The Focal Point

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Between my daughter’s move to Calgary and community projects there has been no time for the garden. Weeds are thriving and looking throughly happy but me not so much. I can’t walk home without thinking that my house is staring to lower property prices in the neighbourhood. Thank goodness for this strawberry hydrangea. It makes for such a startling focal point that it’s hard to look at anything else.

Happy Ligularia


Ligularias are bog plants. Since Alberta has extensive badlands, even an occasional native cactus can be found outside of the city, ¬†it’s not the best place for these water loving plants. Poor things have been struggling for years. This summer they are finally having the time of their lives. They grew taller than me and spread through the garden taking over other plants. I can feel their joy.

A New Life


One of these lilies was growing in the back of the garden. It never bloomed and looked remarkably ugly. ¬†Taking my cue from the story of the ugly duckling, I gave it a second chance in a more sunny spot. It not only bloomed profusely, but also multiplied. Now it’s growing all over my garden. In fact, I am looking for someone who can give the baby lilies a new home. Any takers?



The back of the garden is largely neglected so I let a bunch of unusual looking weeds grow among bushes. These bellflowers were among them. This is the first year in the past seven years that they bloomed so gloriously. It’s almost Biblical. Perhaps there is a message in their resilience.



I had to go to an art gallery yesterday in connection with a somewhat stressful community project. Within minutes of the meeting I realized that I had met a kindred spirit. We bonded over gardens. As my new friend told me, most artists have gardens. Perhaps nothing we do in art school compares to the joy that our gardens offer communities. Years ago that would have been a depressing thought, now it’s just liberating.

The Foundling


The family who owned our house bought it in 1945. The husband was an avid gardener but he passed away in the 60’s. Many of his plants survived but some were covered over by bushes. Whenever I find an usual looking weed, I replant it and watch what happens. This is the result of one such foundling: a beautiful martagon lily.


Garden Delicacy


We have been planting garlic for years but threw out the green bits. My new son-in-law told me that garlic scapes sell at high prices at specialty markets. So, this year I made a pesto. It was great but a bit strong – apparently putting it in the freezer reduces pungency. It was very simple: garlic scapes, lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, sprinkle with parmesan. I never follow exact amounts as it’s far more interesting to see what turns out.