Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Front garden taking shape

The front garden is pretty much done. The plants just need to mature and flower. Hydrangea Nikko. They are such a beautiful blue. I cannot wait to see flowers. Amanda and I moved mulch and wood chips into the front garden to finish it off. Next we planted a perennial fuchsia. 

I bought a plant about 30 years ago that I grew in a hanging basket and I just stuck in the garden when it was fading. I have no idea why. It was supposed to be an annual, but it is still growing every year. I took several cuttings in the fall and that is the plant we are planting. All we needed was a lovely hosta to finish off the garden. Mission accomplished. My choice was Winter Snow. Right size, right colour. It will be lovely. For now it is tiny, about 8" tall. can you even see it??

What the hydrangea looks like now. 

What it will look like!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chore list for the weekend

I had a super busy weekend!! I'm surprised that I got as much done as I did. Here is my to do list. I will update it as I go. 

Seed flats of:
Squash - DONE

Reseed beets - DONE
Plant the 5 new lavender Hidcote's
Transplant mint, oregano and chocolate mint - DONE
Rake up dead twigs that have fallen - DONE
Plant and stake almond - DONE
Plant and stake last Apple - DONE
Plant the fig where the Fir tree was - Did some reading and a fig should not go that close to the house either, so it's off the to do list. NOT DOING
Remove the cool bench. DONE
Put the spare Tulameen raspberry in a pot in case we need it. DONE
Put the Bay plant in a larger pot - DONE
Clean the entryway - DONE
Pull the Lily of the Valley - DONE
Buckerfields for Wildflower Seeds - DONE

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Planting beets when there is a thick mulch layer over the soil...Back to Eden style.

In a Back to Eden garden planting seeds is done differently. The very thing that keeps a BTE garden pretty weed free, makes it impossible to plant in the usual way. Simply put, seeds cannot grow in wood chips. So here is the process I used to plant my Winterkeeper Beet seeds.
First, use a hoe or a rake and make a trough through the chips down the the soil. In my New BTE garden, that is down about seven inches. 
I then sprinkled a layer of bone meal and spread the seeds down the trough. When I was at Buckerfields the other day I picked up a bag of Sea Soil for this planting. I then covered the seeds with about and inch of Sea Soil. I then watered which reduced the sea soil depth to about the 1/2 inch it calls for. 
As the beets start to grow, you just gently push the mulch (my layers of wood chips and horse manure) into the trough little by little. Easy peasy. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Planted a few plants around the new garden...Hosta, cranberry, lavender and thyme.

I went to Marigold Nursery today to spent time with my mom and look at plants. We both needed potting soil and we both found a few bedding plants. 
I picked up a 'Winter Snow' hosta. It is just unfurling, so not ready for a photo opp. This is what it should look like. 

I bought another cranberry. Mine is limping along. It was in our very shady back yard for the past two years. It is now in the sun, so I'm hoping it will come back. 

I planted another larger Hidcote Lavender. My favorite. It is a really purply purple, and a good edible. I use lavender to attract bees. I also put in two more English Thyme. You can NEVER have to many thyme plants. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Leaving something for the pollinators

This is my curly Kale flowering and going to seed. The old me would have removed it and put it in the compost bin. The new me thinks a lot from the pollinators perspective. So I leave anything that doesn't need to be cut back or removed. You're welcome little bees. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tree-pocalypse...sad, but it had to be done.

No one hates taking out trees more than me. You may find that hard to believe since we took out so many the past year. Not one tree was removed without a reason and a plan. We took three trees out of the back yard and put in six. We took two out of the front yard to let the one big cherry breathe and grow in a healthy way. It was being suffocated.

Today we removed a large Douglas Fir because it had HUGE surface roots that had reached our house foundation. It was just a matter of time before it broke through the foundation. 

Surface roots. They were as large as 6" across.

It was planted by a non-gardening neighbour ten feet from our house about 35 years ago. We received permission from the town to remove it. 


Stump grinding


We had two large garbage cans of pine cones for green recycle.

We had a dying birch in the back yard that needs to be removed. It was dropping whole dead branches constantly.

One trunk down, one to go.

The rest of the work today has been final hedge trimming and sculpting and reining things in. 



Over the shed. Before.

Scott in the hedge



Young site visitor and future arborist!!

We have spread and used every bit of the wood chips. They have gone back into the gardens to grow vegetables. 

Next weekend we will plant the last Apple Tree and an almond tree. Yes we can grow almonds here!!

A very special thank you to Scotty Tree service. They are amazing and fun to deal with. Thank you guys!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Oh happy day...the hedge from hell is pruned

I'm sure you all remember my Hedge from Hell post? No? Here is a link if you'd like to refresh your memory.

I am about 5'10". Look at the hedge towering over me in 2013.

This one tree in the hedge is about a foot across. (2013) And don't I look impressed.

Allan was up on the ladder yesterday starting to prune when the neighbour told us that they have a tree service coming today. Oh happy day!!!
Here are the pictures. 

Those look like skinny branches on our side that they couldn't reach. The branch diameter is about 8" across up there. 

About half done. 

You can see how much brighter it is already down where they've cut it. 

Look at the sun!!! I haven't had sun in the greenhouse until high summer and only for about two months of the year, for decades. Look...sun!!

More sun. 

Here are some pictures of the men in the hedge. They were amazing. Davey Tree Service. 

In this picture you can see that they were no longer standing on the ladders. They were actually standing on the top of the hedge. 

This branch was hanging toward the greenhouse. I cannot believe that they got it without it crashing through the roof. 

And, almost done. Thank you tree cutting men!!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Planting my brothers gift of a rhubarb...I found something interesting in the clay

My brother sent me a large hunk of his Alberta rhubarb for my birthday 2013. It was in a very large pot, waiting for a spot to become available. Today was that day. I wrestled it out of the huge pot, accidently causing it to roll over on its top breaking off some of the leaves. Dang!!

I decided to place it right in the centre of the large garden. I had to dig a very large hole. I was digging out large clods of clay below the layers of mulch. They were sticky and the usual pain. But, there were a LOT of worms. I got it planted. I then started to load the useless clay clods into the wheel barrow to put in the clay pile that we will get rid of soon. Here is the interesting part. As I was picking up the clods to put in the wheel barrow, many of them started to fall apart. Some broke in half and some really disintegrated into many pieces. Previously there was NOTHING that would break one in half let alone have it crumble. The Back to Eden technique is working!! Exactly like Paul said it would. The worms are moving the organic matter up and down through the layers of clay and breaking it down. I thought it would work, I just didn't know it would start so quickly. Thank you Paul Gautschi for your amazing techniques. 

It was sunny yesterday and today. The rhubarb was a bit wilty, so I improvised and made this shade house for it. It is an overturned plastic lawn chair and large heavy duty trays. "Necessity is the mother of invention."

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter gifts...can you spot the theme?

I received two gifts this Easter. The first was this incredible magazine, a gift from my sister Jessica. The Annual Poultry Issue no less.

The second was a dozen blue eggs from friends Chris and Alison. I had only seen them in pictures so it's a real treat to have a dozen of my own!! 

Jessica, Chris and made my day!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Now I know why I was going through bird seed so fast.

This is what I saw out the window when I got home today. This little....sweet heart....was poking his little finger in the holes in the feeder and raking seed out until he found what he was looking for. When I interrupted him and went over to the feeder, there were easily two cups of seeds on the ground. 

I wonder it THIS is the culprit that has been digging up my gardens?