Growing up I never gave gardens too much thought. I even think I took them for granted sometimes. I remember we didn’t really have a garden, just some flowers in beds in the front and the back yards and a couple of raspberry bushes along the back fence. I did love raspberries and I still do.
I remember when I use to walk around the corner from my parents to go visit with my grandparents or be babysat or what have you, my Nanny (that’s what we called her, her given name was Grace) would always have raspberries. She had a few raspberry bushes in her backyard. I would sit down at the kitchen table and she’d put one of those dessert cocktail glasses in front of me with a small spoon. It would be filled with raspberries and she even sprinkled sugar on top for me. Boy was I spoiled. I sure felt loved when eating that. The way to my heart is simple, fruit and sugar and sometimes both. I can’t get enough of fruit. Other than the sunshine, it is the reason summer is my favourite season.
I certainly took for granted the work it took to get those raspberry bushes established and the raspberries from the bush to my bowl. Every summer I would enjoy the berries from my backyard and hers and never gave it a second thought. It was nothing but some summer magic. Now I have (sort of) inherited her backyard and what is left of her gardens.
Some things she planted are still there. Here is her rhubarb. It looks huge and unkept right now and that’s because it is. I keep meaning to cut it so I can give most of it to Derek’s mom. She makes a mean rhubarb cake. Mmm. It looked good before but now it’s pretty droopy, fine but droopy. Some Rose of Sharon which have not yet bloomed. Oh and I’m still learning the names for plants. Obviously their common names are much simpler to remember than the latin ones, but it’s pretty cool that there are so many different ones. I find it really fun to try and recall the names by looking at the plant and the flower itself. It’s like one of those memory card games you play as a kid. Here are some Hydranges and some more Rose of Sharon (again, not yet bloomed). Here is the showcase of the garden. These three rose bushes. They were planted 60 years ago. There are two red ones and a fire and ice on in the middle.
This birdbath I found behind the garage and once the ground was soft enough after the winter we put it back where it was originally. But looking at it now it looks rough and it just collects stuff fallen from the tree and attracts mosquitos. That is a tree in our backyard. It is a walnut tree. There is some debate about whether it is a black walnut tree or some other type of walnut tree, but unfortunately me and Derek are the only ones debating because we don’t want it to be a black walnut tree. I have been told that the black walnut tree is a poisonous suck hole with roots that are dipped in poison that kill everything in the surrounding area and everything it touches. I was so bummed to hear this as I desperately wanted a vegetable garden and a flower garden. There is the possibility of using raised garden beds instead in case the garden doesn’t work out.
I was hesitant and still insistent that I would try and grow a garden. Half the tree is dead anyways I told myself. It was apparently hit by lightning some years ago and now half is dead. Its dead bits need to be pruned off though because it’s a hazard. I don’t want to be under there one day when a gust of wind comes and decides to drop a branch on me. Otherwise it’s a nice tree to look at—green leaves in the summer and they turn yellow into the fall. Some drawbacks? It drops these weirdo long seedlings before summer, (here is a botanical print of the seedlings etc. from Damman’s lawn and garden centre site) enough so that you need to pull out a rake and the walnuts themselves are super unpleasant. They are sticky and squirrels will chew ’em up and spit ’em out leaving gnarled walnuts all over the place. It also provides waaay too much shade for my liking and the garden’s liking I think.
Sorry the garden of Eden kind of took a turn for the worse there. I was told by gardener extraordinaire John Snippe, my best friend’s father, that people would plant them because black walnut is an expensive type of wood and that is probably why my grandpa chose to plant it. My parents have one in their backyard too as you can see in a previous post “A Family Affair” about how my grandfather and great grandfather helped build that house as well. Because they were carpenters it kind of makes sense that he would choose to plant that particular tree. I’m really just glad to have an outdoor space to enjoy in the summers. And gardens in general provide a multitude of possibilities. Gardening is sort of limitless and provides many challenges. So what do you think? Can I grow my dream garden raspberries and all? Stayed tuned for the update early this week. Catch you later.