The snow has almost entirely melted and Edmonton gardens have turned into shades of orange and brown. There are just a few patches of green grass hanging on. Even sunlight has become more orange. We now live in a perpetual sunset. The garden is shutting down but it’s wonderful to think that all of its energies are safely stored in the dark underground.
Working in the garden is one of my favourite things in life; but it’s not just the plants, it’s the people that weave into garden stories.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my home office when I glanced out the window and saw our new postman trudging through the snowstorm. He looked like a recent immigrant form some warm African country. Seeing as he struggled to wade through the snowdrifts, I ran out to shovel our sidewalk. Just as I was half way done, he returned from his rounds and beamed a warm smile of gratitude in passing. I must have sighed a little too loudly while tossing soggy snow as he turned back and cheerfully offered to help.I din’t take him up on it, but his smile made my day.
It’s amazing how after a big snowfall some flowers manage to survive. This petunia is positively glowing after three days of freezing temperatures. I wonder how long it will last – the next week calls for more snow. This flower makes me think of my mother who has Alzheimer’s. Her nurses have been calling me as she has been falling constantly. But my mother is remarkably cheerful after each fall. She once said that since her deportation to Siberia by the Russians during the war nothing upsets her. This petunia is a lot like my mother.
This Thanksgiving weekend was just like Christmas. As we sat down to eat it was already dark. People passed by huddled in boots and parkas. It felt like we should start hanging out Thanksgiving stockings. At least I managed to dig out some fresh parsley and thyme from under the snow in honour of what is after all autumn.
I knew it was going to happen. Still, it was a huge surprise to go to bed in the evening with some green leaves and the odd flower blooming and wake up in mid winter… and it’s snowing much of the day tomorrow. We still had piles of carrots and beets in the ground. My husband braved the elements and dug them out while we could still get a shovel in the ground. 🙂 three cheers! All of our lawn chairs were still, optimistically scattered around the garden and we were considering a bonfire party. I guess a part of being an Edmonton gardener is boundless optimism. Foolishness is a survival strategy.
The lawn across the street had swaths of white streaks this morning. Frost has arrived. Fortunately, only wind exposed areas were “bitten” so my garden is saved. Yet, with the forecast for -4c overnight I am digging out the garden. As of yesterday, I collected four bowls of tomatoes – like the one in the photo and counting. Our kitchen counter is literally covered with tomatoes. It’s so spectacular that when friends walk into the kitchen they gasp. It’s like The Birds by Hitchcock, only we have been overrun by green tomatoes.
The elm trees around our house are preparing for winter. Our 90 year old neighbour used to laugh and tell anyone who would listen that trees are just like him: “frugal recyclers”. Uncle Ernie collected stuff from back alleys and gave it away clean and all fixed up. He was so excited when my husband (a scientist) told him that trees absorb nutrients for the winter and that’s what makes leaves red or yellow – they are missing the chlorophyll as it’s safely tucked away in the trunk until spring. Both trees and Uncle Ernie are the quintessential environmentalists.