About Garden Escape Artist

Welcome to Garden Escape Artist!

Hi, I’m Jolene, an avid gardener whose mission is to bring more beauty into the world. With the right information and some perseverance, I believe anyone can create their own beautiful, small garden paradise.

Gardening isn’t easy. When I first started I thought it would take only a few years to create a beautiful garden. After all, I had time, money for materials and read lots of gardening books. How hard could it be?

In the wake of a complete implosion 8 years later, resulting in ripping out most of what I’d done, I finally realized where I went wrong. Achieving a beautiful garden is not simply about plants, soil and fertilizer but must also include artistic design.

Taking a two year break from planting, I started looking with an analytical eye at every garden I encountered. Examining countless books and online images, I began to tease out what made beautiful gardens work.

This website is a collection of the many difficult lessons I learned along the way. Hopefully these help you avoid making the same costly and time-consuming mistakes I made so you can more easily create the garden of your dreams.

Special Thanks

I’m very fortunate to have parents who still really like each other. They evidently like me a lot too as you’ll see many photos on this website of all the help they’ve given me over the years. 

Blue Castle Garden

Blue Castle Garden is located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, near one of the most gorgeous places on earth, the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Calgary is an extremely challenging place to garden in. 

My garden is built on a small rectangular lot only 30 feet x 108 feet (9m x 33m). It’s in a Zone 3 climate which also experiences frequent hailstorms, windstorms, droughts, early snowstorms plus occasional wildlife damage. Despite these difficulties, every spring I pull on my gardening gloves and try again.

Blue Castle Garden was designed and constructed over a period of 15 years, with ongoing fine-tuning and plant testing. To observe its development year by year, check out the Blue Castle Garden Timeline series.

Several major garden styles have influenced the design of Blue Castle Garden. A long-held passion for minimalism and simple living also had a significant impact. For a breakdown of the style of my garden, see Blue Castle Garden Style.

Blue Castle Garden contains over 200 different plants, many of which are very hardy and easy to grow. To see pictures identifying the plants in my garden by area, check out the Blue Castle Garden Plants series.

Below are a few before and after photos. For additional photos of my completed garden, see the Blue Castle Garden series.

My Parents’ Garden

My parents are in the process of transforming their new home from a neglected rental property into one with a thriving garden.

Located in a small town not far from Calgary, it also experiences the same challenging growing conditions Blue Castle Garden faces, but with the additional difficulty of highly alkaline soil. 

I will be covering some of their efforts and what they’ve learned on the Garden Escape Artist website and YouTube channel. Below are some photos of what they started with and how far they’ve already come. 

Garden Escape Artist

Garden Escape Artist focuses primarily on small, urban, decorative gardens. It also includes some information on growing houseplants and vegetables, both indoors and outdoors.

If you live in a condo or apartment, this website has suggestions on how you can enjoy gardening without an in-ground garden site. This is where my passion for gardening first began.

If this is your first time visiting, Start Here will give you a quick overview of the site structure and information on how to find what you are looking for. Garden Escape Artist can also be found on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Canadian Rocky Mountains

Canada is fortunate to boast one of the most beautiful mountain ranges on earth. When I’m not gardening, I’m out exploring our vast forests, crystal clear lakes and soaring peaks. Since such beauty begs to be shared, you can find more photos of Canada’s stunning mountain scenery under Adventures.   

Canadian Rocky Mountains Photo Gallery

Click on an image below to begin slideshow.

Canadian Rocky Mountains Photo Gallery

Click on the image below to begin slideshow.

One of my favorite hobbies is taking photos of the incredible scenery I see when out on my hikes. While by no means a professional photographer, I have learned a few tricks for better capturing this beauty with my cell phone camera. For my outdoor photography tips, see the Mountain Photography series.

Terms of Use

By profession I am a civil, structural and architectural designer. I am not an engineer, construction professional, landscape architect, horticulturalist or mountain guide. Therefore, all information contained on this website is for entertainment and general information purposes only.

Construction can be dangerous and errors or mistakes may result in permanent injury or death. Consult with a construction professional for instruction on the correct and safe use of your construction tools before proceeding with any project. 

Cities, municipalities and countries have varying regulations on how certain aspects of homes and gardens must be constructed. Contact your local governing body to learn which rules apply to your design and location.

Full terms of use can be found in my Disclaimer, Affiliate Disclosure, Copyright Policy and Privacy Policy. For commenting guidelines, see the Comment Policy.  


You can connect with me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. For business enquires, please email gardenescapeartist@gmail.com.

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For quick answers to some popular questions, be sure to check out my Frequently Asked Questions page.


I told my dad if he didn’t stop pulling faces and give me a nice smile I’d put those photos up on my website someday. He didn’t believe me! laughing