It’s been unusual. A cooler and wetter spring…a pandemic that kept us a home. Our secret garden has been the beneficiary. Here is a bit of a photo essay on the effects of perfect growing conditions and lots of attention in our Naramata, British Columbia, Canada garden on the summer solstice.
“I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us.” The Secret Garden
The purples seem more purple this year…
The pinks more pink…
And we’ve had time to sit and enjoy it all unfolding.
With our pals who are allowed in from time to time…
Just outside the garden walls is our raspberry farm just days away from harvest.
The farm has never looked so tidy. One hour-long spray with round-up would have dealt with all the grass and weeds that invaded the rows but we don’t spray or use chemicals so it was a 160-hour job completed over four months. On hands and knees with a garden fork… It should be easier to maintain going forward with minor attention. It looks great but more importantly the raspberry roots now have less competition for nutrients, water and space. It’s going to be a bumper crop.
I took my camera out for “a few minutes” in the early morning today for a look-around the secret garden and an hour later had to be dragged away. Here’s a Cole’s Notes look at what held me captivate because sometimes, the biggest secrets you can only tell a stranger.
“The best secrets are the most twisted.” Sara Shepard.
“Photography is all about secrets. The secrets we all have and will never tell.” Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.
“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
“But some secrets are too delicious not to share.” Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay.
“That, my dear, is what makes a character interesting, their secrets.” Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden.
“Secrets are like plants. They can stay buried deep in the earth for a long time, but eventually they’ll send up shoots and give themselves away.” Judy Reene Singer, Still Life with Elephant.
Just like Mary in her Secret Garden, I like the name and the still more the feeling that when its walls shut me in no one knows where I am. The Handyman built my walls five years ago and I’ve been planting and revising ever since. This sheltered spot is maturing nicely and is being discovered by others who see the merit of a trickling brook, pond and shelter from the wind. It’s becoming a mini bird, bee and frog sanctuary. A family of racoons and another of skunks also make frequent visits to the pond, mostly at night luckily.
Here are a few of the plants blooming today:
Another ideal small tree, Japanese stewartia, frames the lady’s head. It gives you lovely peeling bark all season, hot fall colour and it blooms with white June-into-July flowers. It’s a distant relative of the tea family.
Like any good secret, my garden is best revealed in instalments. I’ll post more when new blooms arrive.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
A labour of love. Lots of labour…lots of love. The Handyman built me an English secret garden over the past five years. I can’t wait for spring so I’m jumping ahead a few months.
As the Okanagan is so hot and dry in summer, the best way to re-create England was to do so in a contained area that could have heaps of compost and good soil and be efficiently irrigated. The soil is very sandy here so this step was key.
My ultimate garden is one where you can shove your hand into rich loamy soil up to your elbow. I’ve been working hard amending the soil every year to keep it that way.
Handyman can do pretty much anything with some rental equipment. The garden is located on what was a hill. We, well…he raised it even more and levelled it before installing cedar fencing around the perimeter.
He built this round gate in the garage in the winter and installed it the first spring we were here. I’ve toyed with painting it to emphasize the roundness but am still deciding. It’s awaiting a latch of some kind as well.
Stuff grows like Jack’s magic beanstalk with the good soil, proper irrigation and the protection from the wind. I’ve never seen anything like it. After moving from Calgary with its challenging gardening conditions its hard to have any discipline or order. I have a tendency to plant some of everything so it’s an editing work in progress.
Here’s just a few more photos for now. I’ll revisit the garden soon when the bulbs start blooming.
“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that ‘she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” … “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden.
“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden.