Sunday, October 01, 2017

A few flowers in and by the greenhouse

My sisters incredible geranium

Gartenmeister fuchsia

My Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange has been planted in the raised 
garden in the greenhouse.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The back yard makeover, four months in the making...done.

The relief and joy I am feeling.....I can barely put into words. I knew it was going to be a heavy and long project. I just couldn't bring myself tear everything out and send it to the compost facility, even though it would have been about a three week project instead of four months. I just felt I had to hand sort all the mulch and pick out the bigger wood chips. Then carefully gather up the compost and manure and move all of it into the gardens that will remain. So some of it went way over to the other side of the far yard. One wheelbarrow at a time....{are you feeling ANY sympathy yet, or do I need to get even more dramatic?}, in the hot sun, for about four months. This past weekend, I got the rest of the back yard grass seeded, and sprinklers set up. I wish I had that on video.....the tap is actually located in the sprinkler overlap, so as I was trying to get them aligned perfectly, I was in the path of at least one sprinkler almost the whole time. It was pretty funny actually, I looked like a drowned rat.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Blueberries have been moved and the new garden defined.

It was a brutal job, what with the dry summer and solid clay, but I dug out the Blueberries and moved them into the new smaller garden. It actually looks better and I have a feeling that they will be much happier there. They will not be out in the centre of a garden in the hot sun. They will get a bit of shade at the roots and coolness from the apple trees.


Below is a photo of where they were. They are just on the left of the tire tracks. There are not a lot of leaves on the Blueberries, so they are hard to see. Sad isn't it. They did not do well there. I think it was just too dry and hot with no garden around them this year. To the left, or behind them, are some lavenders that have been moved. The Blueberries were moved to the area just behind the lavenders. It sure looks better now doesn't it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Finally, after a whole summer of hard work....the first grass seed is sown!

I spent the entire summer, about 3 1/2 months, moving a massive amount of wood chips and composted manure using a wheel barrow. I would put it in the wheel barrow and manually pick out the chips bigger than about three inches and all of the sticks...and there were a lot. That is what ended up in the massive pile about 12' across by about 5' tall. Those were hand picked chips and sticks. Then I would move the wheel barrow of good manure and wood chips into the gardens that will remain. OMG I cannot tell you what a sight this is. The first section levelled and prepared, seeded and now watering. {If it looks familiar, this is the area that contained my precious Tulameen Raspberry bed}. I have never been so happy to see a job wrapping up!!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The massive garden removal, stage one, is DONE!!

For scale this pile of chips and debris that I raked out of the good mulch and manure.....has a leaning wooden platform that is 8 x 8'. That pile is huge. You can see it is at least 12' across.
So, fast forward two weeks and a HUGE amount of green material removed by trailer loads, and I am down to relatively flat and wood chip and plant free soil. It rained today so you can see that the car and trailer did make some ruts. I had to level everything in the next two weeks anyway, so I will do that and get the grass seed spread right on schedule in about a week or two. I must say, this taking every minute I’m not at work, for close to three months surprises me. It was a long project. After the seeding, I will begin to weed and then spread the beautifully sorted small wood chips and composted material including manure, in the newly formed apple tree garden. More to follow. Here are a few more photos of the yard and a few apples on a tree that we are eating from right now.
Melrose Apples

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Moving the shed...again

I cannot remember the rationale behind moving the shed to the furthest corner of the east yard, but it was not convenient and not my best decision. The garden is about 180 feet across the back. These days I am gardening more in the far west garden, which is the furthest area from the shed. I kept making due with whatever I had handy rather than running back and forth that distance over and over and over. So today, the whole family helped me move it back where it came from. What a bloody job. Seriously. It will NEVER move again. Thank you family, I owe you.


And look, it's MJ the "garden cat in training". She curled up in the shade watching the craziness that was involved in the shed moving. Smart cat. She's a natural.

And the shed is back home!!! I am so glad. I immediately went back to my old routine. At the beginning of my garden day, I unlock the shed and open it up until I'm done gardening. Gosh I've missed that!! {I'll wash that algae off asap.} Again, thank you for doing this for me family!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The East Garden is getting a huge makeover.

Last year I got a bad case of tennis elbow. It was so bad I couldn't pick up a coffee cup. I'm not exaggerating. So I wasn't able to do ANY gardening until this spring. By then the gardens were full of weeds, the wood chip mulch was lying in piles looking more like piles of sticks in the gardens. And then when you throw in the whole Raspberry patch dying from Root Rot, the east yard looked awful. I have been trying to get it tidied up, but it just got worse and worse looking. So....I have made the tough decision. I am going to return most of the east back yard to lawn. There will be a garden where the Apple trees, lavenders and the blueberries are. So it won't be completely barren.

Five foot tall pile, about ten feet across. To be removed soon. We will be taking a huge load of sticks and wood chips that are too chunky to break down, to the composting facility. I estimate about five to ten yards. And then I should be able to start seeding grass.

You can see the mulch before I rake it out. It is horrible with all the sticks. In the background you can see the latest project on the go. It stopped the garden raking in its tracks. There will be a post about the moving of the garden shed.

This is the old Raspberry patch half raked out. See how much better it looks already.

Allan has harvested the potatoes, so I can level that part of the yard. I've been working hard on that old potato bed for about a month. There was a lot of manure and wood chips there, so it is slow going. There is about ten inches of material to sift sticks out of and move elsewhere. Right now I am moving quite a bit of this scrumptious composted material into my flower border and what remains of the flower border near the potato bed. It will be about half the size it was. I will then take the rest of those nice chips and put them in the veggie gardens.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Black Satin Thornless Blackberry....Dinter Nursery comes through again.

I moved a lovely phlox from next door today. In the hot sun. I shaded it and poured on the water. Where it was, no matter how often I watered, it wilted every day. During the move a couple of pieces fell off with bits of root attached so I took them inside and put them in water to try to stimulate more roots. Then I picked a stem, so it would just look prettier. This is an old Mason jar I painted.
Look, blackberries already!
I spent a couple days on Gabriola Island this past weekend. It was wonderful. If you ever get a chance to visit the island, do it. I visited the garden of my friend Patti. She has a beautiful Black Satin Thornless Blackberry in her garden. It is four years old now. What I loved about it, is, not only is it delicious according to Patti, but there were NO RUNNERS. I once tried a thornless blackberry but it started 'running' right away. I dug it out. When I went to Dinter on the way home, I found one!!! I removed my Niagara Grape vine and planted the Blackberry in its place. Neighbour Judy took the grape vine. I cannot wait to get blackberries. Oh, and the flowers have a violet tint to them. They are really pretty.

Review: The Black Satin Thornless Blackberry is superior to any other varieties we have seen. Hardy in the Midwest and south -- even recommended for northern climate if you are careful to cover with a mulch to protect it during the winter. Thornless Blackberries are extremely vigorous and disease free. Plants will not sucker. Consistently produce a heavy crop. You'll pick 35-40 berries on each thornless stem! Berries are large, attractive and have a luscious flavor. Ripen in early August.

I also picked up another Cascade Delight that I am going to replace the Tulameens with. I don't think I really needed another as Raspberries spread so quickly, but it can't hurt.
I found a really pretty Phlox in pinks. It was an impulse buy. Impulse buys are how I usually find my prettiest flowers.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I used to have a Feng Shui store...

I used to have a Feng Shui store. It was called Dragon Horse. We had a lot of beautiful furniture, cloisonné, art, Martha Sturdy, fountains and of course....Feng Shui things. It was a breathtakingly beautiful store. This fountain was in the store the whole time. We all loved it. The recession hit my Chinese Suppliers hard. I lost 16 of them in under two years, out of the 18 we started with. So we closed Dragon Horse and opened Pitt & Hobbs. I have had a lot of precious things from Dragon Horse put away. This fountain was one of those things. This week I just HAD to set it up and see if I could get it working again. Everything has to be perfectly level. It took all afternoon, but I got it working. I thought to myself, if this gives me this much joy, I should take it home. So I've set it up and look how cute it looks. Strategically placed for Feng Shui of course. I have two more....I am dying to see if I can get them to work too.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

I know Root Rot when I see it...Tulameen succumbed yet again.

I had high hopes for my Raspberry patch of Tulameens...but the one thing I'm an expert at, is spotting root rot. This is the third planting of Tulameen Raspberries that I have had succumb to Root Rot. As soon as the Raspberry fruiting begins, the plants starts to turn brown and dry out, then the whole cane dies. Growth with no berries will look healthy. Don't be fooled. They may even make it to next year...then they begin to set fruit and the plant dying commences. So you might as well get rid of them and try something else. How sad are these pictures.

I have done some research into Root Rot Resistant Raspberries with the flavour and size of Tulameen Raspberries. I've come up with Cascade Delight. They should do much better. Allan picked up a Cascade Delight today at Dinter in Duncan today. It is already transplanted into a huge pot to be fed and spoiled to encourage lots of underground runners. It is even in the greenhouse for now. This is what the berries look like. Aren't they beautiful.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Trying this new coconut coir mulch

I saw some of this beautiful mulch on neighbour Judy's blueberries. She told me what and where, so I got a block of it today. I hydrated it in the wheelbarrow and spread it on the tomato bed. I will let you know how it works as a mulch compared to wood chips. Doesn't it look nice though.

It starts out like a small brick like this...About a foot square.

Friday, June 23, 2017

How odd is this cats behaviour? Meet MJ, Garden Cat in training.


As you know I lost my garden cat Beamer a few weeks ago. I miss him terribly. He had a beautiful little spirit. Then...almost immediately I noticed a little black cat that we had nicknamed MJ, following me around the garden. Within a couple days, she was rubbing against my legs. {But no petting or she will "cut you"} Now she is with me pretty much every time I am in the garden, following me and rolling in wood chips and loving the sun. She will go in and lie on the warm greenhouse floor and sleep...just like Beamer did. It is so weird I almost feel like Beamer is telling her what to do. She has been around for a few months but seemed very feral and scared. I did not know if she was homeless or being fed? Her fur was too long to tell if she was emaciated, so of course, we fed her just in case. We call her MJ which is short for Mini Jordan after our larger black cat. So everyone, meet MJ.

I did figure out that she actually has an owner so she is fed and cared for, but she is feral. They couldn't figure out why she wasn't eating as much lately. Oops.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The raised bed has been weeded and...Tomatoes are planted.

This lovely raised bed was so full of weeds and suckers, it took about a half hour to weed. My mom was here and she kept me company while I weeded. It was fun.
The apples are only about 1 1/2 inches across. They look so beautiful.
My sister has her potted Japanese Maples here at my house as well as this lovely peony. This is a little division of my mom's peony. Isn't it pretty.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Three Fruit Trees had to go.

It broke my heart but I had to remove three fruit trees. They were suckering so badly that it was sucking the life out of the garden. It was my two precious Japanese plums and the Rainier Cherry. I truly appreciated my Samurai pruning saw today. It cuts through tree trunks like butter!! I highly recommend it.

Here are the before photos


The During


My Samurai saw
And the after