In my special garden

Brenda Gardiner's eclectic 'junque dots her modest Dragon Lake property

one of three gates/doors that lead to nowhere.

Tucked away within walking distance of Dragon Lake is a magical property created by Brenda Gardiner. Creative, practical with a heavy dose of whimsy, Gardiner has, through her own labour and vision, designed her property to reflect just exactly who she is and she’s inviting the public to witness her world during BC Culture Days, Sept. 25 – 27. On Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., people can wander through her diminutive property and experience what Gardiner has, through her own labour, built.

Fifteen years ago, the property on Lakeview Drive appealed to Gardiner with it’s rural feel while still providing accessibility to town and a sense of neighbours, after all she would be living here alone.

“I love living alone, its your own domain, I had a vision from the very start,” she said.

Although she admits the creative process has grown over time, from the very beginning Gardiner depended on amazing finds and following her passion.

“I saw a blue door in a magazine and went on the hunt,” she said.

“Now I have three gates/doors that lead to nowhere but they are beautiful.”

Labeled eclectic junque, Gardiner finds her treasures just about anywhere and she isn’t adverse to asking for others’ castoffs or stuff normally considered trash.

“I’m cheap too, I don’t pay much for anything if I have to pay at all,” she added.

She accepts other’s garbage and sometimes people just drop off stuff at her doorstep.

“People know my style,” she said with a smile.

Several aspects of her garden provided the jumping off point for entire areas and that is never more true than the sweet, tiny little gardening shed at the back of yard.

“I won a bet with a friend and the consequence was building my garden shed,” she said.

Gardiner proudly claims her status as a weekend warrior, its all about finding the right materials, putting in the sweat equity (most of her creations are the result of her own labour and that of dedicated friends), and having the vision of the finished look.

No matter where she travels, Gardiner is on the lookout for items for her yard, some will be stored in waiting for just the right installation.

As with many artists, Gardiner defines her own boundaries in the garden with fences.

“I fenced the yard because I need boundaries, I need to know what I have to work with.”

Within her garden, most of the elements are strictly for their visual value. The pond, the birdhouse collection, wrought iron and other metal treasures blend with patios, plants, lava rock and myriad of unique and unusual found items that just magically blend in Gardiner’s garden and her mind.

“When I was asked to be part of BC Culture Days, I was thrilled,” she said.

“Finally someone appreciates my junque. I’ve always appreciated the artfulness of recycling and what can be accomplished in small spaces. People tell me they know where I live because my personality is in the yard.”

With several areas still under construction, Gardiner hopes to someday have the yard mostly done so she can step back a little from her weekend warrioring, but knows it will be a lifestyle change she’s not sure she can make.

With an extraordinary yard, a perfectly formed little house and a woman with a remarkable personality, a visit to her Lakeview Drive will be adventure.

For information on a wide range of cultural activities over the three days, visit bcculturedays, click on activities, then Quesnel.