Friday, 24 January 2014

Beginning Again

It has been quite a while since I’ve written, and I am actually so surprised I remembered my password to login. Making the time to write, something I think of as a gift to myself, lost priority this year to the running of businesses and caring for a home and family. More than once I have wondered why we keep up this crazy notion that running two businesses at the same time is a good idea, but it is hard to imagine life without both of them in it.


The doubts and constant soul searching that comes with being an entrepreneur, and a completely self taught one at that, creep in constantly. In a seasonal business like landscaping, when winter feels like it will never end, I find myself worrying what the next season will bring. Will I have amazing clients like last year, will I be challenged, how is the industry truly doing, will I be able to pay the bills, will the bees come back, will I finally make time for tomatoes…

Bachelor's Buttons blooming all summer…one of the few bees we had can be seen nestled in a flower

Nepeta…perhaps a garden's best friend

I am so grateful to report that last spring and summer was a truly amazing season for us. My baby, Stone and Maple Landscpaing, had the opportunity to work with truly wonderful, interesting and inspiring people. We began in the spring teaching a group of volunteers in a three week landscaping program partnered with a not-for-profit daycare centre. A cedar pergola and sandbox was constructed for the children, and our volunteers learned valuable skills, the most important I think being the value of giving and the happiness that working with your hands can bring. I will never forget the last day of the project, as three tough looking guys with tears in their eyes stood watching the kids play in the sandbox for the first time. Priceless.

Found a new geranium at the garden centre…she's so pretty
Chamomile left to self seed

The rest of the summer was a whirlwind. At home inspiration came from that April ice storm. So many branches destined for the fire pit made their way instead into the beginning of a hugelculture garden. The plum trees bloomed, the cherries tried, a carpet of chamomile swept under the apples. I waited for bees. I cursed the mustard garlic pulling it out by the wheelbarrowfull. I planted peas, lettuce and spinach with my sweet Julia, watched in amazement at the progression of the raspberry patch. The old apple tree bloomed. The redbud bloomed, I sat in my wicker swing and meditated on its beauty. I sat grateful everyday for the spring rains, plants that struggled last year burst forth with flower. 

All the world becomes right again after a few moments spent in the swing...

Our youngest daughter Julia and my best garden helper! 

The glorious blue spires of baptisia, luscious peonies, iris, lilac, and the tiny white bells of Deautzia Chardonnay Pearls and Bridal Bush. Bachelors buttons, calendula and daisy erupted everywhere. The clematis was a riot of pink, nepeta Walker’s Low was a froth of lilac/ Carl Foester was stately, but Miscanthus and Pennisteum were sadly missing. 

We watched and waited for the bees. 

Chives, rhubarb and comfrey in the herb garden

Beautiful blue baptisia 

I pulled more mustard garlic. The hedge of comphrey was a magnificant show, I left it to flower for the bees. A few came, but not the hundreds that used to swarm the comfrey flowers, falling asleep in a contented, drunken state to be found asleep every morning snuggled in the blossoms.

I watched Julia play in the garden, marvel at the size of the rhubarb, sit quietly by the pond, play with frogs, run through the stone pathways and gather bouquets of dandelions. She waited for the butterflies.

In the shade gardens the hostas grew, mingling with Solomon’s Seal, hydrangea, geranium and masterwort. Ajuga spread under the boxwoods, jacob’s ladder and brunnera created a sea of palest blue under the japanese maples.

The sweet scent of Miss Kim lilac perfumed the yard for days on end
Clematis finally taking off this year, I thank the spring rains
I added more herb beds and promised myself that I would valiantly make the effort to take care of my vegetable garden, whose fate is very similar to that of this blog. Additional work and maintenance began for two of our favourite long-standing clients at their cottage; a drainage problem was remedied and a new garden was created for Pauline, one of our very first clients, and as such holds a special place in our hearts. We spent a few days on spring maintenance at the Utilities Kingston Water Conversation Garden then spent time throughout the summer working with the summer’s garden intern, another sweet, creative, hard working Julia, who was an absolute joy to be with. 

We worked again with Utilities Kingston to design and install Phase 1 of a water conversation garden, this time at the King Street Water Treatment Plant in Kingston. Everyone we worked with on this project was so truly kind, passionate and supportive of this project, it was a true pleasure. This segued into a three week build of retaining walls during the hottest part of the summer. Our client Tom was a dream to work with, and he made sure he kept us well watered and filled with gingerale as we struggled in the heat and humidity. But it hurt, my muscles ached for weeks and my body reminded my daily that I was definitely not even close to being 29 anymore.

That segued into the bioswale installation in Kingston, which I confess is one of my most rewarding experiences, for many reasons.

Echinacea and switchgrass dancing in the bioswale

Summer gave way to fall, then winter and Christmas and finally this ice locked January where I sit in my snow pants at the keyboard trying to warm body and soul.

1 comment:

  1. So pleased you are Beginning Again. Loving all the above photos...spring coming soon? Sure it is ;-)