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.
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! 🙂
We are fast approaching the end of garlic planting on Vancouver Island. Ideally it is best planted during the month of October but can still be put in now. Garlic is easy to grow and can be planted in pots, raised beds or direct into the ground. Planting in a pot I would suggest using a pot with a depth of 8 to 10 inches to allow for plenty of root space. Just place the separated cloves and plant approximately 3 inches in depth and 4 inches apart for best results. Use only organically locally grown garlic as many of the grocery store varieties have been sprayed with chemicals. Plant in organic soil and harvest next year.
Ladysmith Health Food store has an abundance of garlic for sale and very reasonably priced. They are located on 1st Ave in downtown Ladysmith.
One of the biggest challenges of gardening is how to protect our precious plants and trees from being eaten. On Vancouver Island, (a temperate rainforest) it is one of our greatest challenges. We do not get the cold snowy winters with inches of frozen ground and plants dying back until spring. Rather, we have greenery all year and can garden year round most years. This creates a greater challenge as the deer and other rodents too are active and seeking sustenance all year long. The deer have a natural mechanism built into their DNA that allows them to remember where they found food and to pass this information on to their off spring, as do other creatures. The deer population on Vancouver Island is at an all time high due to the increased human population pushing the boundaries of nature and with less predators lurking in their midst, the deer have thrived. Our gardens represent a bounty of unlimited greens all year long!
There are many ways to minimize the damage done by deer and other plant eating critters. I would strongly recommend using as many as possible to manage if not eliminate the problems or at the very least to successfully protect your garden gems. Yes, the deer are beautiful and are protected so minimizing the appetite of these gracious creatures is a must to protect your gardens and create harmony for all. Keeping deer at bay from the garden is important for many reasons, not only to protect your plants, but to minimize the risk of Lyme’s Disease from the dreaded ticks that deer can carry. I have compiled a list of how to control deer and other rodents in the gardens to help keep you, your pets and your plants safe!
- Do your due diligence and choose as many plants as possible that deer and other rodents do not like to dine on. Ask your local garden centre for advice or down load a list here.
- Fence your garden area to keep deer out. Although this can be costly and extreme, it will solve the problem completely. Remember, deer can jump a fence 6 feet high or more. If you choose to put a fence up, try to fit it with your garden design to add to the landscape rather then making it unsightly. If you do not want or cannot afford to fence in the entire garden area, then adding a fence around each fruit tree or rose bush is also an option…one that also works…although it too can be unsightly in your garden.
- Choose plants with strong scents that deer do not like and use them as companion plants with plants that deer do love to dine on…often the strong scented plants will deter the deer or confuse their sense of smell so they will miss dining on their favourites. Remember though, they will return to your garden again and again will probably find and feast on the plants they love so much.
- Use a product call “Plant Skydd” to deter the deer and with continued use many garden owners have stated the deer no longer come to their garden. The product is all natural, will not harm plants, pets or people and does not need to be applied after every rain fall. This is great news for gardeners and it really works!
- Plant the perimeter of your entire garden space with plants that deer do not eat. Choose different types of plants with strong scents to deter the deer from crossing the line into your garden. Deer have very sensitive noses and will often decide not to cross the line into the garden if there is a wide perimeter of smelly plants that offends their sense of smell.
This summer we did a small pruning and clean up at a property and saw the full extent of the damage deer can do in a short span of time. This cedar hedge is obviously to the deers liking. Planting cedrus or true cedars will help minimize the damage done by deer. Often deer will taste fresh new shoots on trees and plants…even the ones they are not supposed to eat but will not eat much more then a taste.
Good luck in your garden…see you in the garden or the garden centre!
We do regular lawn maintenance for Teresa and Patty and were ask to clean the garden bed along the house. It was a 2.5 hour job and had a truck load of waste to take away. Happy planting Teresa 🙂
In an earlier post I showed the beginning of a new front garden design. The work continues and here is the design on paper with the before pics and the concept design.
The patio will not be exactly as shown although she has chosen different hues of pink.
We were hired by Beryl to transform her front yard in Ladysmith. After several discussions we came up with an initial plan so I could design the area. She wanted raised garden boxes in front of the house and smaller raised garden boxes on each side of her trellis. There will be no grass in the front yard. The grass is non-existent anyway, with only the weeds growing. She wants a low maintenance design, with a large curving patio. We incorporated a dry river bed to run along the perimeter of the patio. This will add visual appeal as well as natural drainage from the yard.
The fence and arbor were installed last year. The shrubs in front of the house had to come out and the garden boxes installed.
Then the yard had to be taken down in height. In some areas it had to be taken down 14 inches so that it would be level. This design is an ongoing project. I will update with the design pics next.