(Jennifer Kok photo)                                Brian and Mike making a ‘Who’ tree.

(Jennifer Kok photo) Brian and Mike making a ‘Who’ tree.

Gardening: Four cups of Christmas cheer

Wishing you all the kindness, consideration, friendship that I have experienced this holiday season.

I thought I would give you a gift of four short stories before Christmas. I hope you enjoy them.

• Brian’s Weekly Visits – Brian is a good friend of mine. He visits me weekly at the nursery where I work, usually on Thursdays. The first thing he always does when we meet is to shake my hand and ask me how I’m doing. He doesn’t tolerate a vague, ‘I’m okay,’ because he really wants to know if everything is alright in my life. It matters to him. It is only after I have detailed the good things I have encountered in past seven days that we move onto his interests, which usually involve sampling any ripening berries or fruits (Brian has a keen palate and is quick to review these), seeing if ‘Dave’ the hummingbird is about or perhaps making a Christmas craft – such as a ‘Who’ tree we recently put together.

I guess the thing that I like the most about Brian is that he is always looking out for me, and in a world where people often get lost in the grind of daily life, it’s a comforting feeling.

The Further Adventures of Dave – I should start by mentioning that Dave is actually a female Anna’s hummingbird, judging by her grey and metallic green colouring. But somehow it would seem odd to call her anything else.

That said, she always begins the day by flying in and sipping on her feeder in the perennial house, then chirping when she spots me, as if to say ‘good morning.’

Her favourite perch is on the Beauty Berry bushes, which I suspect has more to do with the blooms on the adjacent Camellia ‘Yuletide’ and Mahonia ‘Charity’ – both of which provide some rare winter nectar.

On very cold or wet days, Dave will spend most of her time in the perennial house, with an occasional foray into the heated store to feed on the Christmas cactus. If things are quiet, she will perch on the vines just a few feet from my work station and listen to CBC radio with me, making for good company.

Artificial Christmas Tree Horror Stories – It’s my theory that nothing fuels the sales of live Christmas trees better than their artificial counterparts.

And over my 20 years of selling them, I have amassed quite a collection of horror stories from customers who love to regale me with their experiences, from the rodents who enjoy nesting in them while in storage, to trees that never regain a natural look once compacted in boxes, and those that fade to a sickly green in the slightest bit of sunlight.

But I still think that the best of these is the golem of an artificial tree that I grew up with, one my dad cobbled together annually. What I remember the most is the silly grin on his face when he managed, yet again, to revive his Frankenstein of an artificial tree with inordinate amounts of duct tape and picture wire.

Kolbassa Kindness – A casual conversation with some fellow ex-Winnipeggers about what we miss most from our wintry city recently turned into an extraordinary act of kindness.

After talking about the rye bread and garlic sausage you find at the north end of town, Jimmy and Eva actually brought me back a ring of the latter to enjoy this Christmas.

So that’s my four cups of Christmas cheer and I want to wish you all the kindness, consideration and friendship that I have experienced this holiday season.

Mike Lascelle is a local

nursery manager and

gardening author

(hebe_acer@hotmail.com).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.
ON COOKING: Chef Dez does parsley pesto

Pesto traditionally has fresh basil but parsley is a tasty alternative

A cyclist was struck on Lougheed Highway at 209 Street on Monday afternoon. (Neil Corbett - The News)
Cyclist injured after collision with car on Lougheed Highway

Police, fire and ambulance respond to call in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services’ Better at Home Program is now offering a grocery delivery program for seniors. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows organization now delivering groceries for seniors

Community Services’ Better at Home Program filling in the gaps of Thrifty Foods Sendial program

An acro performance as part of the Greg Moore Youth Centre’s talent show video. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge’s talented youth featured in Youth Week video

BC Youth Week marked by Greg Moore Youth Centre

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks drew a large crowd to the Abbotsford Centre in 2019. Canucks management hopes the crowds return for the planned AHL team this fall, and early returns are positive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Canucks: ‘Incredible’ early interest for Abbotsford AHL tickets

Team has had a strong response to both e-mail information and priority ticket lists

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read