Gardening, kindness, Walking

“Exposed to the Public” Gardens

It is my humble opinion that people who have “exposed to the public” gardens are usually very kind people. They enjoy sharing their beauty and efforts with passersby.

I came across this little crocus growing near a sidewalk in a front yard garden yesterday and it brightened my day.

We are new to the city, so I spent much of the winter scoping out front yard gardens in our new neighbourhood to revisit in the growing season. When I am walking with my husband and we come across what looks to be an exceptional one, I always say “Put this one in your GPS!”

Unfortunately we are – for the most part – hopelessly inept at technology, so putting it in our GPS usually means memorizing where we found it, rather than the much more sensible method of “pinning it”. We try to pin it, but things go awry more often than not. Go ahead and roll your eyes. It is what it is.

Last spring we were still in our rental in a different corner of the city. My walking has always been of the flaneur nature. I just wander where the whim takes me. One day I came across the most incredible garden to date.

A cut-through pathway went past a low picket fence that revealed a massive backyard. It was early spring but the landscape was awash with early blooming bulbs. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. Unfortunately, I was walking solo and had only my own brain to enter the GPS into. I hadn’t even brought my phone, being of a generation where packing a phone continues to be more of an afterthought than a reflex.

It took a month of walking before I found the garden again. It became an obsession. When asked what my plans were for a free day, it was always, “Find that garden!” I knew the general area, but that was about it. In a city of this size, a “general area” isn’t much help.

Then one day – oh, one glorious memorable day – I stumbled across it yet again. It was like finding the Lost Lemon Gold Mine or The Ring. I practically fell on my knees and wept, “My precious! My precious!”

By this time the first wave of blooms had faded and the next were just beginning. A large water feature was attracting a wild amount of birds. As I stood there gaping over the fence, the homeowner appeared, pruners in hand.

Shy and introverted by nature, I nonetheless blurted out my story of finding, losing and finding her garden once again, hoping I wasn’t alarming her.

She laughed and waved her pruners dismissively through the air.

“We are used to it. Whenever we have visitors over to the house, they’ll stand at our kitchen window and tell us they keep seeing different women at our back fence, peering into our yard and I tell them, “Oh, those are just my husband’s girlfriends!”

A beautiful garden and a quirky sense of humour!

This time I carefully tracked the location and it was the destination of one of my final farewell walks before we bought the house we now live in.

A glimpse of the “Lost Garden”. This doesn’t do it justice. I am terrible at both taking pictures and remembering to pack my phone so I can take a picture. But it gives you an idea of the scope of it all.

Spring is upon us once again and I am hoping to find an equivalent garden – or better yet multiple gardens – to visit.

In the meantime, I am working hard on our own front yard garden. I hope passersby come to enjoy it as much as I enjoy creating it.

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