I’ll be heading your way next week to do a garden craft segment on the new HGTV craft show “She’s Crafty.” I was able to have dinner with a bunch of You Grow Girl readers and members last time I was in Vancouver 2 years ago so I thought it would be good to do the same this time around, albeit a little less formal.
When: Tues. Feb 5, 2008.
Where: Rhizome Cafe
317 East Broadway, Vancouver (Main and Broadway area)
I’m trying to make this as informal and easy as possible. Basically, how this is going to work is that I plan to hang out in the cafe for 2 hours drinking delicious coffee and eating snacks (so that all the caffeine doesn’t make me jittery and nuts). Stop by for five minutes or come for the duration. It’s your call. Bring any seeds you’d like to trade!
Envelopes filled with cash money will also be accepted.
The exciting thing about traveling within my own country, besides the fact that it is my duty as a Canadian or some such, AND besides NOT having to stand in a grueling customs line at the airport explaining my reason for travel blah blah blah, is that I can bring seeds on the plane with me to trade AND I can bring some home too. It’s probably a good thing (both in terms of protecting our planet’s ecology and my wallet) that I am legally forced to enact a Look, Don’t Touch and Definitely No Bringing Anything Back policy when I travel into the U.S, but all of that withholding sure is painful. Anyways, all of this to say Bring Your Extra Seeds!!
See you next week.
I wrote a while back about a body of photographic work I am slowly building called Green Minds Project.
A quick recap:
Green Minds is a portrait project exploring gardeners and their passion for growing greenery. I am seeking to validate all kinds of gardening practice. This includes anything from a sprawling lush paradise to a single plant growing in a coffee can. Gardens include but are not limited to: community gardens, allotments, backyards, balconies, rooftops, front yards, containers on a patio or street corner, store windows, fire escapes, windowsills, guerilla gardensÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
As spring approaches and my schedule for 2008 starts to unfold I am seeking new subjects for the project. Since I live in Toronto I am primarily limited to gardeners in this area. However, I am going to be in San Francisco and Austin, Texas this coming spring and would love to take advantage of those trips to schedule some photo shoots. Other trips may pop up so do not hesitate to get in touch regardless of where you are. I am seeking a diverse group of gardeners and gardens to photograph. Skill level and the maturity of the garden do not matter. I don’t care if your garden is as small as a basil plant in a tin cup. I want to take your picture and hear your story!
Please email me: Your contact info, a few words about the garden and the gardener and the location.
Now that 2007 has come to a close I wanted to update you on this year’s Warm Winter Wear Drive. This year we donated 16 hats, 14 scarves, and 6 pairs of mittens to The Redwood Shelter for Abused Women.
I want to thank everyone who donated this year: Renee, AuntieM, Nikic, Karen, Deborah, Gnomenclature, Jen, Bonnie, and Jen A. (Please comment here if I missed you! I tried to save the mail tag from each package but this list seems incomplete.) Once again I was impressed by the amount of love and work that went into the wearables you made. The complexity of the work, from complicated intarsia to reversible hats and double-thick mittens really blew my mind. It was exciting to open each package to discover each amazing piece of wearable art inside. I made sure to wrap everything up with ribbons and tags before boxing it up and taking it over to the shelter.
I know it’s a year late but here is last year’s thank you note from The Redwood:
You must head over to Ping Magazine and take a look at this photo-essay on Guerilla Greening in Tokyo. With only 4% of the city allocated for green space and no yards to speak of, residents have found unique ways to garden and green public spaces. What an inspiration!
I found the part about three-tiered bleacher-like stands notable as just the other day I walked past and contemplated bringing home the very same that someone had put out on the curb for garbage day. It struck me as perfect for my roof garden but was made of dense wood, far too heavy for me to carry the long walk home with bags of stuff slung over my shoulders. I’ve got it in my head now to make one this spring.
Beyond the creative ways people are beautifying public space, I was also very taken by this quote about the lack of vandalism in Tokyo and peoples’ attitude towards public gardens as something to be respected.
“One possible reason might be what ethnographies describe as the respect Japanese have for public and private space. To generalize a bit: Everyone plays a part in keeping spaces nice, tidy and orderly for everyone else in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe group.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ This possibly also explains all those times we see strangers picking up other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rubbish in the streets. As such, (hopefully every) Japanese person would not think of littering or destroying a tiny flowerpot garden since, as a part of a shared common space, it is to be respected.”
Oh how I long for a public attitude of respect and mutual responsibility in my own neighbourhood. I was fascinated by the idea of seeing and experiencing the massive metropolis that is Tokyo in my early 20′s but have lost interest over the years. However, the sight of so much creative greening amidst an intense urban environment is very intriguing.
Thanks to Leela for the link.
So I was gonna hold off on this one until it hit new stands but it looks like Organic Gardening Magazine let the cat out of the bag early and has published an article I wrote for the Feb 2008 issue (“Grow Where You Are Planted”) on their website.
I really enjoyed writing this article. When they approached me about writing a piece the timing was good — I had been itching to write about the topics covered and needed the impetus to get off my butt and do it. It’s a short piece briefly outlining my overall experiences as an urban gardener. The article also addresses outsider feelings I have struggled with since entering the world of garden writing and publishing as a career: Where and how do I fit in to this world of gorgeous, expansive gardens, expensive hardscaping, and quaint early-life garden experiences? Since writing the first book, several interviewers have asked about my childhood and early experiences with gardening. I have stammered and fallen over myself every single time. There is no easy answer to this question. There certainly are informative early experiences but my feeling has often been that the answer they are looking for is not one I can provide. And as far as how do I fit into this world, well it seems that in every category possible I stick out like a sore thumb. I did not have quaint early childhood gardening experiences, there were no early-life mentors, I live in a small apartment, I have only lived in a house with an actual backyard for 3 brief moments through the course of my entire life, I still consider myself to be lower to barely lower-middle class, I have never owned land, I don’t drive a car, I do not have a degree in horticulture (I studied Fine Arts), I have a terrible potty mouth… shall I continue? When attending garden shows and giving presentations I have rarely felt comfortable with the other “Gardening World Celebrities” and have always felt a bit like an impostor accidentally admitted to the Country Club. It’s not a feeling of inferiority or insecurity so much as a feeling of strangeness and difference. And a feeling that sooner or later that membership is going to be revoked.
It has taken some time but I’ve finally hit on an answer to this issue that I bring up in the course of the article. The answer is in the tagline I’ve been using for this site over the last few years, “Gardening for the People.” I’ve been living out the answer all along. I just needed to get there in my own head, for myself, in a new way. Gardening is not just a homogeneous experience in which rich white people with big floppy hats and sparkling teeth increase their social standing and property value through proper plant and rock placement. Gardening is for all of us. Gardening is for anyone who loves plants, or wants to grow food, or thinks flowers are pretty. Gardening is for anyone who is scared to try but who wants to give it a go. We all come to this from different places, different backgrounds, different experiences (and experience levels), and different interests. My life is complicated. Your life is complicated. I’d wager a solid bet that the seemingly quaint life of every single “Gardening World Celebrity” is also complicated.
In the end I don’t care how different we are. The only thing we need to have in common is the love. And even that isn’t a prerequisite.
Check out the article here or see it in the February 2008 issue of Organic Gardening magazine.