One day I decided to get my husband more involved in gardening and asked him to pick up a perennial from Home Depot. “Surprise me,” I said. He certainly accomplished that request. I had never heard of a goatsbeard and had no idea where to plant it. Well, two houses and fifteen years later it’s still growing in front of our living room window.



These pinks came from the annuals section of our gardening centre. It was a big surprise to see one blooming between the melting snow, and now they are more vigorous than any dandelion. How can anything this bright grow in Edmonton after a -40c winter?

Heritage Peonies


All these peonies have been scavenged from old houses and tear downs. A new one is just about to open and I am anxious to see what it will look like. It came from a house next door that was once owned by a music teacher. Their garden is now completely overgrown and abandoned. I have been digging out the few remaining flowers hidden among the weeds.  I guess I am not so much stealing as saving them.

Magic Mushroom Spring


This has been one of the wettest months I have ever seen in Edmonton.  My flowers are ecstatic and almost psychedelic this year. They withered all through May and then suddenly exploded in June. There is none of the usual sequence, every one of them is in bloom.


It’s amazing what a little rain can do. I get why water was worshipped in so many ancient religions. It creates miracles.

Ten Days


When we left Edmonton ten days ago there were a few straggly perennials sprouting feebly among brown grass. After a week of rain we returned to an oasis of flowers. I have never seen so many bloom at once. It may end up being a green garden all summer, but oh what a glorious spring!



Our daughter always came to visit in the spring so we planted this Princess K plum tree in front of her bedroom window so she would be greeted by flowers. Well, she started to get busy with work and doesn’t come so often any more. Yet, the tree still blooms more stunning than ever.

Surprise Gift


All the trees started budding with bits of green emerging amidst the browns and greys. These new buds captured the heavy snowfall so Edmonton has turned into a Dr. Zhivago stage set.  It was just momentary magic as the snow has largely melted and we are back to prosaic greys. I am not complaining though, my garden is overjoyed to finally have something to drink.

Dinner at Sunset


I was cleaning out the garage and needed to get the lawn chairs out of the way. They were stashed in the back garden, still dusty, when some friends came over. We sat down for a moment with the melting snow still all around us. It seemed so warm we  spent the evening watching the sun set. I am deeply grateful for such moments – thanks to the weather gods’ unexpected munificence.



Edmontonians start planting en masse during the May long weekend when chances of frost have passed. But northern Europeans apparently plant in the fall. So, I decided to experiment and planted a half of my vegetable garden today. The part past the stepping stones is still frozen so I didn’t go there. Let’s see if we get carrots in July!