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Avid Charlottetown gardener nabs Mayor’s Award in beautification program

Charlottetown residents Keith and Charleen Wornell stand in front of their impressive front yard that earned the couple the Mayor’s Award in the 2018 Make Our Hometown Beautiful program. Keith is quick to give all the credit to his wife/hobby gardener Charleen.
Charlottetown residents Keith and Charleen Wornell stand in front of their impressive front yard that earned the couple the Mayor’s Award in the 2018 Make Our Hometown Beautiful program. Keith is quick to give all the credit to his wife/hobby gardener Charleen. - Jim Day

Just a hobby, she says.

Charleen Wornell’s pastime takes up a great deal of time – up to three hours a day between April and October.

The outcome is a sight to behold.

Wornell’s botanical garden, located at 31 Seaview Blvd. in Charlottetown, is a planter’s paradise.

Her garden consists solely of perennials – many, many perennials.

There are well over 100 different types of plants and flowers placed, pruned and pampered with immaculate care.

There are a host of hostas – one might even call it a bit of a hostas environment. Wornell also has gaura and a stunning aster that stands five feet tall with a deep pink blossom that comes out in late September.

A number of grasses, including zebra grass, as well as various types of phlox plants, live and grow here in great harmony.

A gravel path weaves through the garden, and three large sandstones are well interspersed amid the terrific blend of plants and flowers.

Many passersby stop to breath in the impressive garden, which has earned Wornell and her husband, Keith, the Mayor’s Award in the 2018 Make Our Hometown Beautiful program.

The award goes to the property owners who demonstrate the best overall improvement to their home or grounds.

Keith is quick to pass all the praise on to his wife.

The garden is her baby.

When the couple both retired in 1999, Charleen needed to look no further than her front yard to come up with a passionate, fulfilling hobby.

While Keith had – and still has – woodworking to enjoyably fill his leisure time, Charleen was ready to plow into gardening full throttle nearly 20 years ago.

Charleen recalls asking Keith if he would mind no longer having any grass in the front yard.

No grass, no cutting, no problem.

So Charleen started buying and planting plants. Each type is labelled. Each is planted to provide maximum contrast and presentation.

She is thrilled with the recognition of nabbing the Mayor’s Award.

“Well, it’s a great honour,’’ she says.

“I was pleased and surprised. It’s something you don’t really expect a prize for.’’

Charleen is genuinely modest about what is far from an indifferent garden.

“I just sort of do it,’’ she explains.

“It’s a lot of work only I don’t consider it work. It’s my hobby.’’


The winners

The following are the winners of Charlottetown’s 2018 Make Our Hometown Beautiful program:

Commercial properties — Canadian Mental Health Association, first; Geneva Villa, second; Park Royal United Church, third.

Curb appeal — Marilyn and Alan Long, first; John Cameron and Scott Dickieson, second.

Edible gardens — Frank and Heather Robinson, first; Nirmala Chinnappareddy, second; Provincial palliative care, third.

Gardening in small spaces — Sterling Ramsay and David MacLellan, first; Cindy Wilbert, second; Gail Feehan, third.

Community engagement — Provincial palliative care, first.

Children and youth gardens (18 or younger) — Nirmala Chinnappareddy, first.

Birds and bees — Leo and Karen Kelly, first; Gail Feehan, second; Frank and Heather Robinson, third.

Water wise — Leigh Moase, first place; Gail Feehan, second; Lewis Deveaux, third.

Adopt a barrel (businesses) — MacPherson Roche Smith, first; The Insurance Company of P.E.I., second.

Adopt a corner (new) — Montessori School, first; East Coast Art Party, second; Craft beer, third.

Adopt a corner (established) — Frank Zakem Memorial, first; P.E.I. Business Women’s Association, second; Pam and Joe Handcrafted, third.

Mayor’s award — Keith and Charleen Wornell, 31 Seaview Blvd.

The winners were recently recognized at a ceremony at the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel.

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