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! 🙂
Often times as a self-employed business owner, I neglect my own gardens in the busyness of running my business and my life! 🙂 It is often discussed among landscapers that we tend to avoid our own gardens and some have joked that we should hire each other to get ours done…and I am one of those people.
So this winter I have made a commitment to my own garden design. Here I shall design and create my own edible dream garden! Well almost all edible…the existing trees and shrubs are mostly not edible. So I shall work with them. A recent move into downtown Ladysmith, with existing gardens that give considerable privacy on all sides…save one… is a great basis to create this garden of Eden. I shall continue to design and develop the existing gardens with the concept of more privacy and planting mostly edible plants, trees and shrubs that will bear at different times of the year to enjoy a variety of edibles most of the year.
As I have learned, this design will change and evolve as I go. A great Garden Design is not set in stone so to speak, but rather evolves with the landscape as it is created!
Step By Step
- Take pictures of the existing garden and consider amount of light (for each season)and space available.
- Sketch the garden…either by hand (which is what I do) or on a computer program. I find that the garden becomes much more real when I sketch it out and helps me to place the RIGHT PLANT in THE RIGHT PLACE!
- Keep a log or journal of my research and results of everything I do so I can refer to every detail to ensure success in the garden design.
- Test the soil in the existing gardens and amend as required.
- Choose sustainable edible plants (trees, shrubs, ground cover, herbs, etc… that will thrive and correlate together to become an edible independent ecosystem.
- The plants must be drought tolerant.
- Research each plant and place in the best location with other plants that will thrive together.
- For each plant, I will need to research its characteristics. That is, size (look at length of time and size at maturity) location, soil preference, light preference, drought tolerant, which plants it thrives with, when it comes to maturity, amount of bounty, and texture and colour of plants..to start!
- Continue to take pictures of the garden I am creating as it develops and continue to develop the sketches of the garden design as I go along.
- Make a list of the organic nutrients needed for the garden.