I love walking around residential neighborhoods this time of year. I am such an unrepentant voyeur; I just can't help looking into people's yards and checking out their gardens. Bellingham is a great city for urban gardens. At a rough guess, I'd say that easily a third of homes have a medium to serious garden - raised beds, a compost pile. And alm ost all the yards have something edible planted in them - a fruit tree, a blueberry bush, a line of raspberry canes, a window box full of herbs.
Chickens are legal in Bellingham, and it's quite common to see a coop in a backyard with three or four hens inside. I believe goats are legal too, but I didn't see any of those. This being a short-season climate (and a cold year) serious gardeners must do something to extend the season, and many homes have hoop houses set up over their raised beds, or cold frames, or greenhouses. In the picture below, you see an ingeniously cheap cold frame made by the simple expedient of leaning up a pane of glass against the side of the house, and planting beneath it.
Here, at the other end of the spectrum, is a gorgeous well constructed hoop house that was fully 12 x 30 feet, and a good eight or nine feet high. It was too early in the season for me to see what was planted inside, but there was enough space in there to plant anything. The photo below that shows a raised bed in the same yard, about six by twenty, full of raspberry canes. There are some folks who are NOT going to run short of raspberries.
On the smaller end of the scale, here is a cute little bamboo pyramid with a bunch of snap peas growing up it. There will be enough peas here to provide snacks for several weeks. Next to the pyramid is a seriously out of control rhubarb plant.
And finally, this photo has no edibles at all in it, but what a beautiful tulip garden! This view just made my day.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011