the vegetable garden with twelve more flower beds having been created.
We garden using as few herbicides and pesticides as possible. Wasp nests are an exception. The yard has been certified by both the National Wildlife Association and the Canadian Wildlife Association as a Wildlife Backyard Habitat. It is also certified as a monarch butterfly way station by Monarch Watch.
In the seven acre property you will find a creek, wild unkempt areas for the wildlife, lawns, groomed flower beds, one of which used to be a swimming pool , and even a mini hay field. There will be lots of birds. We usually have over 80 species of birds around the yard during the year. Critters and birds and flowers reign supreme here in this peaceful garden by the Red River.
This Square Foot Garden was started in the spring of 2011 with 9 four foot square boxes with the centre box having a post and a 4 tiered strawberry pyramid. The garden did not have a fence so that year was ravaged by deer and rabbits. In 2012 I added the perimeter boxes, fence and the green house. The centre box was removed in 2017 to make space for the rubber patio.
This Garden has most of the principles that are used in a Square Foot Garden. Plants are spaced according to the spacing on the seed packages, the following plants are also being grown vertically; Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Melons, Peas, Pole Beans and Pumpkins.
Potatoes are being grown in Square Foot Boxes and 5 gallon pails. Succession planting is done for beans, beets, peas, and lettuce. This year I am also trying different tomato and pepper varieties in a new area by the pine tree bed.
I also make my own compost over by the garage. I have a 2 bin system, wire enclosure for leaves and a Vesey’s rotary composter. Most of the compost is used in the Square Foot Garden.
The rest of the garden consists of mulched tree beds, 8ft square fruit beds and some perennial beds. All of the perennials are donated. There are also 4 square raised beds each 4 feet square. I bed is for raspberries, 1 for dahlias and the other 2 flank the throne chair and these are for annuals. There is also a trial vegetable bed behind the garage; this has undergone 5 years-worth of leaf and compost addition to get the soil suitable for planting.
This garden is continually evolving as I learn more about different plants, planting techniques and landscaping ideas. Feel free to ask questions so that we can all learn together.
St. Clements Cemetery