Through the garden gate tour Sunday

Boardman garden one of eight stops

By Josh Howald

The Boardman garden is so appealing that sometimes it is detrimental to itself.

Helen Boardman in her garden Friday morning. (Josh Howald photo)


Visiting deer have been a serious, destructive issue in the backyard of John and Helen Boardman this season.

Helen Boardman shows the hoof prints of a deer that danced right through her vegetable garden Friday, shaking her head.

“They just ate every top, and they will probably come back to get the rest once they grow again,” she said.

It isn’t tough to see why the deer enjoy hanging out in Boardman’s back yard. Though extremely neat and tidy, her yard has some wild elements to it and is capped off with a vegetable garden, some monster hostas and some unique trees.

Her home at 457 Penetangore Row is just one of eight local stops on the annual Garden Tour - Through the Garden Gate.

This year’s garden tour is set for this Sunday (July 9) beginning at noon and running to 4:30 p.m, rain or shine.

There has been no shortage of rain this season, which has really greened all of the gardens up. However, things have been blooming a little later than they usually do because of a late start to the season, so the usual flashes of colour may not be as abundant on this year’s tour of gardens.

There is plenty of green and certainly some colour in the Boardman garden. John and Helen have lived a the house, located on the corner of Penetangore Row and Albert Streets, for 11 years now. They do add a few items to their deceptively large yard each year, but at this point, it is more about maintaining what is already there.

Helen figures she spends between 12 and 16 hours each week working in the garden. Most of that time is spent weeding flower beds.

“Weeding. Lots of weeding,” she said.

She said that there are a few sections of yard that don’t get quite as much attention as they should, but now that she has some grandchildren living nearby, she is more than happy to trade some time pulling weeds in for time with the youngsters.

Still, her yard has hardly been neglected. There is an interesting mix of plants and flowers, and a variety large enough to see a few new things every time you look around. Birds of all kinds are joined in the yard by squirrels, rabbits, deer and assorted other wildlife, which has both an upside and a downside.

Helen said the last time her home was on the garden tour, she was a little nervous.

“I thought everything needed to be perfect, and I overdid things a bit,” she said. “I’m still a little concerned with the weeding, but I’m a little more relaxed this time around.”

She hopes everyone can enjoy the beauty of the garden tour, but questions don’t get too specific.

“My memory is so bad, I hope they don’t want to know the names of what specific things are,” she laughed, “because I don’t know.”

Tickets are available for $12 in advance at Quinn’s Florists or Jerome’s Flowers, or for $15 on the day of the tour (Sunday) at the Walker House in Kincardine.