Urban gardener shows off her Airdrie vegetable garden
Appearances can be deceiving.
Driving up to the front of Airdrie resident Trudy Pool’s Thorburn home, one will likely not notice anything out of the ordinary.
A large Schubert Chokecherry tree graces the front yard, lending shade to a foundation planting with the typical offerings of daylilies, Russian sage, stonecrop and a small mugo pine.
But when Pool, who has owned her home for seven years, opens the gate to her backyard, visitors may be taken aback.
There is no grass in her backyard, in fact, the whole space has been dug up and transformed into a vegetable garden. Little rows of onions, carrots, beans, green peas, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, dill and zucchini, set against a backdrop of neighbouring homes, fill the space.
Rhubarb, saskatoons, strawberries and raspberries offer up daily tastings in season, for Pool and her husband. The vegetable garden is punctuated by perennials including a bleeding heart, delphiniums, monkshood, lambs ear, daisies, hollyhocks and lilacs. A clematis, blooming profusely, climbs up a combination bench and arbour.
It’s an urban oasis.
“I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan in a family of 12,” said Pool.
She said as a youngster she was responsible for helping plant, hill and weed the acre of potatoes and tend to the large family vegetable garden. It was imperative the garden produced enough to feed the family through the long prairie winters, explained Pool, while showing off her yard, July 25.
In fact, Pool’s mom, while preparing the produce for winter, would carefully count the bags to ensure she had enough for the winter.
Although not always finding gardening enjoyable as a youngster, Pool said with age she has learned to appreciate growing her own food.
“I really like what the garden produces,” said Pool. “You can just come out in the morning and pick fresh berries. You can’t even compare (their taste) to that of store bought.”
Pool added she doesn’t freeze or process the produce for the winter, but rather grows just enough to enjoy a few meals of fresh vegetables and berries.
Pool said she also gets a lot of satisfaction out of gardening and enjoyed removing the old RV pad, wood deck and concrete yard and replacing it with peat moss and black dirt after she moved into her east side home.
Each year, Pool and her husband add composted material from their own kitchen and yard to the mix in an effort to amend the soil and make it even better for producing.
“I think if people love gardening, that is what they do,” she said.
“When I look out, I don’t want to see a pad or grass, I want to see something that will produce.”