Gardens - Featured Gardens

Victory lap around this New Brunswick garden

Stephanie Whittaker
Photography by
Daniel St. Louis

Walk through a prize-winning garden

Unfortunately, not all of the saplings can cope with the harshness of the climate. During a recent nasty winter, a fast-growing catalpa tree (Catalpa speciosa) in the white border (see page 84) froze down to a 30-centimetre-tall stump. "It came back, so now I protect it."

Other tender plants he wraps in burlap for the winter include a grouping of butterfly bushes beside the house, two hybrid tea roses ('Quasimodo' and 'Sunsprite'), a 'Nikko Blue' hydrangea and a 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Bloodgood').

Réjean takes pains to choose plants that will give him successive waves of bloom and a variety of foliage colours, as well as long bloom period and good looks after the flowers are done. For example, three 'Shubert' choke cherry trees (Prunus virginiana 'Shubert') in his front yard offer red leaves during the summer. Other red-leafed trees and shrubs include the Japanese maple and barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea'). Forsythia and rhododendrons provide colour in spring; roses and weigela, in summer; and hydrangeas, in fall.

The garden is also planted to engage the senses. Lavender grows on each side of a pathway that leads to a combination greenhouse and shed. In the greenhouse, Réjean cultivates grapes ('Concord', 'Niagara' and 'Valiant') that might not survive outdoors. Another grape, 'Eona', ramps over the 4.5-metre-long pergola attached to the gazebo.

For Réjean, the garden has become a peaceful sanctuary from the stress of work. Because his on-air shift at the radio station begins at 6 a.m., during the gardening season he rises early to tour his plants before leaving for the station, and gardens in the evening. "For me, this is not work. It's a hobby and I don't count the hours I spend doing it."

By mid-January every year, he's cultivating the upcoming season's plants from seeds, under grow-lights in his basement. The garden hits its stride toward the end of July, with each season bringing new challenges. But then, Réjean loves to be horticulturally challenged. And he's rarely disappointed.

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