We are Landscaper Gardeners in Cedar on Vancouver Island on the Pacific West Coast of Canada. Our motto is…”when you do what you love and you love what you do…you are one with the landscape. Creating a perfect garden paradise. We will create a landscape (an area) or garden space in a style which requires little or no irrigation.
We have continued the work on the “Front Yard Oasis” this fall. The design is coming together and it is even more stunning then the computer generated design. We have continued excavation of the river bed. What we originally thought would be 3 to 4 more yards of waste has become 9 to 10 yards of excavation. Painstakingly done with shovels and wheel barrows. The yard is very rocky so we have sifted through much of the waste to keep the larger rocks to incorporate back into the dry river bed we will be creating.
The garden bed areas are now all installed and filled with organic soil, peat moss, bone meal and blood meal…and are ready to plant. A path way will be installed to run along the river bed to allow stepping access to the garden areas and to visually separate the patio from the river bed. The path will consist of 3 inches of rainbow rock that has been purchased at “Hillside Stone & Garden” near Duncan BC. We will be using low edging along the pathway that Beryl – our garden owner has purchased. It will help to define the edges of the river bed and the pathway as well as the patio and will keep the decorative rock from mixing with the river bed. We excavated the path down to approximately 3 1/2 inches to ensure the path will be slightly lower then the patio so the stone will not migrate onto the patio.
These are the original designs on paper. In a future post I will post the original designs with the actual designs to show the evolution of creating a garden space and how similar and also how different it becomes. There will be many areas that mirror the designs but also differences as there are always changes and challenges that come with such an undertaking.
Originally this job was supposed to be completed before Christmas. There were 300 plus bulbs that needed to be planted once the garden was built. However, Mother Nature disagreed and so the bulbs had to wait. There was also a boxwood hedge to plant along a newly installed walkway. That is if Mother Nature could ever release her icy grip!
The spring garden design was a simple one. Clean the garden area along the driveway, install garden ties, amend the soil and plant the spring bulbs. Simple right? Wrong! Previously there were coniferous trees growing on that side of the property and had been taken down long before my arrival. Their stumps were in the garden bed area and the roots were everywhere. Some had traveled underneath the paved driveway bulging the tarmac upwards. Intertwined with the tree roots grew english ivy…everywhere. I never ever thought there would be something more difficult to remove then english ivy. But I was wrong again. When I originally looked at the job last fall the ground was covered in leaves and did not give a clear picture of the labour that would be involved to beautify the area. And so the work begins. A pic axe was purchased to chop the roots out and a chain saw was used to cut the roots off at the driveway edge. The easiest part of the job was planting the boxwood hedge.
Organic soil was purchased from Milan at HighLine 250-667-1029 located on Brenton-Page Road near Ladysmith. You won’t find a better soil. Milan creates the soil himself from organic matter. The soil is well balanced with sand and rich organic compost. I added bone and blood meal, peat moss to retain moisture and triple steer manure to enhance the growing medium. However, this soil is so rich that you could just plant and grow. I amended it to minimize the work for the garden owner. She is not an avid gardener so this will allow her to have a no fuss garden for a couple years. She will not have to add anything. I planted over 300 bulbs of daffodils, tulips, narcissus and crocus’. I am looking forward to seeing this garden in full bloom this spring. stay tuned for the update in a couple of months.
Warning: If you are using a pic axe or any other equipment for digging or cutting, make sure you know if there are water lines, hydro lines, gas lines or telephone lines in the area!
The garden owner wanted her garden enlarged to be able to plant spring bulbs. Her challenge is to have colour all year long in the garden. Her back yard is fenced so deer are not a problem. She also has a beautiful cat who helps to keep the squirrels and other critters from digging and feasting on anything she plants. The existing garden gets plenty of sun fall to spring so it is a perfect location for her to extend. She also has a problem with her grass…a serious lack of top soil limits the grass from growing but allows the weeds to multiply exponentially. A common problem with lawns today.
I brought in 1/2 yard of organic garden soil, 1 bale of coconut peat, 1 pail of bone meal and 1 pail of blood meal. It is important to amend any soil added so there is a balance of nutrients for an optimum growing medium. The soil was unloaded one wheelbarrow at a time. As mentioned her entire yard is fenced so the soil must be brought in one wheelbarrow at a time from her driveway. Each wheelbarrow was mixed with the soil amendments using a pitch fork then added to the existing garden. Remember to add enough soil so that it is approximately 2 inches higher then what you require. The soil will settle considerably over time once you have added it.
For a small garden extension like this one, I use an edger to cut through the sod for a guide to follow the edge of the new garden area. For a larger area or a new garden, I often use a garden hose to lay out for a guide. A garden hose is perfect as you can adjust or rearrange it for the curves you want. Then I use the edger to cut through the soil or sod to follow as a guide.
I took all of the sod out first and then used a pitch fork (my favorite tool) to work up the existing soil to about 4 to 6 inches. Then I added the new amendment of soil and worked it into the existing soil making sure it was well blended. Carrollyne is very happy with her new garden. She loves how rich the soil is and said it was a pleasure to plant with bulbs. Her only challenge was her beautiful kitty…who thought the new garden was for her, so Carrollnye used chicken wire over the top to keep her kitty out!
Cheers! See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂
A very special thank you to each and every garden owner who has touched my life and my heart. Thank you for hiring my company and thank you so very much for every moment I have spent in your gardens…it has truly been my pleasure! May you be blessed now and all year long, with happiness, peace and joy! A safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year to all!
Thank you to:
Janet & Daryl, Mark & Cathy, Verna & Sharon, Stan & Doris, Chrissy, Jennifer, Lynn & Oskar, Connie, Pru & Rod, Janice, Christine & Angus, Rachel, Ed & Gena, Peter, Jim, Lorraine & Les, Sheila, Len, Carollyne, Dan, Frank, David, Henry, Irene, Marie, Eileen, Allan & Mavis, Howard & Francis, John & Sylvia, Garry, June, Suzanne, Sharron, Shirley & Stan, James, Jannine, Mike & Alyson, Jimmy, Debbie, …so very grateful to each of you.
A very special thank you to Mike, Tim and Trevor…thank you for believing in me and supporting me…I am forever grateful!
A heart felt thank you to the folks at Take5 who have been so wonderful…blessings of the season to all of you!
Well we are now into several months of clean up and re-design on this diamond in the rough. It is a big project and is turning out beautiful! We work away part-time at it when the weather permits! Fall rains arrived in October so it is a matter of working around the weather now. We recently tackled the back path area and are very happy with the results. The back garden area is planted with a cultivated broom and had been overgrown for years. We did have to take out a few of the broom plants that were dead but the rest has shaped up very nicely!
We were hired in October this year to create a back yard oasis for a newly retired lady who has such a green thumb I was envious. Her flowers in pots were so healthy and beautiful. I first visited her in September when everything was in bloom. Such lush healthy plants were a feast for the eyes. She wanted everything in raised garden boxes to tidy up her small space. We suggested cedar as it stands up to the test of time and is so beautiful. The job took much longer then expected as the rains came and have stayed. With 29 days of rain in October it hampered our effects but we persevered. The largest garden box built is 15 feet 4 inches long. It had to built at our house and then trucked to her place to put in place. It took three of us to load it and had to ratchet strapped into the truck. It took 1 yard of wood chips in the bottom and 1.5 yards of organic garden soil to fill it. Each of the garden boxes were built to be portable. The rules of the condominium complex are: anything built must be moveable and it must be a minimum of six inches from the fence.
The greatest challenge of the job was to level everything for the boxes and the patio. The sod was taken out first and then the soil taken out to level it. We added 1/2 of a yard of sand behind the garden boxes so weeds would never be a problem. The sand is about 6 inches deep. It also allows good drainage during rainy season. We considered adding mulch behind the boxes but knew it would hold moisture up against the boxes and encourage moss to grow. So sand was the best choice. Another 1/2 yard was used to level the patio area and poured between the stones to hold them in place.
So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Half of the garden boxes were built at our house and half were built on site. We also added a patio in an area 5 x 10 with a beautiful garden potting table we built for her to complete the job. It has completely transformed her back yard and we love how it looks and more importantly…So does she!
What a wonderful lady and a wonderful project…thanks Crissy! We shall miss your great cups of coffee and your mmmm sticky buns for coffee breaks!
Happy Gardening…see you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂
Recently we were hired to plant a privacy hedge in Ladysmith. The weather is perfect for planting trees…for the trees…not so much for people who don’t like the rain. The trees were purchased at Dinter’s and are very healthy and full. The root balls were packed in clay and wrapped in burlap. This ensures the roots stay moist. The trees were 8 to 10 feet tall and weighed about 120 lbs each.
Preparation for planting.
We measured the entire length of the planting area.
We divided the number of trees by the length so we knew how far apart to space the trees.
We set a couple of trees in place to see how they looked against the fence and to decide how far from the fence to plant them.
We calculated how much soil we would require for the planting. In order for the trees to thrive we mixed 1 part organic garden soil with the original garden soil.
We knocked off half of the clay off of the roots of the trees to ready them for planting. You can plant them with the clay and the burlap on them but we chose not to. The roots must work that much harder to grow through the clay and burlap to get to the soil nutrients. Since the clay and the burlap are designed to protect the root ball against dry conditions and we are in rainy season, we knew they would not be at risk.
We picked up 1.5 yards of soil ( You can find a soil calculator on line or ask your local soil retailer to calculate how much soil you will need depending on the area you are planting.) and 2 bales of coconut peat along with 2 pails of bone meal and 2 pails of blood meal. This helps to minimize the transplant shock as the nutrients feed the tree a balance of what it requires. The coconut peat is sustainable unlike regular peat moss that comes from bogs and is not sustainable. Both lighten the soil, hold moisture and improve soil structure.
We took all of the sod out and started digging holes. We dug the hole 2 times bigger then the root ball and 2 times deeper. This allows the roots an easier time spreading out and growing. We placed the first tree in the hole and measured from the centre of the root ball to the centre of the next root ball to ensure they were equally spaced apart.
We mixed our soils together and added 2 cups of bone meal and 2 cups of blood meal to each wheel barrow of soil. Then we placed the soil in the bottom of the hole, placed the tree and packed soil around it until it was just above the ground level. This ensures as it settles it will be flush with the ground.
We picked up 1 1/2 yards of mulch and top dressed the trees after planting as it holds moisture during dry seasons, helps to control weeds and for its pleasing aesthetics. Happy Planting! See you in the garden or the garden centre! 🙂
I took on this garden clean up in Saltair BC in July 2016. It is an ongoing job and is really shaping up nicely. When first I walked through this garden I realized its potential. I did not create this garden…it is 5 years old. I am blessed to work in such a beautiful place with so much potential. It is definitely a diamond in the rough! Everything was overgrown and needed pruning and trimming. Many of the ornamental grasses needed to be divided and moved. I am so happy with the progress so far and so are the garden owners!
It is that time of year when many garden owners ask me about fertilizing and feeding their perennials and trees. Most plants go semi-dormant during the winter months here…meaning they still grow but at a much slower pace, often working on their root system until it is time for spring.
So, with that in mind, yes do fertilize your garden being careful not to over fertilize. Just as plants grow at a slower rate, fertilizer also breaks down slower in the winter months and if there is too much it can result in over fertilization in the spring. The last thing you want is to have a build up of fertilizer in the spring. With fall feeding it is a good idea to follow a simple rule…when the leaves have all fallen off the trees it is time to stop feeding until spring.
The blend of fertilizer I use is organic compost (from my compost bin) mixed with blood meal, bone meal and a shot of lime. This will slowly release during the winter months ensuring the plants stay healthy and well fed through to spring. This blend will balance the soil, slowly release nitrogen and phosphorus for the plants health and help to ensure that pests and disease are non-existent in your garden.