Friday, May 17, 2019

Snake Plant flowers



I have had Snake Plants off and on all of my life. I bought this one to help clean the air in my house. They are the number one plant for air purification! I was stunned one day to notice a little spike. A flower spike!! I didn’t know they flowered!! A couple days ago the flowers opened. Aren’t they pretty. What you can’t see in the photos is that they open fully in the evening and then emit a very strong sweet smell in the air. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

A lovely new Phalaenopsis Orchid





I can’t believe the root growth on this orchid. It also has what looks like a new flower spike forming (it already has two) and either a new flower branch or Keiki forming on the flower stalk. It is a spectacularly vigorous and beautiful plant. 

Sunday, May 05, 2019

My rhododendron is spectacular this year


I planted this rhododendron in the spring of 1980. It is now about 7’ tall. It has never been this covered with flowers before. 
I wonder if it was the February snowfall that did it?


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Look at all the new leaves on the citrus trees!











I am so thrilled at the progress my citrus trees are making. Look at the new lovely green leaves. There are hundreds of them. Up until now, the few new leaves I would get, were pale green soon to fade to yellow. Now I am throwing everything I have at it. I spend at least ten minutes a day looking them over carefully. I find about 2-3 tiny baby scales per day and scrape and squash them. I look under leaves for spider mites and will again spray as soon as I see any. I spray the leaves top and bottom whenever I water the trees. As well I gave them Jobes Fruit Tree and Citrus spikes. I had let things get totally out of control and it took sulphur spray and horticultural oil to kill the massive scale infestation. I am an organic gardener, so I have done things with these trees I normally would not do. But I want to get them healthy and strong and then switch to completely organic after that. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Strawberry bed thinned and replanted



So after a year of not being able to garden, I am playing catch up. I have a bed of strawberry’s that originated from three tiny plants that were rescued from the house next door. The old strawberry bed was literally covered over with weeds. Buttercup and other root spreading weeds. So I was not able to just dig out a few from underneath the cover of weeds and plant them. They would have been full of weed roots. So I had to dig out a few small strawberry plants and literally undo the weed roots from the strawberry’s. I then planted them in pots so that I could pull them out if weeds started to grow, and undo the roots again and replant. After several months, the three plants were then planted in the garden and allowed to ‘run’. I pegged runners to make more plants. I shared a lot of runners, but they still got a bit out of control last year while I recovered from my broken shoulder. Today was the day I was able to dig out some, rearrange others and I now have a proper strawberry bed. It took several years, but here we are.

You may wonder why I went to all this trouble for these plants and didn’t just buy new plants. Well...I have done that many times over forty years, trying many varieties. They were nice enough, but when we finally got a few berries off of these plants, we were thrilled to find out they were the largest, reddest, sweetest and most delicious strawberries any of us had ever tasted. I dug out all of the other varieties I was growing and set about propagating these. I have no idea what the variety is, but they remind me of strawberries my grandparents grew in Ontario when I was little. So I will have these until the day I die. Seriously. Yummmm.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

African Violets...I’ve been doing it wrong for decades



I have a bit of a soft spot for African Violets. I love how old school and beautiful they are. I have never had any luck reflowering them after the original flowers die. I bought two this past year, and I have been treating them very well! Fertilizing, water, everything I can think of. But as usual, no flowers. So I googled ‘why African Violets don’t flower’. Well.....I have no idea where I got the idea about forty years ago, that African Violets could not take any sun, but I must have read it somewhere.....I was completely wrong. It is sunlight that makes them flower and I have never given them any. So I’ve moved my two Violets up to the window. Look, give them enough sun and this is what happens. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The ‘Hedge from Hell’ is gone!!!

Here is a picture of what the ‘hedge’ looked like before. 






Oh happy day. The family behind us are building a garage in their back yard and the awful Leylandii Cyprus hedge that was over 30’ feet tall and grew about 12’ into our yard....is gone. They shortened it considerably about a year ago which gave us so much sun in our back yard, it was glorious. This is a dream come true. Here are some photos of the removal. 









You can see that there is a tree in there that is about a foot across. That wonderful 
machine pulled that tree out in about a minute. It was incredible. 




Saturday, March 02, 2019

Victoria Orchid Show. What a lovely day.

This incredibly beautiful orchid is called Laeliocattleya Drumbeat ‘Heritage’ 
It was the best in show winner. 
I was so awestruck I did not get a shot of the whole plant. 
It is about three feet across and had may be 30-50 or orchids on it. 
The most beautiful and spectacular plant I’ve seen in 40 years of growing. 



I bought a tiny Dendrobium Amethystoglossum like this. 

I was looking for one of these, but there were none to be had. 
Oncidium Sphacelatum. 




This is a Pinterest photo of an Oncidium Twinkle ‘Pink Perfection’. 
I went to the orchid show with a wish list. This was on the list and I found a very small one. I am pretty excited!!!


I bought a medium size Paphiopedilum Yi-Ying Morning Sun. 
(This is not my plant just a lovely image from the internet)


Blc King of Taiwan
A very large flowered beautiful orchid I chose. (Also not my actual plant)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

And to think we don’t usually get snow on Vancouver Island

Snow almost filling up our deck

Snow half way up the greenhouse and almost burying my blueberry bushes

Backyard and gardens buried

The fence over on the right back is five feet tall


We had robins in the willow all week. 
They were feasting on our holly berries the whole time


The street before it got really bad


Early on in the snowfall through my kitchen window

Monday, February 04, 2019

What do you do to keep warm in the Polar Vortex?


There is nothing like a fireplace in the winter. Curled up with a wonderful hot chocolate, or glass of wine. A Scottish Tartan Lap Blanket, cosy slippers and a robe. Your favorite book or music. 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Trying something new with my ailing Owari Satsuma Mandarin

I have tried a lot of different things to save my citrus. They started in pots. Then got moved into big pots. Then they were planted in the ground inside the citrus house. I put the Mandarin in the raised bed in the greenhouse. It has been failing ever since. Today I decided to dig it up and pot it again. When I dug it up I noticed how dry the roots seemed. There are no white roots, just dry and brown looking. I cleaned off the dirt so it could start from scratch. It was very dry. I potted it in quality potting soil with a good handful of bonemeal and organic fertilizer under the root ball. I cut back the branches to account for the pathetic root ball. I am clearly missing something. I can grow orchids, I should be able to grow citrus. I must be missing a nutrient or something. 


Meyer Lemon

The Bearss Lime is exploding with flowers but the leaves are tragic. Very pale. Speckled. The Meyer Lemon has a few new leaves but they seem pale. No flowers. Sad looking. 


Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange (it’s hard to see, but notice there is only one small tuft of leaves)


Bearss Lime leaf closeup. Notice the light coming through the tiny holes in the leaves. Spider mite damage. 

Plan of attack. I noticed a lot of white specks under the orange leaves. No doubt they are spider mites. I have been spraying them with a mister for years, but it hasn’t been completely effective and they always return. This is what the grower had told me to do. So then I literally picked off the leaves leaving just a few fresh new leaves that have started. There used to be a lot of spider mites on the lemon and lime. I couldn’t find any this time and I assume because they were sprayed with sulphur for scale. So I flashed up a batch of sulphur and sprayed all three citrus trees thoroughly. Then I broke my cardinal rule about organic fertilizer and bought Jobes Fruit and Citrus tree spike and hammered them in the ground around the lemon and lime. Then I took one and smashed it up with a hammer and put it in the pot with the newly planted orange. I am throwing everything I have at these trees. 

My gut tells me the trees were unhealthy because they weren’t getting the right fertilizer and nutrients. Then the weakening plants were like magnets for insects. First the spider mites moved in and then scale. I didn’t notice the scale on the branches, I’m far sighted, and by the time I noticed it, it was a horrible massive infestation. Then the spider mite population exploded. So now that I have the time since retiring, and the determination, I foresee some healthy citrus trees in my future. 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Orchids on a rainy day.


So...I risked life and limb to get a few orchid photos for you. Okay, well seriously, I got really wet. It is pouring and the back yard and greenhouse are flooding. Again. 

I am particularly proud of this collection of blooming orchids. Some I’ve had for a very long time, some are two years old, but all of them are reblooming. Which is how I rate successful orchid growing. Keeping the plants alive is relatively easy, but getting them to rebloom can be tricky. Just in the last year my reputation as the kiss of death for phalaenopsis orchids, after forty years of growing, seems to have switched around and I have had two rebloom and none are dying. I consider that a big win!!!

Starting at the top....miltonia ‘Sunset’ orchid, old cymbidium orchid, pink cymbidium orchid, phalaenopsis orchid, budding oncicium orchid, jasmine cutting I’m growing up greenhouse supports and a couple of flooding photos. 











I am worried about the lime tree roots being under water.