Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gardens I Have Loved Before - Part 6

If you missed the earlier posts in this series please click on the links below:

Part 1                        Part 2

Part 3                        Part 4

Part 5

Although we knew we were eastern bound when we left Bowen Island there was one more stop before we could make our permanent move.

The last year we spent in British Columbia was in the community of Gibsons, located on the Sunshine Coast.  While we were still located in BC, Jody wanted to attend a school there that specialized in cabinetry.  Working with famed craftsman James Krenov was a once in a lifetime experience and we jumped at the opportunity.  We had no idea how fortunate we were, as the following year James passed away.  Going to school meant that we had to change homes and we found ourselves in another rental.  This house provided us with a temporary abode but we also provided something.  I became caretaker for the garden.

I don't know who the creator of this oasis was but I was in awe every time I stepped out the door.  This person had an eye for design and a sense of how to put things together.  There were spots to sit and contemplate.

Paths that meandered.

Plants that caught your eye.

Spending time in a mature garden and seeing someone else's techniques was a learning experience for me.  I loved the large square planters which were used consistently throughout the space.  I liked the grassy paths that lead me to various focal points.  I liked the sense of humour, the hidden corners.

I got to see plants in their mature state and realized how crowded a garden can get if plants are not monitored.  Some plants, like heathers, eventually begin to die from the centre outward.  On the opposite spectrum the trees were just coming into their prime.  They had attained height and girth, their branches were full and strong.

Caring for this garden was an exciting time for me because it gave me many ideas for the garden I wanted for myself.  There were plants that I was determined to have.  Others I determined I never wanted.  I got a sense of how planting too closely can make things tight later on down the line.  Most importantly it was just exciting.  Exciting to think that some day I too could have a garden this beautiful.  I just needed a home to call my own.

Less than a year after moving to Gibsons we departed.  We had a moving sale, we packed our trailer and got in the truck.  Filled to the brim, with posessions and dreams.  Headed east.


  1. I really am enjoying your series. Great photos too, even the critters.

  2. Gorgeous, just gorgeous! Hard to leave, or were you looking forward to new gardens?

  3. another beautiful garden, Marguerite you have lived with some wonderful gardens to inspire you and learn from, Frances

  4. The color GREEN - when will we see you again?

    Marguerite, I am rather tired of this winter, too! And more snow on the way!

    Meanwhile, mom and sisters working in their gardens already back on the 'other' Island ... *sigh*

  5. I love beautiful gardens! I like mine too. (They say it's the thought that counts.)

  6. I love when you write about Gibsons as it is such a special place; the Sunshine Coast and Sechelt also. How beautiful the garden was in your rental home and I can see why it would influence you in your future decisions.

  7. This is another beautiful garden. I like the mature trees, the hidden corners too. You may not agree, but I like the deer and the cat looking like statues in the garden.

  8. Donna, the critters seemed to follow me through each garden. There's no getting away from them!

    Aagaard Farms - Actually I was really excited and just itching to leave BC at that point. I wanted my own garden!

    Frances, I often don't think of myself as much more than an amateur gardener but looking back I can see I've picked up a thing or two along the way.

    Kim - I can't even talk about that. One of the downsides of living here is the loooooonnng wait for spring.

    Liz - all of our gardens are special in that no one but us could create them. They evoke so much of our personalities. I think I liked that about this garden, it was beautiful but I also got a glimpse of the person who had made it. It inspired me to want to create my own space.

    Bren - did you spend a lot of time on the Sunshine Coast? I seem to recall you came from Saltspring. I have a magnet on my fridge from a Sechelt girlfriend, "Highway 101" emblazoned over a plastic lawn chair. Not many people would understand the reference but it makes me giggle. pieces of home.

    One - mature trees really are wonderful. I wish I had more of them now. That's our old cat Lucy in that photo. She loved other animals and was following the deer around the garden that day. I agree they all look so nice but I also know the damage that occurred in their wake! not a hosta left behind.

  9. That's a lovely description of a time that was clearly really important in your evolution as a gardener. I suspect that learning what you don't like was just as valuable as the vision of what you might achieve.

  10. Marguerite, You are a wonderful storyteller! What a lovely garden to live in for awhile. It seems you had some deer companions too. Your kitty looks quite at home in the comfortable seating area. I imagine a festive feast around that large table. How great your husband was able to study with an esteemed mentor. From the garden to the cabinetry it seems you had a great year!

  11. What a beautiful garden you were in charge of and how smart to treat it as a learning experience.

  12. This has been an amazing journey through your gardens! they are are beautiful!

  13. Plantaliscious - You're right, it wasn't until I was actually taking care of a mature garden that I realized the differences in gardening. I started to see the process as a whole.

    Carol, thank you. Deer seemed to follow me wherever I went in BC! Although they weren't as frequent in that last garden due to the coyotes. That last year we were working towards some big changes. Jody was beginning his career move and we were working towards moving east. There was a lot of upheaval but its been worth it.

    Carolyn - I don't think I set out to learn from this garden initially but it was very different from my previous garden where I was starting from scratch. I couldn't help but notice the differences.

    fer - thank you. all these gardens have a special spot for me as I've learned different things in each one and was at a different point in my life each time. thinking of them reminds of what my life was like then and how i've changed along the way.

  14. When I was in my late teens, I worked in my mother's garden and in a similar way I learned from that mature garden. A garden can be the most amazing teacher.

  15. Jennifer - I think experience is the best teacher of all. Making mistakes and testing yourself make the learning fun and make it stick. Gardening particularly is great because it's such a hands on experience.

  16. What an incredible experience and true gift! That garden is beautiful and it would be an honor to care for it. I love the second to last sentence of your post. It seems so accurate.

  17. TS -Without the dreams to prompt us we would still be living a life we weren't quite happy with. One of the most important things to take with us on our journey.