As expat West Islanders, we miss our former garden and yard. What used to be a spring chore, now seems such a privilege. At least I can follow the Gritty Gardner virtually, and dig along!
Our home, for now, is at Mistissini, a Cree community in the James Bay region of Quebec. We came south for two weeks, over Goose Break, when the entire town shuts down. Most townspeople leave for their hunting camps. When we left, the lakes were frozen and there were several feet of snow on the ground.
But drive 12 hours south, and it was Spring!
Walking up the street of my old neighbourhood in Pointe Claire Village, I breathed in the warm spring scent of fresh loamy earth. Lawns are freshly raked, mulch spread under the coniferous trees, and gardens turned.
Gardening centres are bursting with vibrant colours; flats and containers filled with purple pansies, golden marigolds, pink petunias, and blood-red geraniums.
I walked past our old house and caught a glimpse of my former garden. It had not been tended too, but the tulips found their way up against the rock wall and pale blue forget-me-nots had regenerated in clumps on the lawn.
I miss the springtime rituals, the first turn of the earth, breaking through the winter crust with my wood handled shovel. That first spade would reveal black soil, with bits of not-quite-composted, gritty matter, and worms as thick as snakes. Every year, I would have a robin accompanying me, who would take complete advantage of the freshly turned earth to pull out squirmy worms.
And the vegetables … the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers of all sorts. We tried broccoli, brussels sprouts (almost impossible to remove from the stem), asparagus (too delicate, kept being trampled on) and even had a giant cantaloupe that seeded itself out of composted kitchen scraps.
Tell me your gardening stories, I would love to hear them. Boasting is not only encouraged, but required!
** This post was somewhat customized as it was posted on The Gritty Gardener facebook page.