Before and After in British Columbia

Today we’re visiting Kim Herman’s garden.

My husband and I live in Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada. Our area is one of extremes. We can have hot summers with drought, cool winters, and cold springs. It is hard to say what zone we are in, as the climate is getting more unpredictable, but to be safe I would say it is a Zone 3, but I do grow some Zone 5 plants. We bought our house in 2012. There was lawn, two badly planted sand cherries in a standard, a lilac, an awful false spirea hedge, and some self-seeded chokecherry trees in the front. We dug up the lawn and put in paths and beds.

The front early on.

The front garden grown in and full of flowers.

View from inside the front garden.

What was an empty space is now filled with flowers.

Tulips bloom in abundance.

Planting lots and lots of tulips ensures an explosion of color in spring.

The backyard was another basic lawn and had four huge lombardy poplars and a terrible overgrown lilac hedge. A professional tree faller and crane were used for the poplars, and my husband, Michael, dug the lilacs out with hard manual labor.

The backyard before and after. Every year more lawn was removed and replaced with paths, veggie beds, fruit trees, shrubs, and flowers.

The lawn was transformed into a rich and beautiful garden.

The last four years have been years of crisis. Wildfires in 2017 caused the city to be evacuated. In 2018 the last of the lawn was removed, and it was the last of the major work by Michael. That year also came with water damage to our house and Michael’s diagnosis of a rare bone-marrow cancer. It was another year that gardening was put on the back burner while we managed an almost rebuild of the house and Michael’s rapid decline. This year brought Covid-19, and Michael has been facing complications that had him hospitalized for three months off and on. Through all the stress and tribulations, the garden continued to grow and bloom and bring peace and happiness not only to us but to the many who walk by and give their appreciation and compliments. In January, Michael was hospitalized. When given a poor prognosis, seeing the garden bloom was his goal. Now that the diagnosis has improved, the garden is giving him a bit of his old life back photographing the flowers, as he has many restrictions because of his compromised immunity and weakened body.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

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