About Garden Escape Artist

Hi, my name is Jolene Rempel and welcome to Garden Escape Artist!

I’m 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 16 years ago, I thought it would take just a few years to create a garden as lovely as those I admired in the magazines. After all, I had time, enough money for materials and had read gardening books, how hard could it be?

In the wake of a complete implosion 8 years later, which resulted in ripping out most of what I had planted and starting over again from scratch, I finally realized what many of the books had been missing. Achieving a beautiful garden is not simply about plants, soil and fertilizer but far more about artistic garden design.

Since many of the garden books I read barely touched on this aspect, I took a two year break from planting and started looking with an analytical eye at every garden I encountered. I also examined countless books and online images, teasing out what made beautiful gardens work.

This website is a collection of the many difficult lessons I learned along the way to creating my own dream garden. My goal is to help you avoid making the same costly and time-consuming mistakes I made, enabling you to also 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 because you’ll see countless photos on this website of all the work they’ve done for me over the years. If anything on Garden Escape Artist helps or inspires you, it’s all because of them.

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. It is also one of the most difficult locations in North America to garden.

My garden is small, built on a rectangular lot only 30 feet x 108 feet (9m x 33m). Located in a challenging Zone 3 climate it experiences frequent hailstorms, windstorms, droughts, early snowstorms and wildlife damage. In spite of these difficulties, every spring I pull on my gardening gloves and try again.

Blue Castle Garden was designed and created over a period of 15 years, with all major construction completed in 2019. To observe its development year by year,  check out the Blue Castle Garden Timeline series.

There are several major garden styles that have influenced the design of Blue Castle Garden. My passion for minimalism and simple living also made a great 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 every plant 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, formerly a very neglected rental property, into a thriving food garden. Located in a small town not far from Calgary, it too experiences the same challenging growing conditions Blue Castle Garden faces, but with the additional difficulty of highly alkaline soil. 

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

Garden Escape Artist

Garden Escape Artist focuses primarily on design issues related to small, urban, decorative gardens. It also includes information on vegetable gardening, both indoors and outdoors. 

If you do not own a home or are in a temporary rental situation, this website has suggestions on how you can enjoy gardening without a garden. This is how I got my start in gardening before I bought my home.

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

While 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 or email me at 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 the website someday. He didn’t listen. laughing