STELLARTON – Last year’s blossoms have long fallen from the flowers in Carol Francis’s garden, but they’re receiving fresh praise this spring with an 11-page spread showing their beauty in “Gardens East” magazine.
Carol, wife of Stellarton councillor Ken Francis, said she isn’t sure who it was who suggested her as a potential person to feature in the magazine, but she was contacted by Niki Jabbour, a well-known gardening writer who interviewed her.
Carol is a member of the Stellarton Communities in Bloom group now and enjoys being part of the beautification of the town. She’s also attained the status of Master Gardener by taking part in a program at the Nova Scotia Community College, but she said gardening was something she had been interested in since she was a child. She lived in the city but always enjoyed gardening with her grandmother.
As an adult, though, she found she knew next to nothing about how to garden, so she pored over book after book, learning every bit of information she could.
The garden she now spends the fair weather working in was started in 1976 when Ken and Carol moved to their Pleasant Street home.
“We bought this house and it had a lot of property for a town,” she said. “I just thought, I can do a garden here.”
She started with a vegetable garden and then started adding rows of annual flowers among the vegetable plants. Over time the flowerbeds began to grow larger. Now her biggest problem is finding space for the vegetables.
“There are just so many flowers and trees that I don’t have a lot of room,” she said.
Along the way she said she and her husband were thankful for the advice of Robert Parker at West River Greenhouses.
She’s got her garden to such a science now that once the blossoms start, they follow each other in succession until the fall, so there’s always something colourful to look at in their yard. Carol excitedly waits for each to bloom. Day lilies and dahlia’s are among her favourite.
Each blossom is evidence that you can learn new things, just like Carol learned to garden.
“Anybody that has the desire to see things grow can make it happen,” she said.
While it’s not every day that the garden gets featured in a magazine, the Francises say they’ve often had requests from people who wanted to take wedding or graduation photos in their yard.
For his own part, Ken says it’s usually best if he stays out of the garden for the safety of the flowers he might mistake as weeds.
Stellarton Communities in Bloom president Jane Taylor said they were pleased to see a local member featured so prominently.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” she said. “That’s a very big article for anyone to run on one garden. It’s all good exposure for us.”
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