During my latest visit to British Columbia, I drove up to my Oma and Opas house nestled beside the mountains of Harrison Lake. She served me a large lunch complete with the most delicious dessert and shared stories of what it was like growing up during the war which, oddly yet naturally, transitioned into a conversation about her garden and the therapeutic benefits of maintaining one.
After lunch, she gave me a tour of her garden and had me pose for a picture beside every flower bush. Classic Oma. She pointed out her favourite seasonals and which ones were giving her particular grief this year. I asked why she likes gardening so much and she shared how she never liked gardens or flowers as a child but grew to love it in her adulthood. “It’s satisfying putting time and effort into something and seeing it pay off with beauty. It reminds me a lot of what it’s like to raise children.” She says.
When asked what her favourite flower was, she began rattling off basically every flower that was in her garden. Snowdrops, christmas rose, dogwood, and Lily of the Valley were mentioned fondly. The snowdrops in particular were taken from her garden in the previous homes she’s lived in. She said she’s had a very similar garden since she was a young woman. When her and my Opa would move homes, she would uproot some of her favourite bushes and replant them in her new garden! Now that’s thrifty.
gardening tips & tricks
Oma didn’t hold back when I asked if she’d be willing to share some gardening advice with my readers.
- Clean up any diseased leaves or buds on rose bushes (or most plants for that matter).
- To get rid of mites, spray a dish soap and water mixture on the soil and leaves of the effected plant.
- Cut the brown tips of house plants to prevent the spread of disease.
- Right before winter settles in, pile up fall leaves under the rose bushes to protect from frost and snow.
- Cut off the dead heads of pansies and roses 4x a year.
- Whenever you see a dead leaf or flower, cut it off. The plant will waste precious energy on that leaf and the healthy ones will be deprived.