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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I cannot believe I found these at my favourite Consignment Store

I spent time this past weekend with my sister and mom. Mother's Day you know. One of our stops was my favourite Consignment Store. I could not believe what we found!! You know how I love my Crystal. Remember my Christmas post about washing and polishing my crystal for my big family Christmas dinner? It is 39 years old and at Christmas I wished I had enough wine glasses for everyone. That would be eight. I only had four. My sister spotted my crystal at the Consignment Store There were twelve wine glasses and they don't look like they have ever been used. I exercised restraint and only got six. I love to clean, so I spent a bit of time yesterday washing and drying them until they sparkled.


This is my 36 year old clock. It has not been working for the last twenty years or so, so I finally took it in and had it serviced, cleaned and oiled. It is a wind up clock, so this should be done regularly. Now I know. I cannot believe how much I missed it. The wonderful tick tock tick tock......and the bonging every half hour. It has great sentimental value and I just love it.


And at the end of a busy day, I sat down with a glass of wine in my beautiful crystal. new motto...Use the Good Stuff!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Goodbye darling Beamer.

It is the end of an era. My constant companion in the garden, Beamer the Garden Cat, has left us. It was very sudden and we are all reeling. But his life was beautiful so I am trying to focus on the joy he brought to everyone. Even if cats made you nervous, Beamer knew exactly how to break through that nervousness and make you fall head over heels in love with him.

Beamer followed me around in the garden all day every day. Rain or shine, he was like my little shadow. I would bend down to weed and he would smoosh his nose into mine and head butt me. I would always stop and give him a cuddle. I was putty in his paws.

There is a dent in the garden soil inside the greenhouse where he would curl up to nap. It was his favourite place to be. I don't think I'll ever be able to fill in that dent.


Goodbye my little man. Gardening will never be the same without you.


Sunday, May 07, 2017

I found the cutest little vintage glass dome !!

I went out with the best sister in the world {Jessica} yesterday. We went to my favourite store in greater Victoria. The huge consignment store in Oak Bay. One of my finds was this little vintage 'cheese dome'. I immediately thought of my 6" Pink Mosser Glass cake stand. I was hoping it would fit. What I loved about this glass dome was the similarity to a set of glasses my parents had when I was young. I loved those glasses! So now I have my own 'feeling' of those glasses. Does that make any sense?


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

My very old Filofax...back in action

This is my wonderful old Filofax. It has been tucked away in my desk for years. Decades? Look how empty it looks. I bought it in the 80's back before we had electronic organizers. You customized them with all kinds of available inserts. I really feel like I want to get back to pen and paper for something special. {a secret for now} I ordered inserts and a calendar. I am going to add a lot of artwork and treat it a bit like a scrapbook!! I've been inspired by google photos, so I have added a couple photos so you can see what I'm talking about.

This is a friends Filofax. Isn't this amazing. I think he said he has had it for about 50 years. I mean look at it. It is about 3" thick with paper. There isn't a prayer he could close it. I love it.

I am not a talented artist at all!! So I've found watercolour art that I like, printed it and glued them to my Month tab pages. How cute is this! This is December and March. I am a huge fan of Marjolin Bastien. These are two of her paintings.