Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Garden of This Gay Relationship


First, my sincere thanks to all readers who graciously left comments over the past number of days.  I'm sure you've noticed I haven't responded to them yet, and I apologize for that.  My plan is to complete all responses over the next few days.  In the meantime, know I've read your comments, and, as always, I appreciate your interest in my blog.


Spring is late coming to Vancouver this year.  According to the local newspaper, it's three to four weeks behind.  Today is again cloudy and cool, so much so the furnace is still coming on to heat the house.  The first year Chris and I moved back to Metro Vancouver, the furnace stopping coming on around the end of April, so we're looking for some warmer weather any day.  If it doesn't happen soon, I'm afraid we may not see summer this year.  I'm hopeful that doesn't happen.  We've earned it, after all the cold and rainy weather we had last winter.

In my mind, this past weekend was do-or-die in our garden.  Like many people here, we'd stayed away from the local nurseries because the weather was too cold and too wet.  Who can think about pushing a buggy up and down aisles at the nurseries, looking at all the tempting plants (every one of which Chris falls in love with), when you're dressed in layers of clothes and you can't get out into the garden to plant.   So, rain or shine, because Chris had four days off in a row last weekend, we got down to business.  It was about time.

Getting down to business included the following:

  1. Building two large wooden vegetable boxes and positioning them down the slope in our backyard.
  2. Buying way more soil than we needed (because who knows how much eight cubic yards is?).
  3. Buying a wheelbarrow, discovering the store gave us the wrong parts, and putting it together.
  4. Removing all the crappy clay/sand dirt from the boxes and replacing it with the soil we purchased.
  5. Removing grass and creating a new bedding area on the side of the house (to store extra soil, too).
  6. Planting all of the annuals we bought a week or so ago when we actually had a warm day.
  7. Finding a home in our backyard for three Chinese fan palms we've collected over time in pots.  
  8. Layering all of our bedding areas with several inches of the rich, dark soil we bought too much of.
  9. Raking moss from several areas, covering them with new soil, and readying them for grass seed.
  10. Completing various tasks throughout the yard to bring everything to an acceptable standard.  

I can't even begin to tell you how much pain Chris and I have been in the last three days from all of the work outlined above.  We used muscles we didn't know we had.  Even standing upright was difficult, let alone walking from one place to another.  With our sore shoulders, arms, necks, hands, wrists, legs, and feet, we were a mess, but I can say, without a doubt, our efforts were worth it.

So, I've included a few pictures of our front yard for you to take a look at.  I wish you could see it for real.  I love how beautiful and remarkable and varied and miraculous nature is, and I'm so happy to have a little piece of paradise right in our own yard.  Yes, it's an enormous amount of work, and it can be very painful when you're not used to it, but few things are more gratifying than working with nature?




  1. I'm totally doing a response post to this... once my garden is finished its budding stages. Oh great prairies...

  2. I look forward to seeing pictures from your garden, Neal. Bring it on.
    Thanks for your comment.

  3. What a great visual reward for all your toil in the soil! The plantings set off the house very attractively. I like the Japanese maple and the hanging ferns. What about edible veggies or berries? Then again they might not have time to mature with this cold spring...

  4. Thanks for the compliments, Doug. After several weekends and weeknights of hard, back-breaking work, our gardens, and the lawn, around the yard are now ready for summer. If we could only get some consistent sunshine and warmth around here....

    Chris and I hung Boston ferns on our porch last summer, and I loved the way they looked. Reminds me of Southern plantations in the U.S. and lazy days drinking something refreshing on the covered porch. Very gracious.

    Funny you should ask about vegetables and berries. This spring, we planted three blueberry bushes in the backyard, all different varieties, and we put in two 4' x 8' vegetable boxes as well, terraced on the slope, levelled, and filled with the perfect soil for growing food.

    Last week, we bought a variety of vegetable bedding plants from the local nursery and planted according to the amount of space they should have between them. What a lot of work, but the result is amazing. We can't wait to start eating from our very own garden. So cool.

    Thanks for your ongoing interest in my blog and for your comment.

  5. You'll reaping a harvest of good food in no time. Blueberries should do very well in your area. Believe or not, when I lived in Honolulu, I was able to buy Pitt Meadows blueberries in the Safeway every year! It was like a taste of home.

  6. Pitt Meadows blueberries in Honolulu? How cool is that? I guess they don't grow there. At least in one respect, we have one up on that beautiful city in the middle of the Pacific. Man, do I wish I was there now.

    Thanks for generating the great memories, Doug. And, as always, thanks for the great comment. I appreciate it.