Sunday, February 15, 2015

Opening a New Chapter

If you have never visited Summerland, British Columbia, you really should put it on your bucket list.  I feel lucky to be trying my gardening hand in this beautiful region of the southern interior of BC.  Like few other places in Canada, grapes and tree fruits grow fantastically well here.  The growing season is thankfully longer than the short Saskatchewan one I had been adapting to for the last many years.

No matter where you live, there is plenty of garden inspiration to be enjoyed around here.  Of course, the stunning Summerland Ornamental Gardens are just a quick walk across a trestle from here.  They have their own large examples of xeriscape gardens which I like to visit regularly.      
Our apple trees, in February awaiting spring awakening
We acquired an established apple orchard with a view of Okanagan Lake and I have a goal of adding an oasis of ornamental landscaping in the corner of our property.  The plans are to plant climate-appropriate plants that are also attractive to bees and butterflies.  I follow with interest the worldwide plight of honeybees and worry what their future holds.  I like to believe that gardeners can help out the bees with by growing flowers they appreciate, especially adjacent to large mono-cultures of (sprayed) trees. 
Morning at Powell Beach in Trout Creek

So far, only the heathers are blooming, but it is only February.  I should be happy I'm not shoveling snow with the rest of Canada.  Now is the time to hoard seed catalogs and propagate seedlings in the sun room.  Lee Valley Tools has a free shipping event right now, so I have been lingering far too long on their website.

This week, I pruned the mystery-variety plum tree that have lived here untended on a steep bank for many years.  This tree gets to be my practice subject and received several sprays with neem oil last year and is now on a watering system.  We will try dormant oil, sulphur spray, and wrapping the trunk with the tanglefoot kit I bought, hopefully reducing pests.  Time will tell if any of this is of use. 

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