Archives for posts with tag: Garden
Bird on a cherry tree

Image by Vibragiel via Flickr

Cruising through the New York Times this morning, I came across a story about some of the trials and tribulations presented by wild landscape gardening.

Margie Ruddick is a landscape architect living in Philadelphia. She has nurtured a wild (and very beautiful) garden that doesn’t require watering, saves runoff water from going into the sewers and feeds the birds and neighbours. She is routinely questioned about her “wild ways” by the city, bylaw enforcement officers, and others.

I personally find this story inspirational. I had a lawn once. The first thing I did with this lawn was to rip up patches of it. I planted various ground-covers, heathers, lavender… however, I hadn’t thought to see what native plants would spontaneously germinate in my soil. This activity is even more exciting in a city setting; go to those abandoned lots, those cracks in the sidewalk, and you will find life.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

at the Jardin Botanique in Montreal

Last weekend was the Great Gardening Weekend at the Jardin Botanique.  At this fair, there were many booths featuring cool products, rare plants, native plants, organizations and information.  Highlights for me included a chat with the guy who has been in charge of the Japanese and American bonsai specimens in the garden for quite some time and a chat with Marie from Urbain Culteurs about bee keeping in the city.

It set me back $12 to get into the garden because I did not have an Access Montreal Card.  And since I paid to get into the garden, I decided to walk around and check out what was blooming right now.  I walked through the lilacs in the arboretum.  If you love lilacs, and you live in Montreal, I suggest that you get to the garden sometime in the next few days.  All the trees are in full bloom and it is positively wonderful to walk amongst so many lilacs.

If you want to see more of the garden, purchase an Access Montreal Card for $8 and you will have unlimited access to the garden for most of the year.  You can also purchase a garden pass for $21 and have even more access to the garden.  Check this out, it is  a good way to go.

taking time to smell the flowers

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

may 21 at the jardin communautaire ste-catherine

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

 

egg cartons take a pause before hitting the recycling bin, to nurture my little green pals

 

I am a proud mama… not only to a cat, but to a vast number of tiny, green lives. This year I started my garden indoors. I was waiting to find out which plot I was allocated in the Community Garden, so I couldn’t plant outside.

baby oregano... awwwww!

I took a couple of egg cartons, a small bag of dirt, and a selection of organic seeds to start lavender, coriander, oregano, basil, tomatoes, arugula, parsley, and peppers. I will plant my carrots directly in the earth, as they require more root room!

widdle baybee tomatoes, hea-wooooah!

My plants are keening towards the sun… but I think the when they’re outdoors they’ll manage to straighten up. I am really looking forward to growing, tending, caring for, and harvesting these little guys. I’ll be careful to collect seeds, too!

 
Natasha Henderson, Montreal

not exactly Ideal Ikea Land, but it will be organised soon...

Today I moved. No, I didn’t move out of my home, I just moved all of my “studio stuff” (folding tables, chairs, assorted cabinets, drawing table, supplies… oh, and many large paintings) into my small loft-style apartment.

I am looking at this adjustment, this shift, as a challenge.

Whenever I have seen those Home and Garden Design television shows and magazines and websites, I’ve always been most impressed by the smaller scaled situations. How to make something practical, usable, and appealing? How to save space, store thoughtfully, and retain a pleasing aesthetic?

Some of my favorite TV and magazine examples are for small garden ideas. Honestly, I would love to have a balcony. I would tier my pots of vegetables and herbs and flowers… Or to have one of those “postage-stamp” sized yards! Again, pack all the veg you possibly can into the space, and think vertical. (With no balcony or yard, I’ll just have to remain happy with my Community Garden Plot.)

Back to my current reality I go… Sitting amongst the piles of paintings, boxes of goodies, and “new” cabinetry, I am up for this challenge. I think this is my impetus to clean for Spring (finally!) Out with the TV, in with creative storage! Maybe I’ll see about getting some tomatoes in a window, too!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Last summer I finally visited Montreal’s Botanical Gardens. It was a fantastic place; full of life, public art and activities, and a restful vibrancy. I loved my day there, recalling much about it now months later. I only spent three hours in the gardens, but those three hours of photos and memories help me through a long, white winter.

The photo above shows the sculpture “First Jewel” by Romanian artist Alice Winant. This bronze sculpture is in the Rose Garden.

If you have a photo of something green, submit it to our Facebook page! Our photo theme for March is Craving Green. Spring is almost here… almost…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

by Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Community Garden. Plot. Allotment. A piece of earth, a bit of land. One can tend plants, care for the soil and those plants, and harvest the spoils as they happen. For several years I’ve known people who have had these little bits of land to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs. Beets, peppers, lettuce, tomatoes (oh so many tomatoes) zucchini, squash, beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, garlic, chives, basil… asperagus, raspberries, eggplant, peas. All types and varieties. So when I was offered the chance to get in on one of these plots earlier this summer, I jumped right on board.

Calendula, Nasturtium... Cosmos... my little green babies

I live in the heart of Montreal. My home is more than adequate in most regards… except that I have no outdoor space. I don’t have even a balcony. I have a cat, and he loves to eat plants, so home gardening was never really an option for me. I did try a basil plant once, but it didn’t last long between the efforts of the cat and myself.

To gain entrance into the Community Garden right away, rather than go through the processes of a waiting-list, I took on a contaminated plot.

I will make a long story short as to WHY this plot (and a few others) had been contaminated. The neighbouring parking-lot for a large building had hired snow-removal to clear snow off their parking lot. Unfortunately, they managed to push all the oily, salted, gritty, chemical-laden parking-lot-snow right onto the Community Gardens. The tainted snow created tainted earth. The City came to test this earth, and lo and behold found it too toxic to allow edibles to grow in it. The land was not fit for human consumption.

The city did allow, however, that people could grow flowers in this land. That’s when, where, why and how I got my plot. I went about buying my three packets of seeds pronto.

Cosmos In My Garden

The good thing about this experience (besides getting my hands nice and dirty again; I come from a smaller town, originally, and have always had a bit of land to call my own) was in seeing the reactions of my fellow gardeners to the flower-plots.

We Flower-People were treated a little differently. The rules of the garden were slackened for us… if our flowers were to drape over into the pathways in between the plots, no one put up any signs requesting that we tidy our garden. If the flowers were to go to seed before being picked, no-one was there to tsk-tsk and shake their fingers at us, to gossip about us behind our backs.

I would chat with people in the garden, and when they realised I was one of the Flower-People, they would break into a smile, and remark on how happier those plots of flowers made the place feel. Several months had gone by with the land laying covered in straw, nothing was allowed to grow in it. There were bitter feelings and anger surrounding this loss of about a quarter to a third of this precious garden, due to a distasteful combination of pollution and negligence.

Once the jardins du fleurs were established, people stopped looking away, and started to look. It felt very good to have been a part of this. I do look forward to having a real vegetable garden next year, though!

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