Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Prep 101

Earlier this year we received a phone call about some "minor" yard work for a wedding.  It seemed like an easy enough task and I went over there with a light bag.  We met with the ever calm, Sandy, (a dream customer I'll have you know) who let us in on a few extra tasks.  It turns out her son was having a large wedding the following year and decided to have his reception at his Mothers house.  Of course, she found this out after everyone else was notified.  Unfortunately, she was planning on selling her very large home the next year. The sale was going to have to be postponed.  She called us perplexed at what she could do to house over a hundred people in her rather lopsided backyard with a deteriorating staircase.  She mostly wanted to keep what was salvageable and improve the rest.  She was interested in a simple water feature and flowers in warm tones. This is what we came up with.  I should mention that my boyfriend installed the patio and also designed and installed the staircase.  His company link is here if you live in the Vancouver area.

A bit of an uninspiring space  (just taking my notes).

Some slope issues and we had to use the existing aggregate concrete

The deteriorating Staircase

Existing Plants that weren't getting much love

Getting the groundwork done.

The completed bluestone patio with a narrow low maintenance bed. 

Boulder water feature with a protected fence for the dog. 

Cleaned out the old shrub border from along the fence.

A veggie box built in to the patio as a customer request. 

A cleaned up version of the deteriorating staircase. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Vegetable Garden in August

cilantro bloom


heirloom tomato

'January King' cabbage

'Merlin' and 'Golden' beets

baby basil

Jerusalem artichoke

'Turban' squash

Espalier apple

Hot chilli's

Asian stir-fry blooms

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Industrial Garden Tour

There is an industrial area near my house.  It some how makes the gardens seem that much more special when they're unexpected.  Here are a few photos of people making unappealing areas into beautiful spaces.

Vegetable plots and wild flowers in front of recycling centre. 

Lily pads and goldfish in a retaining bed fronting an industry building.

Dr. Seus tree looking a little worse for wear.  But adds interest to that bare wall. 

okay, maybe it's not a garden. But, it was the only green visible for a while. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Strathcona Community Garden Continued

Here's some more pictures....

Strathcona Community Garden

I went for a little tour of Strathcona Community Gardens last weekend.  Strathcona is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver.  It's bordered by Chinatown and has historically always been a working class neighbourhood because of it's location to the railway and Hastings Mill.  This community garden is connected to a park field and  neighbouring an ice cream shop with over 200 flavours.  It's also the neighbourhood where I used to live in my early twenties and have enjoyed many inspired strolls.  Strathcona Community Garden is a really special space with an orchard, a water feature and loads of unique allotment plots. I especially enjoy espalier apple trees and grape vine arbour.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

There is a secluded garden located in the heart of Chinatown.  I visited it this weekend. Ornate diamond shaped windows hint at something special behind those plain white walls.  Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is free and open to the public.  It was opened in 1986 and was built by 56 master craftsmen from Suzhou, China in partnership with Canadian workers.  The garden implements the original techniques implemented from the original Ming Dynasty garden. Walkways, bridges, a central pond and moss covered rocks are the foundation for this garden.  A prehistoric Gunnera plant frames the pond.  A large bamboo forest shades the south-east corner. Large arching trees weep over the surface of the pond and mingle with the lilly pads.  Pagoda structures set the stage for all weather appreciation.