Beautiful Gardens of 2022

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Pat Potvin’s garden is in southwest Slave Lake. The only grass is a small strip mandated by the town in the front yard and a section outside the fence by a walkway that goes behind the house. All other available space has fruit-bearing trees and bushes, sunflowers (for the birds), vegetables and a few flowers. These are divided with brick pathways and retaining walls.

Two of his gardening mottos are “grow food not lawns” and “farm your yard,” he says.

If you would like your garden featured in an upcoming edition of The Leader, or can recommend another beautiful garden, let us know at 780-849-4380!

Potvin’s vegetable garden in the front yard.
This is Potvin’s second year growing giant pumpkins. Last year, he carved the three he grew and had them at Tim Hortons.
Some ripe (purple) and almost ripe saskatoons in the front yard. Potvin also has three types of haskap berries. This year, the waxwings ate most of the haskaps, but Potvin was getting a decent amount of saskatoons.
Left: One of three types of apples in the back yard.
Pat Potvin pretending to pick saskatoons in his front yard. He’s wearing his Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory hat. He volunteers there each year for the Songbird Festival pancake breakfast, and grows plants in his yard that the birds like. There are lots of birds in his yard all year round.
A keyhole raised bed. The indent is keyhole shaped, so Potvin can weed and pick without stepping in any of the raised beds. The willow arch is new this year, inspired by a trip to Belgium where willow lattice are very popular.
Cherries on one of two young trees in the front yard. Potvin recently had to cut down an old one, and has replaced it with saplings. He’s not expecting to harvest much for another year or two.
Small native bees love the sunflowers.
Before the Slave Lake Wildfire in 2011, Potvin’s front yard was grass. After the fire, there were too many dandelions to have grass, so he planted potatoes. It’s been a vegetable garden since, with rows of sunflowers on two sides.
He grows the sunflowers because the birds love them. In the fall, he pulls the ones by the driveway and bundles them together and holds them up with stakes so the birds can continue eating them throughout the winter. Any that aren’t in the way of snow removal, he leaves where they are planted.
One of three types of apples in the back yard.

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