In this 1st blog entry for BCBG, let me introduce myself. I’m Sue Fleming, a long time gardener, instructor and garden designer. I am also beginning new roles as a writer and Intergenerational Neighbourhood Garden Coordinator. Blogging is also new; however, I have certainly had lots of practice in talking to myself. Well, hopefully, over all those years spent delivering courses, seminars and meeting with clients in their gardens, someone was listening!
I truly enjoy my roles and have now planted myself in BC, Maple Ridge, more specifically. It is a “small” municipality of about 70,000 people, about 45 minutes east of downtown Vancouver. I now garden on a balcony with a south exposure. I love the sun and, as you probably know, many plants do as well. You may have heard that southern BC gets a lot of rain; so, to have access to as much sun as possible seemed like a really good thing to me.
In Ontario, I previously had 3 very different gardens. I’m not counting our first home as I had 2 babies there and was working full-time, I don’t remember having time for anything other than helping to cut the grass and planting a few annuals. I did have fun playing in the yard with the kids, though.
My 1st ‘real” garden was an acre of land that had a ready-made compost bin, partly dug vegetable patch, a large clump of raspberries, many large trees and a field of grass. Luckily, my husband was happy to take the riding mower around the “lawn” to keep it looking good. It was a good walk down to the beach. We were on one of the many lakes in Sudbury and spent many hours swimming in it and skiing or skating on it.
The fun was having all that space! The challenge was to figure out what to do with it and how to afford it. I added a strawberry bed, planted many bulbs and perennials, tried various vegetables and was ready to build a greenhouse and carry on when we had to move.
We went to southern Ontario where there was work for both of us. I spent 10 years in garden centres and other places such as Cruickshank’s Store in Oakville, and did interior plant maintenance (read -> watering houseplants) in offices and a mall. I learned a lot over those years. That was when I started doing design work as well. It was such fun having other people’s gardens to work with. Every one was a new adventure!
Our own 2nd garden was fairly small as the large house took up a fair amount of the city-sized lot. I did plant many unusual plants over the years and I’ll admit, a few of them died. Well, as gardeners, we’re not happy unless we push the limits a bit, eh?
So, that’s all for today. I hope to bring a new idea, plant, story, suggestion or question here every week.
I hope you enjoy taking this new journey with me!