Archive for Gardening Posts

published in Beauty, Dogs, Gardening, Home, Inspiration by Maryanne | August 2, 2017 | No Comment

Gratuitious Sex Garden Scenes


Shade garden in back yard

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

– May Sarton

Hah…couldn’t resist having some fun with the title of this blog! A little gardening humour to get your attention 🙂

I am in Los Angeles this week, so for today’s blog I thought I’d share a few photos from my garden in Sidney by the Sea.


My patio flowers


Crazy daisies!


Grapevine – Part 1


Grapevine – Part 2!


Sadie after she bit the heads off the marigolds 🙁


Pretty little garden at the front of the house



Beautiful begonias!


Happy Hydrangea…



Giant Sadie in front in front of the gnome home & hobbit hole 🙂

Do you have a garden? If so, I’d love to see some pics of yours!

“Gardens are a form of autobiography.”

– Sydney Eddison

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.


published in Anger, Gardening, Health, Inspiration by Maryanne | May 29, 2017 | 6 Comments

Anger in the Garden – Pruning Back for Future Growth


“Not only does the repression of anger predispose to disease but the experience of anger has been shown to promote healing or, at least, to prolong survival.”

– Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress

Spring is here and gardening season is upon us. Hooray! And yet…  

I love puttering in the garden but I must confess to having mixed feelings when I’m working in my yard in Sidney. Unfortunately, over the seven years since I’ve lived here, more often than not there has been much in the way of neighbourhood noise to contend with while trying to achieve serenity: screaming children, parents screaming at said children, high-pitched band saws that get used for hours and hours on end, power washers, as well as the boom-boom-boom pounding of bass from music and video games.

And then there’s the traffic.

I live on some sort of thoroughfare road that is getting busier and busier in our growing town, so maintenance and construction vehicles rumble by loudly on weekdays. Gravel and cement trucks, city buses and Harley Davidson motorcycles are LOUD vehicles, especially when they are accelerating – which is, oddly enough, often the case in front of my house. I gave up years ago trying to garden in my front yard without wearing ear protection.

But over the May long weekend, I was working – without earplugs – in my back garden and it was delightfully…quiet. I could hear the birds chirping. It was lovely.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that my neighbour with the screaming children moved out six months ago and has been prepping the house for sale. I’m not sure who will be moving in next but for now, I am beyond grateful for the relative peace and quiet.

Grapevine and dead branches of adjacent tree

But here’s the thing: one of the tasks I was tackling in my garden over the long weekend was the pruning of the wisteria and grapevine. Both vines had grown out of control and were strangling their neighbouring trees, so I cut and cut and cut.

Wisteria gone wild AFTER a good pruning

However, much of the time I was on a ladder so I could see into my neighbour’s backyard – the one who has, albeit inadvertently, irritated me so much over the years.

And the more I pruned, the angrier I got at my neighbour for a) being so noisy and messy over the years and; b) only bothering to clean up his home and yard now that it was time to SELL it and make a whack of cash.

“Blaming others takes an enormous amount of mental energy…it makes you feel powerless over your own life because your happiness is contingent on the actions and behaviours of others, which you can’t control.”

– Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

At first, my anger felt rather therapeutic. But then I turned that anger towards myself when I realized that I was the one who had chosen to stay in my home for SEVEN years. Nobody had forced me to stay and tolerate noisy neighbours. I was mad at my own damn self!

And then wouldn’t you know it, I had a reflexology treatment on my feet two days later – and the next morning, I was really sick. I had this strange headache on the very top of my head, as if my body was trying to release something out the top but couldn’t. I was nauseous and had no appetite or energy. And I kept falling asleep. I drank enough water to sink a battleship because I suspected my body was ridding itself of all that anger that had come to surface.

Whatever I did worked. The next day, I woke up and felt pretty much back to my usual self – but far less angry.

As for the garden? Well, both the wisteria and grapevine are growing like crazy…they LOVED the pruning! As for the poor trees that were nearly strangled to death by the vines, their recovery is going to take some time.

Interestingly, along with gardening, I have also – at long last – been working through some of the old boxes in my basement and getting rid of STUFF…decluttering yet again. That, of course, is also bringing all sorts of memories, thoughts and emotions to the surface. But in all honesty, I am finding that a rather enjoyable process…well, except for the rats. But I’ll write about that experience in a separate blog 😊

I have also been reading Gabor Maté’s book, When the Body Says No; The Cost of Hidden Stress. WOW! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. You might think twice the next time you say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’ to a demand placed on your time. But I’ll write a future blog about that book, too!

In the meantime, here is an interesting quote about the suppression of anger:

“I am greatly empowered without harming anyone if I permit myself to experience the anger and to contemplate what may have triggered it. Depending on circumstances, I may choose to manifest the anger in some way or let go of it. The key is that I have not suppressed the experience of it.” 

– Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No

Related blogs by Maryanne

Anchors Away – Letting Go of Anger

A Little Lesson from the Garden: Sometimes the Most Obvious Explanation is the Most Difficult to See

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Assumptions, Change, Energy Vampires, Gardening, Habits, Home, Inspiration, Nature, Relationships by Maryanne | August 8, 2016 | 4 Comments

A Little Lesson from the Garden: Sometimes the Most Obvious Explanation is the Most Difficult to See


old chair in MA's garden

 “It is the obvious which is so difficult to see most of the time.” 

– Isaac Asimov

 Sometimes I’m not the sharpest trowel in the tool shed.

I am now in the middle of my seventh summer in my home in Sidney, B.C.. That’s a fair amount of time spent trying to keep the plants in my back garden watered. So one would think (hoped) I would’ve solved this particular mystery significantly sooner than a few weeks ago – but no.

Here’s the scoop:

At the very back of my yard is a shade garden filled with plants that thrive in, well, shade. Now, although the shade garden is much fuller than it was when I first moved in, you would think from the amount of time, attention and water I have put into that garden, it would be far lusher than it is.

Every spring, I add new plants. I weed. I water. I put a mixture of soil, compost and manure around each plant. As spring turns into summer, I hand-water each and every plant every second or third day. I add fertilizer. I water some more. I prune.  I add more water.

That damn shade garden gets more attention than the entire interior of my home!

long shot garden

And yes, the plants are surviving but they aren’t exactly thriving. In fact, they pretty much stay the same size from year to year.

So a few weeks ago, when I was, again, diligently hand watering each plant, I got to thinking, again, about the possible reasons WHY the soil in said shade garden often looks like it belongs in the Sahara instead of a well-cared shade garden on Vancouver Island.

And it (finally) occurred to me that the source of the shade in my shade garden might well have something to do with the situation. So I did a quick tree count and get this: I have SEVEN massive trees in or near that shade garden.


big trees back garden

So the vast majority of the water I have been trying to give the smaller plants has been promptly getting sucked away by the extensive root systems of the big trees.

Though chagrined it had taken me seven summers to solve this rather obvious mystery, I quickly moved on to figuring out what the heck to DO about it.

I basically have five options:

1. Cut down some or all of the big trees (there goes the shade)

2. Keep the trees but pull up all the shrubs and other plants and replant them in large pots and planters so they won’t be sharing the same soil as the tree roots.

3. Install some sort of automatic irrigation system that is more water-efficient and less labour intensive.

4. Don’t change anything – just keep manually watering the damn plants all the time.

5. Sell my home and move.

I then mentioned to a friend I was writing a blog about my shade garden revelation because I suspected there may also be some sort of analogy to life lurking in that soil…something about how the massive root systems of the big trees are sucking up all the water I am trying to give to the smaller plants – and how this is often people roll, too.

For let’s face it: try as we might sometimes to change something in ourselves or our lives that we know isn’t working, if we don’t first recognize the source – be that another person/people, project, job, habit/s, situation, our own attitude or negative thoughts, etc – that is sucking the lion’s share of our time and energy (and perhaps money), despite our best efforts, things are NOT going to change.

To this bit of brainstorming, my friend nodded.

“Yes,” she said. “I get where you’re going with that. But there’s a significant difference between the smaller plants in your garden having their water sucked away by the big trees – and a person who is being sucked dry by another person, circumstance, their own negative attitude and so on.”

“The person who is being sucked dry by whatever seemingly stronger force is allowing that to happen,” she continued. “They may not think they have a choice to make a change – but they always do. It just may not be pretty.”

Food for thought 🙂

Then, a few days later, I told my neighbour about how I’d unearthed the mystery of my perpetually dry shade garden (I didn’t share the analogy to people – he already thinks I’m pretty flaky).

To which he smiled and promptly asked, “And have you ever wondered, Maryanne, why the cedar bushes between our two backyards are so huge?”

I glanced over at the, admittedly rather large, cedar bushes – then looked back at my neighbour.

cedar bushes backyard

“Uh…no,” I said, suspecting I was in for another revelation, “actually I haven’t.”

Because come to think of it, I had NEVER watered those damn cedar bushes – not once in seven summers.

My neighbour smiled kindly (he is very polite) and said, “My pond had a slow leak for years. But I finally fixed it last year, so you may have to water those cedar bushes at some point.”

I threw back my head and laughed.

So there you have it: no shortage of life lessons to be learned from the old garden.

Here are two:

If you aren’t thriving like you know you could be, take a look around at what – or who – might be sucking you dry by stealing your precious time or energy. Sometimes the obvious answer is difficult to see.

Likewise, if something in you or your life is blossoming beyond reasonable explanation, there just might be a secret source of…irrigation coming from somewhere 🙂

Related blogs by Maryanne:

Butt Ugly – Are You Spending Time with People Who Bring Out the Worst in You?

Head-in-Sand-Syndrome Sweeping Nation

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.