Tag Archives: backyard gardening ideas in Ladysmith BC

back yard garden ideas for the novice or experienced gardener

The Positive Effects of Gardening

For those of you who garden regularly, you probably already know many of the benefits to your health.  Studies have proven there are great benefits physically, spiritually and psychologically from just a couple hours a week of nature therapy.

Even just a few minutes a day in the garden or somewhere else in nature, whether you plants some bulbs, walk through a forest or walk through a park, your body and mind will thank you.  This effect is called “Nature Therapy” and the benefits are countless.

A generation ago, most families had a backyard garden area where they grew seasonal fruits and vegetables.  Often times, the children shared the responsibilities of weeding and harvesting the garden.  Sometimes the family would preserve or can the fruits of their garden labour to enjoy during the winter months.  This contributed to a healthy lifestyle, both physical and spiritually and saved money.   All members of the family enjoyed increased activity and vitality from the healthy foods they grew and consumed.

How the world has changed.  An article written  several years ago, questioned a group of young Toronto students (age 5 & 6) about where their food comes from.  Many were unaware that food is grown on farms.  Several students told the interviewer that the food comes from the grocery store.  Beyond that, they had no idea.

This is due in part to the transition of populations to live in cities rather than on farms and in smaller communities where there was still a connection to nature.  Today, most of us could grow some of our own food and contribute to a healthier lifestyle.  It is possible to grow practically anything in a pot…including fruit trees.  If you have a patio or balcony, you can grow a tomato plant or some strawberries.

For those of you who would like to learn more about “Nature Therapy” here is a link to clinical trials that have been done with outstanding beneficial results.  This link is updated regularly with new information from ongoing clinical trials.

Please do read:

https://policylab.us/resources/clinical-trials-on-the-positive-effects-of-gardening-and-experiencing-nature/

 

 

West Coast Gardens

One of the most beautiful places on the planet is the West Coast of Canada.  Living in a temperate rain forest can be challenging if you do not like rain.  But if you are a gardener you welcome the rainy seasons and so do your gardens.  Creating gardens with native plant species correlates to healthy plants and new ecosystems, not to mention beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy all year long.  Native plants have evolved to thrive in this climate, regardless of the season.  Keep your garden design low maintenance by incorporating native species and mulch your gardens to protect and feed their roots through all seasons.

Once your garden design is complete…sit back and enjoy for years to come.  The only left to do is divide your grasses and other perennials every 2 to 3 years.  You can pot the new plants and give away as gifts or start a new garden area to enjoy!

 

 

California Lilac Hedge

We were contacted by a garden owner that wanted to create beauty along his driveway.  The existing garden was actually empty of plants.  A derelict fence needed to be removed first.  We had the customer make a BC 1 call – which means he called the province to ensure there were no underground lines…and there is!  There is a gas line that runs right down the middle of the garden bed.  The gas company sent out an employee and he sprayed the garden with yellow paint outlining where the gas line is.

The garden owners wanted California Lilacs (Ceanothus) for their beauty and for the bees and butterflies to enjoy.  It will grow into its space and will be easily managed as it will not grow to unmanageable heights.  We suggested planting them 3 feet apart along the 60 foot expanse of garden.  We also love the fact that it is deer resistant, native to Vancouver Island and drought tolerant.

After assessing the line in regards to its depth and size we agreed to move forward with the job.  We were concerned that our estimate would be off so after discussion with the owners we were in agreement to go ahead.  The line was actually buried deep enough that it did not interfere with the planting but we did excavate it by hand to ensure it was the same depth throughout the garden bed, which it is.

We dismantled the fence and disposed of it and it completely opened up the space, as well as allowing a beautiful view of the neighbours gardens.  It is very visually appealing giving it continuity and flow.  When the planting was complete we added mulch 4 inches thick to impede weeds, protect the plant roots from all types of weather as well as slowly break down and feed the plants.

So, here are the before and after pictures.  The owners are very happy and so are we.  As for the estimate…we still did it in the time we had originally estimated…making the customers even happier.

Garden Oasis

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.

Fall Clean up Special!

Call us today to do all of your fall clean up including pruning and trimming your hedges, shrubs, annuals, perennials and take away the waste.  When your bill is $500, you will receive a $50 gift card.  Book $1000 or more and receive a $100 gift card…choose from prepaid visa, BC liqour store, grocery gift card, Home Depot, Home Hardware, etc…

Do you have a small clean up job…then book 2 hours with us and receive $10 off of your bill!

We will beautify your outdoor space, take away the waste, plant your spring bulbs,  plant a hedge or a single tree…whatever you desire…we will create it!  Now is a great time of year to have your gardens re-designed or a new garden installed…we do both hardscaping and softscaping…and we are good at it!  We love what we do and would love to show you.  We will winterize your gardens to ensure they thrive over the winter and into next season.  Add mulch to protect the roots from winter weather, great for weed management and will beautify your outdoor space!

Call Kathleen for a free estimate today!  250-802-0461

 

Proper pollination of fruit trees and other fruit bearing plants

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! 🙂

 

 

Planting Reminder

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.

 

Protecting your garden from deer, rabbits, voles & small critters

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!

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!

 

Garden Oasis

The work has continued over the summer for this front garden oasis.  The project was put back weeks because the summer was too hot to pour the cement for the patio.  The patio consists of 1080 square feet of stamped cement.  Two colours were chosen for the patio to add visual appeal and separate areas of the patio for seating.  It is coming along but still has a ways to go.  The patio turned out perfect!  Thanks Mike and Jacko…great job!

With the patio now poured, we have excavated around it to place a dry river bed that will run along the edge of the patio.  This will add interest and will act as drainage when the heavy rains come to ensure that water does not pool on the patio.

On each side of the patio we have constructed garden beds to compliment the entire yard, which will add colour and interest.  The garden owner wants no grass to cut and as low maintenance as possible.

Cleaning an overgrown garden bed

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 🙂