Thursday, July 16, 2015

Roses, revelry, rain, and tea at the Lebel

Seeking shelter from the storm
Toni Lucas

The Lebel Mansion rose garden was the site of a 'Downton Abbey' style afternoon tea on Saturday, July 11.  The event was arranged by the Oldman Rose Society of Southern Alberta.  This event was the precursor to an evening talk by Jim Coutts, well known in the world of Canadian horticulture, his family having hybridized the Unity Apple.  Tables filled to hear the stylings of the two key musical performers, 'The Little Big Band' and fiddler Phil Lethbridge.  Beautifully decorated dainties were offered along with tea, juice and lemonade.  There were greetings from the President of National-Roses-Canada Mr. Harry McGee, who has visited Pincher Creek three times in the last few years to view the making of the garden,  "I can hardly believe what you have done here," he said. McGee acknowledged the hard work  on behalf of the society.  McGee was impressed how the area has gone from a lawn, through design, construction, and planting, to the finished site in a short time frame.  "I wish you the best of everything."

Harry McGee
Jim Coutts, the evening guest speaker, was in attendance and thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.  He still lives on the homestead his family started in Unity Saskatchewan in 1907.  A self declared avid amateur hobbyist, he explained how his interest in horticulture began.  "My Father, he was keen on horticulture, especially trees and vegetables.  And roses."  His evening talk was on 'The Collecting, Growing and Hybridizing of Roses: A Saskatchewan Viewpoint'.  His talk also addressed the importance of heritage rose preservation and of winter hardiness.

Phil Lethbridge

The Big Little Band

Jim Coutts and Harry McGee at the tea

The gardeners in attendance showed their true colours when the rain rolled in during the celebration.  Afterward they moved to sheltered spots either inside the mansion or under tents on site, and waited it out, enjoying the music that played on.  A few even commented that it was nice the roses were well watered at the party.

Little Big Band:
Brian McGillivray - trombone
Deborah Goldstein - trombone, electric, acoustical, bass
Peter Amundsen - trumpet
Tony Partridge - electric bass
Tammy Giesbrecht - keyboard
John Redekopp - drums
Wendell Kisner - guitar.

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