Come into their gardens

Staff ~ The Journal Pioneer
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Summerside garden club's tours underway

SUMMERSIDE - A garden is never complete. Just ask Vincent McRae.
He's spent a decade transforming his 75x75-foot backyard from a patch of grass to an oasis in the heart of the city.
With its vibrant colours, vast array of perennial and annuals, strawberry garden, seating areas and even furry friends nestled amongst the greenery, the sprawling garden is simply breathtaking.
But despite its grandeur and immaculate appearance, it's a work in progress.
"When we first got the place it was three hours (cutting) by push mower. Now, we have it down to a half hour," said McRae, on how his garden's grown. "My kids keep saying, 'When are you stopping dad, so we'll have grass to play?'"
His green thumb isn't used exclusively on his backyard. The front yard is abloom with shrubbery, greenery, potted plants and an assortment of colourful flowers.
"I start as soon as the snow comes off the ground," said McRae, co-president of the Summerside and Area Garden Club.
"And it's the last thing I do in the fall."
Maintaining the green space is a challenge.
"Less ground area means less weeds. Cover as much area as possible and keep up all your volunteers. A lot of plants, they sell the seed or they divide or spread. Let them fill up the space," said McRae, who has a degree in horticulture. "A weed is a plant you don't want. It could be the most beautiful plant but if it grows somewhere you don't want it, it's a weed."
He keeps "holes" between plants, giving them room to spread and fill the garden. That's one thing some people tend to forget when planting.
"The key is planting it and letting it have space. Read the tag (that comes with a plant or shrub). Find out what zone it is and the width, length and height," said McRae. "A lot of people don't realize this little shrub came in a one-gallon pot and eventually it's going to be a 6x6."
His garden is featured in Summerside and Area Garden Club's annual garden tour.
"A lot of people think you have to have a huge garden and it has to be to the point where it's finished," said McRae. "A garden is never finished."

Garden club tours start Sunday
• Tours go Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.
• No pets allowed; children are welcome
• Do not pick flowers, seeds of weeds
• Bring bug spray and umbrella
• Admission is free
• For more information, contact Sandy at 436-6545 or Vincent at 436-1358

July 12
• Wayne & Marilynn Griffith, 161 Linda Dr., Summerside
• Rusty Capper, CA# 11869, Margate, Rte. 6
• Bertha Campbell, CA# 3362, Grahams Road
July 19
• Vincent McRae & Cathy Guitar, 338 Maple Ave., Summerside
• Sandy & Toy Gallant, 117 Bay Ave., Summerside
• Tom & Betty Hall, 705 Water St. East, Summerside
• Yvon Arsenault, 79 Balcolm Dr., Summerside
July 26
• Deb Vickerson, CA# 2221 Linkletter Rd., Summerside
• Evelyn Gallant, Ricmond, CA#31373
• Yvette Collicutt, CA# 463 Rte. 177, St. Raphael
• Rita Bernard, CA# 1344, Rte. 177, Mont Carmel
• Myrna & Claude Gavin, CA# 2589 Linkletter Rd., Summerside
Aug. 2
• Harry Pineau, Rte. 269, CA# 80 Line Rd., N. Rustico
• Avonlea Village, Cavendish on Rte 6 - no charge with tour brochure in hand
• Garth & Peggy Drummond, 409 Drummond Rd., Rte 113
• Donna Sutton, CA# 11112, Highway 6, Clinton

Organizations: Garden Club, Wayne & Marilynn Griffith, Capper, CA Vincent McRae & Cathy Guitar Sandy & Toy Gallant Tom & Betty Hall Myrna & Claude Gavin Garth & Peggy Drummond

Geographic location: Summerside, 117 Bay Ave., Avonlea Village

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