Many of us are inspired to take up gardening by watching others and experiencing the beauty they create for the rest of us to enjoy. This website is named in honour of my mother, Vivian, who inspired me to garden. I grew up on river property that my mother used as her canvas. In moving to this gorgeous piece of land, we inherited two mountain ash, a weeping birch, several mature American elm trees, Manitoba maples, lilac and caragana bushes running the length of the yard, and a plum tree. My folks were stewards of these inherited treasures, with my father watching out for the trees and shrubs and my mother the plants. To our yard, Vivian added evergreen plantings, perennials, and annuals, rimming the house and yard with an artist’s eye, painting with colour and scent throughout and spilling down over the river bank. Vivian’s family surnames are Cooke and Buxton. I put myself into the picture by inserting the i, representing me: hence, Cookie Buxton.
With its focus on northern gardening, and with the hope of connecting with like-minded gardeners wherever they may be, this garden blog aims to inspire and share the beauty all around us. Over the past few years, I’ve had the ability to travel a bit and you will see a collection of articles relating to some of the gardens I’ve been privileged to visit. Recent travels included a self-guided tour of some of Britain’s famous garden properties.
On the home front, I am an amateur gardener, and I find a get a bit lazier as the summer wears on. Gardening is something I enjoy doing when I am not carrying out the many tasks that shape and fill daily life. It’s cold in the winter here – frequently touching down in the -30 degrees Celsius range in the middle of winter – so in a sense that makes us northerners fair-weather gardeners. Located on the Canadian prairies, in beautiful Manitoba, my garden rests for well over half of the year. I work full time and live in a busy household that is rich with family routines, friends, and volunteer commitments. I garden in my spare time because I like the dark earth between my fingers, because seeing the intricacies of nature unfold amazes me, and because I find it satisfying to have a small role to play in the natural world by growing plants in an urban setting.
I don’t have one of the well groomed, beautifully constructed gardens that one sees in magazines. I do, however, have a small back yard that is fun to work in. It contains soil, and that means I can grow a garden. I own a camera, and that lets me look at my garden the way strangers do when they first come into the yard, stopping to take in the beauty, and to really see what is right in front of them. And I struggle to understand how these exquisite plants appear, year after year, in an otherwise ordinary city yard.
I have been gardening for 20-some years. I plant things, and sometimes they take a shine to their location and make themselves at home. I marvel at what nature does without much help from me. I do feel, though, that we all need to help nature out these days. We are making progress in attitude and how we govern ourselves and our industries, but we still need to hurry up and become better stewards of our environment. “If you love this planet,” and we all do, you are likely finding your own ways to preserve nature’s diversity and resources – not because it makes economic sense to do that – and it does – but because you have found at least one important reason for caring – for your kids, for wildlife, for monarch butterflies, for clean water to drink, for temperature control, for food to eat, and on and on. I spend several hours each week working on this website because I care deeply for my little home garden and for our natural wild spaces. I care about preserving our plant and animal species, and about ensuring that the world my children’s children’s children inherit will be clean, pristine, wild, and gorgeous. Caring for my backyard garden is simply an extension of a deep love of nature.
Every day, at some point, there comes a moment when I stand at my kitchen window and look out, or I pause standing on my back deck, or stroll around the yard, and I think to myself: Dear God, you are so brilliant. What an absolutely stunning world we have around us, so evident in the small details in the garden. I am grateful to think I get to have a hand in it, that I have the privilege to plant things, and that I am able to share the beauty I see with you.
Welcome to www.cookiebuxton.com. You are my visitor, and my guest. Perhaps you are a fellow spare time gardener, or maybe another northern gardener, or perhaps you live in a distant part of our world gardening community. Refresh yourself. Pause to reflect, and rest on these pages for awhile. I’m glad that you have stopped by to enjoy my Cookie Buxton gardening blog, and to enjoy images as well from lovely gardens, and a little bit of wilderness from time to time, beyond my yard.
Thank you for visiting cookiebuxton.com
Canadian Garden Blogger
(Master Gardener in Training)
Text and Photos by N.Kampen
Johnny-Jump-Ups, also known as Heart’s Ease; Cosmos in my back yard.
Friends, you might enjoy following my Twitter account as a way to receive notices when new articles appear.