You may remember that last year my husband Dave in an attempt to relive his childhood on a tomato farm in Leamington Ontario planted tomatoes in an outdoor garden box near our home. His plants were lush and fruitful but he didn’t get to eat any of its products because our neighbors, workers in nearby offices, and Exchange District visitors kept picking them before he could. This year he came up with a new idea. He would plant two plants outside and have two plants in pots in our condo just in front of our sunny livingroom window. Both his outside and inside plants are loaded with lovely tomatoes and we have been eating the ones on the indoor plants. Dave has already spotted a few of the tomatoes from his outdoor plants ripening on the window ledges in offices nearby. It seems Dave’s new plan is a winner! We get tomatoes and so do other tomato lovers in our neighborhood.
Checking Up on the Guerilla Gardener
I’m Married to a Guerilla
Finally a Ripe Tomato
Last Friday my friend Esther told me she was going to take me to what she thought was the most beautiful park in Winnipeg. It’s called Peanut Park and true to Esther’s word it was a lovely little green space. There are nice benches to sit in all around the park. Many of them have been donated in the memory of loved ones. The park is also filled with special flowerbeds. Each is unique. There is a rose garden, a ‘white’ garden, a butterfly garden and herb garden, two blended gardens and a deep shade garden.
Most of the gardens are dedicated to people as well. We met a man out walking his Yorkshire Terriers in Peanut Park and my friend Esther who used to have two Yorkies herself just had to pet them. As she engaged in friendly conversation with their owner we discovered he lived nearby and was one of an organized group of citizens called Friends of Peanut Park who had helped make the park into such a beautiful space. He told us that although initially, the citizens themselves did lots of work to care for the park, now they have two fundraising events every year which allows them to pay for a professional gardener to look after things. Their neighborhood group has planted dozens of maple, crabapple and lilac trees to replace trees that have died and dead grassy areas have been restored with new sod. Many local residents have made private donations that have helped to create the six raised flower beds and install the winding limestone path through the park. A sign in one of the flower beds led me to a website that told me more about the park’s history and what the Friends of Peanut Park organization has accomplished since they formed in 2007. The park which originally was named for Charles Enderton, a real estate agent and land developer, is over a hundred years old but by 2005 had become an eyesore, full of weeds, dying trees, overgrown paths, broken benches, and a dilapidated playground. People who lived near the park got together and asked a landscape architect to come up with a vision for the park. At their request and supplemented by some of the money the group had raised, the City of Winnipeg installed proper drainage, added picnic tables, built a new playground and readied the flower beds for planting.
Peanut Park is bordered by Harvard and Yale Avenues, Ruskin Row and Avonherst Street. My friend Esther and I walked up and down some neighboring streets admiring all the stately heritage homes that surround the park. I’d love to go back to the park sometime for a picnic and I am wondering how the park got the nickname Peanut Park. Have you been to Peanut Park? What did you think of it? How do you think it got its name?
A Quick Visit to Assiniboine Park
The Park at the End of the Bridge
Welcome to Our Amazing Neighborhood
Filed under Nature, Winnipeg
Filed under Family, Nature
One of the things my Dad and I found on his bookshelf during our downsizing efforts in his apartment was this old Mennonite Hymnal that belonged to my mother. My mother was a talented pianist and I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that in her lifetime she played for literally hundreds of funerals, weddings, church services and music performances starting when she was a young girl and she would accompany her parents when they sang duets in church. The cover and spine of my Mom’s hymnal were tattered and threadbare, a testament to its frequent use. On the flyleafs of the hymnal were long lists of hymns. Mom referred to these lists while playing a succession of pieces during preludes and postludes before and after weddings, funerals and church services and during the serving of communion. Mom had an amazing musical ear and will have played most of these from memory. One of the hymns she has listed is In the Bulb There is A Flower. It was one of Mom’s very favorite hymns and we sang it at her funeral. It talks about how nature teaches us there is new life just waiting to burst forth from seeds, cocoons, and bulbs and how in our own lives there is always the opportunity to explore, to hope, to believe in new and better things to come. I used Mom’s hymnal this week as I was picking the songs for the worship service I will lead this coming Sunday morning and at the page, for In the Bulb There is a Flower I found a leaf with a beautiful pattern of veins, that Mom must have placed there to press at some point. It was a lovely reminder of my mother’s appreciation for the lessons nature has to teach us.
In the bulb, there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree
In cocoons a hidden promise, butterflies will soon be free
In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see. – by Natalie Sleeth
Dad’s Treasures- Part 1
Dad’s Treasures- Part 2
God of Eve and God of Mary
I spent the first two official days of summer at a beautiful cottage at Brereton Lake. As I wandered in the yard where my friend has all kinds of lovely wild and cultivated flowers growing I was reminded of a verse from the Song of Songs. “Flowers appear on the earth. The season of singing has come.”
Flowers are the music of the earth. – Marty Rubin
Wild Flower Inspiration- Moose Lake
A Walk Down Selkirk in Lilac Time
At the Three Gorges Dam. I am furthest to the left.
When I visited the Three Gorges Dam site in China I discovered this sculpture showing farmers wrestling. It was meant to depict how for thousands of years farmers have had to fight the flooding waters of the Yangtze. I immediately thought of that art piece in China when I saw….. this artwork at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is called Farmer is A Wrestler. It was created by Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. It is part of the current Vision Exchange exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The artists wanted to show the struggle it is to farm in India today. In an interview, they talk about the crippling debt of many farmers in the Punjab region in northern India and how their financial crisis has sometimes led to the farmers’ committing suicide.
The sculpture I saw in China was related to the Yangtze River. In their installation, Thukral and Tagra have included light fixtures that echo the shape of the River Beas which flows through the state of Punjab.
I’ve written before about how new texts become meaningful when we can connect them to previous texts we have experienced. The installation Farmer is a Wrestler took on new meaning for me when I thought about the similar artwork I had seen in another Asian country.
Now We’ve Been to Sister Cities
Three Gorges Yangtze River Project
What plant we in this apple tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May wind’s restless wings
When from the orchard row she pours
Her fragrance through our open doors
– from The Planting of the Apple Tree by William Cullen Bryant
Last Sunday friends invited us over for lunch. The apple tree in their back yard was in spectacular bloom. We had our delicious naan pizza in their sunroom right next to that glorious tree. I couldn’t get enough of it and neither could the cadre of bees that were enjoying the tree’s sweetness.
Apple Trees in Bloom at Giverny 1900-1901 Claude Monet
At the Apple Orchard in Leamington
A Kiwi A Day
Without Him We Might Not Even Recognize the Name Monet
Filed under Nature, Poetry