Thursday, July 2, 2009

Forsake the Lawn: The Dreamy Backyard Gardens of East Vancouver

This afternoon I was looking for both inspiration and some outdoor time so I hopped on my bike and headed east. I took the Seaside bike route to Adanac/Union and followed that until the first north-south bike route after Commercial Drive: Lakewood. I decided to make my route a big circle, so I headed north on Lakewood into the heart of Grandview-Woodland, which (according to the City of Vancouver website) was the first Vancouver suburb. This vibrant neighbourhood is also home to lots of young families and twice as many native Italian speakers as the Vancouver average. Of course, this makes sense considering nearby Commercial Drive is the heart of Vancouver's Little Italy.

What discoveries did I make biking through this interesting little community? Well, a polkadot house for one, but also a plethora of amazing and gigantic backyard gardens! They are everywhere and they are big! Collected below are a few photos of some of the best ones I encountered. If you live in Vancouver perhaps a bike ride up Lakewood is in order? You could even head that way on a Saturday and hit up the farmer's market at Trout Lake. These Vancouverites are on to something: who needs grass when you can have fresh produce, fruits, and herbs all summer long? Of course, it is also like having another part-time job with all the work that comes with a garden: watering, weeding, harvesting and trying to pawn zucchinis off on your neighbours!

Grapevines and fruit trees

Pole beans, fig trees and tomatoes fill the entire backyard;
dill hides the concrete fence

Flowers, herbs, raspberries, pole beans and more

These plants are more than six feet tall and it's only July 2nd!

Even those with more driveway than backyard
are making the most of their garden space

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