Garden Inventories: Reflections on Land, Place and Belonging

with Mariam Pirbhai

This week on Down the Garden Path, Joanne Shaw welcomes author Mariam Pirbhai to the podcast to discuss her creative nonfiction book, Garden Inventories: Reflections on Land, Place and Belonging.

Book cover image of Garden Inventories by Mariam PirbhaiAbout Mariam Pirbhai

Mariam was born in Pakistan and lived in England, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines before her family immigrated to Canada in the late 1980s. She completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Montreal and received the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Mariam lives and works in Waterloo, where she enjoys photographing and painting the natural landscapes of southwestern Ontario. An English professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Mariam also wrote the award-winning short story collection Outside People and Other Stories, and the novel titled Isolated Incident.

Tune in to hear Joanne’s discussion with author Mariam Pirbhai.

Here are some of the topics we covered in this episode:

  • Her journey through the landscapes of her life on her way to her current home
  • How her travels in the past shaped the gardener she is now
  • Her innate understanding of gardening meant that trees in the garden should produce fruit
  • How her search for a fruiting mulberry tree proved challenging
  • How the increased time spent in nature during the pandemic made her more aware of the plants in nature versus what we historically have been cultivating in our gardens
  • Her deep dive into invasive plants
    • What belongs and doesn’t belong in the garden
  • The removal of a large amount of Buckthorn trees from the property
    • How it opened up a new area for her garden to expand

Where you can find Mariam Pirbhai:

Find Down the Garden Path on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube: @downthegardenpathpodcast.

You can also email your questions and comments to, or connect with Joanne via her website:

Down the Garden Path Podcast

On Down The Garden Path, professional landscape designer Joanne Shaw discusses down-to-earth tips and advice for your plants, gardens and landscapes.

As the owner of Down2Earth Landscape Design, Joanne Shaw has been designing beautiful gardens for homeowners east of Toronto for over a decade. She does her best to bring you interesting, relevant and useful topics to help you keep your garden as low maintenance as possible.

Down the Garden Path: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Ontario GardenIn Down the Garden Path: A Step-By-Step Guide to Your Ontario Garden, Joanne and fellow landscape designer Matthew Dressing distill their horticultural and design expertise and their combined experiences in helping others create and maintain thriving gardens into one easy-to-read monthly reference guide. Get your copy today on Amazon.

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