4G2R7399They came in buses, they came in cars, they came on bikes and on foot in numbers so high that they wore a path around the garden. They asked questions and wanted latin names for plants some of which I couldn’t remember common names for. They paid money to see the garden as part of a sold-out garden tour. They even came in the rain. And I loved every minute of it.

Winning the Calgary Horticultural Society’s best garden (medium-sized) just before we moved to Naramata was a perfect way to leave that chapter of gardening in a challenging climate for gardening nirvanaland. Our work here is done…


Once entered in the annual competition, the preparation was military. Commander Edward Secateur Hands went into action. Weeds were the enemy. Not a single dead blossom was allowed to die in peace and go to seed. Edward’s Garden Centre loved me and I got help loading my car with annuals every time I went. When I started shop vacuuming the walkways my youngest daughter was ready to seek help for me. (She knew the phone numbers to call. After three days of having to wash dishes by hand when the dishwasher broke she called the Kids Help Line to complain about child labour.)

An intimidating team of garden judges came by with their clipboards unannounced and I heeded instructions to have no contact with them as they explored. The solution: Army belly crawl under all the open windows to eavesdrop. Busted by the Handyman. Worth it.

4G2R7381We were¬†pretty chuffed to learn of the win. I often wonder if it had to do with pervasive smell of chocolate coming from the cocoa hull mulch that was applied on many of the beads. Cheating? The Handyman’s hardscaping might have had something to do with it. My stone potting shed, the tall pergolas, two ponds and curved solar bank were pretty cool.

The win meant another military campaign to get ready for the tour weekend and the media. More weird shop vacuuming.


The two days of visitors was a thing in itself. They asked questions, so many questions. I began to label plants that people were really interested in and many assiduously took notes. On the second day a Calgary Horticulture Society clematis expert quietly crossed out one of my labels and penciled in “durandii”.


Here are a few more pics. There is something about looking at garden pictures in winter when we are craving colour.

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My garden is in good hands. The couple that bought our house are gardeners. When we drive by on visits to Calgary it still looks pretty darn good.