His­tor­i­cal refuge

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - News -

On a bright, hot, sum­mer day in this gar­den, it is hard to re­mem­ber just how bleak and cold Cana­dian win­ters can be.

On the outer perime­ter of the farm yard stands a shel­ter­belt of tow­er­ing white and Colorado spruce. To the north are such trees as white pine, wil­low and Amer­i­can lin­den. They pro­vide won­der­ful pro­tec­tion for the or­chard. Many of the ap­ple trees have died out over the years and have been re­placed with young trees; how­ever, there are still a few of the orig­i­nal fruit trees left.

Other trees, un­com­mon at the time, in­clude bur oak, north­ern red oak, Ohio buck­eye, but­ter­nut, Lom­bardy poplar, Swedish colum­nar aspen, sil­ver maple, Tar­tar­ian maple, Us­surian pear, bal­sam fir, pon­derosa pine, white cedar, nan­ny­berry, lit­tle leaved lin­den and Ja­panese tree lilacs. Many of th­ese trees and other plants have flour­ished here for some 80 years.

There are also clema­tis, daylilies, blue ca­mas and a good patch of poi­son ivy! In early spring, squills, prairie cro­cuses, dog-toothed vi­o­lets, cowslips, lung­wort and early blue vi­o­lets make their ap­pear­ance. To the south­west of the house, a wet area is home to lilies, yel­low flag iris, but­ter­cups and shoot­ing stars.

A gar­den of this mag­ni­tude re­quires many hands, and it is sur­viv­ing with the help of the Ge­orge Pegg Botanic Gar­den So­ci­ety, whose mem­bers over­see its gen­eral up­keep, sea­sonal main­te­nance, site preser­va­tion and re­pairs. Since 1989 the so­ci­ety and a num­ber of con­sul­tants have cre­ated a mas­ter de­vel­op­ment plan to re­store the site and build­ings as well as in­ven­tory the plants and his­toric ar­ti­facts. In 1992 the Ge­orge Pegg Gar­den was des­ig­nated a provin­cial his­toric re­source. It will hope­fully be around for the en­joy­ment of many fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

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