Gardening: In the garden of Karl

3.5 acre parcel of rural Pitt Meadows has become a small island of sanity

In the garden of Karl Wohlers, there is order and utility – the hedges are groomed perfectly flat and square, the grapes earn their keep by providing wine and juice, the rearing horses on the entrance pillars stand straight and proud, the lawn is kept impeccably groomed, the fruit trees are pruned head height to make picking easier and the vegetable garden abides no freeloaders, as everything must be eaten.

This 3.5 acre parcel of rural Pitt Meadows has become a small island of sanity in an increasingly complex world, one full of mind-boggling hypocrisy and little common sense.

For those of you that know Karl, I am sure that the words opinionated and obstinate come to mind. That said, these are traits that he carries proudly in his day to day life.

I have known Karl for about 15 years, mostly as a nursery customer and frequent commentator on my local garden column – and over that time he has repeatedly invited me to drop by and see his garden. Karl’s persistence and my subsequent lack of excuses brought us together about a week ago and what I found astonished me.

As I pulled up the driveway, I saw a very serene Karl reading a book on native mythology on his front patio in the shade of the grapes that adorn the entrance arbor. He greeted me warmly, shook my hand with a firm grip and said “I knew you would come today”, as if he didn’t quite believe it himself.

All of these expressions of goodwill took me by surprise, as the Karl I have come to know is usually quite brusque and to the point – which got me wondering about the calming effect of being in a garden where you truly feel at home and ease.

So after his partner Anna-Lise brought me a delicious glass of chilled grape juice, I sat down with Karl and tried to figure where all this good karma really emanated from.

Karl moved to Pitt Meadows 55 years ago and started with five acres. Everything here was built by hand, including the bridge over the ditch and Spanish style home with clay roofing tiles.

Truth be told, I had expected more colour in the garden, but there are still roses, poppies, heathers, azaleas and annuals to brighten the landscape. The fruit trees include peaches, apples, pears and plums, with grapes, blueberries and currants filling out the balance of edibles. The red and green grape vines produce five to six gallon pails of fruit, which Karl’s friend, Ted Brown, transforms into delicious white wine (my wife gave the bottle he sent me home with two thumbs up) and juice.

The vegetable garden out back is chock full of healthy kale, Swiss chard, spinach, pole beans, peas, carrots, potatoes (‘Yukon Gold’) and ‘Russian Red’ garlic – all of which has only been fertilized with composted lawn clippings and chicken manure which he digs in.

Karl does not use fertilizer or pesticides of any ilk in his garden. According to him, “you don’t have to be a gardener, you just have to be in harmony with nature and if you work with nature, you might be surprised by what she gives back – but you still have to get off your rear end.” That latter statement is typical Karl, but surrounded by his ideal garden you get a much more, mellow version, so long as you just don’t bring up local politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Vibrant alco-inks one of many mediums for sale at club’s annual show

Garibaldi Art Club’s fall show and sale to feature 220 works of art

UPDATE: Arrest made in Maple Ridge purse-snatching incidents, another for fraud

Man and woman, both 34 and from Maple Ridge, facing charges.

Maple Ridge women’s shelter society gets a $2.1-million boost

Cythera Transition House Society gets money for 21 homes

Maple Ridge councillors named to local groups

Division of labour for new council

Clear skies for Fraser Blues Remembrance Day flyby

It was the first time the formation team flew over the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Remembrance Day ceremonies

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read