Gardens - Featured Gardens

A free-spirited patch of paradise in PEI

Heather Kielly
Photography by
John Sylvester

Anything goes in this garden of perennial pleasures

A short distance from the pergola is Betty Lou’s favourite area of the garden, a peaceful, relaxing space where she and Charlie sank three wooden posts into the ground and hung two hammocks. The posts are adorned with Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla), honeysuckle and the orange blooms of trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans). An ash tree provides welcome shade on hot summer days.

Not far from the hammocks sits another of Betty Lou’s creations. The walls of a barn destined for demolition were dismantled and a few of the boards were reborn as a fully functioning outhouse, which is festooned with a fragrant ‘Hansa’ rose, hollyhocks, Oriental poppies and numerous daylilies.

pei-garden-inset2.jpgBetty Lou doesn’t believe in nurturing plants that don’t thrive in her garden, some of which is in Zone 5b, while other areas are 6a. She grew some Himilayan blue poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia) from seed, but has since lost them. “They require proper siting as well as zoning. I think I crowded them out.” However, she has successfully grown bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis), which is usually hardy only to Zone 7.

Betty Lou says that her gardening choices go through phases; these days she favours shrubs and foliage plants. Recent additions include a dwarf burning bush (Euonymus nanus var. turkestanicus), whose foliage ranges from pink to deep red in fall, and a ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’ Korean fir (Abies koreana ‘Horstmann’s Silberlocke’), a fir whose twisted needles reveal a silvery underside. Betty Lou says this tree is her “dream for the future.” Although it’s small now, its growth will necessitate further expansion of this bed. “Expansion is always on my mind," she affirms, "and I always have a development plan running in my head."

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