Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants


The ground is frozen solid outside and my garden holds on for dear life. In idle moments I find myself looking through photos of my garden throughout the last couple years. What started with a part time job at a greenhouse on a Monday and Tuesday ended up as a full time “career” and even more surprisingly a full time obsession.

Ever since digital cameras became affordable enough for the general public to have I’ve recorded my life.  It’s interesting to look back and see how things have changed. Girlfriends come and go, jobs change, and new passions ignite while old one’s flicker out. As once I was a fresh out of highschool young man I’m feeling like more of an adult as of late. Sometime’s choosing to water my garden then drink cheap beer on a sunny afternoon. Below is a small glimpse into the progression of my garden here in the cook street village from 2008-2010. An evolution and progression that is just starting to take it’s hold permanently.

Backyard Center Garden Bed

July 2008 – Herbs mostly, mismatched and throwaway perennials from the greenhouse

April 2009 – Slightly more organized, lettuce, herbs, many plant experiments.

September 2009 – A sucess for a small waterlogged bed, many pots, amaranthus from seed, delphiniums and nasturtiums

March 2010 – newly constructed centerbed, double the depth and a cold frame to boot

September 2010 – tropical trees, 10 foot sunflower, healthy tomatos, herbs, and exotic perennials.

Front garden bed.

June 2008 – lavender and kniphofia (red hot poker)

April 2009 – double the size in only a season

June 2010 – Although the lavender has choked everything else out, it looks like they’ve been here forever.

Back Middle Garden Bed

July 2008 – leftover 606 annuals, petunias, calendula and dahlias

June 2009 – hosta, coleus, and heucheras

July 2010 – Beautiful

Backyard Side Garden Bed

June 2008 – a modest potato plant grown from a grocery mishap

June 2009 – 2″ basket stuffers, nasturiums, marigolds, and the naturalized centranthus that lives in my garden.

July 2010 – Pure plant mahem, coleus, primulas, pulmonaria and carpets of mixed sedum

September 2010 – Plant Palooza.

A lot changes in a couple years. The journey isn’t easy but it’s certainly interesting.

So today was a bit of a drag. I woke up at 7:15, did my regular morning routine and zipped out to do some landscaping at the “millionaire’s” house. As I ripped down the highway the rain pelted down hard, it was beginning to look like this day could be a tough one. Having arrived in the area a bit earlier then usual I decided to stop over at Elk Lake and have a little break to see if the rain would let up. Sure enough, as I turned off my window wipers, the rain eased to a dull sprinkle. I stepped out of my car and thought to myself, “no problem, rain jacket is on, let’s get to work”. The second I got the truck all gear up and ready for action, my client stepped out of the house and told me to go home. Apparently gardening cant be done “properly” in the rain and he wanted me to ship out. Hum, for some reason this really rubbed me the wrong way.

I figure if a guy is willing to do his work in the rain, what business does the client have in saying otherwise. I work harder then a lot of people, a little rain isn’t enough to scare me away. If f I’m going to be a horticulturalist/landscaper I might as well get used to the idea of working in these conditions. After all we live on the west coast.

The lesson learned here is when taking on new clients a rain policy is a good thing to discuss. What is to be expected on a rainy day, is it at the discretion of the worker or the customer. By getting a clear answer to such questions you might be able to save yourself a dull commute for nothing.

So in the end, sure it sprinkled all day, but for the most part it was patchy blue skies. I find it a bit frustrating that my client gave me the impression that he wanted this project completed soon, yet sends a willing and able person home because of some raindrops. HEADACHE!

What do you think?


Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
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