10 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour! :)

The last stop for us on the 2013 tour was the home, garden and business of Dale and Doris Brocke. Last but certainly not least! Doris and Dale run Rhubarb to Roses Garden Centre, a first rate nursery that supplies Peace Country gardeners with all kinds of shrubs, perennials and yes, rhubarb and roses! Their yard is a treat to tour and an added bonus to any plant shopping experience. Plus Dale whips up the most delectable rhubarb based desserts for the tea room, making this garden centre a great place to book for a lunch date with a group of friends, even if you don’t need any more plants. What am I saying? Everyone needs more plants 🙂

And again…sorry about the date imprint.

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Rhubarb to Roses Garden Centre is located 3 miles west of Dawson Creek, BC at 10865 225 Road. Head west on 108th Avenue, cross the Dangerous Goods Road and take the Old Hart Highway towards Arras.  You will see a big red & white sign on the left.

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Inside the walled garden of a former log homestead. Note the rhubarb leaf stepping stones.

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Entrance to the walled garden. Can’t you just imagine sitting back in that chair with a tall frosty glass of lemonade?

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Healthy well-established delphiniums and roses flank the entrance to the walled garden.

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There were hummingbirds everywhere diving into the delphiniums…they must taste as good as they look. The delphiniums, not the hummingbirds.

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Grapes ripening on the vine against the walled garden.

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Rhubarb, roses, grapes and apples too! This is definitely the place to go if you want to buy some hardy fruit trees that will produce in our zone 2b or not 2b climate.

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All this beauty, a bountiful vegetable garden AND a billion dollar Peace Country view. This is located right next to the garden centre.

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A robust patch of rhubarb

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A poppy patch. I love poppies as much for the beautiful seed pods as I do the blooms.

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Island beds of shrubs and perennials including roses of course

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Garden Centre and Tea Room…and a lovely border of blooms including lots of herbs and lilies

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Dale creates and sells beautiful, original bird houses as well as stain glass art and windows. The centre also offers the works of many other local artists.

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Loved this birdhouse artfully positioned in a piece of driftwood. The red blooms are from the perennial Maltese Cross. A reliable staple of Peace Country gardens dating back to the gardens of the pioneers.

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Another bird house against a blue backdrop of delphiniums.

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Doris is also an author. She wrote this wonderful book titled The ABC Musical Garden about flowers playing music. It is a tongue twisting, lyrical, linguistic romp through the alphabet (and garden) aimed at children but adults will enjoy it too.

ABC Musical Garden

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Where the magic begins! A compost bin made out of untreated pallets.

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A flourishing perennial bed.

And that’s all the gardens from the 2013 tour. I do apologize for the wait.

Seeing what all these gardeners have done is always so inspiring. As we make our way into February it is time to make up our seed and plant wish lists and check them twice. There are many online nurseries to choose from and some carry those rare plants that we are desperate to have. However, the local nurseries often stock the same plants or are happy (if given enough notice) to see if they can bring an item in. With the cost of shipping, shopping local just makes sense. And cents. For a full list of local nurseries click on the tab at the top. If you know of a nursery that I haven’t listed please let me know so I can add it to the list.

I hope 2016 is your best gardening year ever!

9 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour :)

Paul and Fay Geist have a huge property outside of town that they have worked wonders with. The pond complete with a bridge was incredible.

Once again, apologies for the annoying date stamp…

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A huge expanse of lawn with lots of beautiful shrubs, trees, perennials and ridiculously healthy petunias!

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 A postcard perfect guest house with its own personal garden!

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And an equally exquisite cottage for the birds! Well, actually it’s a bird feeder…

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 This dog statue looked so real it made us jump!

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Now that’s a swing set.  And just look at that Peace Country sky waiting for you to kick your heels into it!

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Gorgeous wagon wheel bench and an endless view beyond it

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The pathways and beds around the house were immaculate

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A pond! So many gorgeous rocks…

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A closer look at these colorful stones…each one a thing of beauty

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One of the nicest garden bridges I have ever seen…

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Deep pink lavatera…a must have annual for every garden!

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This pot of strawberries was so outstanding Gardens West used this picture in its magazine!

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A very creative and humorous bird house!

8 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour :)

Bob and Marg Lowther’s garden was a child magnet with all of its thoughtfully placed gnomes, lighthouses and other fabulous statuary additions. The double lot offered all kinds of running room and shade from mature evergreens for those hot summer afternoons.

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Beautifully crafted archway leading into the garden

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Using the cavities in the cement edging for the beds to grow succulents in is such a great idea! It makes use of otherwise wasted space and the cement traps heat that the succulents crave.

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A whole family of gnomes hanging out under (and even in) the trees!

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A stone burro with a pannier of plants and a family of friendly bears in the background. I have always wanted to try making one of these paths. This one was beautifully done.

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An angelic gathering beneath the potted plants!

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An inuksuk, a bird house and a gorgeous silver piece of driftwood stand before a bed of ferns and bergenia

2013-07-28 12.46.23-2These blue petunias look so pretty paired with the pink blooms of the bergenia

2013-07-28 12.40.00-2A pinterest worthy birdhouse…bird condo? Really, really, really liked this. Really.

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A great example of filling in spaces in the perennial beds with pots of annuals both in the bed and suspended above!

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Every bed was filled with so many delightful surprises!

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Water fountain, another fabulous bird condo and butter colored petunias paired with pink that matched the bird condo roof beautifully.

7 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour : )

Next up is the garden of Bryan and Carmen Dynna.  This place is amazing. Check it out…

(Sorry about the date stamp on some of the photos. It was a new camera and I am always a bit of a technically challenged photographer!)

 

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Pink cosmos, vibrant orange marigolds and healthy bunches of purple delphiniums.

The front yard was a real oasis with a border of mixed annuals and perennials  and gorgeous shrubs complete with a pond feature.

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A closer look at the beautiful pond feature.

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Vibrant yellow chairs and a table against a lush green lawn and hedge

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The front gate leading you into the yard. Everything is so neat, tidy and organized. You just can feel all the stresses of the day melting away when you walk in!

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And then there is the backyard…oh my! Beautiful melding of the flowers into a vegetable garden worthy of a self sufficient homestead.

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Garden of my dreams! Just packed with vegetables of every kind.

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A greenhouse and a beautiful garden shed that also could be a guest house.

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Inside the garden shed was a dehydrator…making this a harvest shed too. I dried onions in our dehydrator once and almost killed Darcy and I with the fumes.

Having an outdoor shed to dry them in would have been a far better idea!

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Deck of the garden shed and a stunning rain chain. Beautiful pot of marigolds too!

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A stock trough painted to look much more appealing than just leaving them silver. Notice the pond plants floating in it.

And those delphiniums! Just spectacular.

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Another view of the greenhouse behind the vegetable bed.

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Small stone markers that look so much nicer than plastic stakes

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2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour

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The whole purpose of this blog was to showcase amazing gardens grown in the Peace Country and to share tips with cold climate gardeners wherever you may be.

There are several garden tours in the North and South Peace every year and before The Big Move, I attended as many as I could and posted pictures of them here.

With all the kafuffle over the last two years I didn’t make it to either the 2014 or the 2015 garden tours. I have to confess that leaving my garden behind and moving into an apartment made attending the tours somewhat akin to an alcoholic being invited to a wine tasting. Looking back, I do wish I had stopped feeling sorry for myself and went, because I know I missed some spectacular gardens.

Even worse, all the changes started to happen as I was still posting pictures from the 2013 tour. Instead of finishing them up, things got so crazy I abandoned this blog altogether. So in case you’ve been wondering why the Dawson Creek Garden Tour abruptly stops with #6 out of 10 gardens, now you know.

But better late than never! Over the next bit I will finally showcase those last four gardens. Trust me, they’re worth the wait…

 

6 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour

This marks my 100th post! I started this blog for a few reasons. I love to garden and I love to write, but mostly it came from having huge respect for those who successfully garden in cold climates and a desire to share what they do. The idea was spurred on by a friend–and fabulous gardener–from the south who shook her head at the idea of people actually attempting to garden in Zone 2b. I forget exactly what she said but part of it was “You just grow our weeds up there!”

Of course, I was insulted. But then I realized we do grow a lot of plants that southern gardeners consider invasive. And several of them even contain the word “weed” in their name. Goutweed, Joe Pye weed, Mountain Knapweed…and the list goes on. So she had a point. Zone 8 we clearly ain’t but that doesn’t mean our gardens aren’t magazine worthy! The Peace Country is a challenging place to grow plants but like so many in colder climates, we do so with great success. I am pleased to say my friend has stopped by to visit the site on a few occasions and has admitted to being blown away by what our gardeners create.

Every year when we go on garden tours I am blown away too!

Here is another example of one of our gardeners working their magic…a glimpse into the lovely garden of Dixie Kotylak.

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Several flower-packed containers flow along the house. A thick gravel mulch provides great drainage while keeping things weed-free.

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Delphiniums rollick in a container.

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A close up of those beautiful delphinium blooms…love the contrast of deep purple edged with blue!

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Roses, daylilies and more fill a bed alongside the house.

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I love thyme planted between paving stones…just wish I had the patience to weed it!

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An eye catching mix of containers filled with flowers along the garage wall…

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An exquisite sun catcher hanging from a Thunderchild crab apple tree.

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“A Secret Garden” tucked behind the garage is filled with an assortment of thriving perennials…

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A healthy hosta just starting to bloom…

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Loved the thoughtful touches such as these blossoms floating in the birdbath…

5 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour : )

Full of green thumb ideas (and a bit of green envy) we headed back into Dawson Creek to check out the four gardens in the city itself. We were not disappointed!

First stop was the garden of Ruth Graham and Marline (sorry I don’t have Marline’s last name). We were completely gobsmacked by godetias. Where have you been all my life? I can’t believe these beauties have never found their way into my garden. Yes, I bought a package of seeds this spring at the Dawson Creek Peavey Mart but they’re likely available in lots of places. Though after seeing this garden they might sell out so get yours fast! The godetias weren’t the only jaw droppers in this garden…there was also an incredible vegetable garden (farm?) in the back! Take a look…

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A cute pansy tipsy tower! And look behind it…a beautiful brick raised bed along the front of the house bursting with godetias.

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A closer look at the border of godetias…aren’t they beautiful? According to the tour pamphlet Marline starts them from saved seed every year.

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Through the garage and into the back garden…

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Wow hey? This is by far one of the neatest and most lush vegetable gardens I have ever seen.

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Anyone who thinks they can’t grow all their own vegetables unless they live on a farm will reconsider after seeing this garden!

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A lovely mix of flowers in the vegetable bed attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

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This is a garden that would make any Peace Country pioneer proud. There’s even a cow!

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A closer look at the cow…I think it’s a sprinkler and when the hose is turned on the tail twirls. However it works, it is VERY eye catching!

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Lovely lavender containers filled with flowers line the back of the house.

4 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour

Just a few miles down the road from the last garden we visited, was the home of Bert and Ruth Veiner. What a treat! Their place was chockablock with Peace Country pioneer paraphernalia, complete with fascinating details posted on cards and even a personal museum in their original homestead that rivals any public one I’ve ever seen. I hope they put their place on the tour again in the future as I am sure there were things I overlooked.

Anyway, here goes…

The new house is just a stone toss away from Ruth and Bert's original homestead. Love the wagon...

The new house is just a stone toss away from Ruth and Bert’s original homestead. Love the wagon…

A beautifully weathered shed. Out front a pair of old saddles were on display. The info card (and I hope I am remembering this right) said how one of the saddles was the very same that transported Bert's father to the Peace back in the 30's.

A beautifully weathered shed. Out front a pair of old saddles were on display. The info card (and I hope I am remembering this right) said how one of the saddles was the very same that transported Bert’s father to the Peace back in the 30’s.

A pair of buckets "spill" creeping Charlie into a bed of vines.

A pair of buckets “spill” creeping Charlie into a bed of vines.

More creeping Charlie mixed with soft pink petunias cascade over the lip of a whiskey barrel. Just beautiful.

More creeping Charlie mixed with soft pink petunias cascade over the lip of a whiskey barrel. Just beautiful.

A picture perfect picket fence gate leads into an old fashioned country vegetable patch i.e. a large one!

A picture perfect picket fence gate leads into an old fashioned country vegetable patch i.e. a large one!

Antique farm implements displayed by the garden.

Antique farm implements displayed by the garden.

Lobelia in a pair of cowboy boots...what a great display!

Lobelia in a pair of cowboy boots…what a great display!

Inside the old homestead-turned-museum

Inside the old homestead-turned-museum

Ruth is also an accomplished artist. Her paintings fill a bedroom in the homestead. What talent!

Ruth is also an accomplished artist. Her paintings fill a bedroom in the homestead. What talent!

Look at this old Eaton's catalogue! Remember those? So many met their end--so to speak--in Peace Country outhouses. Glad to see a few remain in collections such as these!

Look at this old Eaton’s catalogue! Remember those? So many met their end–so to speak–in Peace Country outhouses. Glad to see a few remain in collections such as these!

Music and Milk! An antique record player next to a cream separator, a milk pail and what I think is a pasteurizer. Ruth said the homestead wasn't nearly so nice when her and Bert were starting out there for the first winter. Pink insulation was exposed and the nails were often furry with frost. It was a tough life, and those who came later owe a great deal to pioneers such as these.

Music and Milk! An antique record player next to a cream separator, a milk pail and what I think is a pasteurizer. Ruth said the homestead wasn’t nearly so nice when her and Bert were starting out there for the first winter. Pink insulation was exposed and the nails were often furry with frost. It was a tough life, and those who came later owe a great deal to brave pioneers such as these.

3 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour : )

Next we drove to Rolla to see the gardens of Linda & Darryl Veiner. This picturesque property is Peace Country perfect. Surrounded by dazzling yellow fields of canola, endless skies and a garden setting worthy of a magazine. Linda had recently used the space for a family member’s wedding and there’s a chance she will rent out the yard for other Peace Country brides and grooms. I can’t imagine a more lovely setting in which to exchange vows.

Take a look…

 

From the lawn, to the pots brimming with blooms, to the deep gravel driveway and paths, everything about this property is immaculate.

From the lawn, to the pots brimming with blooms, to the deep gravel driveway and paths, everything about this property is immaculate.

Loved this birdhouse nestled in driftwood...

Loved this birdhouse nestled in driftwood…

Faux fences are a growing trend in gardens. This was is done to perfection.

Faux fences are a growing trend in gardens. This was is done to perfection.

A beautiful pond set against a backdrop of bright yellow canola...

A beautiful pond set against a backdrop of bright yellow canola…

The cloudy skies didn't do the last picture justice...so now picture that same yellow background with our famous blue skies overhead!

The cloudy skies didn’t do the last picture justice…so now picture that same yellow background with our famous blue skies overhead! Though even cloudy skies look breathtaking from the scope of this yard…

Fire pit area...see how perfect it would be for a wedding?

Fire pit area…see how perfect it would be for a wedding?

A waterfall tucked in the corner...

A waterfall tucked in the corner…

A closer look at these pretty benches and the boulders behind them...

A closer look at these pretty benches and the boulders behind them…

And the plants! Here Creeping Charlie is used to create a lush cascading effect.

And the plants! Here Creeping Charlie is used to create a lush cascading effect.

2 of 10 Gardens on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour

The second garden we visited on the 2013 Dawson Creek Garden Tour was the home of the famous Buttery Bites Caramels and Heather and Dan Porrill and family. Dubbed Starbright Farm the property is located in Baytree, Alberta. The place is nothing short of incredible. At every turn there was something new to gape at and gape we did! The pictures we snapped hardly do the place justice. You really need to visit this place for yourself and luckily you can. Heather operates a store that sells her Buttery Bites Caramels (just like Grandma used to make), fabric, llama jerkey and more, as well as a seasonal tea room on the deck of their home. If the gardens, animals (chickens, geese, donkeys, llamas and more) and country store on this picturesque working farm aren’t enough to attract you, Heather is a culinary wizard. She is one of those people who dreams big and then actually goes out and sees those dreams through to fruition. A must-visit for everyone; residents of the Peace Country and beyond.

Here are just a few glimpses of the treats in store for you…and like I say, they don’t do the property justice.

A shoofly plant thrives in a container on the steps of the store surrounded by Peace Country antiques.

A shoofly plant thrives in a container on the steps of the store surrounded by Peace Country antiques.

The entrance to the garden has a massive arbor covered with a hops vine. Undaunted by the rain, Heather spread out straw for visitors to walk on. That's my husband Darcy heading in and Heather to the right.

The entrance to the garden has a massive arbor covered with a hops vine. Undaunted by the rain, Heather spread out straw for visitors to walk on. That’s my husband Darcy heading in and Heather to the right.

Every nook and cranny held something delightful. Here some tin mugs dangling from the arbor.

Every nook and cranny held something delightful. Here some tin mugs are dangling from the arbor.

A fabulous pallet deck. Note the old barber chair...

A fabulous pallet deck. Note the old barber chair…

I'm sure you've seen headboards used to make garden "beds" before but this one is unique. Love the bucket idea!

I’m sure you’ve seen headboards used to make garden “beds” before but this one is unique. Love the bucket idea!

A beautifully tended vegetable garden that feeds the family and their lucky guests.

A beautifully tended vegetable garden that feeds the family and their lucky guests.

Bicycle tires on a fence! And check out the view behind them!

Bicycle tires on a fence! And check out the view behind them!

Loved this birdhouse made from a gourd.

Loved this birdhouse made from a gourd.

A fence, a corner and some lattice and you have a perfect canvas for hops and sunflowers. A recipe worth copying!

A fence, a corner and some lattice and you have a perfect canvas for hops and sunflowers. A recipe worth copying!

The back deck edged with picture frames and coffee can planters. There's no end to what a creative mind can come up with!

The back deck edged with picture frames and coffee can planters. There’s no end to what a creative mind can come up with!

Scenes created as if for picture perfect postcards popped up everywhere.

Scenes created as if for picture perfect postcards popped up everywhere.

And here are just a few of the critters…

As if this donkey wasn't cute enough, if you look in the far background you can see another donkey nursing its tiny foal!

As if this donkey wasn’t cute enough, if you look in the far background you can see another donkey nursing its tiny foal!

Chatty Geese!

Chatty Geese!

Curious Llamas!

Curious Llamas!

Even the fence for the chicken run was artfully adorned with antiques.

Even the fence for the chicken run was artfully adorned with antiques.

Red table and chairs in the tea room area on the deck. Check it out this summer!  Come for the country and stay for the food. And the caramels. And the store. And the animals. And the garden. And, and, and..

Red table and chairs in the tea room area on the deck. Check it out this summer! Come for the country and stay for the food. And the caramels. And the store. And the animals. And the garden. And, and, and..