(Fancyvan) Carol Vanvelzer

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom"...Marcel Proust

Carol Vanvelzer, known to us as 'Fancyvan' joined DG on Sept. 9, 2004.
She was known throughout DG for her wonderful shelties and her equally wonderful gardens.

Carol was a fixture for many years here at DG and made many close friends throughout the community. She was active in so many of our forums, but especially the Pets Forum and the Canadian Gardening Forum.
We all delighted in the antics of her beloved shelties and followed the stories of her foster dogs as she tirelessly worked to place them in loving forever homes.
Carol often said that her beloved Fancy was worse than a bunny rabbit and she had to fence off the vegetable garden to keep her from eating the young cabbages and peas.

Carol had some stunning gardens and often opened her home to other DG members for roundups. Her love of growing things shone throughout her property and many of us wished for the talent she had for stunning combinations of texture and color.

I located this image of her where she posted it in the Pets Forum several years ago.
It was taken on the Blessing of the Animals Day at her church in Calgary.
Her lovely smile and her beloved shelties are how I plan on remembering my friend.
She was a giving person and friend to all.

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Thank you for posting this, Melody.
Carol was a gracious and loving lady. She spread her love around her Shelties, her gardens, and her community (Lougheed House where she did guided tours of this lovely Victorian house), and the Calgary Hort Society where she was a long time member.
She will be sorely missed by her friends, neighbours, and co-volunteers.
I had the good fortune to be at some of her Garden Parties, and to go to Lougheed House. Here is a picture of her and my Mom at Lougheed House's dining room. Carol is wearing a beautiful costume that she made.


This message was edited Jun 19, 2012 9:28 AM

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Jim Falls, WI(Zone 4a)

I didn't know Carol very well but knew her love for her Shelties and her kindness in taking in others and finding them good homes.

She was greatly loved by many here and she will be greatly missed

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

I knew Carol, only on DG. Circumstances prevented our meeting this coming Friday when I will be in Calgary, but I will remember my impression of her as a lovely, caring person. I really like the picture above with her Shelties. Thank you for sharing it.

Pasadena, CA(Zone 9b)

I am very sad to hear this. Prayers for her family.

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

My memories of Carol will ALWAYS make me smile ..
Happy and pain free now with her Fancy.

RIP Carol



From Lougheed House - the Head Gardener, gardening volunteers, and Blaine (Executive Director) will be joining this chat, and sharing memories. Carol worked at Lougheed House as a volunteer for many years in the role of Tour Guide.
Please welcome them when they arrive.

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

I forgot to add one thing .. this years Peony, that bloomed yesterday .. in honour of Carol ..


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Is that a Fern Leaf Peony? It's beautiful, whatever name is goes by.......

Victoria Harbour, ON

Carol was a frequent visitor on our Canadian thread!!

We've all enjoyed her stories of her sheltie rescues, her sewing for fund raising purposes and knowledge of gardens...

We'll all sooo miss her!!!

Crossville, TN

I didn't know Carol well either...but she was a beautiful person. She will leave a big hole here in our hearts. Jo

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i remember carol from the pet forum when i first joined dg. she had a huge heart for her beloved shelties and worked tirelessly at rescue......a loss for so many two-legged and four-legged friends.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

We welcome Lougheed House people and hope they will find comfort and joy in remembering Carol with us.

Edmonton, AB(Zone 3a)

Dear Carol
I treasured our friendship and visits, you were an inspiration to me with Gardening, kindness, giving and your strength.
It is through you that I now have a love of the Fern leaf Peony, the blue of Gentian and Semp's. You have given my daughter the gift of loving Shelties. She waited to see how many Shelties you now had as Furry friends and was tickled to be able to meet some of them.
How blessed I was to be able to tell you these things yesterday.
Rest now my friend and give Fancy a pat for me.
Alberta Ann


Here's Carol and her prize winning peonies!

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Thank you Melody. Love that photo of Carol.

I always enjoyed Carol's stories and picture of her shelties and rescues.

Rest in peace.


(Linda Kay) Del Rio, TX(Zone 9a)

Sorry to hear of her passing! Sending prayers for the family!

Kilmarnock, VA(Zone 7a)

I truly enjoyed reading about her shelties and the many rescues. She was a fine lady who will be sorely missed. God bless her and may she rest in peace with our Lord.

East Dover, VT(Zone 4b)

I am quite new to Dave's Garden but want to express my condolences and say thank you to Carol for her thoughts and comments on the Peony Forum the past couple of years both about the flowers and her shelties. Thank you for inspiring my Peony adventures and for bringing happiness to others in many ways.


Welcome bseward and okcrow. Thank you for your comments about Carol - she truly was an inspiration to many of us.
Based on her love of peonies, I'm going to get one - never grew one before, but she's inspired me.

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I'm not listing a specific vendor, but if you google 'purchase peony 'carol'...several vendors pop up and several of them are listed in the Garden Watchdog with favorable reviews.

Here's our PlantFiles page for it.


That is a beautiful peony - my favourite colour is red, so this suits me to a "t"
Thank you, Melody

Ottawa, ON(Zone 5a)

Is that ever! I've been wanting a red peony. Have been thinking the time is coming to dig out and get rid of some of my older ones as I have very limited sunny spaces.


I like that the name is Carol.
I have a red rose bush that just started producing last year.
When I visited Carol I brought her the first bloom this year from it. I'd named it Carol, in her honour.
One of the ladies from Sheltie Rescue visiting Carol told me it's name (begins with an H), but I didn't take note of it
(I was rather distracted at the time), but would like to know its Latin name.


Here are three shots of the rose in question.
I know that Carol would know what it is......

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Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I met Carol thru the Calgary Horticultural Society. Carol was the moderator for the Calgary Hort online forum, as well as a very dedicated volunteer for the society for many years. In addition to volunteering at the Hort Society, she also volunteered at the above mentioned Historical Site: Loughheed House. A great place to stroll thru the site gardens and also to have tea in the dining room.

Carol retired from the Alberta Children's Hospital quite a few years ago. In addition to gardening, she was very involved with the Sheltie Rescue program. A few years ago, she called me when I was on a out-of-town business trip. I ended up with a four legged passenger for the 3 hour ride home. I was happy to help out.

In early January, Carol always hosted a cookie exchange party. We would gather, eat cookies, have a few laughs and go home with many treats.

In 2007, Carol had decided to host a gathering at her house with a few people that posted a lot on the Calgary Hort forum. We called ourselves the "fooly" group since our 1st gathering at Carol's was on April Fools. This year Carol hosted and we had a great time. We enjoyed visiting each other's gardens and sharing our gardening passion. This was the year that Carol got a new Russian Olive tree (picture 1).

In 2008, Carol hosted the 1st Dave's Garden gathering. It was a great day and pleasure to meet other DG members from as far away as Edmonton. (picture 3) In 2009 we had another DG gathering (picture 4)

Carol loved her peonies as mentioned on other posts. She was a member of the Canadian Peony Society and volunteered at many events with that group. Her peonies are gorgeous. A few years ago, Carol had recruited a few of us to help out in her garden when she won a Garden Competition. I teased her that she had way more Veronica than Peonies, but that was end of July, so the peonies were just finishing. The year before, we were pruning some of her roses & shrubs. She wanted me to rip out her Mockorange since it had not really put on a show for a few years...she didn't want it to affect her competition the next year. I convinced her the whack it to the ground and we would look at it in early spring. It was gorgeous the year of the competition and has been since.

Carol enjoyed attending workshops too. About 5 years ago a group of us planted up a ball of hens & chicks. Carol's turned out the best and it looked great in her garden. ( picture 5).

Carol doesn't have any family near Calgary, but she sure has a lot of friends. Her health had taken a turn for the worse about 4 weeks ago. I think it surprised her as much as others. She had garden design changed planned, new plants (perennials & annuals) that needed to be planted and wanted some roses to be moved. That was 2 weeks ago and she went into the hospice a few days later.

Carol was a huge influence on me for gardening. We shared many tips and it was always fun to spend time with Carol. It was Carol that introduced Dave's Gardening to me. I will miss her dearly.


This message was edited Jun 20, 2012 3:59 PM

Thumbnail by joannabanana Thumbnail by joannabanana Thumbnail by joannabanana Thumbnail by joannabanana Thumbnail by joannabanana
Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Here are a few more pictures of Carol. Picture 2 was taken April 1st, 2012

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What wonderful memories, Joanne
I'd forgotten that 2009 was year of the hen & chicks balls. Good pictures of Abby & Fancy in front, too.
Carol still has a brother in Ontario doesn't she? I remember her going to visit him quite awhile ago.

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

Wonderful Memorial Joanne .. my condolences to you on the loss of your friend.

Carol certainly was an industrious lady, always planting something, or planning on planting a new acquisition.
I loved the balls she hung from her outside trees at Xmas.
Am kicking myself for not asking her to make me "Memory Box", and not purchasing one her dog beds. Proves to me you shouldn't put things off.


Victoria Harbour, ON


Enjoyed reading about the history you and Carol had..great memories to hold on to.
Am sure it's a terrible loss to all of you in your area.

God Bless!

Yonkers, NY(Zone 5b)

I foung the obit published today=



Thank you so very much - Carol was a very gracious, and lovely lady, and will be sorely missed.

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

Thank you, gabagoo for sharing the link ..


Victoria Harbour, ON

Lovely write up, she will indeed be missed by many!

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

For some reason, today I thought of our Carol 'FANCY VAN' ....
I so wished I had met her ..

Hope your Peonies turned out well up there Carol ^_^


Victoria Harbour, ON

Dropping in as well "M"

Often tink of her commitment making dog beds, Lordy she devoted as much time to that as her gardening..


yes, I miss her too.......
and I'm hoping my peony planted in her honour grows.
Right now it's very small.......

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

Small is better than nothing at all ^_^
Am SURE it'll take hold and flourish Susan ..



hopefully, before we move, or maybe it's better to move it as a small plant?
It'll all be good - whenever it happens, "Carol's peony" will go with me!!!

Thunder Bay Ontario, ON(Zone 3a)

Cherish that Peony ^_^


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