Gardening has always been part of my life. When I was a youngster growing up in the Garlic Flats, my first toy was a shovel forged by my dad in his blacksmith shop. I grew up surrounded by gardens: a front yard garden, another in the back yard and a much larger side yard garden. We had no lawns.
We all shared in the garden work and learned early were our food comes from. Our gardens were a mix of flowers like poppies, calendula, bachelor buttons, cosmos hollyhocks, and vegetables. The flowers attracted birds and bees and other pollinating insects and in a good summer our gardens were brimming with vegetables – an abundant, edible landscape wonderful to behold.
I like a garden that has a wild natural look, one that’s treated like a work of art using plants for their shape and color. But unlike a work of art the garden escapes the control of a finished work of art. Nature knows best. Plants grow, move and constantly change in size and color. I plant in beds large and small. Some plants like corn and potatoes need a lot of room. Others, like beans, carrots, eggplant, okra, peppers, various types of lettuce, and radishes can fit into smaller beds. Each bed has a different mix of herbs: dill, parsley, summer savory, sage, rosemary, mint and basil. The perimeter surrounding the beds is planted to perennials: Karl Forester grasses, Saskatoon bushes and flowers. Rouge sunflowers often plant themselves, as does dill, burgundy and green lambs’ quarters. Each year the garden takes a different look.
This year has been an especially good garden year. I’ve never seen plants bigger and more productive.