Monday 8 August 2016

To the New Owner - Knobs, Garden, Garage

Dear Mr. Cheung,

I hope the renos are going well, and you're able to move in before school starts.

I took the knobs from the kitchen cabinets - I hope that's OK. I wasn't sure what you were planning to do with them, but I figured they would likely be chucked. If they are wanted, please let me know and I'll return them. 

I hope you found the note on the wall from a friend who has use for some of the old cabinets. If you pass them along to her I will give her the knobs, as well.
 I ran out of time to find new homes for the swing set and playhouse, but I am still getting Craigslist replies and several people are interested. How should I respond? Are you OK with me giving them away, and if so, how should we arrange this?

You mentioned there was no rush to take the garage wood. I've got the Beaumont sign, seven floor boards, window and door, and I'll be back for more before the building is demolished; please tell me when that will be, and if you would like me to inform you before I come.

I'm glad to know you and your son are planning to work the garden. I hope you will look out your kitchen window every morning and smile: there's something new and good out there everyday.
Most of the plants are orphans from houses torn down in the neighbourhood, and some - like these evergreens - were nearly dead when I found them - but the big rhododendron, apple tree, and lilac are original to the house. 
I assumed you would want a double garage, and the apple and rhododendron would have to go; it's great this is not the case. They are very old, and both worth saving: the rhodi - which my family calls the "Shooting Tree" - gives a spectacular display of massive, shocking pink clusters in May that lasts for a couple of weeks. My children both loved to climb in it.
The apples are good for eating, but best for apple sauce, crisp or juice. This year's batch is excellent. The rest will be ready to pick within the next week. If you don't plan to use them, would you mind if I take them? I'd hate to see them go to waste. They can also be donated to the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project Society, who sends volunteers to harvest unwanted fruit, and shares it with community groups.
When the lilac is blooming try to be outside at 7 PM - it smells heavenly! Same thing with the phlox, near the kitchen window, which is flowering right now.
Another of the special plants is this Japanese Maple - a gift from my mother on my 40th birthday. I'll miss it the most. There was a pear tree in its place when we arrived, but I had it removed before I knew what a treasure it was. The maple makes up for it, though; I hope you will enjoy it. It is wonderful in the Spring and Fall, when the leaves are red or changing, and it gives the perfect amount of shade for a picnic. Give it a light pruning once a year to keep it off the house.
The foxglove pops up in different places each year, but only blooms the second year. Bees love it. I can show you what the babies look like, so you won't accidentally rip them out before they get a chance to flower, like I did until I realized they weren't weeds. There are several colours, and they self-seed freely; most came from the neighbourhood, but the best are the strawberry foxglove ("Merton's", above), from my mother's garden. They stay tidy even after they bloom.
The mop head hydrangea, near the kitchen window, practically glows in the evening - check it out just after sunset. This is the first year it has blossomed; it was rescued from a demolition site about four years ago, near Jericho beach, and is a stunner. It will fill in the whole corner, eventually. All four hydrangeas will need pruning in the Spring.
There are five beautiful rhododendrons, all different, including a rare purple dwarf. The one in the East garden (above) is healthy, but has never bloomed. I would love to know what colour it is, if you ever find out.
Nothing survives in the "Rincon of Deathexcept morning glory and campanula. Beware: if you don't keep on top of it, the morning glory will take over. Dig it out as soon as you see it, or it will be really hard to control. The garden also has horsetail, dandelion and slugs to watch out for, and the roots from the huge tulip trees on 10th will kill almost anything you plant in the front yard.

I gave all the plants a deep drink before I left; they will need to be watered again soon. You can find water restriction info here. Lawn watering is allowed only on certain days, but you can hand water plants almost anytime. Expect to water every second day in summer; it will take about an hour and a half. 
There's a watering can by the West fence - you'll need it for the clematis under the kitchen window. As well, you'll want a hose long enough to reach the back gate - that part of the garden gets very little rain.
Your garden is too shady for most veggies, but my new yard has lots of sun; I'm making raised beds with the floor boards from the old garage, and pondering where to place the hellebores (above) and ten other plants I removed, as per our agreement.
Your contractor may be right that no plants need to be removed for the new garage, but if past building in the neighbourhood is any indication, you will likely have to take out the lace cap hydrangea (above), sarcococca, Solomon's seal and some ground cover. Thanks for letting me know as soon as possible if this is the case so I can make arrangements to dig them out.

I hope you and your son will love this garden as much as I did. If you have any questions about it, please feel free to contact me, either for advice or for hire. I charge $45/hr and would be happy to help with maintenance, pruning, deadheading, finishing the front yard, or replanting near your new garage.

Yours truly and all the best,

Leah Price

1 comment:

  1. You are one of a kind Leah....beautiful in all ways.