Gardening

Signs of spring

The sun is shining and I was in the mood to tackle a small garden project this morning. So, I got my garden gloves and clippers and stepped out into fresh air and sunshine.

The small project was to clip some herb plants as the new growth will begin soon.  Two and a half hours later I was exhausted from raking, digging, pruning, and pulling out stuff. Now the whole herb garden and pond look fantastic, my piles of leaves from fall are merged into fewer but larger piles, and half of my large perennial garden is cleared of last year’s dieback to expose all the new growth coming up from the irises, grasses, and more.

Hopefully we’ll get some good weather this coming weekend so I can clean up the veg garden and get in some seeds for spinach and other things that like the cold.

I’ve got the bug – I’m looking forward to spring!

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Outer Vision Design

I have launched my new company (to replace Potted Garden Designs) – it is called Outer Vision Design.  www.outervision.ca

OuterVision Design will make your outdoor room stylish & comfortable.

We customize the look to suit your lifestyle. From luxurious comfort to casual dining – we will create a look that is right for you. Updating or starting with a clean slate – we decorate outdoor rooms for living, special events and home staging. Invest in an outdoor room to expand your space, improve you lifestyle and add value to your home.

Home Staging – outdoors. Increase the “wow factor” of your properties with an outdoor space makeover.  Open house . . . do you need help to improve the curb appeal? Even in the fall and winter, staging the outdoor space will increase appeal.

Teamwork. Our team is innovative, experienced and resourceful.

Nature’s way. We are focus on sustainable, organic and recycled materials when available.  Mother Nature approves – you will too.

Credibility. OuterVision Design is a full-service studio with accredited training and experience.

  • Interior Decorator
  • Ecological Landscape Designer
  • Graphic Designer
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Composting

We’re going to spend the weekend building a 3-bin composter with hinged lids on top, and hinged doors in front.  I’ve designed it, and while Lorin builds it I’ll be raking the piles n’ piles of leaves in the yard, pulling the tomatoe plants (yeah, finally!), and doing some general tidying in the garden so that we can fill one chamber right away.  We leave the seed heads on the plants for birds to eat through the winter.  We get so many birds here it is really amazing – but they know where to find a good meal.

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Winter displays

I love to design potted displays for the front step in fall that will look great in the winter.  I use pansies, grasses, and evergreen plants but I also use branches that I poke down into the soil to give a sophisticated look as though they had been done by a florist.  I add pine cones, dried flowers and other items that I fix to the branches with florists tape and wires.  These arrangements sit nicely in pots, tins, on plant stands or old chairs – as long as it isn’t too light weight and tall that it could catch the cold winter wind and fall over.

Be creative and make your won fall arrangement.  Freshen it up with winter branches and colourful items when you put up your winter wreath.

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Beat the heat

There has been a heat wave in Vancouver that has broken weather records that stood for over 125 years!  One of the reasons Vancouver is a popular place to live is due to the not-too-hot summers.  Well, not this year.  Not only has the heat made us all less productive, but it has greatly increased the risk of forest fires (over 700 burning right now in the province!), but has been a drain on our electric power and water supplies.  The domino effect has resulted in lower water levels preventing fish fry trying from moving along the streams to the open water.  The electricity supplier stoked up some ancient coal-fired generators that polute our skies, contributing to climate change which may be partly to blame for this heat wave in the first place.

We couldn’t take the heat upstairs in our house so we moved to the basement which stays nice n’ cool.  We have to close all the windows on the south face as the hot air was blowing in.  Our furnace is rigged up with a manual fan switch so we can turn on the blower to circulate air without running the furnace.  This is a fantastic benefit as it brings the overall temperature in the house down by about 3 degrees.

There have been a few positive outcomes of the heat wave for us:  we relaxed more as we just could not focus enough to do any work, my face sweat so much that my skin looks as though I’ve had a facial every week, and our garden has been growing like mad.  We’ll have a great crop of figs for the first time in years, our tomatoes are turning red, the cauliflower is huge, and we have fantastic corn – sweet and delicious.

This is the first cool day in weeks and I have a pile of work to do, and I’m keen to get started on it.

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Something fishy

Something fishy

IMG_2786Lorin and I built a pond in the backyard near the patio.  I’ve always wanted one especially because I want to learn how to make them for clients. It is hard work but in a weekend we got it done.  It is beautiful – and quite natural looking (ignoring the unnatural concrete wall around it!). This is an early photo – it has more plants around it now and many in the water.

It is a still pond so I have a special ring that gives off a bacteria to kill the mosquito larvae that were very quickly growing in the still water.  We also have to grow certain plants in there to filter the water and fish to provide food for other plants.  I hadn’t wanted fish but now I’m so excited to have them.

First I bought three gold fish each at 99 cents.  Two died.  So, I bought five more and in two weeks none have died.  I am learning to balance the ecosystem in the pond to keep the water suitable for the fish.

I also plan to get a solar-powered filter system for it but it is too expensive right now.  I’m hoping a local company will begin carrying them so I can buy locally.  Shipping from New York costs more than the item itself.

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