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.

Pink Begonias


The prairies are not exactly known for vibrant colour so most Edmontonians love annuals. I am one of the few gardeners that’s saddened by them. After all, they only last a few short months in our climate. Perennials survive deep under the snow  and are “reincarnated” every spring. Yet, I can’t resist planting begonias, exuberance overcomes their fragility.



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.