When we lived in Railtown, the birthplace of Gamla, we were lucky enough to be one of the few people to get a tiny garden plot on the roof of our building. How we managed to wrangle that minuscule bit of viable dirt in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver remains a mystery, but it was ours, and was the beginning of a dream to one day build on that small bit of dirt and eventually grow veggies and flowers on a grander scale. We dreamed of a mini farm... of sorts.
We grew everything we could in that roof garden plot: lettuce, kale, basil, tomatoes, so much sorrel, more rosemary than anyone could ever need, and most significantly, an inherited Japanese maple that we almost took with us when we left.
The following year, after we moved into our space on Wall Street, we decided to grow another garden. This time it was a part of our Make Date series, and included flowers, herbs, rhubarb, and of course, a Japanese maple, an ode to our very first plot of land. In a neighbourhood where wild flowers on the sidewalk is anything but the norm, we stood out. The flowers bloomed and neighbours were always stopping by to say how much they loved to look at our space. We were happy and grateful to be able to make something so simple and beautiful for not just us, but for everyone who passed by.
Sadly, just before we left 2026 Wall Street, someone decided they needed our Japanese maple more than we did. We were heartbroken over the trail of dirt from the maple's cedar box on the sidewalk, but took it as a sign that our decision to leave Vancouver was the right one.
We've spent the past month — literally, four whole weeks — watching the sun's hourly patterns on our Bowen land, looking for the absolute perfect spot to build our new garden. After a full month of sun-gazing, we've found the place, and Branch has begun to carefully lift the grass, build the cedar boxes, and erect the deer fence for our (bigger) tiny farm to begin to take shape.
It's exciting to see the thing we dipped our toes in years ago become something real.
Incidentally, we also have a Japanese maple here. Planted 30 years ago by our neighbour who used to make a living as a landscaper, it is grand and beautiful and everything we wanted our previous maples to be. This funny tree is bizarrely maybe even one of the reasons we moved here.