As I sit here from my office the rain is constant and my yard is looking like a lake in some areas. It’s a good day to do some spring planning. Last year I taught some garden classes and really enjoyed sharing my passion for gardening. Today I am planning more classes for other venues as the need is so great. The younger generation is eager to learn and last year they came to hear all about vegetables, herbs and seeds. I saw a few sparks of interest in growing flowers so I will be taking the leap and giving some classes not only in design but how to grow flowers. Yes, I know for most of us growing flowers is easy but with communities densifying gardens have changed. They are definitely smaller areas to plant and our young people may only have a small patio. They want plants that have impact and make a statement, not just the everyday petunias.
People need to think about using plants that have more than one season of interest. For example, adding a few blueberry bushes to the garden brings you a lot of interest over the year. Blueberries have tiny white flowers in spring followed by delicious fruit. In the fall, their leaves turn bright reddish-pink adding fall colour to the garden. We also need to think about attracting wildlife such as birds, bees and pollinating insects to our gardens. While reading seed catalogues I couldn’t help notice the trend towards packaging bee friendly seeds and plants together. The pros are making it easy for consumers to get the right plants. You can do this yourself by reading up about plants in books and online. The key to attracting wildlife to the garden is to plant native plants along with your shrubs and trees and ornamentals. Having a good mix of plants and ones that have fruit, seeds and flowers will have your garden full of activity.
I have been gardening organically for many years and when I first heard about the bee problem I was surprised. You see I never have a lack of bees. From mason bees to honey bees they abound in my garden. It’s about having something in bloom continuously to attract them . Here on the west coast you can reach this goal. With our mild climate, blooms should be happening in your garden each month of the year. Above are the blooms of the Viburnum bodnantense which flowers from November to February here on the southwest coast of BC.
By the time the Viburnum is finished the first Crocuses are out bringing the bees to the garden. If you want to learn more about gardening, watch my site for news of where I will be giving classes this year. Is there a topic that you think is needed? Let me know.