How to Get Inspiring Backyard Garden Ideas

victoria garden design ideas

Nothing is more inspiring than some quality time with the family in the back yard. Even if you don’t have a back yard, Victoria BC is full of many fabulous public gardens to spend time in, alone or with friends. For instance, we’re blessed with the elegant Butchart Gardens, one of the best kept paradises in all of Western Canada, where nature meets the order of human creativity to build a heavenly splendor that’s prettiness is impossible to deny. To get inspiring ideas for our own backyard, all we need to do is visit such wonderful places. And while the Butchart Gardens required a purchased ticket to enter, there are also free gardens in town, like the magnificent Beacon Hill Park.

By visiting these places, we can see what professional landscapers have done to create a beautiful landscape specifically designed for a wide public audience. Unlike private gardens which are designed to satisfy the owners of the property, the managers of public gardens must keep everyone in mind, and this allows for a diverse display of different flowers, bushes and trees.

back yard garden
backyard garden design

Public gardens are great, and can supply many ideas to the curious mind. However, that doesn’t mean private gardens aren’t a good source for inspiration as well. You don’t have to trespass on private property to glean ideas from their gardens. Just by walking down some of the older streets in Victoria BC, where there are many splendid restored historical buildings with well-maintained gardens, in areas like Fernwood and Oak Bay for instance, we can see what others have done with their own creative garden ideas. Although we can’t always see their backyard gardens, we can still get inspired by their front yard garden displays.

Perhaps my favorite way to get inspiring backyard garden ideas is by calling landscaping Victoria BC companies and asking them what kind of cool things they recommend. It may be inconsiderate to waste a company’s time if we don’t intend to hire their services, but some landscapers would be happy to oblige if we ask them kindly. When I last spoke with my favorite landscaping company in the area, they recommend rockeries and water features, but these kind of garden ideas can be expensive to install. Some more affordable options, they said, might be some custom paving and terraced garden walls that are easy for any one to install if you buy paving stones from a masonry supplier.

Lastly, if ideas are really hard to come by, try meandering through a store like Canadian Tire and check out their seasonal and garden sections for garden ideas. Sometimes all it takes is some flower seeds and gnomes to make things interesting. Every year we can make our gardens a little different by picking up some things from the store. To get inspired doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you’re still looking for the perfect garden idea for your back yard, I hope our blog post can help, and we hope you come back soon.

Why Does My Kitchen Always Stink?

kitchen odor

If you found this article, you might be wondering why your own kitchen stinks let alone my kitchen. After all, why should you care if my kitchen stinks? Let me tell you that if I explain why my kitchen stinks then you might realize why your kitchen stinks as well.

Before we get started into my personal Canadian-Italian kitchen, I’ll list some common reasons why people find that their kitchen smells mad and has nasty odors.

5 Common Reasons Kitchens Can Stink

  1. There are dead animals behind the walls or in the subfloor (under the floorboards). Although this is not uniquely to kitchens and could be the cause of bad smells anywhere in the home.
  2. There is rotting food somewhere in the cupboards, drawers, fridge or even hiding under the fridge or dishwasher. So check all hiding spots for rotting food, especially if you have kids or pets. I found one time my cat had hid a piece of meat behind the microwave and it took a week to find it.
  3. There could be mold, mildew or fungus growing under the sink, on the ceiling, behind the fridge, and some molds are way stinkier than others. Follow your nose or hire a professional to find the mold if you suspect this might be the problem.
  4. Your spouse or roommate is very bad at cleaning up after themselves and leave crumbs and dirty dishes lying about. Over time, if there is bad air circulation, just the fact of being unclean can make smells linger in the kitchen. One spot I’d check right now is under the garbage bag in your garbage bin. If there are nasty things in there then it’s proof you need better cleaning habits in the kitchen.
  5. This reason only applies if you live in a townhouse or an apartment building, or if you have a condo, or multiple kitchens in your home. In my experience living in apartments, whenever my neighbor beside me, because our kitchens laid thinly wall to wall to each other, cooked something, I could smell it all throughout my apartment for several hours. But this was a very old building, and for you, depending on the design of the apartments, could have a neighbor below or above who doesn’t turn on their oven hood fan when they cook smelly meals. If this is the case, you can kindly ask them to please turn on their oven hood fans when they’re cooking. If they refuse and it’s causing you harm, you might even be able to take legal action.

But Why Does My (The Author’s) Kitchen Stink?

I didn’t fully mean this to be satirical when I thought of it but it might sound that way. The truth is, my kitchen stinks because I cook Italian food everyday and have really bad air circulation. If you came into my house right now you might crinkle up your nose and run away. Unless you like Italian food, of course…

Thanks for reading!

What’s New in Victoria BC? And How I Got Into Historical Building Restoration

historical building restoration in Victoria BC

A lot has happened since I moved to Canada as an Italian immigrant. I started off doing appliance repairs for a small local company, then ended up working in a gym as a janitor of all places, before finding new friends led me volunteering for historical building restoration projects across Vancouver Island. That’s why there’s a pun intended when I ask “What’s new in Victoria BC?” because I’m working with things that are so old!

Growing up in a small medieval town in Italy means I know how to appreciate old buildings, and though some of the character homes in Victoria BC are very old, from pioneer days, they aren’t as old as the ones back home. In many cases this is a good thing because although there’s less history there is more chance to preserve these buildings as part of their history for future Canadians to enjoy.

Victoria BC is already beautiful without all the old character homes. Tourists come to see the greenery and the ocean, and in Spring of 2022 there is great opportunity to see some of the most splendid sights that British Columbia has in store.

character home restoration in Victoria BC

For me, what’s new in Victoria BC is this volunteer passion effort. A lot of the time, old folks are too weak to manage restorations, so we volunteer, even put minds and money together, to get things like grants from the government, spare restoration supplies like bricks, paint and lumber, and mold removal Victoria BC services for some of the dilapidated buildings that have mold growing inside.

So far, we’ve remediated mold out of four buildings, just in under a month, and now we’re working on restoring the brick chimneys on several more. In Oak Bay where a lot of the older houses are offers an amazing view in several high places, where you almost get to step back into time and see all the hundreds of houses from the 1800s. Many restoration efforts are already underway by other organizations and private families in Victoria BC, but our little volunteer task force is just one new addition to help. If you would like to join our efforts and volunteer doing historical building restoration with me and my Italian friends, then get in contact.

We hope you enjoy the Spring weather!

Back and better than ever!

Hello everyone! This Italian-Canadian is back and doing better than ever. 2022 has been amazing so far, as my little update announced in January.

So now I bet you are wondering what the surprise was that distracted me from my regular duties. The truth is that I had the spontaneous idea to go to culinary school. Yes. Cool, right? I am now trained to be a professional chef. I fell in love with Canadian food so much that I wanted to learn how to combine it with Italian food. I already invented a few of my own dishes that I will soon share here on the Padoranviaggi Blog.

5 other things I did while away in the first two quarters of 2022 were:

  1. Got a new pet frog named Tulip.
  2. Got my fifth vaccine booster.
  3. Got my hair dyed blue.
  4. Tried a same sex relationship for the first time (it failed horribly, but would try again).
  5. Grew a new respect for Christianity and Western values after taking some history lessons.

I hope you’re year has been as exciting as mine and I can’t wait to see you back here for more in my upcoming blog posts. Thanks.

Small Update: 2022

Hey folks I hope everyone is doing well. Just letting you know that this year has started off with a few surprises that have distracted me from my usual routine. I want to say thank you to all my patient readers and want you to know I’ll be back to my usual routine soon.

Thanks for your understanding. Learn what we do here.

November, my favorite time of year!


November is my favorite time of year because its the transition from autumn to winter, and the colors in the sky shift with the colors in the trees. I gaze out my window in the morning and see every color in the spectrum, pink hues in the sky under grey clouds, with spots of yellow shining through between the brown trees, the luscious green grass, black crows cawing and the blue ocean waves. It’s all so magical that I almost think I’m living in augmented reality at times.

Autumn is amazing, and as an introvert I love reading by the window as the snow and rain falls in Canada. Living by the Pacific Ocean is a poet’s dream come true, as even the sounds are mesmerizing. The seagulls, the playing children, the dogs barking, the engines revving.

Thank you Canada for being so beautiful to this happy Italian immigrant! I wouldn’t change a thing.

Repairing Appliances in Canada After Growing Up in Italy

One of the first things I noticed about Canada when I moved here from Italy was the different popular brand names of appliances. Then, after living here a little while I was astonished at how all the electric plugs are different. Even the standards of wiring in electronics and measurement systems are all strange.

When I started to look for work as an appliance repair technician in Victoria BC, it was as if I had to relearn everything from the beginning. It was interesting to learn that after specializing in a trade you can move to another part of the world and become a beginner again, as customs vary wherever you go. I just assumed that working as an appliance repair technician would be the same everywhere, but I was wrong.

I didn’t even have a travel adapter let alone knew I needed one when I arrived in Canada. It was frustrating to learn that I needed to buy new phone chargers and a charger for my laptop. Now that I’ve been working for a while I’ve gotten used to the differences. I fear that when or if I ever work in Italy again that everything will once again need to be relearned.

Some of the major appliance brands here we also have in Italy, so I’m familiar with fixing those, but most of them are new to me and fixing a Samsung washer is a lot different than fixing a Maytag washer. It took months to become familiar with the appliance models here. In Victoria BC there are a lot of luxury homes with expensive appliances that take up a lot of space, a very different culture than the smaller and simpler appliances in households across rural Tuscany.

I have a feeling I still have a lot to learn, as almost every week I come across an appliance I’ve never seen before, and must learn how to repair it with nothing but the Internet to guide me. Sometimes it’s interesting to delve into a PDF version of an old appliance manual from 2002. Other times it’s beyond frustrating to spend half the day learning where a single wire is supposed to go.

Now that I’m a full fledged Italian-Canadian with a career, I’m grateful nonetheless that I get to work in such a beautiful place and I try to keep my complaining to a minimum. Still, it never amazes me how two places with shared history in the Western world can be so different from each other.

Why I’m Not Ashamed to be White and Proud of It

All we see in the news these days is black pride and all we see in social media is liberals attacking people who are white and proud of it. First of all, and this isn’t science, if an African-Canadian is aloud to wear traditional African toggery and march down the street screaming “Revolution” and “Black lives matter” then there shouldn’t be anything wrong with an Italian-Canadian marching down the street in traditional Italian toggery chanting “Long life the Doge of Venice” and “White lives matter.” It should be that simple, but if I really marched and said those things then I’d get attacked for being racist even though I lived my whole life in Canada without racism even being considered and now all of a sudden everything I do is racist just because I’m white.

Well, I would be sick and tired of this but honestly I find it hilarious and frankly a bit sad. I should not have to feel ashamed for being proud of my heritage. I’m so proud of where my family came from and what they had to do to survive. being proud of my race doesn’t mean I think less of any other races. In fact, I’m the opposite of racist, prefer to listen to black music, but no matter what I say they will always just look at me as white man trying to keep the black man down.

Well, I shouldn’t have to say anything more for you to realize how petty and ridiculous that is. I’m proud of being white and if that’s a problem for you then it’s not me who has the problem, it’s you, because I don’t have a racist vein in my body. In fact, if you have a problem with me being proud of my whiteness then YOU are the racist one, not me.

That’s the truth.

Canadian-Italians on the Internet…

canadian-itialian blog

Not many people go to their local library to search for what it’s like to be a Canadian-Italian. Then again, no one really goes to the local library at all. But for the people who are curious, we’ve founded a home for them.

Welcome to the The Padoranviaggi Blog, a place where Canadian-Italians speak their minds. We have many exciting things planned for the near future, so stay tuned. This is our first post of many interesting things to come.

We thank you for being here. Or, as we say in Italian, “Grazie per essere qui.