Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly is an earthy guy.
But it’s Suzette Montreuil who has taken the garden they’ve cultivated together for nearly 30 years to the next level.
The greenthumb couple won the food production category of this year’s Gardeners of the Midnight Sun competition.
“I certainly want to recognize my wife for all of her work,” said O’Reilly. “You know, it’s a joint effort. I started the gardens, but she’s kind of taken it to another level, testing the soil for nutrients and acidity, reading up and networking with other Yellowknife gardeners.”
O’Reilly said they bought their house in 1991, and he put raised beds in the front yard soon after.
“Some friends of ours who lived in the Old Town, even before we had our house, I helped them with raised beds, so I had a little bit of knowledge or experience in doing that.
“With raised beds, the soil falls out a lot sooner. So, we brought in some soil. We also started composting ourselves and building up the soil. You can see the results, nothing better than being able to go out and pick some fresh veggies out of your garden and have a salad. Then towards the end of the summer, you get carrots and potatoes, beans and other produce as well. So, it’s certainly a labour of love.”
With regards to the competition, the judging included garden health, maintenance, design, and use of space.
First place for The Bee Friendly/Tiny Garden went to the Borero Garden.
For Residential decorative garden and lawn, first place went to the Deutschmann Garden while second went to Logsdon Garden. The Montreuil and O’Reilly Garden won the food production category; second place went to the Baker Garden.
“It’s a great way to celebrate local food production, food security,” O’Reilly said. “It’s nice to be recognized for our efforts and to be a part of a growing community of gardeners.”