Monday, April 03, 2006

Heavy Petal is moving

Heavy Petal

Thanks, Blogger, it's been swell. Sure, we've had our ups and downs, but all-in-all, it's been good. So why am I leaving you? For Movable Type, no less? There are two main reasons: I can categorize my entries (yay!) and I can have my own URL (

It's a beautiful new site, and I'm having a contest to celebrate its launch. Have a look and let me know what you think. Oh, and please update your links and bookmarks.

I think the new site is simply fabulous. The design is a little bit Art Deco, a little bit high school binder doodling. Huge thanks go out to my friends at Industrial Brand Creative for the energy, creativity and brilliance that went into it. Their award-winning blog was the original inspiration for this one. Thanks, guys.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Cherry blossom time

the long road
boughs of white blossoms
light the way

Helen Baker
North Vancouver, British Columbia

This is one of my favourite times of the year; of course, there's the beauty of the spring garden and the potential it holds, but it's also a time that makes me feel extra blessed to live in Vancouver because of the Japanese flowering cherry trees.

Our most common street tree, Vancouver has over 36,000 Japanese flowering cherries. This year, some lovely people decided to start the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival in celebration. You can take plein-air painting classes under the trees, order a blossom picnic, check the website for updates on what's blooming where, and read the submissions for the haiku contest (like the winner of Best Canadian Poem, above).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring is here!

Today, I went out without a jacket.

This weekend, there's a work party organized for my Community Garden.

This can only mean one thing: Spring is here!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Garden aesthetics

So I bought this raised bed kit from Lee Valley Tools for my roof-top veggie garden. I was hoping that it would look as passable as it does in the above photos, but, when I got it home and assembled it, it looked like I had nicked a curbside recycling bin. In short: it's ugly.

But, I reasoned, no one will see it but Ben and me and our occasional guests. But Ben wasn't having any of it. "How am I going to be able to relax on the deck with that thing," he complained.

Which brings me to my rant: why is it so hard to find garden accessories that are sleek, modern and affordable? I can't be the only one who doesn't want - or who's home doesn't suit - rustic chic or "Asian inspired"?

Hmm. Maybe there's a business idea there somewhere.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Phew! That didn't take long. Seeds are a continual source of amazement to me; they're like little miracle pods. These, from a West Coast Seeds lettuce variety mix, rewarded me in just two days!

Friday, March 24, 2006

The sacred garden

I'm happiest in nature.

It shouldn't come as such a surprise to me to realise this. In a world I've often struggled to make peace with, I've always felt most calm, most content, in the forest or garden. Sometimes, when I work in the garden, it feels like a holy rite. Something sacred. It's like a great wave of peace and joy washes over me, and I emerge, cleansed.

In my garden design course this week, we learned about the history of Japanese garden design, and the common thread informing its progression: Shinto. Shinto involves the worship of kami, which can be translated to mean "sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility." Practitioners have a profound love of nature: they believe nature is sacred, and to be in contact with nature is to be close to the Gods. This love and respect for natural elements has informed Japanese garden design for centuries.

I'm mixing religious metaphors, but perhaps in a past life I was Shinto. Sure, most of the time pulling weeds is purely secular, but I'm sure there've been moments of transcendence.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Modern garden accessories

Chiasso carries a number of items that will interest gardeners with a modern minimalist aesthetic. These botanic vase bookends merge my top two passions: gardening and books, while these aluminum planters would solve my container crisis. And just check out birdie in his swanky pad! Love it.