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Watching beauty grow

Nathan VanderKlippe
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 14/02) - Think about last-second preparations, the kind that happen the days and hours before the in-laws come over.

Now introduce a big variable into the equation: the chance that wind and rain could blow through your meticulous preparations, throwing everything into disarray.

That's kind of what the two weeks before the Yellowknife "Loved Gardens" garden tour felt like for Bonnie Logsdon.

"It's extremely stressful," laughed Logsdon. "You go, 'oh, there's a little hole there!' ... My husband says I shouldn't be on it any more because I'm too stressed beforehand."

Over 50 garden enthusiasts poked their noses into five private gardens this Sunday as part of the seventh annual tour. Money from tour tickets went to the Midnight Sun Gardening Association, which will put it towards costs of a security plot at the community garden. The plot grows vegetables for donation to the food bank and the Salvation Army.

In Deb Simpson's garden, which was also on the tour, the elements crumpled a number of her light pink wave petunias, destroying their delicate, papery petals. On Sunday morning, she went out and "dead-headed" -- culled -- about 200 droopy petunias.

Of course, it's not all stress and hardship. For some on the tour, displaying their gardens is nothing more than an extension of what they would do anyways.

"If you're a real gardener, you don't mind people moving through your garden. You like the feedback," said Amanda Mallon.

Mallon and fellow presenter Linda Dunbar said they did no preparation work whatsoever.

"I just love to see things growing," said Dunbar, who said there was no sense of competition in being a stop on the tour. "It's just sheer pleasure. I only do it for my own enjoyment."

And for the challenge of it. That's a common theme among Yellowknife gardeners -- seeing what you can get to bloom during a brief growing season. If you do only have a short season, you don't have to aim for perfection, said Mallon. Her garden is decorated with toys and trinkets, many of which she has picked up from the dump or at garage sales.

"I want people to know that anyone can have a garden -- you don't have to be that green-thumbed," she said.