My first garden was in the back yard of our Banff house in a little dark corner with black earth. My first plant, a strawberry plant. Our neighbours’ fence was high above, blocking my sun, but dripping gooseberries that I guiltily snuck from time to time. When my first strawberry emerged, albeit tiny, I was excited. My Mom had the main garden that produced peas, and, I’m sure a lot more, but I only remember peas.
Our PEI vegetable garden was massive as we had… 20 acres (not all garden!). A tractor came to make narrow hills and we poked many seeds into the, now, red earth. Yellow beans, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, carrots, beets, lettuce, and yes, peas were on the menu, eventually.
For the rest of our yard, my mother waved her hand and produced a park of rock gardens, flowers of all kinds. Well… actually, it took a lot more of “waving a hand” and I have memories of moving anthills, dragging branches and branches of spruce trees that my mother had sawed off the bottoms of our smallish trees so it opened up the green space. And, trips to the beach meant gathering a few sand stones for our rock gardens.
When my parents had to move into the city, they found a house that needed some loving, had it renovated, and moved in. Then it was gardening time, again. The back yard became a Monet painting thanks to Mom’s British style of gardening. And, she transplanted many little spruce trees from our land, to the edge of the property. (the trees are currently providing a tall privacy hedge to the house)
I loved her gardens, but I realize that maybe I took them for granted. Maybe because as a kid it was a lot of work for me, but for a lot of my young life I was surrounded by colour and natural beauty.
The film “The Gardener” by Sébastien Chabot discusses one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, conceived and created by one man’s vision, Frank Cabot. “Les Quatre Vents” is one of the largest private gardens embracing 20 acres of thoughtfully designed beauty, created over three generations of time. In the film, Frank Cabot gives his thoughts about his path to his expansive garden where the public can go from time to time. The film gives us special access to the grounds along with Cabot’s gardening philosophy.
It made me stop, listen to my heart and have a new respect for the work my mother dug into. And, along with my father’s colourful paintings, her live colour taught me well to seek pleasure and solace in nature’s art. She did.
Thank you to Frank Cabot for the “Quatres Vents” (in Charlevoix, Quebec) and Sébastien Chabot for filming “The Gardener”.
The Rendez-Vous French Film Festival is showing “The Gardener” for the grand opening Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 at the Jules Vernes Theatre Space at the Ecole Secondaire de Jules Vernes at 7:30pm. Tickets are online or at the door. (there is also a second showing on the closing day, February 12th, at 4:00pm at the SFU Woodwards Theatre)
What are YOUR gardening memories?