“Why don’t you get a dog?” has been a typical response whenever I’ve dared to mention that I regret not knowing more of my neighbours. Or that I spend too much time sitting in front of my computer.
It’s true that pets can be lovely conversation-starters and exercise-influencers.
I’ve thought about getting a dog. For about five seconds each time. Until the same questions inundate my mind.
Who will walk it if I want to be away? What if I get tired of one-sided conversations? Who will hold my nose while I stoop to scoop?
I’ve come up with another solution. Sponsor a traffic circle garden as a Green Streets Volunteer.
The circle in question is due for renovation. It’s a jumble dominated by overgrown lavender shrubs with woody stems. Other flowers take turns sticking their heads higher than the two-foot limit required for visibility. A rescue garden, for sure.
A landscape architecture student hired by the city is working on the redesign. I’ve asked for a big emphasis on drought resistance in the varieties we choose. Vancouver’s climate is technically outside the traditional northern limit of a Mediterranean climate zone, but our summers have been getting hotter and drier. Lavender, rosemary, and thyme sound like winners. I anticipate my short walk to tend the garden will transport me to southern France on a regular basis.
Traffic circles don’t come with taps. Next summer, I look forward to building bone and muscle mass as I heft jugs of water to help the plants get established.
I anticipate neighbours will start conversations. This week, two people took the trouble to say “Thank you,” when they saw me clipping back the spent lavender wearing my “Green Streets Volunteer” vest.
A friend who loves to garden and lives nearby is helping with the design. I got her a vest as well. I hope others will join us when they see how much fun we are having. Maybe they’ll offer to water when she and I are both away.
And instead of filling doggie-do bags, I anticipate stooping to clip the makings of potpourri and herbs de Provence.
My choice of a new pet (project) fits me perfectly. But it needs a name. “Traffic Circle Garden,” takes too long to say.
I think I’ll call her “Fifi.”