Gardens - Featured Gardens

A free-spirited patch of paradise in PEI

By
Heather Kielly
Photography by
John Sylvester

Anything goes in this garden of perennial pleasures

pei-garden-gardeners.jpgGarden facts

Size: 1 hectare
Orientation: west
Conditions: prevailing southwest wind, shady perimeters, rich soil
Growing season: April to November
Garden focus: roses, shrubs and foliage plants
Zone: 5b to 6a

“It’s all about having fun,” says Betty Lou Frizzell Abbott, at right, which just about covers her philosophy of gardening and life in general. Betty Lou’s intention was to create a garden on her Glen Valley, Prince Edward Island property that reflects her own free spirit and infectious sense of humour. “I like things wild and weird—like me,” she laughs. For example, when her old station wagon finally quit two years ago, she had the local fire department cut off the roof with the Jaws of Life. She then sunk the roof into a spot behind her barn. Today, this whimsical garden feature is barely visible beneath an assortment of sumac, dogwood, lilac, ferns and goutweed. Betty Lou has also incorporated old farm tools and machinery into the garden design.

Betty Lou and her husband, Charlie, have been tending their garden since 1975 when, as newlyweds, they cut their honeymoon short to come home and plant a vegetable garden. Like many people, they began gardening on a shoestring budget. First they planted some cedar hedge seedlings and maple tree whips, followed by a few flower beds that have long since evolved.

Almost three decades later, their garden, which they’ve dubbed “Perennial Pleasures,” is an eclectic mix of approximately one hectare of trees, shrubs and perennials. When commenting on their gardening endeavours, Charlie says: “Betty Lou has the vision. I can’t see where things should be placed, but I’m good at doing what I’m told.”

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