April Showers and Lots of Flowers

Bethlehem Retreat Centre
Since I've returned home from Mexico, I've been busy visiting with friends, tending my parking lot gardens and attending a Quiet Retreat on Vancouver Island. Our retreat was organized by the Church and was an opportunity to reflect in silence for 12 hours, to enjoy nature and some really healthy food. I did not know most of the people so my time waiting for the ferry and sailing was spent making new friends.
forest retreat
I've been trying to plan my parking lot gardens. Last summer, there was no rain. We have heavy hoses that need to be dragged across the parking lot to water the gardens and then need to be coiled up. The average age of the gardener volunteers is about 80 years old and they are mostly women. I must say that handling a dirty heavy hose is not my favourite task. My thought is that ground covers, herbs and succulents are our best choices. It's difficult because our complex used to win awards for the gardens and some gardeners' expectations are unrealistic.

We have a lot of euphorbia growing in our complex
There are a lot of mature rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas in our gardens. They are tended by the landscapers but the grounds are extensive and require weeding and watering. Lots of the areas are overgrown.  I've been committed to drought resistant ground covers and pollinator-friendly plantings.

I'm trying to create little floral displays throughout my gardens.
I am going to a meeting next week and I am going to suggest that we start a children's garden or begin to grow a few edibles. It seems to me that younger gardeners are the solution to the problem.

Each April day, the plants seem to grow by inches! Early spring and fall are my favourite seasons. Those winter pansies that I planted in October seem so bright and cheerful. Peonies and lilacs will soon be in bloom. We have too many bluebells and hollyhocks that have seeded but the garden is my happy place.

I wore my floral jeans (only one leg is embroidered).
It's the first HolyWeek in many years that I have been home. I'm already missing the Paris Palm Sunday procession with the donkey on Ile-St-Louis and the daily (hourly???) processions in Oaxaca.
I suggested (jokingly)at the retreat that we close a street for a Palm Sunday procession but Canadians 
are so conservative!

Palm art is for sale in the streets of Oaxaca during Semana Santa.


  1. Your getaway must have been so relaxing...
    The gardens in your complex must be quite lovely. The residents must appreciate all your efforts and inviting a crew of younger helpers might be fun.

    I have a frend who attended a weekend retreat of silence...it sounds restorative but I am not sure that I could not be quiet! I would really have to concentrate hard on not talking! I spek to the cats here in our home when I am home by myself and often blurt out some comment when I listen to the CBC!

    1. My husband laughs at the possibility of me being silent but I read and write and walk without sound. The hardest part is mealtime because you are looking across the table at someone but not speaking. There is a shift away from the bedding plants that the older people were accustomed to but I still use winter pansies and flowering bulbs to give colour. I hope that we do attract younger people to develop a plan for future gardens.


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