Back roadsides blossom with glorious gardens

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

I am looking at an old photo neatly framed and hanging on the wall, Faithful Reader. It is a photo of two children, a young girl and a baby boy, sitting on the lawn in front of the door of a brick house. He is chewing on something. I am in a cotton dress, white socks, black patent leather shoes; my brother is wearing only a diaper. I am not looking at the camera, nor am I looking at him. I suspect the sun may be in my eyes.

I am unhappy to be dressed in what passed as finery, and I am expected to sit still. I am four years old and he is two. I don’t know why I am drawn to this old photo, but I am. It hangs in the guest room. Along one wall is my so-called office. On the bedroom wall by the door is a photo of my mother’s father, sitting in a wicker armchair with me. I am less than a year old. He is holding me with one arm. I am wearing yet another white dress. It is a long, white christening gown. He has a slight smile. I expect the photographer said, “smile,” and he did.

I see him each morning and evening. The smile has different meanings. It is never anything except approving. Well, F. R., that has become my interpretation. Downstairs in the hall is another, a studio portrait of him, and it varies. Sometimes approving, sometimes gently rebuking. When I was five, we went to live in his very large house. He was gone but he wisely left enough money for my education. I think we would have been friends.

A reminder that Arts Dundas Weekend is Nov. 5-8. Mark your calendar and make a date with a friend to enjoy the events of this ever-expanding event.

If you are a longstanding F. R., you will know I teach a pottery class at the Burlington Arts Centre on Thursday evenings. Sometimes it seems a long journey to drive there, especially on blowing, snowy nights. At this time of the year, it is a much slower, more enjoyable trip. The back roadsides are a glorious garden this year. (Do I say this every autumn?)

Do you recall the long-ago time when the roadside ditches were diligently sprayed to kill the weeds? Despite the cries of naturalists who pleaded that golden rod was brought to Canada by English gardeners, that the asters and milkweed were essential for butterflies, the roadsides were “maintained.” York and Old Guelph Road ditches and fields are glorious. Coming home in the dark, I drive cautiously. The deer are roaming; their shining jewel eyes my first sight of them. A herd of seven on one night.

I slowed, then stopped. We investigated each other. I have heard grumblings that there needs to be a culling of the herds. They have become a bold nuisance. Except for high electric fences, nothing deters their nocturnal visits to gardens. I have heard stories from irate gardeners that would make you laugh or cry, or perhaps laugh and cry. I am sympathetic, of course. My rant is aimed at squirrels. Black and gray, plus the chipmunk that lives under the deck. They dig up the newly planted spring bulbs and leave behind peanut shells. Peanut shells, you say? Yes, and frequently peanuts in their shells. Not a fair trade in my books.

Wildlife sometimes includes a nocturnal visit from a raccoon, possibly a female with a family, or a pair, or rowdy teenagers who have recently left home?

Back roadsides blossom with glorious gardens

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

I am looking at an old photo neatly framed and hanging on the wall, Faithful Reader. It is a photo of two children, a young girl and a baby boy, sitting on the lawn in front of the door of a brick house. He is chewing on something. I am in a cotton dress, white socks, black patent leather shoes; my brother is wearing only a diaper. I am not looking at the camera, nor am I looking at him. I suspect the sun may be in my eyes.

I am unhappy to be dressed in what passed as finery, and I am expected to sit still. I am four years old and he is two. I don’t know why I am drawn to this old photo, but I am. It hangs in the guest room. Along one wall is my so-called office. On the bedroom wall by the door is a photo of my mother’s father, sitting in a wicker armchair with me. I am less than a year old. He is holding me with one arm. I am wearing yet another white dress. It is a long, white christening gown. He has a slight smile. I expect the photographer said, “smile,” and he did.

I see him each morning and evening. The smile has different meanings. It is never anything except approving. Well, F. R., that has become my interpretation. Downstairs in the hall is another, a studio portrait of him, and it varies. Sometimes approving, sometimes gently rebuking. When I was five, we went to live in his very large house. He was gone but he wisely left enough money for my education. I think we would have been friends.

A reminder that Arts Dundas Weekend is Nov. 5-8. Mark your calendar and make a date with a friend to enjoy the events of this ever-expanding event.

If you are a longstanding F. R., you will know I teach a pottery class at the Burlington Arts Centre on Thursday evenings. Sometimes it seems a long journey to drive there, especially on blowing, snowy nights. At this time of the year, it is a much slower, more enjoyable trip. The back roadsides are a glorious garden this year. (Do I say this every autumn?)

Do you recall the long-ago time when the roadside ditches were diligently sprayed to kill the weeds? Despite the cries of naturalists who pleaded that golden rod was brought to Canada by English gardeners, that the asters and milkweed were essential for butterflies, the roadsides were “maintained.” York and Old Guelph Road ditches and fields are glorious. Coming home in the dark, I drive cautiously. The deer are roaming; their shining jewel eyes my first sight of them. A herd of seven on one night.

I slowed, then stopped. We investigated each other. I have heard grumblings that there needs to be a culling of the herds. They have become a bold nuisance. Except for high electric fences, nothing deters their nocturnal visits to gardens. I have heard stories from irate gardeners that would make you laugh or cry, or perhaps laugh and cry. I am sympathetic, of course. My rant is aimed at squirrels. Black and gray, plus the chipmunk that lives under the deck. They dig up the newly planted spring bulbs and leave behind peanut shells. Peanut shells, you say? Yes, and frequently peanuts in their shells. Not a fair trade in my books.

Wildlife sometimes includes a nocturnal visit from a raccoon, possibly a female with a family, or a pair, or rowdy teenagers who have recently left home?

Back roadsides blossom with glorious gardens

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

I am looking at an old photo neatly framed and hanging on the wall, Faithful Reader. It is a photo of two children, a young girl and a baby boy, sitting on the lawn in front of the door of a brick house. He is chewing on something. I am in a cotton dress, white socks, black patent leather shoes; my brother is wearing only a diaper. I am not looking at the camera, nor am I looking at him. I suspect the sun may be in my eyes.

I am unhappy to be dressed in what passed as finery, and I am expected to sit still. I am four years old and he is two. I don’t know why I am drawn to this old photo, but I am. It hangs in the guest room. Along one wall is my so-called office. On the bedroom wall by the door is a photo of my mother’s father, sitting in a wicker armchair with me. I am less than a year old. He is holding me with one arm. I am wearing yet another white dress. It is a long, white christening gown. He has a slight smile. I expect the photographer said, “smile,” and he did.

I see him each morning and evening. The smile has different meanings. It is never anything except approving. Well, F. R., that has become my interpretation. Downstairs in the hall is another, a studio portrait of him, and it varies. Sometimes approving, sometimes gently rebuking. When I was five, we went to live in his very large house. He was gone but he wisely left enough money for my education. I think we would have been friends.

A reminder that Arts Dundas Weekend is Nov. 5-8. Mark your calendar and make a date with a friend to enjoy the events of this ever-expanding event.

If you are a longstanding F. R., you will know I teach a pottery class at the Burlington Arts Centre on Thursday evenings. Sometimes it seems a long journey to drive there, especially on blowing, snowy nights. At this time of the year, it is a much slower, more enjoyable trip. The back roadsides are a glorious garden this year. (Do I say this every autumn?)

Do you recall the long-ago time when the roadside ditches were diligently sprayed to kill the weeds? Despite the cries of naturalists who pleaded that golden rod was brought to Canada by English gardeners, that the asters and milkweed were essential for butterflies, the roadsides were “maintained.” York and Old Guelph Road ditches and fields are glorious. Coming home in the dark, I drive cautiously. The deer are roaming; their shining jewel eyes my first sight of them. A herd of seven on one night.

I slowed, then stopped. We investigated each other. I have heard grumblings that there needs to be a culling of the herds. They have become a bold nuisance. Except for high electric fences, nothing deters their nocturnal visits to gardens. I have heard stories from irate gardeners that would make you laugh or cry, or perhaps laugh and cry. I am sympathetic, of course. My rant is aimed at squirrels. Black and gray, plus the chipmunk that lives under the deck. They dig up the newly planted spring bulbs and leave behind peanut shells. Peanut shells, you say? Yes, and frequently peanuts in their shells. Not a fair trade in my books.

Wildlife sometimes includes a nocturnal visit from a raccoon, possibly a female with a family, or a pair, or rowdy teenagers who have recently left home?