Grow Write Guild: Eighteen

The following is my response to the first prompt. It isn’t about my first plant. I decided to go in another direction because I have already written about my first plant and didn’t have anything further to say. Instead, I jumped ahead several years to another time in my life when the impulse to grow

A front steps container garden in the Newtown, a neighbourhood in Roseau, Dominica.

In Search of My Grandmother’s Garden (A Visual Presentation)

This coming Monday I will be giving a presentation to the Parkdale Horticultural Society on my epic December/January 2009/2010 trip to the Caribbean. I’ve assembled a range of images from plants, to food, to some personal insights from all three of the islands we visited. There is a special emphasis on Dominica, in part because

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

When I Was a Young Girl

“But people are always speculating — why am I as I am? To understand that of any person, his whole life, from birth, must be reviewed. All of our experiences fuse into our personality. Everything that ever happened to us is an ingredient.” – Malcolm X. I believe I’ve published that quote before, but it’s


One Life to Live: A Wish List

This post is a little off topic and not exactly related to gardening. Please indulge me as I go off on a completely decadent, shoe-gazing tangent for a moment. Ignoring is also an option. Please also note that I wrote the bulk of this before my birthday last week so the tense is a bit

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

The Requirement to Garden

This is a long one. I suggest you make a cup of tea and a snack before starting. “And now listen carefully. You in others-this is your soul. This is what you are. This is what your consciousness has breathed and lived on and enjoyed throughout your life-your soul, your immortality, your life in others.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Seven Things (Plus some extra fun things at the end)

I’ve been tagged for a meme. I don’t typically do memes and i know this makes me a terrible meme not doer, but I swear my reasons aren’t bitchy, just awkward. For example, this current meme requires that I list seven random things about myself. Dear god, the pressure! On the one hand, I do


In Search of My Grandmother’s Garden

I am doing something big this winter, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. It has sat inside me for years and years as a wish that I never quite believed would happen. Even now, with some of the plane tickets booked, I can barely believe I am really doing this


Now In Colour (For a Limited Time)

Last night, at a party, artist Prashant Miranda painted my tattoo with watercolours. Please go have a look at his journal pages. Prepare to be blown away. Since getting the tattoo last year (drawn by Davin Risk), loads of people have asked me if I am going to get it coloured in. I’m still debating


Gardening Lessons My Grandmother Taught Me (Unintentionally)


I wrote this piece back in February for The Guardian UK, and am now posting it here in its entirety as promised. You can read my preface to it here.

My gardener’s story is atypical. There were no childhood summers frolicking in the garden of a rosy-cheeked matriarch eager to pass on a passion for growing things; however, there was, in fact, a grandmother—a woman who for better or worse certainly left an impression. A woman who taught me about gardening without meaning to, possibly even in spite of herself.

Untitled (A Darker Side to Gardening)

Over the weekend, I decided to read Jamaica Kincaid’s “The Autobiography of My Mother” for the second time. Opening the first page, I notice a note scrawled into the top right hand corner in my own handwriting, “pg 143.” Turning to page 143 I find the following passage underlined: “He had an obsessive interest in

Personal Histories

Phew, that was fast. I put the finishing touches on an article late last night and it is already up on the Guardian website. This one, about the relationship between myself and my maternal grandmother is a bit more personal than usual and I am still getting used to having put it out there. However,

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