Blank slate reborn in colour

John and Arlene England’s hard work can be seen on MARS Garden Tour this weekend

Arlene and John England do a last-minute touchup to their garden prior to this weekend’s tour.

When John and Arlene England moved to their home in Qualicum Beach four years ago, they saw it as a blank slate.

The little rancher had a large fenced yard with a neatly mowed lawn — and just about nothing else.

While some would see that as a home of little attraction, that’s not how they saw it.

Rather, they were able to envision what it could be, if they put their hearts — and backs — into it.

“It’s good to have a project like this when you get older,” Arlene said. “It keeps you busy, keeps you moving.”

The couple’s project was aided greatly by the fact that John owned a number of mature rhododendrons on hand, and both of them were experienced and passionate gardeners.

Now, after an immense amount of hard work, they have turned their property into a beautiful English garden — only perhaps in some ways better.

“We are fortunate that just about anything grows here so well,” Arelene said.

The results of their hard work can be seen by those who participate in the upcoming Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society’s annual garden tour event, slated to run this weekend, May 12 and 13.

Tickets can be picked up for the self-guided tour of some of the top gardens between Qualicum Beach and French Creek for $15 at at local nurseries and Mulberry Bush Bookstores.


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