|Some people make good use of their boulevard spaces instead of viewing them as a nuisance. This garden has raspberry bushes on one side, flowers and other plants on the other.|
|This overflowing zucchini patch is part of an amazing boulevard vegetable garden.|
|Corn and carrots are flourishing in the garden. Down the street, you can see how other homeowners have planted on the boulevard as well.|
|Cabbages in front, tomato bushes behind -- this gardener knows how to raise vegetables!|
|A couple of houses along, a woman has a wonderful collection of flowers on the boulevard; she offered to give me some when I admired her handiwork.|
|A few blocks away, someone set up a white metal table and chairs on this boulevard. To the far right is a little black horse trailer.|
The boulevard, that space between the sidewalk and the street, can be a headache for Vancouver homeowners. We don't own it, but we're responsible for it, and if we let it get too ratty, our neighbours aren't happy. Some resolute non-gardeners cover it with river rocks or flagstones; others install indestructible groundcovers that ensure they will never have to touch a lawn-mower.
But some people treasure their boulevards; they turn their creative energies, their green gardening fingers, their practical sensible brains into maximizing that extra bit of space in a city where every inch is precious. On Sunday, I walked down a block where several homeowners -- perhaps the excitement is infectious -- had used their boulevards to create flourishing fruit, flower or vegetable patches.
One was a stunning model of a vegetable garden, with a massive zucchini patch, a thriving plot of corn, a fine row of carrots, three-foot-tall tomato bushes and cabbages already big enough to eat. A few houses down, a jungle of flowers and lavender leapt from a homeowner's property onto the boulevard; and further along, ripe red raspberries hung onto the street from another patch.
But not everything that happens on the boulevards is about gardening. A few blocks away, someone had set up a white wrought-iron table and matching chairs with a pink centrepiece of flowers. As I approached this unusual setting, I had an Alice-in-Wonderland moment. Two people in wheelchairs, along with a man leading a white pony the size of a big dog, went quickly past the table and disappeared through the gate into the garden. They moved too fast for me to grab a photo; the only evidence that I wasn't hallucinating was the little horse trailer by the gate.
I didn't wait, but I like to think they all came back out and had a Mad Hatter Tea Party at the table on the boulevard.