FTLComm - Tisdale - June 25, 2000  
I would like you to meet Agnes Parlee. Agnes moved to Tisdale only a few years ago leaving behind her life long friends in the little community of Kelliher. Her son, who had once worked here in the Bank of Montreal, returned to Tisdale to retire and invited her to share their house here.

Agnes' family settled on a homestead a few miles South of Kelliher in 1905 and six years later Agnes was born in August of 1911.

When I remarked about how active she was for a person her age she explained that her Mother lived to be well over a hundred and in her last years lost her sight so that it seemed always to be dark. She would remark that without her sight she would lose track of time and not know if it were day or night.
Each morning Agnes likes to get up just after five to start her day and enjoys the early morning working in their yard. As I drove by on Friday morning I spotted the planter and lattice on the right and came back for a second look and that is when I had the pleasure of meeting this interesting and busy woman.

As it turns out my brother has lived all of his adult life in Kelliher with his family and Agnes knows him well. During the course of my family's wanderings we also lived in Herbert where Agnes' other son is a Realtor and indeed I had met and done business with him.

As I have mentioned earlier in Ensign it seems that this is the year of the "planter" as yard after yard are building sections and areas that will serve as a place to grow flowers and decorative plants. Agnes, her son and daughter-in-law have
been steadily adding one planter after another to their yard and though I had spotted the nook above driving by as we chatted Agnes showed me the various arrangements they have been working on over the past two years. The large arrangement at the top of this page dominates the back corner of their lot and provides some shielding from the traffic of main street which is on one side of their corner lot.
This arrangement of ties and rocks creates a robust growth environment and to make it interesting they have planted various varieties of perennials and annuals that produce almost continuous colour and a variety of heights of plants. But all around the yard are other little islands of growth like the pansy barrel above.
Above is one of the newest projects for the yard a special rock garden into which they will soon be transplanting the cacti that they were able to collect here in the province (shown above right).
It seems that no yard is complete without some petunias and Agnes explained that this plant (above left) is a single plant of a newer variety that produces a profuse number of blooms. The delicate and unique iris (above right) is in the back corner planter.
The Parlees have found room in their yard for vegetable plots, Agnes is proud of her well developed little plot (above left) while her son and daughter-in-law have the plot (above right) doing just fine. This garden plot has some elevated portions to it which permits much earlier planting then a surface level garden as the solid warms up more quickly in the spring. This garden is quite advanced compared with Judy and my effort in our back yard.

Almost everywhere in this yard there are little and big planters, some just taking shape while others well on their way as special places. The one on the right sits along the sidewalk on the main street side of the yard between some shrubbery while behind it several others rock surrounded projects are under development.

You really should not just take my word for it but you should just take a drive around Tisdale and see how remarkable so many yards are in this town. And, don't just drive down the streets but slip into the alleys and see how people turn their yards into truly amazing and creative places to live and spend their time. Like Agnes people get even more out of what they put into their gardening experience. More then exercise and something to occupy their time but a sense of accomplishment and meaning can come from seeing what you can do in your domain.

One of the most important things to think about when you are considering gardening and yard planning is that each of us, depending on our income can create something of beauty and a project that will please us personally. Those with resources can indulge themselves with extensive brick work and accessories but when it comes right down to it the quality of the yard does not depend whatever on the money involved but on the time, energy and personal satisfaction that comes from the project. Standing in the
yard talking to Agnes I could look across the street and see this magnificent daisy patch as a border between two back yards (above right) while the house across the street has a single retired man who has a carefully manicured hedge and the large amount of time he spends in his yard will pay off as he further develops this newly acquired property.

Only a block away is the corner lot across from McKay Towers where the residents build a new home in their back yard last fall and moved into it this spring then moved the old house off the yard. Now they have this large area that they are developing into a complex and beautiful environment They new brink and extremely elaborate "planter" is taking shape as can be seen in this picture taken Saturday.

Each in our own way need to have that connection with things that grown and things that look good to us. I am certain that it is part of what we are as humans that makes us enrich our environments which in turn add considerably to our personal enjoyment of life.