During my undergraduate degree in Victoria, I lived in a basement suite in Cadboro Bay, in a house with a fabulous garden. The garden was lush and private, and the trees and tall hedges surrounding the yard gave it a kind of intimacy. During the four years I lived there, many quiet afternoons were spent reading in the hammock or in the lawn chairs. Decades later, I still have fond memories of that lovely garden, and I am so glad that I am able to still go and visit. Although the garden has changed – the King apple tree in the corner is gone, the vegetables have been replaced by flowers and a large house next door now looks down into the garden – it still feels like home to me.
This spring, my friend who lives in the house, sent me a letter asking me to come and dig up some lily of the valley from her garden and to take it back to mine. So, I went to Victoria and we had a lovely visit over tea and were joined by her family, who I feel part of, and am part of. Although we didn’t talk about it explicitly, the difficult process of saying goodbye has started. At the end of the visit I dug up a few lily of the valley plants which are now in my shade garden (above). I hope to see them bloom next spring.