Friday, July 8, 2011

Beginner's mind, spring and alleyway wanderings

Where did the time go? I can't believe it's July already, the garden is growing on my balcony, but I have had other pursuits, social engagements, working full time and projects on the go.
This year I decided to buy seeds to grow organic vegetables, and I have to be honest, I got scared. And as usual with fear it's fight or flight and I avoided starting them indoors, I felt like an inexperienced first time mother fretting about everything that could go wrong, mildew, lack of light, too much water, not enough water, soil depth, instead I decided to start them on my balcony on May 23rd. And I experienced the delight of falling back into what is known as beginner's mind by those who study zen, a place of peace, of non-judgement, of engaging with what is needed to be done, pots filled with soil, careful arrangement of seeds, watering, the essentials, nature instructed me to let go of all my judgement, and fears. I knew exactly what to do, and low and behold, I grew seeds. They have grown into swiss chard, carrots, arugula, red leaf lettuce, radish all before my eyes. Miraculous. Well, not really, but it's my first time.
In the spring I went for a walk at the peak of magnolia and cherry blossom season and have included a few snaps of their redolent beauty. And finally I have included some photos that are inspired by the beginning of a call to photograph the plants that grow in the hidden spaces of Toronto, the spaces between pavements, alleyways, abandoned structures, I love the ability of nature to rest in the cracks of concrete, beside the walls of houses, underneath tar. Here is a beginning of what I see becoming a larger exploration.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


There is a soft snow falling outside the window right now, but I am ready for spring. I have been looking through some images I shot last year at the Toronto Botanical Gardens and I am finding them soothing to my winter weary soul. I have decided to post them in an online gallery. I have included many of my favourite flowers; allium, peony, japanese maple, anemone, ranunculus, azalea, clemetis, fern, iris, columbine and solomon's seal. Please enjoy my photo gallery and anticipate the coming growing season with me.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Summer and forward to 2011

This is a sad picture. My arugula plant, dead from scale, what this photo doesn't show are all the other casualties of this sticky leaf sucking pest. I was so upset and ashamed about it last year I couldn't bear to blog about it.

It was a hot and humid summer last year, and at first I thought I was a complete failure. But as it turns out even my gifted gardening Aunt had a scale problem that killed everything on her balcony garden. She has the kind of garden that is flourishing and abundant with gnomes and fairies and happy tomatoes. I joke, (sort of). This year I have been perusing gardening catalogues and I am finding myself quite excited to start sowing some seeds indoors this year. But I only will buy seeds from companies that have taken the safe seed pledge, this is a great list compiled by the garden of eatin''m sorry you will have to copy and paste my link is not working). It is the end of January right now, and time to begin planning, I hungrily anticipate the arrival of my gardening catalogues.

I am quite casual still, but I do intend to do a redesign of my space starting with a paint job on the hideous floor of the balcony and getting out my graph paper and my measuring tape so I can bring some aesthetics back to the space and so it will no longer resemble a concrete bunker. As always wish me luck!


Some lovely shots of delicious meals from last summer, including my figs that I caramelized with brown sugar under the broiler and tossed with ricotta cheese and fresh vanilla bean. And a salad made with nasturtium flowers which are peppery and delicious.

The potatoes are from a CSA, an organic local farm, and when I cut into them they smelled like the earth musky and humid. Simple, sensual and delicious.

The skies of last summer

Some beautiful skylines from the balcony at the High rise Potager.