This garden is everyone’s cup of tea
Rob and Lisa Funtasz have created a garden that no one likes to leave
Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 06:00 am
It may be the perfumes and different scents that draw you into Rob and Lisa Funtasz’s Deer Ridge home but it’s the little surprises that keep you there.
As you walk along a front yard path, wafts of aromatic thyme trail behind you on the summer breeze. The scent is so wonderful you find yourself stomping the ground just to release the perfume from the leaves. The thyme is just the beginning of the gentle fragrances. Lisa planted her garden for its beauty but she planned it so that at every turn she would be greeted by new and delightful smells.
“I look through gardening books trying to find things with fragrances and I plant as many as I can, so much so that one of my neighbours came over to ask why I kept running my hand up the stems of the plants. I was doing it so that the leaves would release their perfume,” Lisa said.
The scents are different depending upon the time of day, but on a hot July morning, it doesn’t take long to mimic Lisa’s habit and start running leaves through closed fists. Hyssop, salvia, Russian sage and gas plant stems soon release their unique smells. Nearby the roses add their own spicy aroma along with the heady scents of sweet-peas and alyssum. It’s very tempting to simply stand in the middle of this garden just to inhale.
Lilies form the backdrop in the garden and no doubt they are perfumed as well. The dark orange tiger lilies are happily mixed with blue bachelor buttons and purple sweet William. The overall effect is similar to looking at the hot patterns and colours in a Mexican blanket.
“I like vibrant colours like the lilies and the blue bachelor buttons together. There is no colour scheme but what I like is a mess of all colours together,” Lisa said, adding that she believes her love of gardening took root in her mother’s Edmonton yard.
“I used to sit and look at the bleeding heart growing in my mom’s yard. I would look at the hollyhocks that everyone had growing along their fences and take apart the bleeding hearts and wonder how anything could grow so exquisitely.”
Her husband shares her hobby but he is more into experimentation and trying new things such as growing vegetables in pots. This year he planted sweet corn in a big pot by the back deck, and by mid-July the cobs were nearly ready to harvest.
“He is really proud of his corn,” said Lisa, with just a hint of a smile, but she added that with so much space taken up with flowers, the pots are the easiest way to produce the vegetables they like.
“He plants the tomatoes in the pots and the peppers. We make salsa and brochette and I freeze them and use them in the winter,” she said.
Flowers and lovely scents aren’t the only surprises here. Turn the corner and there will be a gargoyle, a Buddha sculpture or of all things, a china teacup. The teacup, stuck on top of a copper tube, is Rob’s artistic contribution.
“He made it and then he went scouring around looking for other people’s teacups so he could make them and give them as gifts. It was going to be a bird feeder but it’s too small. I call it my butterfly feeder,” Lisa said.
This garden is not without its challenges, but the Funtaszes have met them with a mixture of common sense and humour. Spreading perennials and groundcovers eliminate the need for weeding and an assortment of sculpted frogs, stepping stones and a gazing ball fill in the blanks. When the perennials finish blooming, pots filled with bright annuals add colour.
In every pot there is a cascading pink bouquet of evening scented stock so that even at night the air is perfumed.
“My husband and I are morning people and would prefer to be out in the garden then. But the smell of the evening scented stock is so intoxicating we go outside just to smell it,” Lisa said.