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.
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.
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.
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.
I always enjoy seeing the creative ways in which people add decorations to their gardens and group planters.
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.
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.
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.
places to rest
A pool to refresh
The serene and private back yard of River Gate Inn
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.
Have you been on a garden tour? What has your garden taught you?
This post is part of Travel Photo Mondays