More favourite West End places

My little stint of pretending to live in the West End is over. Back to my more familiar East Van turf. I’ll miss places and views like these. The gardens are under the Burrard Bridge. I think it must require a pretty expert gardener to make such a shady spot come to life like this. I’d love to meet whoever is responsible. I don’t think this garden is a community garden in the way that I normally define it (i.e a place where members of the public tend a plot and grow food) but it is open to the public, and I believe created and managed by one person – not sure. Like I said, would love to meet whoever that person or group is.

West End placemaking

I noticed several borders and containers planted with flower seeds along Bute Street, just south of Davie the other day. I took note in part because I rarely do well with flower seeds planted directly in the ground, but that may be because my garden plot is a 10-15 minute walk from where I live, so I tend not to water newly planted seeds as often as they need it. I’d like to keep an eye on these spots to see how they do. I so appreciate it when people make this kind of effort to dress up and add points of interest to walking routes.

Another nice placemaking effort in the same area….seems like something Sharon Kallis might have been involved in.

Update: two more points of suprise and whimsy. These birdhouses. Do some birds like and use these, I wonder? Hope so.

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And these little tree-dwellers…

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While I’m often skeptical of placemaking efforts (a topic I’ll have to tackle in another post) encountering mini art installations like these always makes me smile…Another benefit of them that has only just occurred to me is that they reward paying attention to your immediate surroundings rather than keeping eyes down on phone.

2015 Food

Some of the food I’ve made (or grown) so far this year…

The year that was in flowers

My favourites of 2014, including ones I grew: my first rose, my first hollyhock, my first hydrangea, as well as sweet peas, gladioli, peonies, clematis, nasturtiums, cornflowers and zinnia (though not all shown). Others seen by the road, in gardens or bought.

The year that was in food

I wanted to cook more in 2014. I did. Here’s the food I made or grew and remembered to photograph…

Gardens project

A few years ago when I first got a plot in a community garden, I was looking for easy ways to build raised beds. I started poking around the various gardens for ideas. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking how fun it would be to team up with a photographer and put together a coffee table type of book that features all the community gardens in Vancouver. The book would be a visual feast and also tell an important story about Vancouver, its community gardeners, and the role of the gardens. I picture a double-page spread on each garden that would include something about its origins and history, and stories or interviews with the gardeners. Something that would appeal to both local gardeners and ecotourist types.

Depending on how you define the term, there are are now about 90 community gardens in the City of Vancouver (according to this list). And I don’t think that  includes gardens that are more “guerrilla” style, or boulevards and traffic circles that have been taken over by neighbours. So, it could be quite a thick book – and an expensive one, given the cost of printing full-colour photos. The number of gardens would also make it a time-consuming project.

16 Oaks Organic Community Garden at 16th & Oak

As an alternative to the book idea, I’ve also thought about visiting each of the gardens and documenting  them all on a dedicated blog. Someone did a similar thing for Vancouver Public Library branches a while back, but I think that blog is dead. I would like to see pictures of all the city’s amazing community gardens gathered together. Many of the individual gardens have their own websites, but not all – and there’s something that appeals to me about collecting and presenting the photos and stories together in one place.

So, one part of this new blog of mine is going to be a start on that project, with no firm promises of finishing.