Friday, May 30, 2014

Inside, Outside

The Secret Garden, Batch Three.

There's more to this garden than pretty flowers!

Small pink flowers, unidentified, and a greenish fly.

Beach Grove, the small community at the southeast corner of the Tsawwassen peninsula, is criss-crossed by narrow walking lanes, connecting the inner streets to the beach. In one of these lanes, the easement behind his house, Brian Whitehouse planted a few flowers 14 years ago, replacing the invasive blackberries and horsetails that so quickly overpower any forgotten spot in the Lower Mainland.

Map of Boundary Bay. (Google maps base) The Secret Garden is under that line pointing into Beach Grove.

Gardening never stops. A year later, in the evening of September 11, 2001, he found forgetfulness and calm working in his little flower plot; after that, he began to expand the garden, to give others a place to find that same peace.

Whitehouse says there was no real plan. Over the years he just kept clearing away more brush and blackberries, and planting more plants and flowers, creating a meandering garden with landscaping materials that he's scavenged or had donated. (Delta Optimist)

These days, down the centre of the lane, a curving, well-manicured lawn serves as walkway; on both sides rocks, trees, benches, a wishing well and a sundial (in the shade!) serve as backdrops and support for the plantings. Ferns, hostas and rhododendrons soften the fence on the shady side; sun-loving vines and tall flowers line the north wall.

A bird cage full of moss and roots. I thought it was for birds making nests, but there's also a tiny plant just sprouting in the centre.

A vintage wood stove, with a lidless coffee pot, a bit on the leaky side. Last year, it held a mass of pink flowers.

(The stove is a McClary "Kitchen Heater". Years ago, up North, I cooked on one, but it was twice the size and a boring black.)

The garden is fenced, at the back to separate a working and tool storage area from the public garden, and at the front, with a solid board fence and gate, to limit access overnight. But there's something in the air, or in the soil more likely, that extends the happy influence of the care lavished inside well beyond the gate. The beginning of the lane, cleansed of its blackberry canes, but otherwise untended, is a thriving, supremely healthy, knee-deep patch of a large variety of weeds.

Horsetails, grass, plantains, Dove-foot geraniums (pink with 5 double petals) and Common Storks' Bill (pink with 5 single petals).

We couldn't identify this. Laurie mentioned asparagus, but the branching is wrong. The tallest one was about 2 feet high.

Dandelions gone to seed, buttercups, clover, horsetails and grass.

Maybe that front fence is more to keep the dandelions out than to prevent vandalism.

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