It's been a few weeks since the year turned towards the light again, so to our minds, it's already gardening season. But just in case you need some help to believe that the green and the warmth really will return, we thought we'd highlight a couple of the gardens we worked on last season:
Yew Street Garden: Our clients only had a small garden space between the garage and the house, and had their hearts set on flowers, flowers, flowers! The yard is also rather wet, so we began by building raised walkways to set the basic structure of the space - and then used every remaining inch between as planting space. The clients preferred a rich, rambling effect over a carefully groomed one: between anchoring plants like the ornamental maples and the old pear tree, we planted wildflowers and perennials like poppies, lavendar and cedums. The contrast between the deeply shaded areas and the well-lit ones helped to create a sense of depth in the small space.
To soften the hard edges of the walks, we also planted lots of pots - for herbs, for plants needing dryer conditions, and for still more flowers:
Our client was rather relaxed about the idea of the goat's foot and (yikes) the buttercups! - rapidly spreading plants that obvously have designs on conquering the world. Still you can't deny their beauty, too.
We also snuck in some other food plants besides the potted herbs: in the deep shade, we put in a healthy patch of 5 or 6 varieties of mint. And for the edge of the gravel path to the garage, we chose pansies and marigolds, and also lettuces, kales, strawberries and some more herbs:
McCann Street Garden: In a large yard with a well-established garden, there's a lovely nook for a small vegetable garden. Raised beds and brick pathways created the basic structure, which we planted with flowers and food alike.
We grew various tomatoes, several varieties of kale and lettuce, mescluns, a row of radishes, some epic zucchinis, carrots, green onions, parsley, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, beans, cauliflower - and a good variety of kitchen herbs. The geraniums add great colour - and they help repell unwanted insects:
North Shore Greenhouse: One of our winter projects has been the upkeep of a small private greenhouse on the North Shore, providing the owner with fresh greens and other delectable items throughout the dark months.
We've had our battles with mice, an aphid infestation, and a few other unwanted visitors, but the harvests have been steady, including the chard in the second photo.
The FarmCity Garden: We also thought we'd include a shot of our own garden, below, from a year or two ago. It's here that we often test out our ideas before we try them on other people. It's also the source of many of the photos we use here on our website: vegetable photography has inadvertently become another of our specialties! (Check out the FarmCity Flickr page for more of our photos)
We are extraordinarily lucky to have access to a large yard (shared with 5 other families) so we're able to grow just about everything you'd usually find in a vegetable garden, and for about 5 months of the year, we rarely have to buy veggies at the store. In the alley, we have built additional raised beds, where with maximal heat and sun, we grow artichokes, melons and strawberries. We also grow a large winter garden, which focusses on the brassicas above all - sprouting broccoli, kales, cabbages, brussels sprouts, and so on.