The gardens today
The gardens remain planted with historically accurate flora and fauna, although the gardens themselves have been redesigned over the years. In 2004 and 2005, with the help of Hazel’s interviews, flowers she recalled from her mother’s garden were added to the beds. The two rectangular gardens leading to the home were redesigned into an attractive oval-shaped garden.
On the west side of the home a hedge provided a more solid barrier, restricting access to the gardens. It was removed and replaced with flower beds and lawn so that students could wander through the property and enjoy sitting on the benches and grass.
Vines once covered the back side of the house and sun porch but they have since been removed due to possible damage to the brickwork. And, like Mrs. Rutherford’s lilac, none of Mr. Rutherford’s original apple trees remain in the orchard in the back.
The Chancellor’s Gardens
Located on the west side of the house, The Chancellor’s Garden was built and dedicated to Rutherford and all the University of Alberta chancellors, who have impacted the university’s advancement over the years. Alexander Cameron Rutherford is recognized as the “Father” of the University of Alberta.
In 2005, Rutherford House celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Rutherford family members, re-opening the garden beds, some of them new, along the sidewalk along the south and east side of the home.
The family members regrouped at the home for a Founder’s Day Tea celebrating the home’s centennial on June 5, 2011. Five descendants from three generations planted an oak on this momentous day with a plaque that reads, “This mighty oak was planted to honour the 100th anniversary of the Rutherford House 1911 -2011”
While this may be a lofty dream for this young sapling now, we hope that this historic home and its gardens will still be standing once it grows into its mighty roots, providing future generations with beauty and history.
Alexander Cameron Rutherford.