Sharing a Garden Walk With Mom and Dad

My parents have everything to do with my love for gardening. While I’ve only ever had a very small back yard, I make an effort to create beauty there every summer, in part because of the passion that my Mom and Dad inspired.  They are so far away that it is impossible to share the changing colour and new blooms, the fruits of my labour.   In fact it was via skype that my father informed me that I need to transplant those little strawberry trailers back into the garden.  I’ll do that today!  I love you, Mom and Dad.  Enjoy the walk with me this morning through my little garden.

I Did It My Way!

All in a Day's Work! June 25, 2011

It’s been days since writing and I wanted to let my readers know what I’ve been up to.  As per usual, I forgot to take a BEFORE photo of the backyard…let me look in my archives and see what I can find! 

Boardwalk to the Studio

Ah yes…here is a wee photo before building my boardwalk!  And yes, I did it myself!  It’s fun to look back and see the transformation!  And, apart from building the deck, I did all of the physical labour, myself!  From the beginning, I dreamed of having a place where I could grow both veggies and flowers.

My parents had always been the most remarkable gardeners!  Growing up with that experience certainly caused me to love being outdoors in the evenings, picking weeds before they became baobabs. And it is certainly one of the most relaxing times of the day, sipping a coffee in a backyard garden, while checking on the changes there.  I learned so much while building my first raised bed and purchased a good level, sledge hammer and got into buying neat drill bits of all sorts, so that I could pre-drill holes and set my reebar.

First Raised Bed

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to plant ground cover and I am an avid rock collector, always have been and I wanted to display a variety of flat rock that came from many special places.

Initially, we set them out in dirt and through time I became really frustrated with the constant issue of weeds that grew up and interspersed with the ground cover and this is why, this spring, I decided to revise the layout of the back yard.  One of the problems was also, that I had placed our veggie garden down the center.  This was just NOT aesthetically sensible, although, highly functional!

Cayley and Mud Pies

My daughter, Cayley, was a ‘treasure’ as she created a patchwork of leveled rock in our first attempt.  It was so beautiful how the yard was changing!

Sometimes I consider moving into a smaller home, but as I look at the history of this place, it would be a very difficult thing to do.  We have created so many stories here, as a family!

Hmmm….I have to race off to church…more later! ;0)  (Funny how writing always carries me away!)  Ok….so, I’m back.  This is how the rocks looked before the ground cover and the weeds took over!  I can’t find a photograph of this overgrowth, likely because I really didn’t like it!  It didn’t matter how often I weeded, I couldn’t keep up.  Now that I hope to do a bit more traveling, I need something with less maintenance and so now I’ve floated the rocks on a bed of cedar shavings.  I love the smell of cedar and this is a big reminder of my Dad’s vegetable garden near Frankford, Ontario.

Cremona Rock: Step Down

It’s so much fun going through the old archives of this project!  The rocks were gathered up from Jack Pot, Nevada, the Teton River’s edge and a whole myriad of places from here to Mexico.  There are many memories, experiences and stories tied up with this garden!

The boardwalk was finished up.  When we visited my grandparents in the Magrath area, Grampa would take us out to the Hutterite Colonies in order to finish off his wool orders.  I loved the sound of shoes on  boardwalks. The buildings on the Colonies were edged with boardwalks and I remember that this is where mothers brushed out their daughters’ long hair, all bathed in evening-light. 

 As well, didn’t you love the sound of cowboy boots on boardwalks in those old cowboy- movies we used to see at the theaters?  Everything in my garden resonates with me!  I hold on to these stories because they cause me such happiness!   

Studio Boardwalk

When I moved here, the backyard was an empty canvas…clay overrun with weeds.  It has gradually become my oasis.  Since I tackled this project  on my own, it became a source of enjoyment.

Now, I love to spend time watching the birds at the bird-feeder and putting the finishing touches on things.  The catoni asters are no longer tiny sticks in the far left corner, instead they are becoming a frame for my ‘reading space’, a work still in progress.  I looked at early photographs of May, my Mayday tree, and now she stretches her arms up and becomes a place for the birds to rest.

As I move back into my day, curling up to a good book on a sunny afternoon, I am going to include  poetry by my favourite poet, e. e. cummings.  It is a poetic-sort of moment for me.

Laurie-dog Hangs Out

Gardens: Ground Cover

Thyme and Sedum

At the time, I was dating a long-hauler.  It’s been a while.  In retrospect though, one of the most ‘magical’ experiences that came from that relationship was that I was able to go on two long-hauling adventures!  I have beautiful memories from both of these trips!  This leads me to my thoughts about ground-cover! 

I have rocks in my garden that come from all over the southwest, from places along the I-90 and all sorts of back roads and beautiful places between here and Mexico.  I love them!  More to write about the Teton rock and the Jack Pot rocks…but, another time!  The difficulty here is the fact that the weeds keep coming up through the ground cover.  I don’t know if there is an easy fix for that?  But, in the meantime, I love the scent of the Thyme and I love the textures and colours that ground covers provide.  I am also very grateful for the collection of amazing rocks that I have in my garden.  Thank you for the love and care and the many journeys that brought these flat and multi-coloured rocks home to me!