It’s back!

Many people missed the Little Free Library at “TraFifth” (Trafalgar and West 5th).

Happy to announce that it’s back and it seems like people were hungry. As I live just across the street, I check regularly, and “business” is booming. It seems the selection is completely different every day.

Kids books wanted

I see families with either ecstatic or disappointed children pop by regularly. If you happen to have some kids books around, you’d make some kid very happy if you drop them off! Bottom shelf please.


I got so excited at it being back, I’ve started a bit of landscaping around it. The poor lavender plant was almost dead, but I’ve cut it back, air-layered a few pieces and watered it. I added some herbs (lemon balm and marjoram) and a few succulents (hens and chicks and sedum) plus red-veined sorrel. Today or tomorrow I’ll add a few calendula. I’d love help at making the east side of Trafalgar as beautiful as the west side. I have plants, bricks and some metal frames that might make it easier. Maybe in September, fill it up with dried leaves, add some compost and plants?


I sometimes take photos of what’s there and post on the Little Free Libraries in Kitsilano Facebook group. You could post pictures too – especially appreciated if you’ve dropped off a lot of books as it can get crowded and “The Neighbours” don’t like it if people leave anything outside the doors.


Someone broke the glass so we’ve just taped it up with plastic. If you have the time and skills to replace it with plexiglass that would be a *very* neighbourly thing to do.

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Vinca Major Variegated

Variegated vinca major – like periwinkle but bigger and variegated. Shade-tolerant. (and some ordinary periwinkle, as well). Contact me at (marypetersonbennett) and I can arrange to give you some.

This grows well and isn’t as invasive as “normal” periwinkle.

Plant at the edge of a balcony pot or along a pathway.

Beware! the “common periwinkle” – smaller, darker leaves – is considered invasive in our area.

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Perennial Grass – Carex Ice Dance – free to you!

We have this great carex ice dance perennial grass. Actually I just learned it’s technically a sedge, not a grass.

It’s so wonderful and hardy it spreads and we have some to share. Great for edging, for replacing lawn. Heck! it’s good for replacing weeds – which we might do along the laneway.

We have dug up 4 fairly large clumps and they’re yours for the taking.  Send me a note to and we can arrange to meet up so you can dig some up yourself if you want a lot–e.g. a row that could extend up to 10′.

I also trade ‘freely’ on – join at or find me as marypetersonbennett.

I’ve planted some small ones in pots ready for pick up. There will always be enough carex ice dance to share.

It’s recommended on the City of Vancouver website for traffic circles and corner bulges, so you know it’s hardy.

More about ornamental grasses and sedges here:

They do say, however, that you’ll love it or hate it!

I find people love it when they’re trying to get a garden going and then hate it when they have time and money to have a more varied display – but then you can just dig it up and give away to someone who’s getting rid of their lawn (always a good thing, in my humble opinion.)

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Oregano and Marjoram

Image result for oregano marjoram imagesMarjoram and oregano – on the Westside – marjoram is lighter in colour; oregano darker. Marjoram has leaves which are slightly hairy and more gray-green in color, while oregano has olive-green colored leaves, but overall they have similar appearances.

Related imageBoth are key ingredients in pizza, spaghetti sauce and other Italian dishes. Add to salads or soups or anything at all.  As always fresh herbs are less pungent than dried (unless they’re really old dried herbs in which case they may have little or not smell or taste). So snip a lot.

Dig up a 4″ piece to plant yourself. Take from the inside part, I’m liking having it as a border. I’d be happy to have a little border of 3″ or less close to the concrete, so don’t hold back.

Or pick a 4 to 6″ stem, add a bit of rooting hormone and put in a pot.  If it takes, great. If not, you have a bit to add to your salad, anyways, right, and you can come back to try again.

Image result for oregano marjoram imagesIt dies down in winter, but should spring back in April – and then it’ll start spreading, so help yourself.  I usually have to throw some away if I’m not capable of sharing so PLEASE take some. (I have a secret: I have some at the co-op garden too, so in the unlikely situation that it all disappeared, no problem!)


Blooms in late summer/fall.

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Image result for lavender imagesThere’s a lavender bush on the north side-just to the left/east of the sage bush. It’ll bloom in late spring, but you can pick a few springs any time – the leaves aren’t as fragrant or pretty as the flowers, but they are still fragrant and pretty.  It’s good for the plant to be pinched back. Just look for the longest stems, and pinch those, and you’ll help it become a much more rounded plant. (And it’s good for us to be well-rounded, yes?)

Add a few leaves to a pot of tea. Put in your pocket and get a little scent-hit next time you reach in. Get a little cotton bag, and stuff it with sprigs. Take out and sniff until there’s no sniff and then replace. Enjoy.

how to make lavender wands finishedYou might enjoy making lavender wands or baking with it.

The bees and other insects love it.

It’s proper name is lavandula, and here’s the wikipedia article about it:


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Related imageThere’s a sage plant on the north side. Looking a bit spindly, but trust me, it’ll come back. Even now, though, you are invited to pick sprigs from the ENDS of the branches, which will encourage it to get bushier.

I love sage tea. I discovered it because I was at a tea shop with a tea-drinking buddy. I’m more into coffee as my source of caffeine, so I asked her to buy me anything that looked interesting. (We were in a hurry and I had to dash to the washroom). Sage tea!

I loved it. I’m more into savoury than sweet, so you might want to add lemon and honey, but I drink it as is.

How? you ask. I googled it. Um. you put some sage leaves into a cup or pot and add very hot/boiling water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.

As always it helps to get the flavour out if you “bruise” (squish, press, fondle) the leaves a bit first.

Easy peasey.

Makes you wise as a bonus.

For 9 incredible benefits, click here:


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Garlic (“Chinese”) Chives

In the fall you’ll see the garlic chives (“Chinese” chives) in full bloom. The flowers are beautiful and tasty in salads, and the greens you can add to almost anything: stir frys, stews, soups, salads.

In March/April (as I write this), they’re just tallish sprouts coming out of the earth – closer to the south west side. Do feel to clip some. They’ll grow back.

Image result for garlic chives sprouts

Here’s more information about them from wikipedia.


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Mustard Greens

March 24 – There are 4 mustard green plants up – and a dozen or more kale. Feel free to pick – really! We don’t “specialize” on vegetables, so they may be replaced with herbs as the days and weeks go by, but in the meantime, help yourself!

Take the outer, lower leaves and the plants will keep putting out more.

Here are some recipes for mustard greens, but you can just throw some into a salad or any stir-fry.

Pretty much any recipe that calls for kale or spinach could use mustard greens.

If you try to make gomae from it, I’d love to hear how that works. Some of the blogs I googled recommended dark sesame oil.


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Herb Garden Pop up Sessions

Charlett and I are applying for a 2019 Neighbourhood Small Grant to offer “pop-up” herb workshops and offer you herbal tea and good advice about the herbs available in the “Merry-go-Roundabout” Free Herb Garden at 6th & Trafalgar.

Here are some recipes for mustard greens, but you can just throw some into a salad or any stir-fry.

Pretty much any recipe that calls for kale or spinach could use mustard greens.

If you try to make gomae from it, I’d love to hear how that works. Some of the blogs I googled recommended dark sesame oil.

Learn what’s in the garden–and free for the picking any time. Smell and taste the difference between various mints (lemon balm, chocolate mint and pineapple mint).

See the lavender and sage begin to bloom – and possibly already attracting bees.

Bring a pot if you’d like to dig up a bit of something or other. A lot of things regularly spread.

There are bulbs of grape hyacinth and snowdrops ready to be transplanted.


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Fall is here but we get some lovely sunny days like today.

Please do send me a note to if you’d like a plant of:

sage, peppermint

or just drop by and clip as much as you’d like.

The marjoram and oregano and mints (peppermint, pineapple) really need to be picked as they’ll just die down otherwise.

Also the bay tree – I want to cut it down to half of its size, so please take lots.


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