The Naested Gardens:

An Introduction

In the Calgary Herald there was and article on “Deadheading keeps the Garden Alive”… one argument to support this  practice is to avoid the “wild abandon” of an uncontrolled, riotous growth of a cottage garden. Well I am proud to say I have finally achieved this state in my inner city garden and it is a recognized distinct style. My garden wonderful and gives me great joy.  Enjoy the Summer and join me in my garden and 25 + other artists, authors and musicians –  “Passport to the Arts in the Garden Show and Sale, Sunday, September 8, 2019, 10:00 – 4:00, at the NAESTED STUDIO and garden. 1124-15th Street N. W.

Here is a Wikipedia definition of my garden for your information and enjoyment.

“The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Homely and functional gardens connected to working-class cottages go back centuries, but their stylized reinvention occurred in 1870s England, as a reaction to the more structured, rigorously maintained estate gardens with their formal designs and mass plantings of greenhouse annuals.”

Naested Garden: Irises

Naested Garden: Irises

Naested Garden Flowers

Naested Garden Flowers

Painting By Irene Naested in flower garden at Art in the Garden Show and Sale

Painting By Irene Naested in flower garden at Art in the Garden Show and Sale

Naested Garden

Naested Garden















All artists; visual artists, writers, story tellers, mythmakers, poets, musicians, dancers, song writers, throughout history have been inspired by the forms, shapes, patterns, colours, and beauty of the varied types of flora, plants, flowers, and trees found on earth. The formation of the various flora is believed to be depended on the four basic environmental elements of earth (soil type), air (wind patterns), water, (moisture from rain and snow), and fire (the sun). With these variable there appears to be an incredible order in the manner in which flora has developed. These can be interpreted through the lenses of geometry, science, visual arts, poetry, story telling, song, movement, storytellers, and mythmakers. Artists observe closely in order to understand, interpret and reinterpret, or communicate to others what they have seen, felt, and understood. Close observation leads to a much deeper appreciation of the observed object. “In order to really understand the natural world, one must integrate new observations with one’s previously understood concepts and assumptions. It is then that one can reinterpret, restate, and attempt to communicate this new understanding to other (visually, verbally, musically, kinesthetically, and mathematically).” (Jarvis & Naested, 2012, p. 57)

 blue flower

Sensuality of Flowers:

Flowers are not shy to display their sensuality through line, shape, pattern, texture and colour. The flower garden, organic splashes of colour, bold, beautiful and sensuous. Making a non-worded statement; “This is who I am. Come closer and you will comprehend. Come closer and smell my pungent sweetness or sour bitterness” (Naested). Many various artists painted flowers, among them are Klint and O’Keeffe who were captured by flowers essential power. In painting flowers the elements are observed, worshiped, and re-created.

eko 1

Naested Gardens: Image Gallery

Naested Garden - An Inner-city Country Garden

In the Calgary Herald in July, 2019 there was an article on “Deadheading Keeps the Garden Alive”. One argument to support this practice is to avoid the “wild abandon” of an uncontrolled, riotous growth of a cottage garden. Well, I am proud to say I have finally achieved this state in my inner-city garden and it is a recognized distinct style of gardening! I think my garden is wonderful and it gives me great joy.

Paint Brushes Waiting

Paint Brushes Waiting:  I have a wide assortment of paint brushes and other tools to make marks, words, and images on paper or canvas. I have a great store of art materials as well, collected over my life time of drawing, painting and writing. These include several varieties and sets of watercolour (paints, crayons, pencils) gouache paints, tempera, oil, water-based oil, alcohol inks and felt pens, acrylic paints and pens, silkscreen inks, block printing inks, mono printing inks, etc. Never a shortage.  What I like to do is use many and various media when creating my “Narratives”

Organic Textures and Colours

Organic Textures – My flower garden has a rich exhibition of organic textures created with line, shape, pattern and colour. I love my garden of perennial flowers, many native to the Alberta climate. The Chinooks in winter can damage the un-acclimatized blubs. With the sun and heat many bulbs think spring has arrived. Therefore, I cannot wait for the “real’ spring. The bulbs are not planted in neat rows or with shortest to tallest. I prefer the less ‘organized’ presentation of opulence. J

“The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. English in origin, it depends on grace and charm rather than grandeur and formal structure. Homely and functional gardens connected to working-class cottages go back centuries, but their stylized reinvention occurred in 1870s England, as a reaction to the more structured, rigorously maintained estate gardens with their formal designs and mass plantings of greenhouse annuals.” (Wikipedia definition)

Delphiniums grow well in my garden. They flower in June and July so will be gone “to seed” by the time The Passport to the Arts in the Garden Event is on in September. The word delphinion (Greek) means dolphin due to the dolphin-shaped flowers. The plan is topic to humans and livestock but it attracts butterflies and bees. The main flowering stem is erect and can grow up to 2 meters in height.

There is an abundance of Squirrels that make their home in my garden. They come in a variety of shades and tints of browns, grays and blacks. They seem to prefer to live in my mature turees that produce pine and spruce cones for them to feed on. They are feisty rodents with a “cute” tail. They chatter often and flick their tails. It is entertaining to watch them chasing and doing acrobatics. The downside of having these creatures in my garden is that they often chew on garden furniture and also hanging lights. They seem to think the light bulbs are plant bulbs and often bury them.

Maltese (Red) Cross has long been a popular flower in cottage gardens. The flowers are produced in clusters of 10 – 50 together, each flower is bright red, 1-3 cm in diameter, they have deeply fine-lobed corolla. Each lobe being further split into 2 smaller lobes. The plant grows best in partial to full sun. The flower period is extended if faded flowers are removed. The plants form an upright clump of bright green leaves, with taller stems in summer that bear the large clusters of scarlet-orange flowers. Excellent for cutting. The flowers attract butterflies, bees and sometimes humming birds.

I often plant Pumpkins in my garden. Sometimes I actually get orange fruit before the first frost! But what I love about the plant is the large impressive leaves and the optimistic orange yellow flowers.  I generally start them indoors the early spring. First, I put the seeds between damp cloth for a couple of days, then transfer the broken seeds to small peat pots, then to larger pots, then into my garden.

The plant grows on long, sprawling vines where large, orange coloured blooms appear. The flower requires pollinators, usually bees, to transfer pollen from the male to the female flowers. The female flowers have a bulge, which is the ovary that develop into a pumpkin when pollinated. It is the female flower that produces the fruit.


Beebalm – A Striking display of richly coloured flowers that flower throughout the summer and last into the first frosts of Fall. I love the “Raspberry wine” colour, not just for its name but also for its deep red flowers. The foliage is delightfully fragrant and attracts bees, butterlies and hummingbirds. They grow to a height of four feet.


Painted Daisy

These daisy flowers are the one of the first flowers to appear in Irene’s garden. The showy flowers come in various brilliant hues of red, yellow, white, violet and pink with yellow centers, above mounds of bright green finely cut foliage. These flowers are great for cutting and are the first to flower in the spring.

Liatris flower is a dense blazing star, or prairie feather. This perennial is a flowering plant in the sunflower and daisy family Asteracease. The plants have tall spikes of showy purple or white flowers resembling bottle brushes or feathers. They grow approximately 1 foot tall. They are wonderful for cut flower arrangements. (The dried flowers give off a vanilla scent) They bloom throughout July to September.

Golden Rod Solidago – Solidago is native to North America. It derives its name from the Latin words solido, which means “to strengthen or make whole”. And ago which means “to make”. The name refers to the medical properties attributed to the flowers. Irene uses these yellow flowers  with lovely foliage to add to her cut flower arrangements.


Feverfew – has small, white, daisy-like flowers with bright yellow centers. With an almost citrus scent. Great addition to a vase of cut flowers. The feverfew herb was used in the past to treat a variety of conditions such as headaches and arthritis.


Foxglove – is a biennial plant grown by Irene as an ornamental plant with vivid flowers that range in colour from purples to pinks and white.



Echinacea is a flower of the daisy family, commonly called “Coneflower”. The florets arrange in a prominent, somewhat cone-shaped head.  “Cone-shaped” because the petals of the outer florets tend to point downward once the flower head opens, thus forming a cone. (The cone is at the center of the flower head). The large, showy heads of composite flowers bloom early to late summer. In my garden I have several colours of echinacea, pink, orange, yellow…




Allium (blue giant hyssop) is a genus of monocotyledonous flowering plants that includes the cultivated onion, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek and chives. The generic name Allium is the Latin word for garlic. These lovely purple globes are a great addition to cut flower arrangements.





The Sense of Well-being - Research Indicates

Research indicates that gardening can increase one’s sense of well-being. I water my flowers using a watering can or hose and look at each plant and flower – and find the one weed hiding among the other vegetation. The sense of well-being from contact with plants has been found to bolster a sense of stewardship for the natural world. Furthermore, gardening and walking along urban greenways increase positive feelings, relaxation and greater fascination with life.





Hug a Tree

Hug a Tree –

Trees have many benefits and there are many in the Naested Garden. Trees provide habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem services. In the city they mitigate the urban heat island effect by cooling the air and reducing greenhouse gasses.

It has been found that one’s connection to nature is related to one’s environmental behaviours such as participation in recycling programs and an increase in overall well-being and happiness. Come and visit Irene’s garden during the Passport to the Arts in the Garden Show and Sale, Second Sunday in September.

Spend some time sitting under a tree and if you are so inclined, even give it a cuddle or hug.

Urban trees are not just ornamental, but vital infrastructure. They make cities liveable and sustainable and they allow city dwellers to live healthier and longer lives (





Scarlet Runner Beans - Sprouting

Scarlet Runner Beans – is a plant in the legume family. It is grown both as a food plant and an ornamental plant. Irene starts the seeds indoors and transplants the shoots outdoors along the sunny south side of the garage.

What is pictured here is the bean sprouting. I start the beans in water and paper towel. Once they have sprouted I transfer them to small peat pots. On June lst after there are no more night frosts (hopefully until September) I plant them beside the garage where they get lots of sun.





Rudbeckia and Black Eyed-Susan

Rudbeckia  and Black-eyed Susan – is a plant genus in the Asteraceae family. The flowers feature a prominent, raised central disc in black or brown, shades of green and in between tones. The common names of coneflower and black-eyed-Susan.  I have many varieties of these lovely flowers in my garden.





Trees and Bushes in Irene's Garden

Trees and bushes in Irene’s Garden – among them include the lilac, Colorado Spruce, Nanking Cherry bushes, Cation Asters, Lilac bushes, Raspberry, Blueberry, Crab Apple, Mountain Ash, Swedish Aspen (chatter trees) Goat’s Beard, (creamy white feathery blooms)

Trees for better health: According to Reader’s Digest (November 2019, p.43) people who live on a block with 10 or more trees have a better perception of their personal health. I have more than ten trees growing on my inner-city property. J