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D'n'A Gardens


  09:18:48 pm, by Nimble   , 460 words  
Categories: Reviews, Gardening

D'n'A Gardens

Link: http://www.dnagardens.com/

We set out early on Saturday, dropped the doggles off with Dena's parents, and headed north on Highway 21 to Elnora. Our destination: D'n'A Gardens, purveyors of prairie-hardy fruit trees.

Highway 21 passes by a few small towns. One we passed by was Trochu, the town where, if Dena had not been so persistent in getting a job in Calgary, she may have ended up getting a teaching job.

Trochu has a very nice arboretum, which was just about open (it officially opened on Monday, but the gate was open, and we're nice visitors) - the gardens are going to look fantastic in a couple of months. It's larger than it looks, and they've got many plants that grow well here. They have an entire rose section around the central building, and, surprise of surprises, it looks like they just planted a section relatively recently all from D'n'A Garden plants.

We both took the Zoo's Master Gardener course, and since Dena had visited the Trochu Arboretum those many years ago when she was interviewing for positions, she recognized a lot more plants, including a Siberian larch (Larix sibirica) that looked so horrible in winter when we took the course, but was out with lots of the larch's typical magnificent soft needles when we visited.

Back on the road again... off to Elnora, a little bit past, and right - by the way, if you're going to visit, bring directions - and we were at D'n'A gardens.

It's a very unassuming place, pretty casual (especially on Saturdays, when support staff is at a minimum). There are two wandering dogs (I chased the Dalmation around, which the Dalmation thoroughly enjoyed, until it was our turn to be helped) and a cat, and a small bevy of seedling and treelings. This is no giant nursery, but they do a pretty good trade.

We picked up some honeyberries and some cherry-plum crosses (I'm not so sure the contraction "chum" is so fortunate-sounding *grin*) and a male sea buckthorn for our female (the genus and species is Hippophae Rhamnoides, so we've been calling the female "Phae" pronounced "Fay", of course), as well as some Martagon lilies. The lilies were fairly pricy, but the tree seedlings were really inexpensive - the small ones were $6 a pop.

We're really looking forward to the honeyberries; bizarre yet edible (and tasty-sounding) plants are just... appealing :)

They experiment with new breeds from year to year. It sounded like they were testing pear and apricot varieties in addition to the usual tests. The greenhouse (a sauna if there ever was one - phew!) was still growing a number of things that will come out over the season.

They also have a Fruit Festival this year, and an annual test orchard tasting.

I think we'll definitely go back there :)

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