Gardening Helps Set Down Westside Roots
Gardeners in most parts of Canada traditionally consider May 24 as the date when they can safely say the risk of frost is over and it’s time to plant their gardens. A long, snowy winter and cool, wet spring mean that many gardeners in B.C. shared that sentiment this year. Now that temperatures are pushing into the 20s, many homeowners are keen to get growing.
Creating or caring for a garden is a great way to put down roots in a new location. A home with a yard gives lots of scope for those with a green thumb or willing to hire someone to handle landscaping. A balcony or patio has its own opportunities. Then there are community garden plots, for those who don’t have a balcony or prefer a more social experience.
Depending on the size and orientation of your yard, a few square feet can often be set aside for flowers and vegetables. A friend of mine has a shady front yard but nevertheless turned it into a rock garden. My own parents used the strip of soil alongside their house for marigolds and peppers. Heat reflected from the wall made up for a lack of direct sunlight.
Working with a landscaper, even greater things are possible as you tailor the arrangement of plants to the conditions of your own property – and of course, your own personal preferences in terms of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Balconies and patios
Balconies and patios area ideal locations for container gardens. While many of us are content with a pot of herbs, some people ambitiously plant tomatoes or even fruit trees (if they’ve got enough space enough and the right exposure). Hanging baskets and planter boxes with flowers (including edible ones) along the edge of the balcony or patio are also options, providing both ornamentation and a modest defense of domestic privacy. Garden shops and nurseries are happy to provide advice on what will work best. Many participate in the B.C. Landscape and Nursery Association’s Plant Something initiative that encourages people to put their green thumbs to work.
Community gardens are so popular that many have waiting lists for two years or more. Demand has prompted Vancouver to create more spaces but, even so, not everyone can have their own allotment. Still, for those who don’t have space at home, applying for one is a first step towards mucking around in the soil and cultivating something you can call your own.
The most accessible Westside Vancouver community gardens are located in the Arbutus corridor, and include,
- 1st and Fir Railway Garden
- Pine Street Community Garden
- Cypress Community Garden
- Maple Community Garden
- Kitsilano Community Garden
A number of allotment gardens also exist at housing developments and for private organizations. Vancouver city staff maintain a map of locations for those seeking more information.