Elly Gar­rett’s re­pur­posed gar­den in Selkirk

Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Heather Klein

When you come from a coun­try that cel­e­brates flow­ers as much as the Nether­lands do, it’s no sur­prise that Elly Gar­rett’s en­tire fam­ily has a love of gar­den­ing. Born in the Nether­lands, Elly came to Selkirk when she was a year-and-a-half old. Her par­ents were al­ways avid gar­den­ers and their en­thu­si­asm rubbed off on all of their chil­dren. Af­ter they won the Gar­de­nof-the-Year in 1991, Elly was en­cour­aged to start her own gar­den and now she and her six si­b­lings all take pride in their beau­ti­ful gar­dens.

When Elly and her hus­band Bob moved into their home 23 years ago, they didn’t have much to work with. The yard was tree­less and sur­rounded by lilac hedges. There was no great spot to put a gar­den. Af­ter much work and the re­lo­ca­tion of many of the lilac bushes, their peren­nial gar­den be­gan to take shape.

Elly’s gar­den is not your run-of-the-mill gar­den. It is full of once-loved things that she’s picked up over the years and has made beau­ti­ful again. Take the edg­ings from a gazebo that her neigh­bour was throw­ing away when he tore it down. Elly re­painted them and at­tached them to the garage to give it a more or­nate look. Or, check out the old fence posts that they made to look like a hitch­ing post. It’s easy to imag­ine ty­ing your horse to it when you come for a visit! There’s even a cul­ti­va­tor that was once old and rusty and now looks beau­ti­ful in its new set­ting.

Elly also takes ad­van­tage of her hus­band Bob’s build­ing ta­lent which has re­sulted in a stun­ning obelisk, an ar­bour and a tête-à-tête where they can sit and en­joy the sum­mer blooms. Even their friends and neigh­bours get to en­joy his hand­i­work with bird­houses and bird­feed­ers that he makes and gives away.

“I don’t want my gar­den to look like ev­ery other gar­den,” Elly says. My gar­den is full of any­thing and ev­ery­thing. I love it to look an­tique-y, but not junky!”

Many of the flow­ers in the gar­den re­mind Elly of spe­cial peo­ple in her life as well. She is a mem­ber of the hor­ti­cul­tural club in Selkirk and has made many friends there over the years. One of their pre­ferred things to do is share their much-loved plants with each other. One of her favourites is the Vir­ginia bellflower that she loves to watch come up ev­ery Spring. The club is also in­volved in a huge spring plant sale where do­nated plants are sold to sup­port a num­ber of or­ga­ni­za­tions like the Red Feather Farm and pal­lia­tive care at the Selkirk Hos­pi­tal.

The an­tic­i­pa­tion for this year’s gar­den has al­ready be­gun. The be­go­nias and gera­ni­ums are started in the kitchen win­dow and the veg­etable plot will soon be full of her prized toma­toes. The cas­tor bean plant in the win­dow is grow­ing madly – one of Elly’s favourites, it will have huge beau­ti­ful fo­liage this sum­mer. The leaves can grow up to two feet across and the stalk is as thick as bam­boo. If you want a great trop­i­cal look around your pool, this is a great plant ac­cord­ing to Elly.

The hot tub in the gazebo is a great van­tage point to take in all of their labours and she hopes they will get to en­joy it more of­ten this year! There’s noth­ing like break­fast in the gazebo while you en­joy the sights and smells of the gar­den!

Elly re­counted a time when they went on a va­ca­tion to the East Coast in June and she vowed, “Never again! I missed all of the blooms and didn’t get to en­joy the gar­den at all that sum­mer!” Now they take camp­ing trips closer to home and spend more time en­joy­ing the gar­den. Elly loves for other peo­ple to en­joy her gar­den as well and has even had peo­ple ask to take their wed­ding pic­tures there. Now that she has re­tired from 40 years of nurs­ing Elly has been able to put more time into her gar­den and last year even won “Gar­den of the Week”! She loves when peo­ple walk­ing by ask ques­tions about her gar­den and is al­ways happy to of­fer any ad­vice!

Golden Hakone grass from Hawaii, flanked by pink phlox and echi­nacea.

The drive­way lined with a wel­com­ing ar­ray of salvia 'Vic­to­ria Blue' and co­re­op­sis.

Molly finds a com­fort­able spot to en­joy the gar­den.

Echi­nacea (pur­ple cone flow­ers) and phlox 'Bright Eyes'.

The obelisk adds con­trast to the colour­ful blooms.

An­other shady spot for hostas and dianthus.

Fun knick-knacks find a place in Elly's gar­den.

The impatiens find a shady spot un­der a tree.

A bird bath peeks out above the flow­ers.

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