I am a passionate gardener. Two thirds of my front yard in Leduc’s South Telford neighbourhood have been framed or raised welcome perennials, shrubs, annuals, driftwood, rocks and antique farm machinery pieces which I enjoyed refurbishing. The backyard is a bit of the same, but enclosed, private and sweetly colourful.
Recently, I invited two out-of-town business friends who were attending a meeting in north Leduc for a quick visit afterwards, knowing that being rural dwellers they might enjoy seeing the fruit of my springtime labours.
As they were leaving after a pleasant visit, walking by my front yard, the younger friend who is a senior ag fieldman in northern Alberta leaned towards me, and quietly said “Wow, Dominique, this all looks good and… (pointing to my lovely, abundant daisies) that’s quite the crop of noxious weeds you have here!”
I was shocked, to say the least. After they left I Googled, I read, I researched some more; to my dismay, the Alberta Invasive Plants List confirmed the truth that had been tactfully disclosed to me. I had been harbouring not one but two suspicious plants, aka noxious weeds, in my lovely gardens!
The first was a daisy that had spread dynamically this year: the dreaded Oxeye Daisy was everywhere! The other plant was one I inherited from a friend who helped maintain a public park. Mullein has a tall stalk that produces small yellow blooms and large, pale green and woolly leaves; nicknamed “Cowboy’s toilet paper”, it definitely is a conversation piece and is also on the list of banned, noxious weeds in Alberta!
Well, I must share that as a “midnight gardener” who often plants, weeds, waters and whatnot in the garden long after the sun has set, I was outraged. Guided by embarrassment and a few solar lights, I went on a rampage: I yanked the offending plants out of their comfy beds, I muttered to myself, I filled half of my green bin and I expulsed that sense of guilt about not having known for sure what these lovely flowers were… No more Oxeye Daisy and Mullein in this urban garden!
The happy result is that my garden now hosts healthy plants with no illegal guests in sight. Continuing on this sharing trend, I will tell you that my back alley fence was also on my list of summer projects. Dark brown, built by previous owners, it isn’t attractive; I often felt sorry for neighbours who had to see it, day after day, from their kitchen windows.
Recently I acquired a unique piece of “back alley décor”, thanks to Stageworks Dance Academy’s garage sale, meant to convert a storage space into a new studio. I purchased 30 feet of white picket fence, solidly built by a Stageworks supporter Mr. Keith Froland, a popular Leduc teacher and retired school principal. Well, this re-purposed, pretty white fence now adorns my back alley fence, to my neighbours’ delight: and mine as well, when I drive up to the garage, every single day.
Planting, weeding, getting creative with garden décor, that’s what summer is all about for me and probably many of our garden-loving readers. Happy summer, friends!