Gardens in bloom for tour

Cor and Cecile Zandbergen’s garden is on the People Place Garden Tour June 9. The tour is back with the self-guided visits to nine local gardens of all sizes after taking last year off.  - Cara Brady/Morning Star
Cor and Cecile Zandbergen’s garden is on the People Place Garden Tour June 9. The tour is back with the self-guided visits to nine local gardens of all sizes after taking last year off.
— image credit: Cara Brady/Morning Star

When Cor and Cecile Zandbergen were looking for a new home 17 years ago, the garden came first.

“When I saw this house, I could see my dreams coming here in this yard,” said Cor. He kept a few of the fruit trees that were on the one-third acre, sloping lot and got to work.

“I started at the top when I redeveloped. I like the idea of the three different levels and I love an oriental theme, with some flowers,” said Cor, a retired paramedic, who does most of the gardening.

“My dad was a horticulturalist and I’ve always had a garden. I like colour in the garden and I love water features. I had a vision of staying with all plants that originated in Asia but I’ve kind of strayed from that.”

The top level of the garden features trees and plants laid out in a pattern with a dragon peeking through the leaves. He is always coming up with new ideas and things to try.

“I spend the winter reading gardening magazines and I have spent lots of time and effort collecting rocks. I like the eroded rocks. If we see garden statuary we like anywhere we travel, we get it and find a place for it when we get it home,” he said.

One of those finds is the bridge over the pond that came from a trip to California. There are other Asian-inspired statues and the Oyama magnolia is the same as grows in a temple in Japan. His tree peonies must be the envy of any gardener.

The garden also has an oak planted in memory of his father and a number of rescue plants that friends give the couple.

“I’m doing a little experiment with rehabilitating the rhododendron here,” said Cor, on a walk around the garden. “This Japanese bell came back, I thought I’d lost it. I left one old tree for the birds. We get finches, nuthatches, flickers, chickadees and woodpeckers here. We love the birds and the frogs at night and the tadpoles in the pond. The neighbourhood children come to watch them.”

The couple enjoys the view of the garden from the house and the secluded area where they put tropicals outside in the summer, and a lot of their pleasure in the garden comes from sharing it.

“I think the main thing about my garden is that I view it as a neighbourhood garden. People look at it when they walk past and from their houses and I don’t mind if children come in as long as they ask first. To me, a garden is to be shared.”

Cecile’s favourite section of the garden is the lower level: “I love to be out early in the morning to look at the garden.”

Cor said he doesn’t have any special gardening tips except for his hope that people will enjoy whatever kind of garden they have.

“It’s your garden and you can do it the way you like it. The garden is a great place to relax and forget about the world for awhile,” he said. “We’re happy to share our garden on the People Place Garden Tour because it helps them provide a place for a lot of great services in the community.”

The People Place Garden Tour takes place June 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with nine beautiful gardens of all sizes and styles in the Vernon area. The tour is self-guided. Tickets are $15 each, available at Art Knapp Plantland, Briteland, Rafters in the Village Green Centre, Swan Lake Nursery and the People Place. For more information call 250-558-6585.


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