Sep 142014
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heritage garden

Tour of gardens in Winnipeg’s Armstrong’s Point showcases beautiful refuges and provides a few life lessons

Armstrong’s Point is a small peninsula jutting into the Assiniboine River near the centre of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The residential neighbourhood was developed for well-to-do families in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Today 123 homes exist in this peaceful enclave. The historic houses are nestled along tree-lined streets and surrounded with mature gardens. As part of a recent Heritage Home Tour, I visited several of these gardens.

Given it was early September, there were few blooming plants but the gardens were still beautiful. Many of the yards gave such a sense of calm and isolation it was hard to believe the bustle of the city was just steps away. In some spots, I felt as if I might be at a cottage retreat. The owners’ stories of the gardens provided a few lessons about gardening and life itself.


This garden started out as a shade garden. But after two elm tress on the street had to be removed due to disease, the owners have been progressively converting it to a sun garden as hostas and other shade-loving plants die. In gardens and in life circumstances change and we must adapt.


garden waterfall

This fountain is part of a front garden designed and installed in 2005 and 2006.
It was influenced by arctic and prairie landscapes and contains over 55 tons of limestone and granite. I loved the soothing sound of the fountain waterfall.

volunteer plant

In that garden of limestone and granite, lupines keep seeding themselves in what was meant to be pristine gravel areas. The owner loves lupines so allows them to stay. Sometimes we have to let nature have its way and accept beauty where we find it.


Crabapple tree

Crabapple tree


This approach to handling the space between stones in patios intrigued me.
Instead of constantly weeding between the cracks, plant something that is meant to be there.

garden decor

I always enjoy seeing the creative ways in which people add decorations to their gardens and group planters.

plant groupings

shade garden

The owners of this yard have focused on shade-loving perennials and are naturalistic gardeners who do not favour neatness and symmetry. When they moved into this yard 25 years ago, it was overrun with lily-of-the-valley and false Solomon’s Seal. They spent several years hacking out the lily-of-the-valley and still only barely keep it at bay. Even that naturalistic look requires work.

garden fountain

This fountain is part of a garden in a back yard that was a very large gravel parking lot. The owners began work on the garden in 2013 and excavated several layers of old patios and garage and barn pads.


hardy garden

The owners of this garden say they have “auditioned” many plants over the years. Only the toughest survive. A large 100-year-old oak tree drinks a lot of water. The plants need to tolerate dry, shady conditions, 40 below winters, and squirrels.

The owners of the above garden described their garden as “our little refuge from the busy streets nearby”. That description applies to all the gardens I toured. 

garden seats

places to rest


pool landscaping

A pool to refresh


River Gate Inn

The serene and private back yard of River Gate Inn


house and garden


The garden owners called their gardens a work in progress or constantly evolving. I overheard one gardener say when a plant dies, it is an opportunity to put in something new. The willingness of these gardeners to adapt to changes in the garden, their persistence, and work is inspiring. In life things will change. We should take time to enjoy the beauty of each change and welcome the new as opportunities. But the beauty may not come without work.


purple flowers

Have you been on a garden tour? What has your garden taught you?

This post is part of Travel Photo Mondays

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  33 Responses to “Garden Refuge”

  1. These remind me a little of the gardens here in downtown Charleston. I would never have known about them but for a walking tour that I did with out-of-town company. Like you, I’m amazed at these little pieces of heaven right in the middle of a city! I have a particular fondness for the one with the limestone fountain:)

  2. I haven’t been on any formal garden tours but Victoria has many beautiful gardens both on the small scale and the grand. Butcharts Gardens was done in a line-stone quarry originally by Jenny Butcharts and would definitely rate as grand.

    • I’m always impressed with what I see of people’s gardens in Victoria. I’ve been to Butcharts Gardens several times. Beautiful. My sister lives on the island. From the yard of her current residence, you can watch much of the summer Saturday night fireworks at Butchart. Great.

  3. Lovely gardens and lawns. So lush and green. Especially to me who lives in Arizona where there is little rain and lots of very hungry/thirsty animals that treat our plants as their buffet. Love your pictures!

  4. I really love fountains they have refreshing and soothing effect in gardens or any where. It is really nice idea to use many broken or extra things from home and utilize them in a amazing way. I belong to Kashmir and have greenery everywhere but still people prefer to have a small garden around their houses. Where they have a lot of flowers and trees, its always nice to visit such place as it really gives you peace of mind. All pictures show that gardens are very well planned and maintained

  5. Hi Donna, thanks for taking us along on your tour. I love gardens and walking through any of them, even my own, gives me a peaceful and thankful feeling. As any gardener knows, it does take a lot of work but even the work is calming so that’s not a problem.

  6. As always, I so love your pictures. What you showcased has given me some cool ideas to use in my own garden. Did I tell you I am lover of gardening? To me, a garden offers us a respect from our very busy lives. The key is to take time to enjoy them when we can.

  7. When I have a house with some land these are exactly the kinds of gardens I would like to have; with the pool of course. Some of these really look like slices of paradise in the city.

  8. What a nice garden refuge. Looks really relaxing from your great photos.

  9. The gardens are gorgeous. I so glad you share a part of your world that is not in a magazine as they really give us a great idea of your corner of the world

  10. The gardens looks beautiful. It is easy to see what a peaceful serene atmosphere they create. It would be nice to be able to just sort of step into that type of environment for maybe just a few minutes a day for its calming effect.

  11. Donna, I love your pictures. They are so clear, and vivid. What kind of camera do you have? I’m curious.

    The pool at the inn looks so inviting. I took a peek at their site. I’d love to go there, and might make that one of my next destinations; I live in Ontario, so it’s closer than going to another country!

    Also, I was wondering what site/service you use to watermark your photos. Can you share that information with me, please?

    • Thanks Lorraine. Right now I am using a Canon Powershot point and shot. I’ve had good success with it, but am currently starting shopping for a more sophisticated camera. Re watermarks I’ve been using a couple of sites. I’ve sent you a private message about that.

    • Thank you, Donna. I’m terrible when it comes to photography, and anything graphics-related, too. 🙁

      You take beautiful photos! I love ’em!

  12. That is a great unique way to handle spaces between patio stones. I think I might try that with mine. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Donna I like when you say “The owners’ stories of the gardens provided a few lessons about gardening and life itself” and this so true. I believe every garden has a story and a lesson. I did my own garden and that of my mum years ago, and the lesson was patience for me. The garden does not go “wow” overnight, but it takes time and after that, the beauty says it all.

  14. It’s amazing what you can learn from a garden! Here in the southwest, we’re not used to seeing that kind of greenery, so I appreciated the one about the flowers reseeding themselves. It’s so hard to get anything to grow in my garden, that I never pull up anything that’s willing to grow there!

  15. Love your garden tour. I never done such a tour. Nice pictures. I love the last picture. The lighting is so perfect.

  16. Strange, Donna, as I’m sure I previously commented on this post and yet my comment doesn’t appear. Have you heard from others about disappearing comments? Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this post as I’ve never heard of Armstrong Point before reading your post. It looks like a lovely place to explore.

  17. That was a lovely garden you featured here, Donna. I wish I could visit… which would be close to impossible because I live on the other side of the world. We do have a lot of garden parks here too. Mostly tropical flowers like orchids. some hydrangeas too. Flowing water attracts positive energy too, as long as it does not face an exit or a driveway. (Sorry for the feng shui lecture. haha). Thanks for sharing.

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