Posts tagged ‘inner city garden’

First tomato


Finally! Months of coddling tomato plants grown from seed have produced an actual tomato. As you can see below, there are more on the way. I’m sure they will be wonderful, too, but the first tomato brings the clearest sense of victory. Our patio is shady, part-sun at best, and it takes a good stretch of warm weather to make veggies grow. Double victory!

I was paralyzed by it, of course. How does one consume such a precious treat? If I had some buffalo mozzarella handy, I’d have gone for a classic caprese salad without a second thought. But I don’t. So I decided on a home-grown theme. Arugula, basil, chives, and parsley from my garden, olive oil carted back from Spain and sea salt that was a gift from my husband. Such specialness, and oh-so-good.

August 19, 2011 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

First flower spotted: snowdrops

I spotted my first flowers of the year a few days ago: a couple of snowdrops blooming on my patio. I planted a handful of bulbs last fall hoping for spring blooms, and here they are already. I wish I’d planted a hundred more.

There are other plants in my garden right now – ivy, bamboo and violets all survive the winter here in Vancouver – but the snowdrops are the first sign of growth. Two seasons wrapped up into one tiny flower – a shoot of green and snowy white that pushes us to accept the thin hope of spring while chilly grey days with gloves and scarves continue for a little longer.


January 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm 2 comments

Brandy mojitos!

Our first summer heatwave in Vancouver seems like the perfect opportunity to to share this recipe for the most dangerously delicious cocktail going – brandy mojitos! We discovered it a couple of months ago at a winemaker’s dinner at Fraiche, a very posh place in West Vancouver. I’m not sure that I’ve ever tasted brandy until recently, but now we’re hooked, at least for summer when mojitos are the perfect answer to a sunny patio.

Below are instructions for making one mojito. We’ve started making pitchers of them to avoid having to move from our sunny spot on the deck when it’s time for a refill – double, triple, quadruple as you like. (more…)

July 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm 2 comments

Kale and lentil potato bake

We all need to eat more leafy greens like kale and more lentils. Here is a recipe to help you do that! If you don’t like asiago cheese, try substituting mozzarella. I can’t believe that some people don’t like asiago, but apparently it’s true.

You’ll notice that there is a three-stage baking process with this dish. This is to help minimize the time it takes to bake the potatoes. Also, I like to add the kale right at the end so it doesn’t cook for too long – I think it tastes better this way and I’m sure it helps to retain more vitamins.

1-1/2 pound of potatoes, thinly sliced (about 4 baking potatoes or 8-10 mini potatoes)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup French lentils
2 cups of water
1 cup red wine
1 cup of shredded cabbage or raddicchio
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 cups shredded kale
1 cup asiago cheese, grated

Layer potatoes in a greased casserole dish. Heat oven to 425F and put potatoes in oven while preparing rest of ingredients (this will help you get a head start on the baking time required to soften the potatoes).

Saute the onions and garlic in oil until softened, about five minutes. Rinse the lentils and add them to the pan with the garlic and onions. Add in mushrooms, half of the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, and then stir in the wine. Cook until the wine boils down and then add the water. Simmer for five to ten minutes until the lentils are just barely tender. Stir in the cabbage and remove from heat.

Take the half cooked potatoes out of the oven and pour the lentil mixture over top. Stir it around a bit to distribute the mixture with the potatoes and then put the dish back in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, bring the dish back out again and stir in the kale and sprinkle with the cheese and remaining thyme. Return to the oven for another five to ten minutes until cheese is lightly browned. Serve with salad and a glass of red wine and bask in your healthy glow.

May 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm 3 comments

Small space gardens

I’m starting to feel very excited about my forthcoming foray into small space gardening. Look at this beautiful little planter box we spotted outside of Go Fish! in Vancouver. What more can you ask for? Tiny daffodils and narcissus, pansies, creeping something and spring time annuals. Even a little rock. Beautiful!

March 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm 1 comment

Goodbye garden

Here begins the slow goodbye as we trade our current in Calgary’s frigid Zone 3 for a patio full of pots in Vancouver’s lovely Zone 8. When we arrived in our current home almost three years ago the gardens were a blank slate. And now, just when things are finally settling in and filling out, it’s time to move cities.

I love gardening. There are few things I would rather do than spend my days planting, digging and tending to a garden: nothing is more peaceful, calming and real to me than cultivating a little plot of land and watching it grow.

What’s pictured above and below here – the pots and the six inches of dirt are similar to what’s available in our new place. I guess in some ways things won’t change at all. In Calgary I can see the first chives and my pretty violets starting to poke through the earth. I think if I can take a few of them along with me to Vancouver that will be enough.

March 21, 2010 at 9:22 pm 2 comments

Remember tulips?

This cheery scene from our spring time backyard made me smile today as I was browsing through our photo gallery. Hope it has the same effect for you!

February 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm 1 comment

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hellebores at van dusen gardens

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