A Cultivated Garden: summer dreaming in Vancouver

I don’t normally like to do this but I felt as though I needed to breathe again.

That is, show you pictures of ‘God’s country’, aka Vancouver while we are having the winter that won’t quit.

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This is my friend Laurel’s home garden in the city.  She studied horticulture with me at Algonquin College what seems like a lifetime ago and is now gardening and designing beautiful garden spaces for lucky homeowners on the west coast.

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Oh British Columbia.  The home of millions of varieties of Japanese maple; all of them hardy!

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You can always spot a plant-person’s garden.  Look for the subtle leaf associations — how the purple veining on the gorgeous coral bells cultivar mimic the lacy leaves of the filagreed Japanese maple.

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The broad puckered hosta leaves being tickled by a hemlock, and the bonus of blooms on a grassy Siberian iris.

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The edging rocks and fine gravel path provides not only a relaxing visual foil for the leafy perennials but its texture and colour mimics the silvery pattern on the Japanese painted fern.

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Now she told me what this tumbling blue perennial is but I can’t remember; Laurel?  No doubt it is not hardy for us in Ottawa though.  A Veronica, Phlox or even Nepeta would all be a good substitute.  Or if you’re in a shady garden, try Lobelia – but only if it is shielded from the heat of the afternoon sun!

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And don’t forget the value of grasses, especially Hakonechloa (Japanese forest grass) for its movement and texture.

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If you’re lucky enough to live in Vancouver and need help with your garden, give Laurel a call.  She’ll transform your garden into paradise :c)

Find her at:  www.acultivatedgarden.com

All the photos above were provided courtesy of Laurel Polkosnik.  Thanks Laurel!

Who dumped the sugar?

There has been copious amounts of snow lately.


So much that I had to shake my Amur maple to get up our front path.  Because if I hadn’t, this kind of thing would surely happen.


The snow is wet and heavy due to the near zero temperatures.  It is sticking to everything.


And it isn’t stopping for a while yet.  The skies remain grey for miles and miles.


It is slow slogging where foot paths have yet to compress the new snow.


But it is so beautiful I have to keep stopping and taking it all in…


The evergreens are shrouded and weighted down.  Why do I think of this image?



By the end of our walk, my jacket is open and my mitts are off.  It looks like winter but it feels like spring.