As we drove across Canada to see family on what is likely to be our last fuel splurge ever, I became fascinated not just by the natural splendor of our vast landscapes but also by the human scars that we have trained our eyes to avoid. Instead of turning my camera away, I found myself snapping shots of overhead wires, and lumber mills, but what most captivated me were the big rigs.
Truck driving down the rain drenched highway somewhere in Canada.
Those behemoths that ferry our resources - our food - along the ribbons of grey highway that travel beyond the horizon.I began to think again about the barriers toward people growing their own vegetables in their own yards. For some, the vegetable garden lacks curb appeal and so it is hidden in a less than ideal spot between a shed and a cedar hedge. For others, it just takes too much time. Even those who do have a little plot complain that they often don't manage to eat all the tomatoes and zucchinis they produce.Then I went to Spain to see the other side of the family and marveled at how in some villages every available space was crammed with edibles. Instead of the squash being treated like a second class citizen, it was the ornamentals that were dotted here and there along a fence line or in a lonely pot on the front step. I was surprised to notice that despite the lack of space, people grew vegetables, and yet in Ottawa where some yards could feed a family; the tyranny of the green yawn prevails.
Small garden in the basque country, Spain.
Though I do have a large backyard vegetable patch which all together is about 40 by 20 feet. I also have an equally large, if not larger mini-orchard in the front underplanted mostly by ornamentals. It is my vow this year to start replacing these with more useful plants. I am going to start with the exotics. I will never rid my garden of flowers as many of the natives attract all sorts of wildlife, as well as lift up the spirit, but some plants are not earning their keep and it's time they go!