We had some young gardeners, and some who might get a movie discount now! All love to be outside, working with their plants. While most were reluctant to accept our invitation to participate, all were pleased at the end of the day, because of the opportunity to share their love of gardening with visitors to their special corners of Paradise. Members of the Fundy Gardeners, based in the Hampton area, gave high praise to organizer, Phyllis Sutherland, when they said this tour rivaled any they had been on in their area this season. Gardeners often say – “if only you were here last week” – something is always just out of bloom, but happily, something else takes its place. Gardens are meant to be enjoyed weekly, if not daily to capture the continuing magic.
Nearby is the property of Stephen and Elaine Holmstrom. Around their beautiful century home, which is also a bed and breakfast, are decorative plantings alive with color from the first crocus to the last black eyed susan tipped with snow. Across the road is an enormous vegetable garden with weedless row upon row, interspersed with even more flowers, notably mass plantings of dahlias and gladiolas. One wonders how this couple manages to sleep, with a fulltime business as well as keeping up with these acres of plants!
In the heart of the village, are gardens of sisters Myrna Elliott Stewart and Rena Elliott Bleakney. Rena’s gardens are noted for their spring display of crocuses, filling her yard with swaths of color. August was no challenge for either sister, as their yards were covered in blooms of perennials, with thoughtful plantings to provide color all season.
Between the sisters is the historic Victoria Manor and its mistress, Fatima LeFrancois, who delights in unusual specimen plants interspersed with clusters of perennials designed to frame or set off these unique plants, to best advantage. Even veteran gardeners were “stumped” to identify some of the more exotic plants she has. Also eyecatching were the variety of garden sculptures and art pieces throughout the property. For a woman who works in Moncton all day, working in the garden is a form of relaxation and satisfaction.
Across the marsh in Midway a young family, Ira and Erica Wilbur and toddler Levi, grow most of their vegetables in a variety of beds – some covered boxes, raised beds, a greenhouse, and also a Huegelbed, a specific natural structure combining fruit trees, perennials and annual veggies. Planting while the snow is still blowing, and continuing to grow during the late fall, these are gardens that show what can be done in a northern climate, to provide food for families.
And last but certainly not least are the amazing gardens of veteran Doris Hatt in Alma. A lifetime of experience shows in the smallest of the tour’s gardens, packed with unique and beautiful plants of all shapes, sizes and colors. A garden intended to be appreciated close up, with long gazes, because otherwise one would miss something very special.
Ticket holders were given the opportunity of a discount on their meal at Harbourview restaurant in Alma, to cap off a great afternoon in Albert County!
If you know a garden that you think deserves the exposure of a Garden Tour, let us know for planning the 2016 tour. Inspiring and motivating for gardeners of all skill levels and experience. To say nothing of the delicious strawberry shortcake that came with the price of the tour ticket!
submitted by Barbara Gebuhr