Hi, my name is Judy and I was born and raised in beautiful British Columbia. I live in the city with my husband and two boys. I am a Chartered Accountant, so as you can imagine, I am always looking for a creative outlet, and gardening is one of those things. I started growing mostly vegetables and over the last few years got sucked into the world of flowers… and am I glad I did!
What inspired you to start gardening?
Growing up, I was surrounded by indoor plants and flowers in the landscape of my childhood home. I remember the excitement every year when spring came around and I would take a trip with my parents to the local garden center to pick out my favorite flowers. When we finally bought our house, we had no idea what to do with our backyard, so a friend of mine came over and showed me how easy it was to start a vegetable garden, I have been hooked ever since. A few years ago, another friend showed me the joys of growing flowers and talked me into growing cut flowers to complement everything else I have been growing, and that started a whole new obsession! I am so grateful to be surrounded by people that inspire me to try new things. The gardening community always embraces newcomers and loves to share tips and tricks.
Describe your garden.
Being in the city, my space is small, but I maximize every corner of it. I love a space that is both beautiful and practical at the same time. Though my backyard is quite small, I manage to fit five raised garden beds totaling 150 sq ft. You would be surprised how much I can fit in there! I use the square foot gardening method and do high intensity gardening. I mostly grow vegetables sprinkled with flowers to attract the pollinators. I also have one bed dedicated to cut flowers. My front yard is dedicated to flowers only and includes some perennials and pops of colors from annuals. I love leaving space for me to try new things every year. Last year, I also decided to experiment with lots of bulbs and planted dahlias, tulips, ranunculus, anemones, daffodils, alliums, and lilies. I planted approximately 1000 bulbs in total. I had no idea how easy they are!
What has been your biggest gardening fail?
There really is no failing in the garden. Any gardener will tell you that there will always be things that do not work out as planned, but it’s part of the reason why gardening is so addictive. It is like a science project and you’re always dealing with the unpredictable variables, whether it’s the weather, pests, soil quality, and more, so each year you try something new and eagerly wait for the outcome. It is part of the fun!
How have you used Wave Petunias or Cool Wave Pansies in your garden?
The bright pink pots of the Wave Petunias are what caught my eyes in the garden center. I love having Wave Petunias in the landscape because it fills in quickly. Easy Wave Petunias and Shock Waves are always stunners in hanging baskets and window boxes. I love that I can plant them anywhere in the garden, and it just fills up that space in no time. Best of all, there is no deadheading involved, so the maintenance is low for such a gorgeous flower. I usually stick to the pinks, violets, and corals and almost always mix it with white to really make the colors pop. This year I decided to go for a Canadian theme and planted mostly white and red petunias.
What’s one piece of advice you would give a beginner gardener?
Enjoy the journey. The joy of gardening is trying new things, failing at others, but always feeling like you are learning. I also highly encourage documenting your gardening journey in a journal or even on an IG account. I love being able to look back in time and see when things were blooming and what the season was like that year. It is like rings on a tree, you can always go back, and it tells you a story.
Another piece of advice is just to be in the garden. Things are happening every day, and if you pay attention to the details, you can learn so much. Enjoy all the little beauties nature gives you: the lady bugs, the new blooms, the hummingbirds… take it all in.
What would you tell someone who has never heard about Wave Petunias?
You cannot miss the bright pink pots in the garden center. They are always filled with beautiful bright pops of color that will look amazing in any landscape. They are vigorous growers and will add joy in any space they grow. Also, do not forget to feed them. Like most petunias, they need to be fed to continue giving you new blooms well into the summer and early fall. We also give ours a trim mid-season which usually give them new life again!
What are the advantages of planting flowers and vegetables in the same garden space?
I love intermingling my vegetables and flowers. I started with vegetables only and realized that I need to get those pollinators into my garden. Once I started adding flowers, I saw bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and more. Now, anytime I see an empty space, I will always throw in some flower seeds.
Do you garden year-round? How long is your main gardening season in BC?
I am so lucky that our climate is quite mild all year round. I live in zone 8b and can start planning my cool weather crops as early as February. We get lots of rain which may not be great for outdoor activities, but the garden loves a good drink of water. After a nice rainfall, I always see a huge boost in growth, so I embrace the rain! We garden well into the Fall, and I’m often planting my garlics and other bulbs in early December. I’m starting seeds and planting my cool weather crops in February, so you can almost say I can garden year-round.
What is the best part about gardening with family? With children?
Every morning, my husband and I enjoy our cups of coffee while strolling through our backyard. Every day the garden changes and we love seeing what new surprises show up each day. Never did I imagine that he would love the garden as much as I do. I do most of the garden planning, planting, and pruning while he ensures that everything is watered and well-fertilized. We are a great team and always joke that it’s therapy for our marriage. When the kids were younger, they each claimed one garden box as their own and planted their favorite things. My oldest always wanted blueberry bushes and my youngest wanted his own strawberry patch. They love their berries and can never get enough.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Photography is my other creative outlet. I used to have a photography business and photographed mostly newborns. There is nothing more precious than a 5-10 day old newborn. I always felt so privileged that the parents put their trust in me to hold and pose their baby. As life started getting busier with my own kids, I now mostly photograph my own family and do it more as a hobby.
Two years ago, we adopted our first family dog named Pekkle. He is a very lovable Sheltie and turned 10 years old in April (IG: @Pekkle.the.sheltie
). He is my shadow in the garden and never misses an opportunity to come outside. He loves snacking on snap peas and the stems of kale. The garden is as much his salad bar as it is mine, and I do not mind sharing one bit.
Do you know any gardening jokes? If so, tell us one.
I saw a garden meme that totally made me laugh. “One minute you’re young, hip and carefree and the next minute you’re photographing vegetables in your garden.” Yeah…. that’s me.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
I am a serial learner. I love to learn new things and will dive deep into a new thing and will barely come up for a breath. I did this with cake making, knitting, baking, amongst many other things, but once I have “mastered” it, I want to challenge myself with the next thing.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I am so glad to have found this wonderful gardening community. If you decide you want to get into gardening, seek out others at your community garden, online through various social media outlets, at the garden centers. Gardeners are so passionate and love to share what they know, so don’t be afraid to get started. Let the garden be your classroom!