Tag Archives: spring clean up in the garden

Island Garden Scapes are Landscaper Gardeners located in Ladysmith 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 outdoor garden space in a style which requires little or no irrigation. We service all mid island BC and offer creation, design, clean up, planting, weeding, feeding, pruning, lawn maintenance and garden maintenance.

A Spring Garden clean up

Clean up in the gardens on Vancouver Island has begun.  The winter has been harsh here on the Island.  Snow, ice and frosty temperatures have kept the island in a deep freeze for more then two months.  Finally the snow and ice melted and the ground…frozen but dry has allowed clean up to start.

This is the first year that it has been this cold since I started my landscape business.  Normal weather patterns have always been rain and cool temperatures but never this cold.  After one day working in the garden I realized that I much prefer the ground frozen.  With the ground frozen, I stayed dry and the clean up was actually easier.  Raking the leaves, branches and twigs was a snap.  With the ground frozen I didn’t have to worry about taking the soil or the mulch with the garden waste.

This garden has been over grown for some years and needed a sprucing up…pruning, trimming and cleaning the Rhododendrons,  Hydrangeas and Azaleas was first in order.

Pruning & Trimming Rhododendrons

I always start from the base of the plant and work my way up.  I take off all the suckers that are growing straight up…cutting them right at the trunk (or collar) where it attaches to the plant.  I dead head any flowers from last year.   I also take out any branches that grow inward and of course any dead branches.  Thinning the perennials this way helps to keep the plant healthy, allowing air flow through the plant, and allows the buds that have set to flower.  The only branches I trim that have buds on them are the ones that are long and leggy sticking out much farther then the rest of the plant.  I like to give it a nice balanced look and am very careful not to trim too much off.  It is best to trim them right after they flower as they  set next years flowers on the prior years wood.  So pruning out of season, I always start from the bottom and work my way up.

Pruning & Trimming Hydrangea

The Hydrangea in this garden are mopheads.  They flower in summer and should be trimmed and pruned right after flowering as next years flowers set on old wood.  However, because they were so over grown and had much dead wood, they had to be trimmed.  I started at the base and took out all the dead, damaged and diseased wood.  I then took out the unhealthy and spindly growth as they will not produce healthy flowers.  I trimmed the dead flowers off being careful to make angle cuts above the new growth.  Trimming and pruning out of season will probably affect the flowers this season but there wasn’t another choice.  In order for the plants to be healthy they needed to be trimmed and pruned.  It will stimulate growth this season and what flowers will be there this summer will be more robust then if I had not trimmed.  The plants themselves are healthy and will recover but might take till next year to have the showy display they are capable of.

If you have fall flowering Hydrangea then they should be trimmed now, during the winter months while their roots are in hybernation.

Pruning & Trimming Azaleas

There were five Azaleas in this garden.  Two of them had to be taken out as they were so unhealthy they would not have recovered.  There were several branches on top that had growth but none at the base of the plant.  The bottom two thirds of the plant was dead with no growth at all.  Think of a bouquet of flowers how long it will live in water.  The top branches are similar to that.  They get just enough nutrients to stay alive longer then the rest.  However, they too will die just as the rest of the shrub has.  It is uncertain why they died…every plant has a life span just like humans, they could have been damaged in the winter cold, they could have gotten an insect infection or a disease or fungus.  Both of the Azaleas that died were the same kind and I suspect they were both planted at the same time, years before.  I was careful to get all of the root out in case it was diseased or infested with insects.  Ideally Azaleas should be trimmed right after flowering in early summer as the plant sets its new buds right after flowering.  However, I was left no choice as the plant required a heavy pruning to get it healthy again.  Although the heavy pruning might affect the flowering this season, it will recover and be more robust and have its showy flowers return by next year.  These Azaleas are a type of  Satsuki Hybrids such as ‘Gumpo’ grow only about 3 feet tall, while Southern Indica Hybrids such as ‘George Lindley Taber’ and ‘Mrs. G.G. Gerbing’ can grow 10 feet tall.

The final step in this garden after the clean up was to add fresh mulch.  This keeps the weeds down, helps to maintain moisture, adds nutrients as it slowly breaks down and of course for its aesthetic value is priceless to the eye.

 

My Garden

yard beginningCopy of after fall clean up 800x452

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back yard after clean up

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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! 🙂

 

Spring Clean up in the Garden 2016

I love landscaping on Vancouver Island because it allows me to work every season in the garden.  Each season has its challenges of weather, soil,  weeds and plants and spring is no exception.  Spring clean up has begun here on Vancouver Island in the garden already.

After working two seasons in this garden the care and maintenance is much less labour intensive.  Some of the shrubs did not need trimming.  They have retained their shape from last fall and will now only need to be trimmed every fall.  But there are many that do need care and attention in order for them to be spectacular for the coming season.

As I work through the gardens I lift the soil with a pitch fork aerating the soil and pull any weeds growing…making sure to get the entire root.  These garden owners allow the leaves to stay in their garden over fall and winter and much has composted down feeding the soil precious nutrients and minerals.   Half of the remainder of the leaves and garden waste I clean up and take to Peerless Road Recycling in Ladysmith (at no charge) where they will finish the composting process.  The other half I work into the mulch and soil for them to continue to feed the ecosystem.  Now is a good time to amend the soil with organic compost, fresh organic soil, bark mulch, etc…  to feed the garden all year long.  Garden Clean up before upper 1st gardenGarden Clean up 1st Garden afterBefore and After Clean up

Garden Clean up 10 AGarden Clean up Tiered Garden afterBefore and After clean Up

Below Pictures after Clean up

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Below Pictures: Shrub Garden Before Clean Up

Garden Clean up before shrubsGarden Clean up shrubs beforeGarden Clean up before shrub gardenBefore and After Garden Clean up shrubs after

 

Garden Clean up after shrubsGarden Clean up upper garden

Garden Clean up junipers