Monday, June 9, 2008

The miracle of the transformation

I had the honour a few months ago of being asked if I'd put my garden on the Cabbagetown Tour of Gardens, a fundraiser for the neighbourhood. My immediate response was, "What kind of lunatic do you think I am?" So much work, so much time and money. But when begged, I said yes.  O hubris.  

So my friend Dave Mayers, whose gardening genius has helped shape this long space, and I, set out to spiffy up the yard to Cabbagetown standards. We undertook an ambitious project, to fix up the very end bit, which was a pile of rubble.  But then a good friend of Dave's was hospitalised, and heavy work stopped. A tiny bit of stress resulted for the owner. The first two pictures indicate the state of the end of the garden TWO DAYS before hundreds of people were due to tour it.  This is the advantage of a deadline, which makes you work hard and finish - a message for writers as well as for gardeners.  At the last minute, by dint of ferocious work in what felt like 40 degree heat, Dave and I got the place more or less ready; I was still pruning as visitors were walking up the path. But the response was wonderful.  One woman told me she found this garden 'moving.'  Perhaps she intuited the effort that went into its presentation. 

Gardeners are the best kind of lunatic.  Year ago, I wrote in the Globe and Mail about my dear neighbour Dorothy, who marched into the disastrous pile of weeds and dust back there and got me started.  Dorothy died a few years later.  How I wish she could have seen it yesterday; she would not have believed it.  Step by step, plant by plant, the place bloomed.  She's the one who saw the potential and gave me the first giant push.  Yesterday was dedicated to Dorothy, queen of of the butterfly bush.


  1. Love the transformation!

  2. Thanks, Francey. Is this my cousin? How many Franceys can there be reading my blog? Hey everyone, this is my nice cousin Francey!