Beautiful Bohemian Birthday Party

Here are a few pictures from a recent bohemian birthday that I did for a girl who turned 17. She invited her friends to dress up to do pictures in the garden (since they are graduating this year and spreading out all over the globe next year). She invited a henna artist to come and paint her gorgeous designs on her friend’s hands and arms. They had homemade curries and other yummy Indian foods. There was laughter into the evening while they enjoyed rice pudding and hot tea as the sun went down… all the young women felt special and left the party with a two sided framed picture of themselves with the birthday girl and on the other side a picture of the whole group of friends… a wonderful memory of an evening celebrating a true friend.




Adding the fabric above the outdoor deck really transformed the space.

Small white lights, candles in jars and the solar lanterns added a lovely glow as the sun went down.. (sorry those pictures didn’t turn out very well…)






Happy Father’s Day


chocolate cosmos and red wine


Here is a little visual taste of Father’s Day for us- the weather has become much colder – but we still had our happy hour outside in the garden. Because I always think that all food tastes better outside in the fresh air. 

With gratitude that I have a wonderful father and so do my children…








Saanich Fall Fair 2013


One can see many things at the Fair– the rides, the foods, the concerts, the engines- large and small, old and new.

What I saw was a great deal of pride that went into food production, caring for animals- from bee-keeping to horses, and a passion for such things as weaving, quilting and knitting among others. It was a real celebration of all the work that goes into the art that children and adults produce, the long hours in the fields and the appreciation of what good weather, clean water and hard work can produce…

I know many families who go to the Fall Fair near them to celebrate this season–do you have a tradition at this time of year?

To everyone who “does the dishes”; results of a sustainable school picnic

Here is what I wrote for the school newsletter. I think it summarizes our results. By the way, our tickets were “gold” coins- plastic from a past event with a pirate theme. The flowers and herbs in the re-purposed lemonade glass jars were all from my garden with some bouquets of sunflowers which I bought from a local farm stand. I was so relieved that the farm stand was full the day I went out there! I gave them to as many volunteers as I could catch up with at the end of the evening since volunteers are so important both in setting the tone and literally working!

“Thank you to all of you who “did the dishes”. In doing so collectively:

  • we produced very little garbage from feeding 628 people (save a few plastic forks, we were using them from a past event),
  • everything that was thrown in the bins was compostable,
  • the flowers were local,
  • we re-purposed the “tickets”, and
  • the few leftovers (we had no idea how many people planned to attend) were taken to Our Place and devoured appreciatively.

We were so grateful to see the sunshine for so many reasons! We appreciate all of the volunteers—returning parents and students and new parents who donned an apron and pulled up their sleeves to make this event so successful; the aprons and other linens have been laundered and are placed in our Parents’ Auxiliary cupboard/room awaiting the next event.” I added a picture of them hanging on the line drying in our beautiful sunshine.

I post this here, not because I am so proud of our school for living as sustainably as possible (which I am) but because these things are so easy that anyone can do it. It started with one person’s idea and then we made it’s simple and doable.

aprons hanging out in the fresh air to dry

Inspiring Edible Organic Garden Tour in the Cowichan Valley

This past weekend, I went with a dear friend on a garden tour of edible gardens grown organically around the Cowichan Valley. Wow! Was that ever inspiring! Gardeners had created something from nothing in such creative ways and developed such productive gardens to feed both their families and their market businesses. I learned a lot about new ways that I can add to my city garden space– no space is too small: think vertical. There were discussions happening between neighbours about increasing areas for bees to find, water saving methods (in a word: straw), buying crushed oyster shells (which are super cheap and spreading them in a wide strip around the raised beds ( see photo),  and using off-cuts from mills to create raised beds made locally from cedar. We toured almost all the gardens on the map, but I have only featured some here. I love all the little touches that represents the gardener’s individuality, humour and beauty.

Thank you to those kind gardeners who gave up a day in the garden in order to teach and inspire strangers and share so generously your learning, your sources, your love of growing food (and even some great recipes- for what to do with tomatillos -something I’ve never grown, but will next year)!

If you get a chance to go next year – I would certainly recommend it.


Some fine examples in these gardens of using vertical space in a city lot. This gardener has already harvested 40lbs of thorn less blackberries and gotten them into her freezer plus all the ones that her family has enjoyed warm from the vine!