Boo! (and boo hoo hoo, too)

Great pumpkins arose out of the sincerest pumpkin patch again this Halloween, this time for the last time.  The boulevard is continuing its mystical transmutation into a pollinator playground, and Sheryl, the magical pumpkin carver, is ending a great run of displays.  Time and space have run out, just like they will run out for all of us some day!  R.I.P. great pumpkins!

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Spring Pickings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Oregano 

Where: Fair Field (face the house, & look to the right of the steps); Annex (north-easterly corner, b/w the curvy path & the hedge)

Why: Add to sauces, soups, salads, whatever – fresh or after drying on your window sill

How: Just pluck or pinch off some leaves. Crush a leaf b/w your fingers and smell it, to confirm you’ve picked the right plant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Chard

Where: Fair Field (middle of the garden, just east of the path)

Why: Mature leaves can be softened in a stir fry, or young leaves tossed in a salad

How: Break off a few leaves. Leave the stalk standing, if you please

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat:  Lemon balm (member of mint family)

Where:  Fair Field (facing the house, look for the bright green shrub to the right of the steps)

Why:  Try crushing a leaf between your fingers, then smell it.  Imagine a few lemony leaves in your favourite summer beverage!

How:  Just pick off some leaves, simple as that!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Blooming chives

Where:  Fair Field (facing the house, look to the left the steps); Annex (hiding near the comfrey plant, on the corner)

Why:  Chives can be chopped (flowers and all), then added to lots of foods

How:  Cut or break stems close to the ground, leaving the roots in place

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Mint 

Where: Fair Field (face the house, look to the left of the steps); Annex (all over the place, especially near the corner of the hedge)

Why: Mojito anyone? Try chewing on a few leaves, just to freshen up!

How: Pick off some leaves, or break off an entire stem


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Rosemary

Where: Fair Field (it’s easy to see the bush reaching over the curb, not far from the bus stop)

Why: Use “leaves” and flowers (but not woody stems or branches), fresh or dried, as a tasty spice (especially with turkey)

How:  Ideally, you’d use snips to chop off a branch, overhanging the curb.  Or, break off new shoots near the end of a branch.

Gardening 101!

Jeff de JongThis weekend, Jeff de Jong and I chatted about boulevard gardening on his CFAX radio show, Gardening 101. If you’d like to hear it, click here , look for “Gardening 101 – Hr 1 – April 29, ’17”, and then click the play icon (which looks like an arrow in a circle, with the words “Audio Cut” beside it).

Thanks to Jeff for inviting me onto his show! It was a lot of fun, talking about street-side gardening.  In Jeff’s words:  “Let’s get out there, and let’s get growing!”

What the Hay?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlowers in December?! What the hay! This is Victoria “winter”.

Over the weekend, I replenished the leaf mulch in the Fair Field, and the cedar mulch along the path. Next I added almost a bail of straw as a top-layer, to complete a thick winter blanket.

With snow in the forecast, we might see a blanket of white by morning. Until then, enjoy the yellow calendula!

Spring Strawberries!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat:  Strawberries!

Where:  Fair Field & Haultain Annex (look around the edges of the gardens, and under those distinctive leaves, and you might find a few)

Why:  Is there anything sweeter than a freshly-picked strawberry, still warm from the sun?!

How:  Break off the berry just above its little ‘hat’; eat the berry, and toss the hat back into the garden (it’s not littering, it’s mulching!)

City of Gardens!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s official! City Council has unanimously adopted a set of Boulevard Gardening Guidelines! Almost 2 years ago, guidelines were adopted, but only on an interim basis. These new guidelines are for good, and City Bylaws will soon be amended to match. Boulevard gardening is no longer taboo, no longer merely tolerated, but actively encouraged by City Hall. If you are interested in gardening street-side, please give the Boulevard Gardening Guidelines a careful read. Many thanks to Mayor and Council, City staff, and all those who helped grow the guidelines from the ground-up!

Quiet Riot!

After a mild winter, the Haultain Annex and the Fair Field are popping with street greens! A riotous street-side plant party!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Arugula 

Where: Haultain Annex (near the corner of the hedge); Fair Field (close to the bus stop)

Why: Leaves and white flowers can be dropped into a stir fry, or added to salads

How: Break off what you need, there’s plenty! Leave the plant standing, if you please

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Chard

Where: Haultain Annex (Asquith side, close to the sidewalk); Fair Field (east end)

Why: Leaves can be chopped into a stir fry, or added to salads

How: Break off a few leaves. Leave the stalk standing, if you please

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Oregano 

Where: Haultain Annex (north-easterly corner, b/w the curvy path & the hedge); Fair Field (face the house, & look to the right of the steps)

Why: Add to sauces, soups, salads, whatever – fresh or after drying on your window sill

How: Just pluck or pinch off some leaves

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Mint 

Where: Haultain Annex (north end); Fair Field (face the house, look to the left of the steps)

Why: Mojito anyone? Try chewing on a few leaves, just to freshen up!

How: Pick off some leaves, or break off an entire stem

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Borage

Where: Haultain Annex and Fair Field (here, there, and everywhere)

Why: Fuzzy blue flowers taste like cucumber, and look great in salads

How: Just pluck off some flowers to take home, or pop ’em in your mouth!

Blueberry buds!

BlueberryBlueberry budsIt’s still winter, but the blueberries are budding!  A bit exciting, the warm weather.  A bit frightening, the climate chaos.  Today I’ll look on the sunny bright side, and thank the Haultain Annex for her abundance (and thanks to Cindy Dunphy for the pix)!

Pumpkin Party!

On the Haultain Common on Halloween, out popped a pumpkin patch! Sheryl Shermak, her mom, and other artistic folk had carved more pumpkin art than a troll could shake a stick at! Many thanks from the Haultain Common to those who did such wondrous work, and to those who came by to see the show!  See  it below!

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Fall Feast!

Some wet weather has arrived, and together with some warm sun, the Haultain Annex is popping with street greens!  Get ’em while they’re fresh!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Sage

Where: West side of the Haultain Annex, near the middle of the garden

Why:  Leaves can be chopped into holiday stuffing

How: Pluck a leaf, sniff it to confirm you’ve found sage, then pluck some more!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Arugula 

Where: Haultain Annex, near the corner of the hedge

Why: Leaves and white flowers can be chopped into a stir fry, or added to salads

How: Break off what you need, there’s plenty!  Leave the roots in the ground, if you can

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: French Sorrel

Where: West side of the Haultain Annex, between the path and the hedge

Why: Leaves can be chopped into a stir fry

How: Break off some leaves from around the outer edge of the plant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Kale 

Where: Northwest corner of the Annex, here and there

Why: Leaves and yellow flowers can be chopped into a stir fry, or added to salads

How: Break off what you need from around the outer edge of the plant

Green Tea!

On Sunday August 24, Margot Johnston and Rainey Hopewell hosted a tea party on the Haultain Common.  A month earlier, Victoria City Council had adopted a set of Interim Boulevard Gardening Guidelines to support and guide boulevard plantings. It was high time to celebrate over high tea!  City Councillors Ben Isitt, Geoff Young, and Lisa Helps dropped by.  A few street greens also presented themselves…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Goji berries!

Where: Big bushes right in the middle of the Common.  You can’t miss ’em!

Why: Ripe berries are great in yogurt, smoothies or all on their own

How: Look for the biggest, brightest berries you can find.  If under-ripe, they’re a bit bitter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat:  Perennial arugula

Where:  Just west of the goji berry bushes, close to the sidewalk

Why:  Spicy greens for salads

How:  Break off some leaves, simple as that!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat: Borage

Where:  Here, there and everywhere (in the Common, the Annex, and the Fair Field)

Why:  Blue flowers look great in salads, and taste like cucumber

How:  Just pluck off some flowers to take home, or pop ’em in your mouth!

Summer Picnic!

What:  BlOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAooming chives

Where:  Fair Field (facing the house, look to the left or right of the steps)

Why:  Green stems can be chopped and added to lots of foods, like potato salad

How:  Cut or break stems close to the ground, leaving the roots in place

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat:  Lemon balm leaves (member of mint family)

Where:  Fair Field (facing the house, look for the biggest bush to the right of the steps)

Why:  Try crushing a few lemony leaves in your favourite summer beverage!

How:  Just pick off some leaves, simple as that!

 

WOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhat:  Peppermint leaves

Where:  Fair Field (facing the house, look to the left of the steps)

Why:  Mint julip anyone?  Try chewing on a few leaves, just to freshen up!

How:  Just pick off some leaves, simple as that!

Ready to Harvest!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat:  Tuscan kale leaves

Where:  Fair Field (close to bus stop, near the curb)

Why:  Add leaves to soup or stir fry, or massage them with olive oil then add to salad

How:  Break off a few leaves from the outside of a bunch, taking care not to damage the stem

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What:  Oregano leaves and flowers

Where:  Fair Field (face the house, & look to the right of the steps)

Why:  Add to sauces, soups, salads, whatever – fresh or after drying on your window sill

How:  Ideally, use a knife or scissors to cut off a stem, including leaves and flowers

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What:  Strawberries!

Where:  Fair Field (look around, you might find one)

Why:  Sweet and tasty!

How:  Break off the berry just above its little ‘hat’; eat the berry, and toss the hat back into the garden (it’s not littering, it’s mulching!)