As I enter Elysium Garden, it is like being transported into a different world-a-land that you only hear about in fairy tales.
I meet Jacquie Cherot (owner), a demure woman dressed in a beige nursery workers uniform, hat upon her head and a friendly smile upon her face. She is warm and inviting and walks me around the grounds, explaining that the lush grass under our feet is the old floor of the orchard that sat here many years ago. As I enjoy the sun shining, I can hear the robins singing their songs as they perch on apple tree branches; some of the original trees still speckle the four acres. The bees buzz about happily from rose to rose and the butterflies dance from lily to lily.
Jacquie uses the word "serenity" to describe the gardens and she is absolutely right! It is truly a paradise tucked away in the hills of Kelowna. Elysium refers to the Greek mythology; it was the place that heroes were taken after their death to find peace in paradise.
I gaze around the immaculately kept grounds and think that this would be a lovely spot to have a wedding. At that moment, Jacquie informs me that wedding take place every weekend at Elysium Garden. We follow a path used for such events called "Lavender Lane" that leads to a chapel-like gazebo with a little bell inside. We talk about how the grounds have been built with love by family and friends over the last 12 years, unfortunately there is no plans for expansion in the future.
We leave the perennial display gardens and head to the Japanese inspired garden where the atmosphere changes drastically as you enter the fenced area. The birds are silent but the wind lightly kisses the leaves and a calm rustling sound fills your ears. The name of the garden is "Hi Sho En" which loosely translates to "free spirit" and you definitely feel free and alive in this place.
I am left to wander the gardens on my own and as I silently walk from a display statue to a pergola draped in vines, I begin to wonder if time has stopped. Quails skitter among the shrubbery as I stroll by and I can't help but smile to myself. I can imagine myself sitting in the shade with my own thoughts all day and the sweet fragrances enticing my senses.
The sound of the gravel under my feet crunches loudly as I leave the haven known as Elysium Garden. I am sad to be leaving the beauty behind. I sigh.
Elysium Garden-Nursery is located in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. They are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. mid-April to early October. Check their website for self-guided tours and walking seminars.