a peek inside the fishbowl

21 May, 2021

Pandemic gardening

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

Last year, during the first pandemic summer, I swore that This Was The Year we wrestled our garden under control. It has been wildly OUT of control pretty much since we moved in here.

I thought, FINALLY, we have time! We can putter and weed and water and divide and plan! And guess what, it didn’t happen. I realized that if it doesn’t happen during a pandemic when we do little but stay at home, it will never happen.

Gardening has revealed some deep truths about myself. (I have had ample time to think about this.)

I enjoy visiting the garden centre.

I enjoy container gardening, but only if the squirrels aren’t digging them up. I submit to you, Exhibit A, the little bastards:

Squirrel destruction of my planters

I enjoy the fruits of my labour, but I don’t particularly enjoy the labour, especially when it requires me to draw upon my limited reserves of patience (which are always dwindling and depends on the day) e.g. weeding between the cracks of a patio.

I thought, after 22 years of living here, that I would slowly become the type of old lady who enjoys the meditative quality of yard work. Friends, that has never happened, nor do I think that it will ever happen.

Hostas are the perfect plant for someone like me. They are low-maintenance, don’t spread out of control, and are gorgeous. You buy a hosta, dig a hole, plunk it in, fill it back, and that’s it. I have a bit of a collection going on. I can’t seem to get enough of them.

I divided one of Mary’s hostas recently and brought it home. It’s my one gardening project this weekend (besides weeding everything in sight. Ugh. I’m tired just thinking about it.). The leaves are gorgeous. It is like a green green sculpture.

I found a place for it in the back yard that had a lot of lungwort, a patch hasn’t been doing well since our big lilac died way back. I was going to dig it up and toss it into the compost bin but I thought better of it and offered it to my local Buy Nothing group on Facebook instead. I gave it away to three people, which I am so happy about.

Everyone was very nice, and the last woman who came to pick it up today was so very grateful. She lives nearby, and is redoing her garden. Our lungwort will be a big part of it, which is kind of cool.

Maybe sharing plants is another thing I like about gardening! Perhaps I should host a hosta swap. Hmm.

2 Responses to "Pandemic gardening"

1 | TD

May 22nd, 2021 at 2:37 pm


Sharing of plants in the neighbourhood is a great thing. This year I have already donated brown eyed Susan’s to a neighbour. Last year I was able to thin out my Joe Pye and also a couple of hostas to two neighbours.

If you post on the BN group, people will take or donate?

2 | andrea tomkins

May 25th, 2021 at 12:59 pm


It is a great thing for sure. Lots of giving and taking (and swapping!) on the BN groups~!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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