I’ve been going at my garden hammer and tongs the past week or so, and all I want to do is talk gardening with everyone I see. Right after we got the house we didn’t spend a ton of time here (so many weddings to attend) and the previous owner hadn’t done a ton of work in the garden, so it was pretty much a jungle. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and did some general weeding and digging, but wasn’t quite sure what all I should do or where to start. Then a pal gave me some advice re: weeds and then gave me some poppies (which have since, sadly, died), and Josh’s parents came to visit and they’re big gardeners and they helped me out. And so! I now have bedding plants and better soil and a handle on the weeds and a new shovel which I love. It was also discovered that we own an edger, which I didn’t even know was a thing until Josh’s mom was like “this is an edger!” and I was like “it’s been hanging in the shed this whole time?!”

(I want you to know that I just spent an hour looking at gardening websites instead of writing this post)

Gardening has involved so much digging, and since Edmonton is currently riding a heatwave, I have been taking long, cool showers after hours in the garden to cool me down and wash off the copious amounts of sweat. Gardening has also involved some community building. Josh’s mom and I spent two days working in the heat, and she brought me all kinds of bedding plants and some irises. A friend gave me poppies, an iris, and some peonies (all suffering, it’s a hard life). Another friend brought me a Maltese Cross and some Icelandic poppy seeds. There’s a community garden near our house, and twice when I’ve been there I’ve gotten encouragement and advice from neighbours. I learned from a woman there that goji berries will grow in Edmonton’s zone, and I asked about goji berries on the facebook and got connected to someone who might give me some. Basically, I’m being connected into a group where perennials and knowledge get shared around and everyone is excited about gardening.

After a few days of work in the garden I realized that a travesty had occurred and I had neglected to take any before pictures, so you will have to be satisfied with these almost-current photos (they are missing a plant with burgundy leaves and white flowers, a small strawberry, and the aforementioned Maltese Cross) which I took at like the worst time of day for photos I’M SORRY.

I FEEL LIKE THESE MAYBE AREN’T AS IMPRESSIVE AS I WANT THEM TO BE but let me tell you all about it. Here we have a couple general views of the garden in the side-yard (we have a truly giant yard. Please come visit and see how big it is.), which used to be entirely choked with Creeping Bellflower and didn’t have an edge to it at all. The grass grew right up to the flowers and weeds. And then, top right, we have an overhead look at the echinacea I bought when I was at the garden centre and realized that Josh and I can buy and plant whatever we want. What a world. It’s our yard! We can do whatever we want with it! Amazing.

And then the bottom two pictures are the front garden bed (left) and the itty bitty mint and mystery-plant-but-probably-sage bed beside the barbeque (right).

I have a couple different views of the front garden to show you.

That plant is a variety of stonecrop called Old Man’s Bones which is, let’s be honest, totally hilarious. How could I not have it in the garden?! And then the other pic is so you can see the large rock and the plants we’ve added. There used to be two plants in this section along with a bunch of grass and NOW LOOK. The iris in the middle is suffering but I have confidence in its recovery.

GUESS WHAT I looked through my phone and found a couple before pics of the front garden which I only have because I was joyfully taking pictures of Barney, the cat who visits sometimes.

Do you see all the grass? All the weeds? I used to be slightly ashamed of the garden and now I look at it and say “I rejoice to see my children walking in the truth.”

I want to add more poppies (I bought one of the last ones of the season at the garden centre), a goji berry bush, more edibles (rhubarb, raspberries, more alpine stawberries), another garden bed in the back (need to get the rototiller working(, a raised bed by the garage, and then sunflowers, spinach, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes in the corner of the backyard next summer. Working in the garden makes me feel productive and accomplished. It gives me something to care for and makes me feel better about my body. I feel pleasantly tired at the end of the day when I’ve spent some time weeding and shoveling and problem-solving. I want to turn our backyard into a sanctuary and a retreat.

I’ll end this post with a picture of Barney as he joined me the other night to help me do some digging. He’s the sweetest cat, loves belly rubs.



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