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Renovation & Design

Garden of delight and charm

Couple grows goodness in backyard oasis

Supplied photos

Ron and Wendy Kroeker’s property is lush and green from front to back.

A seat near the pond is perfect for a lunch of fresh asparagus grown in the backyard garden.

As far as I’m concerned nothing beats walking through a beautiful aromatic garden in summer. Especially when one realizes that six months down the line that same walk will be carved through knee deep snow.

Sorry. Just saying we should enjoy it while we can.

Wendy Kroeker and her husband, Ron, certainly do. You may recall a few weeks back we featured a spiffy kitchen reno. Well that was Wendy and Ron’s kitchen. Turns out they’re wizards in the yard and garden department as well.

Come summer, it’s their passion. I collect old stuff, they collect plants, trees and shrubs. They live on 1.5 acres, and have spent the past 42 years making it a little more beautiful each summer. It’s kind of the Manitoba version of Victoria’s Butchart Gardens. There’s just everything, including... ASPARAGUS!

Wendy schooled me on asparagus. I knew nothing, except that they come in a tray wrapped in plastic at your local grocery store. You buy them take them home and eat them. Also, they’re handy for terrifying small children with — and some adults.

I didn’t know that if those shoots aren’t harvested shortly after they emerge from the ground, they can grow to be very pretty and as tall as three metres, a bush-like perennial that Wendy says you can leave in its natural state, or trim to make a beautiful, lacy, accent piece.

Just one of Wendy and Ron’s larger asparagus plants has about 20 spears that shoot up from the ground each year, Wendy clips off maybe 10 of them, and lets the others grow to become that gorgeous accent piece. Not edible at the grown stage though, just pretty.

Wendy originally bought theirs from a greenhouse and says they were fairly small and spindly for the first three years or so, quite slow to mature, then start to give you the pretty puffy lacy look. Their tallest and roundest asparagus bushes are about 10 years old.

Now if you have the same great gardening knowledge I do, you may be having trouble remembering what perennial means.

I Googled it and apparently perennials come back every year, growing from roots that survive through the winter. Annuals complete their life cycle in just one growing season before dying and come back the next year only if they drop seeds that germinate in the spring.

Right. Now I remember.

And should you ever be out on a peaceful stroll through the woods, Wendy says asparagus also grows wild, so keep an eye out, you might get a free snack.

Wendy and Ron have no need to stroll into the wild, because the wood chip covered paths through their own beautifully landscaped green dream takes a good 10 to 15 minutes to see and enjoy the plethora of flowers, plants, bushes and trees they so lovingly tend each year.

Stopping to see and sniff the zillions of different lilacs to be found along the trails is fabulous. So many different plants, including those tasty fiddlehead ferns (official name ostrich ferns) which if left to grow simply carpet the ground with their beauty, gorgeous for greening up a bed along the house, needing very little to no maintenance, just some watering through the dry spells.

Excellent job guys. Beautiful kitchen, stunning gardens, all designed, created and built by you.

Your hard work and passion brings back some wonderful memories, as my Dad Joe Mustard cultivated both vegetable and flower gardens at our Killarney home each year, at least a couple of times he won he annual town wide Most Beautiful Garden competition.

I plant old cars. They look lovely!

lmustard1948@gmail.com

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