My July Garden – Pender Island, BC, Canada

I thought it might be nice to do a walk through of our garden out on Pender. By the time July has arrived things are getting pretty dry due to the lack of rain making it a very different garden from the daffodil filled flower beds of spring.

Buddha garden

I thought I would start by showing the Buddha bed, this flower bed has been a work in progress for quite sometime. Many parts of the garden had been quite neglected for years, and when we first bought the property the soil was like concrete with weeds and brambles. We have replaced soil and planted plants. Then we discovered some plants didn’t thrive in the location so we did some shifting and replacing of plants. It is a tricky spot because of how the light hits as it travels through the cedars, plus in the summer it is very dry. Eventually I will find what works in this location, but it is a learning process.

strawberry bed veggie bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are our vegetable and strawberry beds. We are still working on a small scale trying to figure out what will survive without constant watering. Last year we had great vegetables, that is definitely not happening this year. Perhaps we will have to work out a watering system.

appleWe have 5 apples on the apple tree we planted in October. We are looking forward to watching this tree grow and produce in the future.

planted containermarigoldsThe containers on the deck are doing quite well. Marigolds seem to thrive on neglect.

backyardbackyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back part of the garden is left wild. This is great for games of hide and seek. The children keep a path neatly trampled through the area, this is mostly from their races when they run laps.

rose trellisrose

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the front we have the rose trellis. I am amazed this rose survives and blooms with such little watering. Someday I think it would be nice to put a bench beneath the trellis.

daisyreplanting the beds

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we have the front of the house, this area is a real challenge especially with almost no rain. One area has grown basically nothing in the two years we have had the house, except for a couple of daffodils and a scrawny lily half eaten by deer.  The soil is like concrete, or possibly harder. I decided to try to start replacing a bit of the soil and plant some “deer resistant” plants. The only way to shift the soil was to pour water on the soil, let it soak in, then scrape off a few inches of soil, and repeat……and repeat….and repeat.

I think word got out in the neighborhood that there was something crazy going on in our garden, after all who in their right mind would tackle this. During the few days I was working on this I had so many neighbors go for a leisurely walk past our place inspecting what was going on, it became quite funny in the end. I was even asked by one elderly lady “Do you know anything about gardening?”….. my answer was “I do in Alberta.”….. and then I quickly changed the conversation to knitting.

In the end I dug out holes 2-3 feet wide, replaced the soil, planted plants, put a circle of rocks around the area of replaced soil, and watered (a lot!). Perhaps in winter I can attack the area when it is wet and replace more soil.

I am hoping this area will beat the drought and beat the deer. Only time will tell.

I am sure my August garden will look a bit different with very little rain taking a toll on everything. I seem to be always on the lookout for drought resistant and deer resistant plants. I am looking for magical plants to work in the tricky growing conditions that summer (and deer) present.

Below are a few more images from the garden. Please click on the images to view full size.

 

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About Deb

Photographer, artist and artisan splitting time between Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Check out my new project at www.handmade-canada.com , a site for Canadian handmades and art.
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6 Responses to My July Garden – Pender Island, BC, Canada

  1. Looking great Deb! About the only thing we’ve found to outwit the deer is very light deer netting. It is black and very thin so from a distance you can barely see it. We make bamboo frames over our beds and secure the netting to it. Takes away from the natural look but at least you have some plants left. If you are on the island in the fall the best thing you can do is collect fallen maple leaves and start creating a deep (6 – 12″) mulch for all you flower beds and fruit trees. Do this for a year or two and the bottom layer of mulch will start to compost. The big benefit is water/moisture retention. Use the forest as you example – wild plants survive because of the debris that builds up, creating a moisture retaining mulch. I’ve never had to water our wild blackberry vines!

    • Deb says:

      Great tips. We have used that netting over the veg beds to deter the raccoons . The leaf idea is great…… and also a great way to keep the kids busy……. we can do that at Thanksgiving .

  2. I like you Buddha bed Deb, and the wild back area looks great for children to play, you have done a lot of hardwork, I hope the plants in the planting holes at the front survive and grow,

    another way would be to build raised beds over the clay and fill with a mix of good topsoil and moisture retentive compost, also over here you can get moisture retentive granules, they are used for pots but would work in a raised bed, they hold water and release it slowly, a mulch on top of the soil around the plants helps stop the soil from drying in the hot sun, grass clippings would do,
    I can’t help with deer resistant plants, but I have read that plants with thick hairy leaves 1) the hairs reflect the sunlight so they withstand drought better and 2) the thick hairy leaves are unpalatable to most animals, have you looked at what survives in places like California, Texas and the Mediterranean where they have to withstand dry summer heat,
    lol you are looking for the opposite of me, we have had so much rain I have plants dying because the roots have rotted in the wet, Frances

    • Deb says:

      Thanks for the ideas. We are just back out here and everything survived, with only one plant being nibbled. I used soil for planters with the moisture retainers in the beds.

      We bought mulch yesterday, and I will try Kenneth’s maple leaf idea in the autumn.

      My new best friend is lavender. It seems to survive the heat and the deer.

      Deb

      • and lavender has a gorgeous perfume which midges do not like, Frances

      • Deb says:

        The fact that lavender is a plant that works I find intriguing . My husband’s mother passed away the year we were married and it was her favourite plant. We’ve always felt that she had a hand in how we ended up with the place on the island; it was just so odd how it happened. So it is quite nice to be planting lavender .

        (Now you probably think I am crazy!)

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