My mother, Joyce Moore, is a naturalist and writer who published a book last year called A Guide to Alberta Outdoors: Rides, Hikes, Birds and Beasts. We visited her and my dad this past weekend to help celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary (and while we were there, Madge and I decided to get legally married too.) Visiting "my mother's garden" in the wake of finishing Sister Arts led me to pay some professional attention to her landscape aesthetic.
My mom's degree (from 1960) is in home economics, which at the University of Guelph at that time included design. Her taste definitely runs to Danish Modern (they still have a classic living room set I love) and her eye in the yard is equally clean, favoring beautiful lines and plenty of open space punctuated with color.
Southern Alberta has had a long, cold, rainy spring, which was miserable for the natives but for July visitors resulted in a spectacular landscape: green, lush, and blossomy. My parents' yard in Calgary is in a neighborhood that dates from the 1950s (my dad actually worked construction on the crew that built it when he was in vet school).
I remember this mountain ash from when it was about six feet tall. It bears bright-red berries that ferment in the Alberta sun. They attract cedar waxwings who gobble them up and then fly drunkenly into the living room window. As kids we used to tape paper cut-outs of hawks to the window to scare the waxwings off and save their little lives.
My favorites are the flowers I remember from childhood: bleeding hearts,