Mail-order tree
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Mail-order tree

This morning, my doorbell rang, and a man handed me an apple tree. I’d ordered it from the local nursery and been surprised to learn that they could deliver it by mail. Now it is sitting in my kitchen, all wrapped in brown paper with red cotton stitching at the top like a bag of…

High hopes
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High hopes

A kid in a candy shop – there I stood in front of the rack of flower seeds. Any of them would look spectacular in my garden. Decisions, decisions. But really there was no contest – sunflowers were the obvious choice. Tall. Tenacious. Irresistibly cheerful. They would stand rustically elegant in front of the cedar…

Pigweed Prayers
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Pigweed Prayers

I really would like to have “just the right number” of dandelions in my lawn. And I’d like to exert this control with organic, non-chemical means. But if I succeed, I may find that I still have a problem: No hyssop growing in the cracks of the sidewalk. The Hebrews apparently were more tolerant of…

The very hungry caterpillar
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The very hungry caterpillar

Most people think of gardening as a nurturing sort of activity, forgetting that gardeners must also ruthlessly defend their crops from creeping green invaders. My bloodthirsty gardener instincts are in full force when invasive weeds (such as creeping bellflower) or creepy-crawly pests (like the caterpillar of the white cabbage butterfly) threaten to devour my brussels…

Let it be
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Let it be

When I was a child in Wisconsin, we could see the snow swirling like waves over the bare surface of Harvey Prinsen’s field. It had a certain beauty but it also meant cold. Drifting snow is a common part of almost any Canadian winter. Things are different in the Bulkley Valley of B.C. We have…

Dishabille
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Dishabille

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons (the others are winter, spring and summer). In autumn one can harvest potatoes, carrots, late cabbages, painted corn, hemp, beets, winter squash and more. Summer is a fading memory for me. And autumn has its times of glory, to be sure: when the aspen leaves resemble gold coins….

Roses over the wall

Roses over the wall

This is a good month for roses in my neighbourhood. On our walks, we seem to be continually surprised by the masses of heavy velvet heads framing doorways and gateways, and the lush greenery reaching high against brick walls. The breeze shifts and the fragrance reaches us, sweet, almost nostalgic but fresh and alive, too,…

Drab beauty
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Drab beauty

If you have never lived with bluebirds, you don’t know what you’re missing. Bluebird restoration projects – mostly involving the creation of nesting boxes – are very popular, and for good reason. The bluebird – eastern, western and mountain species – are the hobbits of the songbird nation. When my father “got” a pair of…