The Garden Continues – FineGardening

Today we’re visiting with Kim Herdman in Williams Lake, British Columbia. We’ve visited her beautiful garden before (Gardening Through Intense Weather). She’s been going through a difficult time, but her garden has been a source of solace.

man sitting in a chair next to a windowThe last few years have thrown everything at the garden and life. Michael succumbed to his disease in 2022, which left a hole in my heart. He was my gardening partner and another pair of hands to water, or plan, or enjoy the pictures he so loved to take.

dog in a kitchenTo help fill the void of Michael, I have a new soulmate—Hamish! He is keeping busy ensuring that all manner of life force is not in his territory! He has worn a path by the side of the fence chasing deer and is keeping the ever-growing population of rabbits out. He also ensures that this is a no-fly zone for the birds! Definitely takes his job seriously. I have to accept that the garden is not going to be all I want it to be with him in the family.

three raised garden beds surrounded by flowersI was having trouble keeping up with all the yard myself, so I thought that veggie boxes would be helpful. Some kind friends helped build me three boxes, and I think they are really going to be great as I get into the groove of what to plant in them. Every year it gets harder to know what will cope with the conditions. I did find these boxes easier to water and weed last year. I also think if I have to use shade cloth or netting, the boxes will be much less troublesome for me.densely planted garden with lots of flowers and a couple small treesThe winter of 2022/23 was all over condition wise; there was a long fall with no frost, which helped me to get all the bulbs planted, as I was very slo-mo—still in recovery mode from the blood clots of 2021. One day I was planting tulips and the temperature was 20°C, and the next morning I woke up to –15°C. The abrupt change caused the death of my hand-raised maple that was just starting to offer much-needed shade to the hot yard. Also, the apple tree suffered fire blight, which kept coming back even after pruning. So last summer both trees were cut down.

lots of pink and yellow flowers blooming in the gardenThe void of the apple tree is felt, but the area is still full of flowers.

close up of pink and yellow flowers in the gardenEvery year after the extreme temperature fluctuations we think that there is going to be nothing coming up, and every year the garden shows us how resilient life is.

densely planted garden with lots of pink flowersThere are more and more self-seeders that plant themselves merrily everywhere. I am really becoming a fan of the different alliums, which bloom for so long and don’t ask for much (they seem to be very dependable and tough) as well as all the different sedums, which are tough as nails.

close up of large white flowers with an array of flowers behindClimate change and all its effects keep throwing wrenches. The long summer of drought made it necessary to spend lots of time in the garden watering. After the heat dome of 2021, the soil seems like it has been scorched of all its life, so it has been an ongoing challenge to feed it with compost and horse manure and mulch that never seems to be enough.

view of garden from covered porchBut through all the challenges the garden continues to be a source of peace, enjoyment, health, and communion with friends and strangers alike!


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