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Farm home grounds winner

A Minnedosa farm couple has won the Chapman Museum Shield from the Manitoba Good Roads Association for the best farm home grounds — District 4. Allan and Barb Dalrymple operate a farm just northeast of town. The RM of Minto nominated them for the award. When you travel north on Bison Drive, you come to their large sign opposite the dam that directs you to turn east and go about a kilometre up a charming country road to get to A & B Dalrymple’s Country Farm Greenhouses.

While this couple, originally from England, raises beef cattle and sheep on their quarter section of land along the edge of the Little Saskatchewan River, their main claim to fame in the area is the extensive garden centre and greenhouse operation that they have established over a 25-year period. Besides the thousands of bedding plants they grow, the Dalrymples are known for the hundreds of hanging baskets and colourful containers that they offer for sale each year. Many of these containers are sold at the open market at Clear Lake in the late spring.

The Dalrymples continue to look for opportunities to diversify their operation. Allan is currently developing the area behind the greenhouses that is visible through the large windows of the tea room situated at the rear of the greenhouse complex. He has constructed a rocky, dry riverbed spanned by a wooden bridge and has added two perennial beds beneath the windows. Future plans include a lookout tower to afford visitors a view of the valley, and development of the tea room business.

The farmyard is well sheltered, with mature shelterbelts along the north, south and west edges of the yard. A large red barn sits beside the greenhouses and Barb maintains attractive displays of potted shrubs and trees as well as flowering containers and hanging baskets in front of the greenhouses. A colourful bed of annuals greets visitors at the entranceway to the farm and neatly clipped spruce hedges separate the house from the lane and parking area.

The most spectacular feature of the farm home grounds, however, is the extensive stonework that Allan has created along the south side of the yard — directly across from the greenhouses. A large stone archway, a huge pond, and a massive riverbed that has water cascading over rock ledges and stony rapids are major features of Allan’s creation. He has also fabricated three tall metal posts with four large hooks on each one that hold massive hanging baskets during the growing season.

Many native plants grow along the edges of the pond and along the riverbed, including cattails, grasses and innumerable clumps of marsh marigolds. During the spring greenhouse season, the marsh marigolds are in full bloom, their bright-yellow blossoms creating a mass of brilliant colour. A naturalized shade garden to the west of the riverbed and waterfall is taking shape beneath the tree canopy; Allan has removed much of the undergrowth, allowing ferns, hostas, pulmonaria and other shade plants to flourish.

The Dalrymples’ hard work, great community spirit and passion for offering quality product have enabled them to grow their garden centre business into a popular destination for area residents. The Good Roads Award is just one more testament to their success.

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