Andrew and I were recently on vacation in Victoria, British Columbia and we visited the very famous Butchart Gardens. I had a fabulous time exploring the many different garden designs. This made me think of what could perhaps be thought of as the Butchart Gardens of Southeast Manitoba — the gardens of the Mennonite Heritage Village!
The flowerbeds by the village’s summer kitchen are a favourite. Up against the bright white and himmel-blue trim, the blooms really pop with colour!
In the distance, you can see the garden filled with herbs and veggies, with more housebarns in the background.
I find these scenes so restful and serene… so I took many pictures!
Here you can learn more about how important the vegetable garden was to Mennonite households.
I have such fond memories of exploring my parent’s veggie garden, and also that of my grandparents. I must confess that I was a little forager and would steal from both gardens. The peas and carrots were my favourites.
One time I also ate absolutely all of the red currents off the bushes in our garden. My mom was not impressed.
I think there are at least three gardens filled with rhubarb at the Mennonite Heritage Village! They need this much rhubarb for the platz served to diners at the seasonal Livery Barn Restaurant! (Their rhubarb platz is so good!) The Auxiliary also uses it to make their famous rhubarb jam, which you can buy at Village Books & Gifts (when you first walk into the Village Visitor Centre).
These summer days are very hot, and wandering through the MHV gardens is like a kind of aromatherapy. I can definitely recognize the scent of dill, but there are also several other aromas mixed in and I find it very nostalgic and calming, like beet leaves and summer savoury.
We were there on a Saturday. Every Saturday for the rest of the summer, the Mennonite Heritage Village is hosting Demonstration Days. The ideal time to visit is from 11 ’til 2, because then you can also show up hungry so that you can purchase a traditional meal at the Livery Barn Restaurant (which is very special because it is seasonal, only open for two more months!) OR visit the Waffle Booth to purchase a freshly-made waffle! (It looks like I’ll probably be there making waffles on August 14th so mark yer calendar 🙂
Look in the above picture. Can you see the horse in the centre of the photo? That’s another thing they offer on Saturdays — horse-drawn wagon rides! BUT I DIGRESS.
These lovely labels in the garden help me know what I’m looking at. Honestly this garden is so wonderfully kept, it is so satisfying to explore it and to sit near it, to see it, smell it, and hear the corn stalks rustling in the breeze and the bees happily buzzing about.
When you approach the Livery Barn Restaurant, these cheery geraniums greet you!
I also love wandering the orchard, which always reminds me of the orchard my grandparents kept on our shared farmyard during my childhood.
There is a lovely little path winding through the apple trees, and you can see the village street behind me!
Something else that grows at the MHV… the offspring of the Great Oak of Chortitza!
It even has its own information board so you can learn more about this important tree… which was important to the people of the region (in what was then known as “South Russia”) long before Mennonites arrived.
Typically you will see flourishing prairie grasses growing on the sod hut (semlin) but this year being exceptionally dry, these grasses are mere tinder, I’m afraid.
Then I followed Andrew down my favourite path which you can take from the semlin directly to the pond. Many prairie fruits grow here too.
The pond looks different these days! The MHV is working with the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District to fix the banks of the pond, so soon this will all look very different yet again.
Butterflies love all flowers I think, but by the windmill the Garden Club has planted flowers that are special favourites of butterflies!
I feel like you can see the Garden Club’s efforts everywhere you look around the museum grounds!
When you first walk in, you’ll see this little plaque. If you’re lucky enough to spot a Garden Club member in the wild (while tending the flowers and foliage of the MHV) you can for sure tell them in person how much you love the results of their generous efforts!
Just a selfie of us as we explored the gardens of the MHV. Always looking forward to going back for more strolls!