A few months ago I had the privilege of meeting up with some old friends, Patti and Eddy Brisebois, from Ile des Chenes, Manitoba. My sister, Sheila, had been bragging about Patti's garden to me for several years and on my last road trip to the village I grew up in, I was finally able to see Patti's garden. Her garden turned out to be one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Because I did not have my camera with me that day, my sister and I arranged a second visit a couple days later. Us three gals spent the entire day and evening hanging out, talking about old times and new adventures and I was able to photograph her garden.
This southern Manitoba zone three garden has been transformed over the past three years from perennial flower beds to mostly rocks with planters and a few waves of perennials. Patti and Eddy did all of the work themselves, including cutting down diseased trees, digging a new pond, trenching for hydro and using a wheelbarrow to move countless tons of rocks.
Succulents are this gardener's passion. The colours and textures are breathtaking. These planters look great all season long and thrive in the dry and hot summers. Patti's succulent planters are massive, some standing over 4 feet tall. Banana trees, sweet potato vine, impatiens and several other varieties of annuals add a tropical flair to the garden. In cold zone 3 the succulents are treated like an annual as they will not survive the harsh Manitoba winters.
Mature trees border the garden and dry river beds surround an island of grass with a few perennials clustered here and there. The pond is complete with koi and goldfish, birds that wade in the stream and a calming waterfall. The playhouse is even planted with succulents that cascade over the edges of the roof.
To add punches of colour to her garden, Patti has numerous plantings in blue containers that really compliment the garden. Most of these containers are very large and once planted for the season become a permanent structure in the garden as they are not easily moved.
After many years of dreaming and planning a three season sunroom, Patti's dream finally turned into a reality. Patti took her jotted down ideas and rough drawings and met with a builder who understood her vision and was able to assist in the final stage of completing her garden space.
Her three season room has an beautiful view of her surrounding gardens and is used for large gatherings or an evening for two in front of a cozy fireplace. Even though the room is one large open space, Patti has successfully separated it into a kitchen, bedroom and sitting area. In one corner there are several ladders where Patti propagates plants for her ever expanding garden and to share with friends.
The sunroom keeps the rain and the wind away allowing them to enjoy their garden for about 8 months of the year.
Patti's three season room is almost completely decorated with repurposed items and thrift store and yard sale finds. Patti says that her "junk collecting" allows the decor to be ever changing.
Patti loves to repurpose just about anything. Her plantings are very creative and include old toy trucks, tree stumps and driftwood. She even stores her "junk" by making it into a display. I would imagine the little boats and wagon shown above will become next years planted projects.
I could have spent an entire day just photographing the great displays Patti had scattered throughout her garden and three season room. Her creativity is endless and I wished she lived way closer to me so she could help me in my own garden!
Although the succulents in this garden can tolerate some cold and even a little frost when hardened off, they certainly cannot survive the cold Manitoba winters. After the gardening season comes to an end, Patti removes the plants from all of the larger containers, replants them into smaller, more manageable pots and stores them in a large heated shed for the winter. Because all of the larger plantings are disassembled every year, Patti can create stunning new plantings every spring. Patti is so dedicated that she spends weeks of preparation both in the spring and fall putting her plants outside in the day and bringing them back inside for the night to save them from frost.
To say that Patti is a passionate and hardworking gardener would be an understatement. Thank you Patti for sharing your beautiful garden with me. I look forward to visiting again.