We’ve got a lot of ground to cover

Kat Fox

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Gardening isn’t for everyone; sometimes it’s a slow love, an accumulated taste. I was always aware of gardening’s existence — as a hobby, a passion, an investment in one’s property. It just never resonated with me. It wasn’t until I had my first “all mine” apartment four years ago that I noticed the colourful pots and enticing seed packets (so easy, I thought!) at my local store. Living in downtown Toronto, I have a small paved area for my backyard, and I saw it as a perfect place to start a collection of potted plants.

Seeing the cool kids in cities across North America growing their own food and covering their balconies and fire escapes with blooming vines (they might be weeds — at this point I still don’t always know), combined with finally appreciating the plants in my mother’s expansive and beautiful garden, made me want to join in this gardening trend that’s luring people in their 20s and 30s. I knew it could be relaxing, satisfying, creative, and an acceptable reason to get dirty.

My front stoop container, a little worse for wear after a long, hot summer.
My front stoop container, a little worse for wear after a long, hot summer.

“Ground to Cover” will chronicle my gardening misadventures and discoveries in not only my garden, but also the other gardens out there. I’ll be reporting from the field while exploring nurseries, events and everything else the gardening world in Canada offers. I’m going to learn a lot and pass it along to you, fellow new gardeners.

We new gardeners often have mothers, grandparents, neighbours and so on who encourage our green thumbs by passing along favourite plants or designing our front yards while we’re not looking (that would actually be incredibly helpful if I had a front yard.) But sometimes it’s fun and comforting to learn alongside fellow novices. You get to ask stupid questions, and learn just enough about a specific plant or project so that it doesn’t go from interesting to intimidating.

“Ground to Cover” won’t cross that line from interesting to intimidating. Whether you just bought a new house with mud and sod and nothing else, you’ve found yourself the caretaker of a mature garden, or you have an urban concrete space like my own, we’re going to learn good, solid gardening information together, and be motivated and inspired — not intimidated.

There seem to be two kinds of gardeners in Canada — those who have gardened for years and those who have no idea what they’re doing but really want to try. I’m in the second group, slowly but surely learning from the experienced gardeners. “Ground to Cover” will offer a fresh perspective, and my hope is that the many experienced gardeners out there will enjoy it, too. Even if you’ve been gardening for years, you may learn some new things or be reminded of old things — or at the very least, be entertained by the exploits of this new gardener.

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