Hello, friends. We’re in Vancouver! For me, being on the West Coast in August means a bounty of local fruit: blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and blackberries, in particular. My parents live near a stretch of the Fraser River and its banks are dense with wild blackberry bushes (also crabapples, snowberries, and apparently salmonberries, though I haven’t seen any of those). See what I mean?
Every time we go for a walk, we end up having a blackberry snack. If we ever manage to pick more than we eat on the spot, I’m planning to make a batch of blackberry freezer jelly.
The bounty isn’t limited to fruit, of course. I’ve long admired the community garden plots built along some 11 km of disused railway tracks on Vancouver’s west side. The gardens are charming, aesthetically diverse, and bursting with life. They’re an annual inspiration for our own gardens, and a lovely reminder of what we’ll return to. They’re also now now under an eviction notice: CP Rail is planning to raze them, as part of a dispute with the City of Vancouver.
The wrangling could go on for a long time yet. Before anything else happens, here are some shots of the Arbutus Community Garden plots along East Boulevard.
This is the most elaborate and established-looking of the plots. Its bulletin board advertises “the world in a garden”, offering garden shares to interested locals and organic gardening workshops for children. Their shed is a thing of beauty!
We’ve been talking about building a hoop house, like these gardeners are doing:
You cover it with sheets of polythene, like so:
And it becomes a miniature, morphable greenhouse. I’m ridiculously excited at the prospect of extending our growing season. We also saw growing frames made of old bicycle wheels:
While I love the way it looks, I’m not diligent enough to camouflage a water drum:
And sometimes, the temperate West Coast climate makes me sigh with envy. Look: grapes!
The lighting is terrible in this shot, but please believe me when I say that these gardeners are actually growing kiwi. Kiwi! They’ve trained the slender tree trunk to crawl horizontally atop their fence.
Finally, after an afternoon’s hard work, these gardeners can relax and admire their heap of freshly picked beets.
I’m only in the city for a week or two each year, but I would be so sorry to see these gardens go. Let’s hope CP Rail and the City of Vancouver sort themselves out and do what’s best for the community in general.