Category Archives: Marigolds

Calendula or Marigold species have been used traditionally as culinary and medicinal herbs. The petals are edible and can be used fresh in salads or dried and used to color cheese or as a replacement for saffron. A yellow dye has been extracted from the flowers. Any of various American plants of the genus Tagetes of the composite family, widely cultivated for their showy yellow or orange flowers. Calendula oil is still used medicinally. The oil of C. officinalis is used as an anti-inflammatory, an antitumor agent, and a remedy for healing wounds. Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of calendula. In some of the earliest medical writings, calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract. It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing. Calendula was also used for various women’s ailments, and to treat a number of skin conditions. During the American Civil War, calendula flowers were used on the battlefields in open wounds as antihemorrhagic and antiseptic, and they were used in dressing wounds to promote healing. Calendula also was used in this way during World War I. Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is still important in alternative medicine today.

Proper pollination of fruit trees and other fruit bearing plants

Recently, I took a phone call from a garden owner wanting some advice on how to insure his fruit trees would have a good pollination which correlates to a higher yield of fruit.  It is quite simple really.  He explained to me that his fruit trees are in an area of his property completely separate from his flower beds and flowering shrubs.  He has fenced in the area to keep deer and other plant eating rodents out and has struggled for two years with low fruit yields.  The trees themselves are quite healthy and growing well.  They just have not produced the amount of fruit he felt they should.

I explained to him, the past year of strange weather did not help.  Here on Vancouver Island we had a very late spring, many of the flowering trees and shrubs were 6 weeks behind because we had such a cold winter and a late one at that.  So when the pollinators (bees, ladybugs, butterflies,etc) have come to your garden and cannot find food, they move on.

Plants give off what is called “Pheromones” which are used for many things…one of which is communication among plants and with insects.  When the plant starts to flower and needs to be pollinated for sustainability, it releases its pheromones into the air to attract pollinators.  So to increase the pollination processes in your garden and off set things like cold winters, late bloomers, etc…choose companion plants to grow with or near your fruit trees that will increase your trees chances of getting a high pollination count.  Choosing flowers that bloom for long periods of time to overlap with the fruit trees helps encourage pollination.  Choose daffodils, garlic, lavender, rosemary, marigolds or heather.  They will not only attract the right pollinators to your garden but also deter pests with their strong odors and  help to keep your garden healthy for years to come.
Also…these choices are also deer resistant.  I have never seen deer eat these plants so it just might help to keep your plants from being eaten.

Happy Gardening…see you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂



Island Garden Scapes-a family business!

To all of our clients…thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you what we can do for you!  Cheers!

Call us for all your lawn and landscape needs… thank you from Tim, Trevor, Mike, Miss Ryla, Kathleen and baby Ashlyn.

What Soil is made of

Soil has an ecosystem all its own.  It is very much alive and supports many life forms.  From the tiny microscopic organisms we cannot see to the plants we grow, and of course to the bugs and insects we can see.  Earthworms, insects, reptiles, nematodes, bacteria and fungus all reside in your soil.  This ecosystem of life supports the soil composition helping  with decay and nutrient cycles.

You have probably heard people say that earthworms in the garden soil is healthy.  This is true.  Earthworms tunnel through the soil.  As they feed, organic matter passes through their bodies and is excreted as granular, dark castings.  This enhances and adds to the soil structure as it mixes with the soil and breaks down.  Earthworms also eat microorganisms that cause plant disease.

You will probably be surprised to find out what soil is made of.  Beneath the ground surface the soil is full of living organisms that interact in a finely tuned living system but on a percentage basis, soil is mostly minerals weighing in at a whopping 45%, followed by air at 25% and water at 25%.  The biological component (the balance of nutrients that is required to support healthy plant growth) is only 5%.  But it is a very significant 5%.

When your soil is out of balance, you will see it through the plants.  They will show signs of stress through discoloured leaves, wilting, blight,  insect infestation, disease or fungus.  You will definitely be able to see it if the soil is poor or seriously lacking something.  Keeping in mind that factors in poor plant health can also be poor drainage or a lack of oxygen.

Creating a new garden

A current picture of the garden shows the changing colours of the flowers and their growth. 🙂

new garden 9

We have completely transformed the back yard.  Last year the neighbour took down a large cedar tree in their back yard.  It was along the fence so it opened up the back yard to sunshine and to rain.  This year the garden owner wanted a flower garden along the fence line so we rolled up our sleeves and went to work.  The beauty of it is that there is wonderful view from the deck as well as the rest of the yard.  We started by clearing the sod. One end of the new garden area had previously been a compost area so the soil was nutrient rich.  We brought in fresh organic soil from Cinnabar Valley farms and amended it with dolmite lime, peat moss and bone meal.  The entire garden was top dressed with about 3 to 4 inches of soil and worked in about 3 to 4 inches deep.  Then we planted perennials and interspersed them with annuals to fill in the empty spaces to add colour and depth to the garden area.  Throughout the entire season we now have themes of yellow, red, orange and white at different times.  The garden is forever changing as the plants come into bloom.   The Garden Owner is very happy with the new garden and I too love what we have created!  The picutres were taked over a period of 3 months to show how the garden fills out during the growing season.

Happy Gardening…see you in the Garden or the Garden Centre!

new garden 1 new garden 4

new garden 3 new garden 5 new garden 6 new garden 7 new garden 8



Before you use herbicides or pesticides in your gardens…consider this!  Study after study have proven that those chemicals used have a high correlation to all sorts of disease, not to mention depleting our wonderful earth of its natural checks and balances!  So… you are not using them on the produce you are growing or consuming…well that is great but you are still ingesting them from the air and water if you are using them in your flower gardens.


Mother nature provides the balance our gardens need if we research, plan and plant correctly.  There are many plants that will create the natural balance in mother nature to deter an over abundance of bugs, critters and weeds.  For example…the marigold is a wonderful plant which provides months and months of beauty flowering from early spring until frost and is such a deterrent in our gardens against infestations of bugs- including the pesky mosquitos,  guarding against rabbits and also deer, if planted along borders and interspersed with other plants. The pungent smell of the flowers deters bugs from eating neighbouring fruits and vegetables.

The benefits of marigolds are numerous…too numerous to mention in one post.  But here are a few!  Yes..correct…it is a wonderful healing plant! Just be sure to confirm which marigold cultivars are edible.  There are several such as the Lemon Gem or Mexican Marigold.

Medicinal Benefits

– Inflammation of the intestines
– Diarrhea
– Liver problems
– Expel worms
– Herpes and glandular swellings
– Hepatitis                                                                                                                                                                                                             – Cancer and tumor growths
– Cracked feet and ulcerated legs
– Non healing wounds- Athlete`s feet
– Nose scabs
– Varicose veins
– Eczema and skin infections

Chop some fresh flowers and add it to some coconut oil. Heat slightly and then let cool. The ointments are good for pains. To make the ointment easy to spread, you can add some vegetable oil to the ointment. Some will recommend lard instead of coconut oil. Remedies using the ointment:

– Athlete`s feet
– Nose scabs
– Varicose veins
– Eczema and skin infections

The leaves can be used in salads or as fresh vegetables and eaten to heal tuberculosis.  In conclusion…this beautiful flower is no light weight in the garden…for its healing properties or the wonderful balance it brings to nature!  Happy Planting!  Cheers!

However, if you are just looking to maintain control of your garden with a healthy balance then you have found a great source of beauty and balance for your outdoor space.  Did I mention that it is easy to grow, is abundant at nursery centres, can be grown from the seed pods the flowers produce,  and will often reseed itself for the following year and can also be purchased at any seed store by the package and sown directly outdoors in early spring. In the photo below…I did a mass planting of marigold seeds around a new patio garden I put in for my Garden Owner…Frank.  I created him an outdoor living area that is shaded in the afternoon from the hot sun.  The challenge was to insure that bugs and critters would be kept in balance as there are many other plants around the patio as well.  It is a brand new home Frank has built so I am fortunate enough to have a blank canvas to create.  He wanted a low maintenance garden which he could enjoy areas of seating throughout the garden.  This is the first one I have created.