Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nice People and Gardening

Ever since the weather warmed up, I've made it a point of smiling at every person with whom I make eye contact. This is probably a more selfish pursuit than it sounds because it is such a pleasurable experience to smile at someone and have that someone smile back. It's a simple, non threatening gesture (like small talk) but since I'm new to town, it also makes me feel like part of the community.

Believe it or not, as cultured as New York was and as cool as Montreal was, those places became home to me mainly because I became a part of the neighborhood. From the cashiers at Gristede's or the college guy helping out his dad at the Pizza place downstairs in Kip's Bay to the saucy Portuguese lady at the bakery or the Bangladeshi dishwasher on our corner in the Plateau were among the things I missed most when I left each of these homes (well, that and the murals I painted).

With each person, it started with a smile and a bonjour and this weekend, we got a taste of home here in Toronto while trolling the neighborhood looking at gardens. We're working on our own garden and needed a little inspiration and direction.

Case in Point

We came across a lovely "low maintenance" garden that we both adored so we started taking notes and pictures when to our surprise, the owner came outside! She was so sweet and spent time explaining her garden, naming all the flowers, blooming times, tips and tricks. Of course, I became overwhelmed (re: I faded out) but Sanj was right there with her writing everything down and asking questions. She must have spent an hour with us and we were so thrilled!

Of course, talking to her also gave us an idea of how much effort it actually takes to start a low maintenance garden. So, we decided it was best to do our research and build the garden up in stages.

Imagine our surprise when we found a package at our front door the next day. Our neighor had left a bag of some gardening magazines, a card and a bunch of notes on local nurseries.

Together now, "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwww."

Is that the sweetest thing you've ever heard? We were so touched and inspired to work that much harder on our garden. Besides, another great way to feel like a part of the neighborhood is to be outside gardening, everyone stops to say hello!

We're so happy we have a new place to call home.

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