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Bob's Blog

Gardens Category

Garden Work

bc-garden-nixon-100623.jpg    The G20 events that included mass arrests of demonstrators in Toronto brought out a criticism against the media that has become a commonplace these days.  It centres around the idea that the demonstrators know the media will be there, so they stage events that are designed to upstage the main event - and the media plays into their hands, giving them a platform that they could not otherwise obtain.  It's a good debate - about the role of demonstrators, media, police, public discourse of serious issues - and I am not going to provide the last word here. 

    But my thoughts travelled along a similar line last week as I went off to cover the creation of a community garden, seemingly worlds away from the big matters being played out in Toronto.   Except in this case, the cost of the garden, and all the equipment to make it, was borne by Fiskars, a Wisconsin based maker of rakes and shovels and such, along with Canadian Tire, which sells the stuff.  Now sure, the event would go ahead whether I was there to cover it or not.  But a skeptic might suggest the whole point of this fine example of corporate citizenship was, ultimately, to get such coverage and give people a good impression of the principals involved, so that when it comes time to buy a new pruner they would head down to Canadian Tire for one made by Fiskars.  Is that a bad thing or, like the demonstrators in Toronto, just the way things work in a media savvy world?  I'm also not going to provide the last word on that debate here.  But at least, in this case, a community garden got built.  Community Garden icon_video.gif

Secret Garden

bc-garden-nixon-100606.jpgSome fabulous teacher I had in Grade four or five decided to read to us immediately after every morning bell, rightly assuming that we probably were not quite ready to tackle arithmetic so early.  When she got to Frances Hodgson Burnett's wonderful novel "The Secret Garden", not many kids ever arrived late.  We all got there bright and early to hear the latest adventures of Mary and Colin in their glorious garden world.  This idea of earthly perfection, a profusion of delightful plants and flowers hidden away from life's troubles intoxicated me then and stays with me today. 

When I heard a real Secret Garden exists in Delta, I knew I had to track it down and do a story about the remarkable man who created it.  I was not disappointed.  Our bargain forbade me from publicizing exactly where it's located - and I am abiding by that agreement.  But he did tell me that if you want to know where it is, you might start by calling Delta City Hall.  They own it after all.  Hidden Gem icon_video.gif 

Pink Streets

bc-cherry-nixon-100425.jpgA few decades ago, in a moment of madness, I agreed to go winter camping in northern Saskatchewan.  We slept in snow huts in minus 45 degree temperatures and huddled around the fire for days.  It was the most miserable time of my life and yet I look back on it fondly principally because I felt so wonderful when it was over.  The lesson was clear.  The longer one endures privation the more one enjoys its end. 

Maybe that's why when I came across streets absolutely cover in pink petals, the joy I felt was transcendant.  It was not just that the sight signalled a spiritual end to the cold and rain of the Vancouver winter.  It went right back to every every winter I have ever endured.  In that respect, my Winnipeg youth continues to pay big dividends as this sight was pleasure indeed.  Petal Power icon_video.gif

It's Blooming January

bc-blossoms-nixon-net.jpgIt's happened before because this is the west coast, but some plants are once again fooled by a January mild spell.  Of course, when the temperatures rise well above zero and the sun comes out, we can be excused for being fooled ourselves.  But surely, after a few hundred million years of evolution, a cherry tree would know that a couple of nice days does not mean it should pretend that spring has sprung, that winter - or what little we have had this year - is over and it's time to turn a lovely shade of pink.  But who knows the mind of a tree?  Cherry Blossoms icon_video.gif

Fig Picking

You may have noticed fig trees in Vancouver.  Not too many though, I suspect because we live in what gardeners call a hardy growing zone and getting a good crop of figs is never a sure thing.  But this year's fig crop appears to be pretty good, and the picking has begun.  I joined a special group of fig harvesters, who share their bounty with others.  Tree Fruit Project  icon_video.gif