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Natural beauty right under our noses

I was especially struck by some of the flowers I saw over the weekend, but these weren’t found in the wilderness. Rather, they were tucked away in various Jasper residents’ yards, part of meticulously kept gardens that have been right under my nose but had gone largely unexplored – until Saturday’s Secret Garden Tour, that is.

The annual event supports the Friends of the Library Society and is designed to offer a glimpse of the hidden gardening gems that can be found throughout the town. There are some incredibly talented gardeners in Jasper but, beyond their friends and family, the work they do can go largely unappreciated as it’s often concealed behind fences or hedges. I certainly didn’t realize – until Saturday – just how amazing some of these gardens are, and how difficult it is to keep them that way.

Jasper’s climate is a challenging one for many plants but local green thumbs manage to make their gardens thrive in spite of the often harsh weather conditions. A big part of the garden tour, in fact, involves sharing tips and tricks within the local gardening community.

I’m no gardener, myself, but I could still appreciate the effort and commitment it takes to build and maintain such intricate and varied arrangements of plant life.

Chatting with Lorna Chisholm in her back yard, a popular stop on the tour, it became evident just how much love she puts into her garden. It involves a ton of labour, I’m sure, but it all seems worth it to Chisholm, who emanated a sense of calm and pride as she showed visitors around. Everyone who entered seemed to share in the peaceful, zen-like environment the garden provided.

It was also amazing to see the diversity of flowers in bloom in other yards, like the bright-red poppies and delicate corncockles found in Tobi Fenton’s garden, or the two-toned tiny Padhye lillies and deep-purple asters maintained by Nancy Garnham.

Even for a non-gardener who normally prefers to explore wild places, these environments offered an unmistakable sense of awe that was all their own. The natural beauty of the plants combined with the human, artistic touch in arranging and maintaining the spaces created a unique atmosphere in each garden that was just as striking as any mountain vista.


DISCLAIMER: The Last Word is an opinion column, it is meant to provoke thought and debate. As such, any opinions written here are the writer’s own. 

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