While the warmth of summer unfolds, I invariably find myself repeating my French father’s wartime food scavenging habits. Family karma asserts itself, and I find myself eagerly eyeing the raspberry and rhubarb plants edging the laneways while imagining tasty concoctions.
Our summer is so short that it seems shameful not to enjoy the season to the utmost. A summer stroll takes on more dimensions when you stop to pick food and mentally savour the fresh taste of your harvest. Knowing I’m getting much-needed exercise makes me feel virtuous. This virtuous feeling is further enhanced when I think of the copious quantities of vitamin C contained in both rhubarb and raspberries.
Letter to the Editor:
On many walks through my neighbourhood (Alberta Avenue), I see an abundance of the creeping bellflower plant, either in clumps in back alleys, or displayed with pride in people’s front yard gardens.
The City of Edmonton has designated this plant as a noxious weed.
The West Nile virus worries me. Not because of the one in a million chance I might get infected, but because we don’t need another excuse to demonize the outdoors.
Ours is the first society that spends the majority of its time indoors. According to studies, the average North American spends less than two hours per day outside. Compared to our climate-controlled, sealed and sanitized homes, we have developed the attitude that nature is uncomfortable, disorderly, unsanitized and potentially dangerous. Possibly true.
Every spring, Andrea Ruelling reads Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life for inspiration.
Her garden is inspirational as well. The front yard is divided into raised beds, two of which are self-watering. Peas and squash plants climb lattices, ripe strawberries tempt passersby, lettuce and carrots flourish. That’s but a sampling of the front yard, never mind a backyard full of potatoes, dill, tomatoes, sunflowers, raspberries, rhubarb and more.
Himalayan Balsam is a beautiful flower, but its seeds launch six meters and quickly overtakes other plants.
“Invasive plants don’t grow naturally here, they’re brought in intentionally or unintentionally,” said Daniel Laubhann, environmental technician with the city. “In a natural environment, other factors keep the plants in check.”
Alberta Avenue, known for arts and revitalization, also has beautiful yards and gardens. Follow along on a tour of this charming neighbourhood.
From interesting houses and beautiful yards to a ravine and river valley oasis, you will find it all in Parkdale-Cromdale. As I walk, cycle, or drive through our mature neighbourhood, I’m thankful I don’t live in a cookie-cutter treeless suburb.
Below are two different walking tours, one of Parkdale and one of Cromdale/Viewpoint (with lots of pictures!).
Eastwood is a community with a variety of green space. From yards to balconies to raised beds, I saw it all when I explored the neighbourhood.
Some gardens were neat and orderly, while others were riotous collections of colour, shape and size, revealing more the longer I looked. All delighted the eye.
Westwood, a tree-lined neighbourhood, is full of garden gems that reveal the history and heart of the community. Check out this photo-filled garden walk below!