|The Garden Last August|
The previous owners were avid gardeners with a great sense of aesthetics. The entire backyard is a decorative garden with flowering trees and shrubs, rockeries, and a pond feature. It also has deer-proof fencing, which is an important consideration on Vancouver Island. There are lots of deer here, and they eat almost everything.
Having now spent nearly two years here, we have discovered that the garden looks beautiful in every season.
I have always enjoyed gardening, but my expertise is more in the area of organic fruit and vegetable gardens. I have also grown small flower gardens, with both perennials and annuals. But I am not very knowledgeable about caring for our current type of garden. As well, I wondered where I might be able to grow some vegetables and herbs.
The first year, we decided to to not touch anything in the garden. We waited and watched to see how it changed with the seasons. We weeded, watered, and did a little pruning.
Last summer, we took out a few shrubs that had died in the previous summer's drought conditions. We moved some shrubs that were too crowded to different locations. We added drip irrigation hoses, and sea soil, especially to the rhododendrons. We pruned more confidently. We weeded and cultivated, and did a little mulching.
I planted pots of herbs and tomatoes on the deck. I tucked some strawberry plants, kale, carrots, and beans in among the shrubs. They all thrived -- except for the beans, which the bunnies ate. Vancouver Island is overrun with rabbits as well as deer.
This year, I decided that one way or another, I was going to build a vegetable bed. I really like to grow at least a little of my own food. It is very pleasing to walk out the door and pick something for supper. Home grown food is the freshest possible food. Also, because I use organic growing methods, I know that there will be no noxious chemicals in the food or soil.
The problem is, there really is no sensible place to put a garden. In the front, there is a long sloping lawn shaded by huge evergreen trees. There is a small side yard that is flat enough, but it is shaded on every side and never sees the sun. And in the mostly flat, sunny backyard, every square inch is planted already.
I did not want to detract from the aesthetics of the beautiful garden.
I finally decided to build a small vegetable bed in the corner of the fence by the gate. It is not the sunniest location, but I think it will be okay. It is away from the the long roots of the evergreen trees, and it was not a very pretty part of the original garden design.
So, this week, Rob removed a small decorative pine tree from that location. Behind it, he took out some kind of prickly shrub with bright yellow sap. I cleaned up the area and turned over the soil and added 75 liters of black garden soil. Today I planted it.
So now I have a small vegetable plot, about five feet by seven feet. It looks fine to my eyes.
|Watering the New Veggie Garden (Left of the Daffodils)|
The strawberry patch that I planted last year looks like it will thrive. The kale plants made it through the winter and have put out new leaves. They now look like small bushes, but the leaves are quite edible, so I'll leave them in place for now.
Today, I also planted a magnolia tree. I love the beautiful tulip shaped blossoms of magnolia trees. But much of my life I have lived in climates that are too cold for magnolias. In our garden, there was a perfect space for the tree near a bench in the corner of the yard. A shrub, a kind of decorative pine that previously had been in that space, had not survived the hot dry summer. So now we have a magnolia tree!
|I dug a Big Hole|
|Planting the Magnolia Tree|
The next challenge is to create a compost pile or bin. There's more to come on that topic another day.