gabriola garden

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beauty, Raised Beds, and Cupid's Dart

Gardening is a great hobby! Not only is it therapeutic, but it helps create beauty, which (according to John Keats) is the ultimate truth. Just read his Ode on a Grecian Urn, if you don’t believe me! “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Now, if you’ve been enjoying all the wonderful close-ups of Sara’s flowers in this blog, don’t think that they happened accidentally. A lot of hard work led up to the planting, the nurturing of the seedlings, the feeding of the plants with just the right nutrients, and the frequent watering required to maintain a garden during these hot summers.

First of all, we do all our gardening in raised flower and vegetable beds. It’s easier to create a layer of super rich, compost enhanced layer of soil, than it is to dig down and expect the existing sand and rock mixture to yield outstanding plants. So we cart home huge bags of outdoor soil from the garden shop, and every time Sara takes Hedgehog horseback riding, she brings back eight or nine buckets of composted horse manure.

In order to save money, we went hunting for driftwood on the beach, and brought back just the right lengths to create low walls around our beds, to keep the soil mixture from washing away. If you live in the country, where tunnelling animals might be a problem, you could cover the bottom of the raised bed with wire mesh, and staple it to the wood all around. This is probably better if you buy 6 x 6 landscape timber from a lumber yard.

The only animals we have to worry about on Gabriola are deer. We actually have a deer fence around our property, but they still get in at a vulnerable point now and then. Our Golden Retriever enjoys chasing them around and we have to let them out the front gate. Sadly, the island’s tunnelling animals, including rabbits, are history.

We poked the bottom of our raised beds with a gardening fork to provide for better drainage and aeration. Then we put in the rich outdoor soil (we got tired of lugging heavy bags from the garden store, so I hired a man with a pickup truck to bring in a truckload of good soil) and we spread this, mixed with composted horse manure, up to the brim of the driftwood.

We mixed the proper amount of Advanced Nutrients Iguana Juice Grow into an eight-liter watering can, and hand-watered every bed. This was a lot of work, and we do the same every two or three weeks, of course now with Iguana Juice Bloom. On a larger scale of gardening, you can attach a container to your hose and mix the nutrients in with your watering, but we’re just small-scale gardeners.

The results are the prolific bunches of Tomatoes you see in the picture, along with the magnificent blooms of Sara’s hard work. Our Scarlet Runner Beans have created a shady hut, and the Passion Flower has finally opened, along with Cupid’s Dart, the Jackmanii Superba Clamatis, Black Eyed Susan, lovely pink Phlox, purple Daisies, and red Geraniums.

On another Gulf Island called Galiano they had a large fire recently and it was touch and go there for while to see if any homes would go up in flames. We thank the Creator for giving us each and every new day in safety and I think we’ll forego air travel for the time being.

posted by Tim at 6:43 PM


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