I can’t remember if I’ve complained to you before about the size of our back yard. If not, it was only a matter of time, rest assured. It’s pretty much non-existent. It takes about three steps to run across – six, if your legs are small, but that’s not nearly enough space to let out as much energy as my Thing 1 and Thing 2 have.
So we have to travel further afield if we want to burn a decent amount of energy off, either to nearby parks, playgrounds, nature trails or whatever open spaces we can find.
One of my favourites is Guisachan (pronounced Gu-sha-gan) Garden, just off Gordon Road in Kelowna.
Built in 1891 for Scotland’s Lord and Lady Aberdeen (the former was Gov-Gen of Canada for a time), the old rancher style house (which, oh, I should photograph inside for you some time – just another reason to go back!) is now a restaurant that’s very popular with wedding parties.
The Central Okanagan Heritage Society restored the house in the 1980s, and helped bring the gardens back to their former splendor.
We go for the garden. Being virtually yardless, I like to give the kids a taste of what a yard should really be like: Stretches of greenspace to run/crawl/skip/roll/jump/chase on, surrounded by a profusion of flowers.
Like this gorgeous peony.
It’s also a good chance to teach them respect for gardens – you can’t just pick the flowers or run through the flowerbeds – and to learn a bit about different flowers and their names. A visit to the snapdragons, when they’re in bloom, is usually requisite.
I worked for one summer at Guisachan Garden, maaaaaany summers ago. I’ve never seen it quite the same way, since.
It’s a huge amount of work, as you can imagine. Being much younger/more naive, I had imagined I would float around the paths with an over-sized straw hat, a pair of clippers and a basket of cut flowers. Boy did I get a lesson in life!
To this day, I think of this little stretch of grass as “the slug patch.” I know, it totally spoils the romance of this picture, doesn’t it? But when I had to mow it, twice a week (I think it was), it was where I was supposed to begin, so it was quite early in the morning, moist, and riddled with fat, black slugs. I couldn’t bring myself to mow over them, so I’d mow around them, leaving awkward tufts all over the place!
Fortunately, I also have plenty of more recent memories – and so do these two flower babies.