ESTEVAN — The Garden on Fourth in Estevan is in full bloom, inviting the community to stop by and enjoy the beauty of nature before fall takes the reigns.
Gale Tytlandsvik has been working on maintaining and improving Estevan's downtown oasis.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, the garden, filled with colours and fragrances, was inviting residents to come in, enjoy the flowers, grab some herbs and just have a moment for themselves. The weather has been nice to the plants this year. By early September the garden was in full bloom and the plants were as happy as they've ever been.
Tytlandsvik tried a few new plants, including a cardinal climber, a new kind of dahlias, sumac and others. Love-lies-bleeding, greeting guests at the front and back entrances, is not new to the Garden on Fourth, but it's never been as big as it is this summer. The same goes for the annual castor bean, which grew really big at the back side of the garden this year.
Some of the plants growing this summer will make a return next year, Tytlandsvik said, but others won't. So, now is the best time to stop by and see the entire variety of the 2022 edition of the Garden on Fourth. Tytlandsvik said it will stay gorgeous until the first serious frost.
Thanks to Tytlandsvik's efforts, as well as other local volunteers and sponsors, the Garden on Fourth kept beautifully developing this summer. All planters had been sponsored before Tytlandsvik even had a chance to put a call out, and people were inquiring about other ways to support the garden.
A big addition this spring was the metal trellis. The piece inspired by Gustav Klimt's The Tree of Life was installed in memory of Karen Saxon, who passed away in 2021, and Rhonda Tisdale, who died in early 2022. Both families asked that donations go to the Garden on Fourth in memory of their loved ones.
"Between the two of them, I thought I could do something really impactful … And this is a Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt, from that painting ... I just thought it was fitting – a tree of life in memory of two ladies who loved gardening and loved flowers," Tytlandsvik shared.
KRJ's Kody Hall cut the metal tree for Tytlandsvik's project. The trellis was installed in the garden, and Tytlandsvik started adding glass pieces to add colour to it. Plants also appreciated the addition and use the trellis for support.
Also this summer, with help from a very creative fan of the garden, Tytlandsvik was able to get an underground watering system installed. It all started with a family friend from out of town who was visiting Estevan and suggested to meet for a coffee at the garden.
"We met here, and we started chatting and in his retirement, he designs underground watering systems. He just fell in love with the garden, and he said, 'I will design it for you for nothing if you can get someone to pay for the parts,'" Tytlandsvik recalled.
The Estevan Downtown Business Association was fast to pick up the bill for parts, and Gale and Kelly Tytlandsvik installed the system, specifically designed to serve the needs of the plants at the Garden on Fourth.
Tytlandsvik still comes in to water in front of the Salvation Army and fertilize all plants, but the new equipment saves her about two hours a day now, she said.
Another project to be brought into the garden this year is a metal installation to go along the southwest side of the garden to cover up a building. The piece was built by Dart Services and is planned to be installed this fall. Part of the construction will be used as a trellis for plants to climb on, while another one will serve as an outdoor art gallery for the community to display their pieces.
Tytlandsvik said they may ask people to laminate their art, so it lasts longer, and then they will put it up in the garden.
Also, this fall, the utility box on the back of the garden will be covered with artwork, as part of Tytlandsvik's project with the Estevan Arts Council aimed at city beautification.
She also plans to apply for grants for two big-scale projects – rubber pavement and pergola. The first one will make it easier to keep the garden looking nice, and the second one will allow for some shade, turning the oasis into an even more attractive place in summer.
Tytlandsvik has also been running Coffee in the Garden every Wednesday, and more and more people join the small get-togethers to start the day.
"I think it was 14 people here last time. And then when we were leaving, people were still showing up," Tytlandsvik shared.
Originally Tytlandsvik tried having two groups starting at 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. But after she retired, she gradually switched to having only the 9 a.m. meeting time, as most participants were also retired and weren't constrained by time.
Participants have coffee, sometimes some bring homemade sweets, and they all enjoy mornings in good company. The Coffee in the Garden is open to anyone. It will continue through the fall and into winter for people to have some fresh air time all year long.