Gardening feeds the body and soul

For the next week or so, I am watering my friend’s garden while she is away for a break.

For the next week or so, I am watering my friend’s garden while she is away for a break.

Since we moved to our tiny apartment six years ago, I have been satisfied with two large planters for flowers, and a smaller one for herbs. They sit out on our roof deck where it is very sunny and warm most plant growing days.

My friend’s garden is another thing altogether. It is brimming to the edges with life. Both garden and house are well settled and full of history. There is a lovely little thinking spot with rocks, birdbath, and an old wooden settee, the artifacts from a lifetime of love of beauty. There are areas for all manner of vegetables with their companion plants to keep the bugs away. Raspberry canes are blossoming and a medium sized sentinel cherry tree makes a statuesque focal point. Food for the body as well as the soul grows in this place.

My task is to water everything in the back yard. Yesterday, as I began, an interesting phenomenon took place. Because every square inch has something growing and needing moisture, I began to slow down and pay attention. I drew closer to the foliage and adjusted the spray for gentler output. I began noticing the individual plants and how they had been juxtaposed with one another in a confident, casual way.

Then, an amazing thing happened. The names began coming back! I had not remembered those marvelous names for years. Solomon’s seal, lavender, columbine, bleeding heart, hosta, sedum, clematis and on and on. I’m sure if you had been there you’d have thought I’d lost my mind. I was having a silent conversation with each plant as I moved down the side of the house to the back. I was so pleasantly surprised to find those names in the jungle of my aging mind. Soon, I began to recall some of the gardens I had nurtured or visited. As I watered the vegetables, I remembered my German grandmother’s Northern Saskatchewan garden of root vegetables, cabbage and endless rows of peas and beans. I was always allowed to pick peas, strip them out of the pods and eat them while standing between the rows and soaking up sunlight. I can recall the pungent smells even now.

My mother always had a garden when we lived in Winnipeg. I remember protective caragana hedges surrounding yards and creating a gentler environment for iris, cotoneaster shrubs, bachelor buttons, daisies, Icelandic poppies, alyssum, petunias and the beloved hardy species of flowering almond, all tough-as-nails plants. Of course, everywhere were lilacs in mauve, purple and sometimes white. Perhaps because she remembered endless hours of back-breaking weeding in my grandmother’s half-acre,

Mom rarely grew vegetables. After the long, brutal winters had passed, we visited market gardens and sometimes even started our own plants in March to be put out after danger of frost had passed. Gardening was a blood sport on the prairies!

When Paul and I moved to BC, I knew I had arrived in a garden paradise. I had never gardened in a mountainous, semi-arid climate such as Princeton, but after settling in, I began to get the hang of it. My first delight was finding that the ancient hedge growing against the front fence of our little rented house was a variety of prolific yellow rose, and we happened to be experiencing an exceptional year. For nearly a month, we delighted in a riot of yellow. On my walks with the dog and cat, I watched for balsam root – I called them sunflowers, lupine, penstemon and one incredible day, I found an exotic bitter root growing under a ponderosa pine.

I always knew that gardening is good for a person, affording healthy exercise. I even had a tentative grip on the idea that it was good for the soul. The surprise was to discover that I had not lost the names of the plants. My mind and my spirit were enjoying delight and harmony and that made for a very, very good day.

I hope I never forget.

 

Just Posted

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read