Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending the Expo West in my homeland of California. It was nice to get back to my roots and interact with businesses passionate about healthy living
While making my rounds to the vendor booths, I stopped at the Vega booth. I’ve always been a big fan of Vega but what I really enjoyed was getting to chat with one their team members, Trevor. As I was chatting with Trevor about my obsession with plant-based protein, I quickly learned that we have a shared passion for gardening.
I asked Trevor to send me a few pictures of his garden and I was instantly blown away! He’s an honorary rawkstar and I want to take you on a tour of his garden, T’uy’t pen’emay’, a Squamish name that means Medicine Garden, that sits on about a half acre of land in West Vancouver on the Squamish Nation. Crazy cool, right?!
How long did it take you (from start to finish) to complete your medicine garden?
We started building the medicine garden in the summer of 2015 during one of the driest and hottest seasons on record in Vancouver. Although discussions, dreaming, and strategizing for the garden took place for years before we broke ground in May of 2015, the actual design, and build of the basic garden took about 5-6 months. In the summer of 2016, a small greenhouse and shed were built on the property and a rain garden was added.
What was your vision for the medicine garden? Did it happen as you went along or was it a strategic plan?
T’uy’t pen’emay’ sits on the property of Ayas Men Men Child & Family Services whose purpose is to protect and strengthen the family and to provide peace to the children of Squamish Nation. This helped to shape the strategic vision for T’uy’t pen’emay’ as a place where medicinal and traditional food plants from the region could be in reach of the youth of Squamish Nation so they could be taught about how their ancestors used these plants.
Was there a reason beyond the beauty to create the garden?
T’uy’t pen’emay’ was carefully designed to contain zones that would allow different native plants to grow successfully. Because of the ecologically diverse nature of the Pacific Northwest, it was essential to create specific areas that closely replicated the different ecosystems we find here. From the coastal rainforest floor to the dry Garry Oak meadow, rocky shorelines, and river beds – the Squamish Nation represents a splendid diversity of flora that has allowed for a challenging build and a very rewarding experience for visitors.
Gardens are relaxing spaces, places to come together and enjoy the outdoors, to express a love of color and design. Gardens are also sacred. For those looking for more connection in their lives, those who are craving something greater than themselves, something wiser, something older, I would tell them to find a bit of dirt to dig their hands into, plant something that grows, and watch their world begin to come alive.