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Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

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Bee on Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia….English Lavender)

Grown in slow-motion by Nana (moi), the boulevards at our daughter’s family home are being transformed. Be gone, foul grass! And welcome, herbs and perennials!

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Work in progress…a perennial bed in the making…

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

—Lao Tzu

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Oregano, Mint & Marjoram (very attractive to bees, and organically grown!)

Bees have been experiencing a rough time worldwide, due to a variety of human-caused problems. Pesticides, herbicides, loss of habitat, climate change, lack of flowering plants which are loved by bees, mite infestations in hives, (caused in part by lowered immunity, as a result of stress, perhaps?), and on it goes.

Planting flowering herbs and perennials which bees love for their nectar is one way that we can help the bee population to become stronger. Without the bees and their ability to pollinate plants, much of the food we eat would not be able to grow.

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Sedum “Autumn Joy” & Michaelmas Daisy (Aster)

My garden has a mind of its own, and I love it! Just when I think that my garden ideas are working out as planned, up pops a surprise. For example, this little Aster plant hitched a ride (unbeknownst to me) from the previous garden to its new home, hidden in amongst the Sedum leaves. Instead of trying to control everything, I’ve decided to let it be, and just enjoy the mingling of the flowers and leaves, and their attractive colours.

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Michaelmas Daisy (Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’) and English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.

Alfred Austin

When I’m down on my knees, digging out the grass to create new flower beds, I certainly feel humbled! As you can see, there is plenty of grass to dig out, still. It all goes into the city’s “green bin”, to be composted along with Vancouver’s food scraps and whatever garden trimmings don’t get put into our own garden compost bins.

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There’s so much work to be done! A little at a time is my approach….this is going to be a short stretch of shade garden. I plan to add ferns, hostas, and plenty of home-made compost. The soil is depleted and dry, just crying out for some organic matter to be added!

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And finally, serendipity! I’d always meant to grow some of these in other gardens:

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) & Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

And up they popped, all on their own, self-seeded in the long grass under a phone pole, planted there by the previous owners. This week I’m going to plant more poppy and cornflower seeds, as Autumn is a great time to do it. But first, out with the dratted grass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When our daughter and her family moved to a new home last year, the front lawn had to be dug up in order to install an improved drainage system. They decided to replace the grass with a vegetable garden, and Nonno (Grandpa) dug right in!

Today’s quotation:  “Lawns, it seems to me, are against nature, barren and often threadbare–the enemy of a good garden. For the same trouble as mowing, you could have a year’s vegetables: runner beans, cauliflowers and cabbages, mixed with pinks and peonies, Shirley poppies and delphiniums; wouldn’t that beautify the land and save us from the garden terrorism that prevails?”

–Derek Jarman

from: Derek Jarman’s Garden

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“Before” photo of the lawn…

We are a (mostly) vegetarian family, and prefer organically-grown vegetables and fruits. No pesticides, no herbicides, no GMO’s, no chemical fertilizers, just lots of home-made compost and sea soil, and lots of tender loving care from Nonno.

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Where’s the lawn? Remay cloth covering Swiss chard and kale to protect from aphids.

Being totally hand-watered with an old-fashioned watering can and a “wand” attachment on the hose allows the gardener to get up-close and personal with each plant. It also saves water. Although Vancouver is on the edge of a rain forest, we still have watering restrictions for the entire summer, due to a lack of rainfall from spring to fall.

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A forest of kale! Pea-supports in background. Squashes to right.

Kale, Swiss chard, pole beans, radishes, peas,lettuce, parsley, basil, arugula, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, winter squash, carrots, beets, cucumbers, hot peppers, green onions, leeks, garlic…so good!

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Most seeds were sown in pots, then transplanted into the garden. Feverfew plants helped to keep the aphids at bay, as did some nasturtiums and the remay cloth.

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Beautiful Swiss chard, sharing a bed with carrots and beets.

As an added bonus to working in the garden every day, the gardeners get to socialize with passers-by, creating a sense of neighbourliness and community. So many people who would usually just walk past a house will stop to chat, talking about everything from plant varieties to the weather.

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Easy Kale Recipe: (serve with rice or pasta)

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in large heavy pan on medium heat

Add 1 medium onion, sliced, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, 1/4 cup water and saute gently, lid on, until onion is limp.

Wash and tear off leaves of large bunch kale. Chop or tear into smaller pieces and add to pan. Mix it in. With lid on, cook gently 5 minutes or longer.

Add 1 medium tomato, chopped, and cook a few more minutes, lid on.

Tamari sauce with the rice, or parmesan cheese with the pasta….(unless you’re vegan, of course!)

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Pole beans beside the raised vegetable boxes.

We enjoyed lovely, healthy veggies all summer long, and also saved a lot of money!

This is “sustainable” gardening….and now that Autumn has arrived, it’s time to plant the crops for over-wintering, but that’s another story!

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Today’s quotations:

More than anything, I must have flowers, always, always.

–Claude Monet

 

You mustn’t rely on flowers to make your garden attractive. A good bone structure must come first, with an intelligent use of evergreen plants so that the garden is always clothed no matter what time of year. Flowers are an added delight, but a good garden is the garden you enjoy looking at even in the depth of winter.

–Margery Fish

 

 

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Now that we’re in the midst of summer, Southlands Nursery is much quieter than it was in late May, when I posted the first half of this entry. But it is still just as beautiful!

Surrounded by greenery, close to many riding stables, within walking distance of the Fraser River’s North Arm, and a neighbour to the Musqueam Nation, Southlands Nursery is in a very special location.

As always, this nursery is a work of art. It is obvious that the owners care very much about what they are doing, and it involves more than simply making money, important as that may be!

 

 

 

 

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Tucked in between the North Arm of the Fraser River and Marine Drive in South Vancouver sits an area called “Southlands”. Stretching for a few miles, it is a wonderfully “country-like” district, and is home to numerous horse stables, lovely homes, several golf courses, and best of all, Southlands Nursery, which is located at 6550 Balaclava St.

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to be invited to share in a few riding lessons in the Southlands area with my best friend Pat and her three sisters. Even way back then, going down to “The Flats”, as we called Southlands, was always a special experience. A part of the city of Vancouver, at the same time it is removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s peaceful there.

And that’s why I love going to visit Southlands Nursery, a magical, other-worldly place of exceptional beauty. Not simply a place which sells plants, this gorgeous nursery is a work of art, a little piece of Paradise within the city. Around each corner appears another stunningly beautiful display of plants, pots, garden statuary, supplies and greenhouses.

Southlands Nursery is the ongoing creation of its owners: Thomas Hobbs and Brent Beattie, who opened it in 1991.

See their website for more details.

I always feel rejuvenated, peaceful and inspired after visiting Southlands Nursery. (And no, I don’t work for them! I just want to share another of my favourite Vancouver Treasures with you readers and fellow bloggers.)

To be continued…

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Today’s Quotations:

If you would like to be happy your whole life long, become a gardener.

–Old Chinese Proverb

When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.

–Minnie Aumonier

 

 

 

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Passing through the gateway, from the street into the garden, we are invited to enter into another world.

As well as being a barrier, a gate can mark a welcoming passageway, a link to what lies beyond.

I discovered all of these wonderful gates on one single block of our fair city! Fronting on a one block-long, hidden street in Kitsilano, each gate seems to beckon the walker to enter the garden. Not wanting to be trespassers, at least we can stop and look beyond the gate, and maybe even take a photo!

The bonus to this block is that it backs onto Kits Beach, with a rustic pathway boasting many “back gates”.

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Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

Gates mark both an entrance and an exit, a coming and a going, an invitation to enter and a signal to stay out.

Keeping some things out, other things in, opening and closing, gates can be both practical and beautiful. Some gates are imposing, others whimsical, while some are simply utilitarian.

A “gateway” is an opening or structure framing a gate, also called an entrance or an exit. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

A “gate” is a hinged moveable barrier in a wall or fence etc. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

And from the Highroad Dictionary: “gate” is an opening with a road through; that which closes the opening.

Once I started to notice gates and take photos of them, I was hooked, and began to really look carefully at their structure and beauty. Even ramshackle gates interest me. “Who built this gate, and when, and how is it constructed?” I wonder. The sheer number of varying gate designs is wonderful. No two seem to be identical! Only one problem: now whenever I go for walks in and around Vancouver, I am constantly stopping to admire yet another lovely gate!

First in a series of “Gates of Vancouver”, here are a dozen which I’ve discovered on the west side of our fair city.

HPIM7216

HPIM7218

HPIM7221

HPIM7215

HPIM7074a

HPIM6967

HPIM6966

HPIM6965

HPIM6964

HPIM6963

HPIM6962

HPIM7225

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Walking around our city, I have discovered beautiful “hidden treasures”, right in our own midst!

Here is the first in a series: Earthrise Garden Store/Florist Shop on West Fourth Avenue, at Bayswater Street.

Red Roses

Red Roses

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Vase in Earthrise shop

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Eclectic selection

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Entrance to the Earthrise “Nursery”, behind shop

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Old treasures

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Garden Angel

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Under the Begonias

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Reaching for the sky

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Vancouver Banana Tree

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Sunlight and Shadows

Today’s quotation:

A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.

-Bertrand Russell

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