I am not much of a gardener. I’ll cut the grass, pot flowers, and once in a while let my light-sabre-esque hedge trimmer run amok on the overgrowth. If I’m organized and expecting to be home most of the summer, I’ll grow tomatoes.
Many years ago, we rented a holiday home on a small hobby farm in California. It was a beautiful place with a pool and, the host explained, a glut of tomatoes she was sick of picking and canning. We could take what we liked. Beautiful heirloom varieties of all shapes, colours, and sizes were my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This, with olive oil, salt, and pepper, would be my desert island dish. I have yet to achieve such abundance, but perhaps this will be the year.
Before then, however, there is work to be done. I can’t be the only person who wakes up one day and wonders how the yard became a meadow overnight, with hundreds of dandelions standing a foot high, puffs ready to explode, and swears they just cut it all back the other day. That was me last week when I called Robert, a lovely chap who miraculously tames the urban wilderness I’ve managed to cultivate.
Editing a magazine is a similar process. You start with nothing, plant some seeds, and see what sprouts, what dies on the vine, and what balloons out of control, needing to be trimmed and tucked and, sometimes, seriously wrangled. The pruning and tidying and moving around continue until the very last moment possible. Then you clear everything out and start all over again.
Many of the stories in this issue explore how ideas are grown and shaped into existence. Harnessing and channelling creativity is writer and illustrator Charles van Sandwyk’s life’s work. His delightful tales and drawings of fairies and animals, beautifully wrought into books and folios, are now available to browse and buy at his new store in Gastown.
Pleasure of a more personal kind is Dr. Lori Brotto’s focus. The renowned clinical psychologist works out of UBC, researching dysfunction in the sex lives of women. Having grown up in a sexually repressive environment, Brotto champions open discussions about sex, mindful connection with our bodies, and the principle that desire will grow if tended carefully.
For entrepreneur Malcolm Wood, owner of Mott 32, the growth of his business is tempered by the challenges and goals of sustainability: less waste, products that are better for the environment, more meat-free dishes. Likewise, architect Tom Wright, designer of the world’s tallest passive house, to be built in Vancouver, believes sustainability is as important as aesthetics to his future practice.
John Vaillant would not disagree. The award-winning author’s new book takes the 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray as his starting point for a comprehensive investigation into the human relationship with combustion and where it has brought us. Climate chaos is upon us, he argues. Now we have to work out how we will bring the garden we call Earth back under control.
Read more from our Summer 2023 issue.