Summer treat: a blooming Canadian icon
|TORONTO STAR PHOTO|
Today let me sing the praises of Ed Lawrence. He's on local CBC radio in Toronto every Monday (Tuesday on holiday weeks) to talk about gardening. Formerly in charge of the grounds of Ottawa's Official Residences for the National Capital Commission, he's written several books, the latest being, Gardening Grief and Glory. He's a very sly man. The topic for his call-in show is gardening and, sure, he takes questions from listeners across Ontario about their horticultural hassles. But he doesn't fool me. He's not talking about gardening at all; Ed Lawrence is talking about life.
If I were to have a life guru, it would be Ed Lawrence. On dark winter days, he reminds me the natural world is invisibly gathering its strength for the rebirth to come, and it cheers me. He reminds me there is continuity to life, just as there is to the seasons. That sounds simple enough but, without Ed Lawrence, I tend to forget. He's like my grandmother's cup of tea; he makes everything seem better. He describes the long nose of a certain garden weevil with the same wonder and gusto as the first glorious blooming of the lilac tree in springtime. No matter how arcane the topic, he always seems to have an answer or — and how often does this happen with most experts? — he says he doesn't know and will find out. That happens maybe once a year. He makes me believe I can make things grow — and I find I can. Sometimes he describes the fruits of a garden — a splash of colour from crimson-coated onions in a summer salad or the special taste of the bitter dandelion leaf — with the joy of someone seeing and tasting for the first time. And there's always a nugget to take away from his show and savour. Today's was: "There are some things we just shouldn't worry about that much." He was talking about long-nosed weevils — or so he said.
I don't often get a chance to listen to Ed Lawrence, at least not the whole show. But this week, and for a couple more to come, I'm off and my time is my own. I don't want to let this blog go for three weeks — not when it's so much fun — so I will continue to post. It just won't be as regular (sorry about last week) and I will slip in a few more personal favorites. It is summer.
One last thing: I say an Order of Canada for Ed Lawrence. Pass it on.