COLUMN: Enjoy all the lovely growing things

Check This Out!


Oh, spring!

The ospreys are back from parts south, waiting in their nests for their mates with avian hearts a-thumping in anticipation. In the trees—newly flamboyant in their electric green foliage— the robins are twitterpated, too. A riot of tulips invades my garden; the forsythia has erupted in a celebratory sunburst; the spinach seeds have begun whispering “now.” It’s a heady time, this season.

The library celebrates spring, too, and offers myriad ways to do it.

Small folks might like to borrow one of our Nature Exploration Backpacks, the newest edition to our Library of Things and the brainchild of Children’s Librarian Avi Silberstein. Each pack contains binoculars, nature guides, a list of local hikes, and a water magnifier so that no critter escapes the curious gaze of a budding naturalist. If you’re the parent of a human kid, send them outside! If you’re the mother of a tadpole, watch out for curious young naturalists sporting backpacks.

At this month’s New to Nelson Potluck on Wednesday, May 30 from 5 to 6:30pm, the Living Garden gardeners will be on hand talk about spring planting—so you can come back with a fresh salad to welcome some folks newer than you when it’s time to harvest all those fabulous leafy greens.

Teen and Literacy Services Coordinator Melodie Rae Storey recognized that it can be hard to get to know folks when you first arrive here—perhaps we’re all too busy communing with nature—so she came up with this fun way to bring folks together. It’s for folks who are new as well as folks who want to meet the new folks, and it happens on the last Wednesday of each month.

Still not sure how deep to plant those radish seeds? Gale Courses online offers a wide array of interactive, instructor-led courses accessible with your library card. Two are aimed at green thumb development: Start Your Own Edible Garden; and Growing Plants for Fun and Profit. The next start date for both courses is May 16 (there are also start dates in June, July, and August).

I stopped growing zucchinis my first year in the Kootenays, when I discovered more than one 10-pounder left anonymously on my doorstep like a foundling (ask me about zucchini recipes sometime). As for flowering plants and veggies requiring a little more care and attention, a course like this might be just the thing for me. I still rely on the over-abundance of the gardens of friendly neighbours.

The Library has plenty of gardening books, whether you’re looking to attract birds or butterflies, deer-proof your kale, or grow that prize-winning pumpkin. You might invite your newly-minted young nature explorer to help identify your growing crop of garden slugs. Or leave it all to the aphids and take a hike! There are also books to help you find your next adventure trail or hide-away hotspring, the better to enjoy the season.

You can own your own gardening books—no worries about dropping Carrots Love Tomatoes in the carrot patch—by picking up a few at bargain prices at the Friends of the Library Spring Sale. Also on sale are cookbooks (so you can cook your feast at harvest time) and books on other great nonfiction topics. It takes place in the library’s lower level on Saturday, May 12 from 10am to 2pm, the same day as Gardenfest on Baker Street. Expect a town awash in enthusiasm about all the lovely growing things.

Be still, my beating heart! It feels as if spring has been a long time coming, but clearly, there’s plenty to be twitterpated about.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.

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