Near the end of the last century, when I began gardening in Ladner, I had no money for plants. Three kids, daycare, hockey fees, dance fees yadda yadda yadda, there was certainly no money for annuals. All of what money I budgeted for gardening went to young perennials and shrubs, which were then planted with a vision of how they would look in twenty years…
The fellow who used to be Premier of our province retired to a very large property down the road from us. He had originally made a name for himself with his nurseries and, as part of his retirement joy, continued to garden and would hold an annual plant sale in his back yard. Every May I would head to his estate with my cheque book, gaze longingly at his property and buy what plants I could afford.
In those early days my gardening bible was a copy of the Sunset Western Garden book given to me by my in laws. Every plant I bought over the next eighteen years was written in the book with notations of purchase dates and evaluations. At the back of the book is stapled every cheque I ever wrote to Premier Vanderzalm. I was never a fan of his politics but the man knew his plants. It is great fun to look back through the book and see how I spent my money.
The roses are now pruned and, although my garden looks an absolute fright, I am able to look past the mess and appreciate the buds on the shrubs and the hycacinth bursting their heads through the soil. There are signs of life on most of the plants and I am ever hopeful that most will recover from last summer’s drought.
I have tried my hand at propagating a few shrubs and roses but won’t know until the spring, when I pot them up, if they will thrive. I am optimistic.
A lot of vegetable seeds have been ordered and I can hardly wait to try some new varieties. When looking at seed catalogues, I am like a kid in a candy store and have ordered substantially more vegetables seeds than we need from two companies. One is in Ontario and another in PEI.
I have had an idea with the intent to recreate the fun that it was to shop in Vanderzalm’s back yard for plants while drinking wine and funding the cost of soil for my hobby. This spring on the Mother’s Day weekend I am going to open up the garden to sell my vegetable starts. If all goes well I might even have some flowers to sell.
Stay tuned for updates closer to May. I am thinking it likely the wine and cheese will make it even more
fun than Vanderzalms.