Tag: Garden

Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

Tip Toeing Through Elysium Gardens

Our time in Kelowna, this time around, is done.  We hung out with the kids, I took a couple walks, we bonded with our grandson, and certainly the highlight (for my wife anyway) was the Cirque Quidam show on Saturday night.  It was a great show but my back rebelled part of the way through and sitting in the folding chairs didn’t do it any favours.

It was part of a birthday gift for my wife.  We went for dinner, had a drink and then walked through a Japanese garden that’s downtown and near the stadium where the show was.  I found it (hope she did too) a very pleasant and relaxing evening.  Certainly Cirque was jaw dropping.

Even though I had trouble sitting through it the show was good entertainment and if you are at all interested in acrobatics, some audience interaction and amazing, some might say freakish, human contortions you would like this.  We sat on the floor about 9 rows back but in hindsight a seat somewhere in the bleachers would have been just as good.  On the floor you miss some things by being eye level with the stage.

DSC_0320We left to come home yesterday but before we departed town we stopped at Elysium Gardens, a local nursery and mixed garden venue.  My main purpose was to have a look at the Japanese garden there, something that is a new/old interest of mine.  I would really like to create a Zen garden, or other type of Japanese garden in our yard.  Something to bring peace and calm to our lives.  Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to do or take part in all the things I’m interested in.  My retirement has to be early in order to have time for all this stuff.

The gardens are certainly beautiful and while I was a bit disappointed in the Japanese garden portion of the grounds it was still a peaceful and relaxing break to the day.  The Japanese garden was just a bit smaller than I had hoped for.  All the gardens were certainly beautiful though, another place to visit again.

The trip to the gardens also gave me an opportunity to play with my new camera, a Nikon D5100 I picked up a couple weeks ago.  It’s another old/new interest, one that will enable me to take waaaay more pictures of our grandson Madden without having to use my iPhone.  I was really into photography 30 years ago and feel a strong urge to reconnect with the hobby.

DSC_0311I shot off about 50 or 60 photos at the garden and now have to decide the best way to file and manage both these groups of shots and the 200 or so I took of Madden before that.  Certainly any suggestions would be appreciated.  I’m thinking I should just register a domain, find a hosting site and be done with it.  Truly any ideas would be helpful.

After we arrived home we tried to determine our next course of action.  We would both really like to go out camping again but with house and home commitments, appointments for my Dad, and other necessary tasks I don’t know that camping is in the cards.

My wife will be back to work for a day or so this week and while she could commute from the local campsite it just seems like too much.  Perhaps we should just stay home.  I know we have some beautiful gardens here, perhaps I can tip-toe through my own tulips.

The “Gate” House

The “Gate” House

I visited the house with “the gate” yesterday, you know….the “gate” house.

20120707-201608.jpgA few weeks ago I wrote about the gate, an inviting front entrance to a home near my daughters, framed by vines and greenery and beckoning visitors with it’s intrigue. I first noticed it on an earlier walk with Madden.

Seeing as I had some extra time on this particular trip I thought I should see if I could find out what was beyond the gate, behind the green door if you will.  My daughter and I took a walk with Madden to grab some lunch and on our route we decided to stop by.  It was as simple as strolling up the stone covered path to the entrance, passing through the swinging gate, and ringing the front bell.  My daughter waited expectantly on the street.

Unfortunately I was disappointed on my first attempt at contact with the keeper of the gate.  I approached the open front door and stepped over multiple pairs of shoes on the stoop.  I knocked and could hear sounds within the house but there was no one to answer my knock, no body to greet me and enlighten me on my quest.  I felt alone, and incomplete, somehow cheated and short changed.  I needed to know, to understand about the gate and what lie beyond.

20120824-215036.jpgWhile I waited behind the gate however I did glimpse the zen garden hidden from the street and whether it was my fearing unattended discovery or a respect for the owners I chose to leave the space without further ado.  There will be another time I thought.  And there was.

The opportunity came on our return pass.  We had finished our lunch and strolled back along our earlier path.  Again I approached the gate and passed beyond.   Again I knocked.  This time I was rewarded with a “Hi, how are you doing?”

I met the owner of the space, the owner of the gate.  She responded to my presence with a pleasant greeting.  I explained my purpose, my curiosity, my desire to know.   She understood. She acknowledged my need and my hope, she supported my request for pictures.

“Are they for personal use or professional?” , she asked.
“Personal” I replied.  I explained my purpose. I was intrigued by the gate, I wondered what it was protecting.

The timing was not good she told me, she suggested I return the next day, which was yesterday, when she could spend more time with me.   I complied.  I left and returned just after lunch.

I was greeted warmly on my return. Her husband Paul met me at the door and ushered me around the side to the back yard where Diane waited.

She appeared excited to see me and we began our talk and our tour of the many intimate sitting areas and gardens.  Their yard was lush and mature with multiple plantings of shrubs and trees, many transplanted years ago from their previous house.  A Japanese garden theme was predominant and a partially constructed pagoda dominated one corner.  It was to be her studio, to paint water colors and plan future projects.  It was to be her holy place.

We sat and had a glass of wine while she told me the story of the yard, how in it’s previous incarnation it was featured in Gardens West magazine, and how they dug up and transplanted most, if not all, the plants and trees from it to their current location.  It was an undertaking for sure, a labor of love.  I was amazed and inspired.

I enjoyed our chat and our tour.  We agreed to keep in touch and I said I’d love to come by again, perhaps take more photos when the yard was more “finely tuned”.  They had just had some very tough weeks personally and unfortunately hadn’t had the ability to weed and prune to their satisfaction.  It will be better on my next visit they assured me.

So the next time you see something like “the gate” be sure you stop in and check it out.  You will likely be pleasantly surprised what beauty and peacefulness it may protect.  You may make new friends and also be inspired.  The gate can be a doorway to a new world.

Yearning Again For My Holy Place

Yearning Again For My Holy Place

The days are still warm, the nights pleasantly cool by comparison.  The sun, while beautiful in the dappled shadows it casts, is relentless in it’s mid-day attention.  My plants and lawn are suffering.  The heat, without any accompanying moisture, is causing not only my gardens to stress but their owner (me) as well.

I do my part to alleviate the stress on both parties.  This morning, before the deck repair guy came, I grabbed a nice cup of java (capital C this time) and headed out into the front yard.  I call it my Holy Place, and while I’ve not worshipped there for a while it was nice to return.  The congregation of flowers and plants welcomed me and when they saw I came bearing water they rejoiced.

“I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to.
– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.
– Elizabeth Lawrence

There were also different chairs there to support me in my leisure, not new chairs but chairs re-positioned from the deck while repairs were under way.  These are wicker, my normal church chairs are Adirondacks.  They are equally as comfortable and beckon me no less, after all it’s the place not the pews.

The sun played off the chairs and invited me in.  I wavered, but my duty to water pulled me stronger.

“Later”, I said, “I’ll come back and visit later.”

Perhaps I’ll take a seat this afternoon when things cool.  I’ll take my laptop and write, or grab a book and read.  A cold drink may be in hand.  It’s those things that bring me the pleasure, that help me to relax and de-stress.

And how can a man who’s retired, early no less, feel stress.  That’s a good questions for which I have not an answer.  Maybe it’s just in my nature, maybe I’m just an uptight individual, maybe depression is having an uncommon effect on me.  I don’t know.

I just know in that place, my holy place, I can chill and feel ok.  Maybe better than ok, I feel good.  I can sit and survey my domain.  I can revisit my holy place and feel the presence of calm.