I have worked for these garden owners for two seasons now. And although I did not design or create these gardens, I am truly blessed to work for such lovely people in such beautiful gardens. The property backs on to Quennell Lake and has stunning views throughout the property which is a large acreage. The owners themselves designed and created this park like setting with a dry river bed running across the property complete with a bridge and a large fish pond at the back of the house complete with palm trees!
All of the shrubs, trees and gardens needed to be tended. This included weeding, feeding, pruning, trimming and general clean up throughout. What a wonderful project!
Before & After
Before & After
Before & After
Before & After
There is nothing like a bowl full of sweet plump juicy raspberries fresh out of the garden. For me, they are the cream of the crop when it comes to fruit. So there is nothing more disheartening then raspberry canes that are not doing well. These canes are two years old and have thrown many new shoots but are sickly with yellowing leaves, especially at the bottom of the plant. Even the leaves further up the cane are not the deep green they should be. The smaller new shoots will not produce and are taking nutrients away from the larger, older canes.
The first thing I did was to thin out the smaller shoots. I left only the healthiest deepest green of the new shoots and only a few. Then I worked up the soil around the base of the remaining plants and pulled all the weeds. I also checked to ensure that there were no aphids or other pests living off the plants. Aphids are a common problem for raspberry plants. These insects feed on the sap of raspberry leaves, preferring the tender leaves of new growth. Over time, they cause the leaves to curl and turn a yellow-brown. If the infestation is too severe or the plant is too young when infested, it may not fully recover. Natural pesticides include a water and soap mixture of 16 parts water and 1 part soap. Ladybugs also control aphid infestations as they enjoy eating them.
Raspberry bushes enjoy well-drained and loamy soil that is rich in nutrients and organic material. Poor soil conditions can lead to yellow leaves. Raspberry bushes perform best when soil pH ranges from slightly acidic to neutral. Mixing in compost and conducting a soil test before transplanting can help diagnose deficiencies before they become a problem. Using an organic mulch at the base of your plants will not only conserve moisture, but it will also reduce the number of weeds that take root. Mulch provides extra nutrients as it decomposes over time.
It was obvious that the problem was the growing conditions. The soil needed amending in order for the raspberry canes to not only survive but thrive.
Soil Amendment – 3 parts organic soil, 1 part peat moss, 2 to 3 cups of bone meal, 1 handful of dolmite lime. The organic soil will continue to feed the plants throughout the seasons. The peat moss will help to retain moisture. The bone meal will add the needed levels of potash and phosphate to the soil. and finally the dolmite lime will help to sweeten the soil so to speak because it is very acidic. Once it was well mixed in the wheel barrow I worked it into the soil around the raspberry canes about 2 to 3 inches deep. Then I added more soil to the rest of the garden doing the same thing…working it in 2 to 3 inches deep and then I thoroughly watered it. Raspberries once established have very deep roots and only need about 1 inch of water per week. But they must be well watered during transplanting so as to establish that deep and healthy root system.
A current picture of the garden shows the changing colours of the flowers and their growth. 🙂
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!
The clean up in my garden has been done for quite some time and I have been slowly planting bulbs. Where ever I would like a splash of spring colour, I have added bulbs. In many places I have done a mass planting of 7 bulbs or more. The bonus is that once they have flowered, I can plant other things there…being careful of course not to disturb the bulbs too much.
It is now time to start planting the vegetables from seed. I am careful to check and make sure of which ones are ready to be planted from seed at this time of year using my planting chart from West Coast Seeds. They have taken the guess work out and also sell non-GMO organic seeds of every kind, including organic heirloom seeds and with over 800 varieties they will have every seed you want. This year alone they have added over 150 new varieties of seeds. Their planting chart also includes zone information for your planting convenience. Their website is a wealth of knowledge and they have retail partners all over Vancouver Island to make it more convenient. So the next time you are out shopping stop at Art Knapps, Buckerfields or Dinter’s….just to mention a few. There are dozens of places island wide to buy their seed or order it online. Whatever is easier. Check their website for more locations. See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂