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Monarda, these striking flowers grown near the barn, attract hummingbirds and butterflies. “Well, I had six or eight hives and I’d go around them

without any problem,” he reasoned. “I thought why not just pick it up? I got about 200 bites.” But it was these little comedic setbacks which have made

the successes all the sweeter. For instance, Judy takes great pride in telling how her husband built their first pond all by himself. Surrounded by large rocks and small boulders – which “grow naturally in Glengarry,” adds Steve – the first water garden was only a harbinger of two others to come. Soon, a second water garden followed, but this one

needed the extra effort of a back hoe. “We modernized it and put in a biological filter,” Steve

said. “What I did find was missing was a waterfall, so I brought in Doug and Judy Harvey, from Pond World, to help install another pond beside the house. With a three- foot drop down the side of the hill, the landscape fit beau- tifully.” Water hyacinths, water lettuce, bulrushes and irises, as

well as eye-catching yellow and pink water lilies, dot the canvas of the ponds filled with koi and goldfish. From the couple’s bedroom window, they can look out to see the beauty below, and they can hear the sounds of the water trickling over the rocks. “It’s wonderful to listen to especially at night,” says Judy. But the ponds are only part of the joy the Helles find in

their country paradise. Behind one of the barns you hear the constant buzz of bees feasting on mammoth Himala- yan impatiens that grow thick as bushes. There are high- bush cranberries for the birds, not to mention the 50 feed- ers Steve keeps well-stocked during the winter.

“You name it, we have them,” he says. “Chickadees will

even come and sit on my shoulder when I’m feeding them.” Taking a walk through the woods, he remarks how the

tamaracks make a lovely forest carpet when they lose their needles. Coming back out into the open, there’s a weath- ered corn crib festooned with various clematis, grapes and honeysuckle vines. “We thought it had promise to be a large trellis,” he

remarks, adding “and there’s the flowering bamboo, I don’t know its scientific name. “I think it’s called a Mexi- can bamboo. I’m a doctor and just a part-time gardener!” The massive clump of bamboo began first with a single

stalk given to him by a friend 10, maybe 15, years ago. “His wife didn’t like it, that’s why he gave it to me,” says Steve. “It flowers usually in September and they’re not that significant, except the bamboo is just full of bees.” About 60 acres of the property are now tiled for crop

sharing, while five acres are gardens, including Steve’s own vegetable garden (now safely relocated away from the septic field, behind a cedar hedge). The Helles are both up early in the morning and there’s

nothing Steve loves more than to get a little grimy in the garden. “I get up at 6 a.m. and after a clean bath, I get nice and

dirty,” he jokes. The sense of peace and wonder the couple felt 30 years

ago when they first visited the property has never left them; if anything, it’s stronger. “It’s so peaceful here; you don’t hear anything other

than the birds or occasional cricket. The tranquility is what I love,” Judy says. P

Beautiful Gardens 2014 • 25

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