Tag Archives: creating a garden

The art of designing and implementing an outdoor space with plants and cultivation for beautification and or food. Including; garden art, walkways, plant structures and colour schemes, outdoor space layout and implementation.

Preparing a Spring Garden Bed

In the winter time when it is often too wet or too cold on Vancouver Island to do full days in landscaping, there is time to design new gardens or re-design existing gardens.  Quite often I have several garden projects on the go simultaneously.   This garden design is a new garden and is in my yard.  This is the beginning of my garden of eden.  I have based my design on what I have learned over the years I have landscaped and it has also been strongly influenced by dozens of videos online about organic gardening.  http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/paul-gautschi.html  I have found the videos full of useful information and knowledge.  Much of what is discussed reinforces what I have already learned and adds to my knowledge and information.  I am excited about my new gardens and will keep you posted as the seasons turn.  My greatest challenge is time, as many of my garden plans are new…I have a blank slate to work with throughout most of my outdoor space and look forward to learning and creating as I go.  My commitment is to grow as much of my own food as possible, and create a balanced ecosystem using organic matter and sustainable garden practices.  Here are the beginning photos of my new garden design and the steps I have taken to create it.

1.Photos of my garden before and during the process

2. Using a natural covering for the ground to prepare the garden beds.

3. Layering newspaper first on the area that is to be the garden.

4. Sifting organic matter from my compost bins to lay over the newspaper for the natural covering.

5.  Returning any large compost back to the compost bins to continue to break down.

6. I also have a large pile of organic matter saved from the yard clean up in the fall, including, sticks, twigs, pine needles and leaves.  I have layered it on top of the newspaper and then added an organic layer from my compost bins on top of it.


side yard after clean up 565x1000garden bed newpaper baselayering a garden bed 2

Garden Beds completeMy Garden Beds Complete

compost binsafter sifting compost 625x353

Garden Cover used from sifting my compost bins.

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The covering has been down one week.  Now it is a matter of waiting until the weeds and grass underneath have broken down enough to plant and then cover with wood chips.

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


Bulb Planting 101

Even though it is mid December it is still not too late to plant spring bulbs.  A trip to Dinter’s Nursery on Saturday…always fun and informative!  The sales staff there not only know their stuff but they love gardening too, so it is a chance to share knowledge and learn!  I wasn’t disappointed.  The purpose was to purchase spring bulbs for planting and to check out what’s new!

Dinter’s still has a large selection of bulbs to choose from as you can see.  Although they have lots and lots of tulip bulbs I did not purchase any because the garden owner doesn’t like them.  A conversation with the sales lady was golden!  She told me that she did not plant her spring bulbs last year until March and all of them bloomed.  I was surprised seeing that it was so late in the season.  Even though I would not suggest this to you, it is good to know.  The bulbs must be in the ground and require a cold snap in order for them to begin their growth.  Many bulbs and seeds require a dormancy period (cold weather) before they will begin growing.  The sales lady told me that there was a cold snap right after she planted them.  I planted the bulbs for my garden owner right away but am happy to know that Mother Nature is negotiable to a point!

When planting bulbs, I often fill in where annuals were the previous season.  I purchased several different kinds of bulbs that flower from early (as in February) to late spring (May-June).  My goal is to have colour in the garden all year long.  I also walk the garden and try to fill in any other areas that are lacking plants or colour.  Putting some bulbs in each garden you have will balance out your gardens and you will have more continuity with the flow of colours.

I always amend the soil as I am planting the bulbs.  The better food and protection the plant has the better bloomer!  So, I dig the hole for each bulb…keeping in mind it should be approximately 3x as deep as the bulb is wide…I also make sure the hole is 2 to 3 x bigger around then the bulb to allow it to sprout when it is ready.  The soil I am planting in is clay so I have made it slightly less deep to ensure the soil depth and weight will not impede the growth.   Remember…when in doubt, there are basic instructions on each package and you can always ask the sales person where you purchase if you have specific questions.  It really is as easy as 1-2-3.

You can be creative and plant in mass or singles.  I find it is more pleasing to the eye to plant in threes, fives, or sevens…but that is just me.  For colour I chose bulbs shades of yellow – white and purples because I find it is such a visual delight seeing so much colour as the earth is sprouting green.

organic soil
organic amended soil with peat moss

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planting bulbs 565x1000bulbs 565x1000Mansbridge Gardens jan 2016 029Mansbridge Gardens jan 2016 033

I always have organic soil, peat moss and mulch on hand in every garden I work in.  So, I mix the organic soil and peat moss together.  Usually mixing 2 parts peat moss to 4 parts soil.  Remember…I am planting in clay so amending the soil is a must for healthy long lasting blooms.  Once I have the holes dug, (dig them deeper then you need) I add some amended soil where the bulb will sit and then I place the bulb in the hole, add more soil and top it with mulch. (Patting it down lightly after each addition.  The soil will start feeding the bulb almost immediately, the peat moss will help it maintain moisture all year long and the mulch will protect it from the elements, as well as slowly break down and feed the bulb all year long.    Then just wait until spring and enjoy the lovely blooms!  Happy Planting 🙂