Tag Archives: urban gardening

Bulb Planting at Como Lake Park

Coquitlam’s Park Spark program is hosting a community bulb planting event at Como Lake Park on Thursday, October 23 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Neighbours, school groups and local businesses are encouraged to stop by Como Lake Park to help plant flower bulbs around the park. Volunteers will be able to work alongside City gardening staff and other community members to create a beautiful spring-blooming display.

All necessary equipment and bulbs will be supplied. All you have to do is arrive at the south parking lot, off Gatensbury Street and be ready to get your hands dirty and ready to do some planting.

All those who are interested are welcome to participate.

For more information about the Park Spark volunteer program visit www.coquitlam.ca/parkspark.

Bringing Wilderness Into a Suburban Garden

For many years, gardening has meant bringing order to nature by designing outdoor spaces to feature boxed-in plants and flowerbeds, clearly defined pathways and well-tended bushes and trees.  But there has been a movement of late to work with Mother Nature rather than against her, resulting in gardens that mix both tamed nature and nature that has been left to run wild.

Eco Friendly Garden
Eco Friendly Garden

Bringing the wilderness to a suburban garden has one overriding redeeming feature – it is eco-friendly.  Gardens that are too ordered can be less inviting to wildlife, so a garden with areas that are allowed to grow wild encourages animals and insects and helps the environment flourish.

For example, bee populations have been under threat in some countries for some time and a careful selection of plants will help their numbers to grow.  Bees are important to life itself, as without them, pollination becomes near impossible.

To create a little wilderness in a garden, it is necessary to plant a variety of plant species to appeal to a wide range of animals and insects, as well as to create visual interest.  A mixture of wild flowers, vines and trees, like a combination of lilacs, Boston ivy and Flamingo Ash-Leaved Maple trees, helps greatly in creating this ambience.  Long grasses provide habitats for egg-laying insects and invertebrates, and will encourage certain birds to visit for food.

It is an excellent idea to include water in a wilderness garden, as a pool or pond with plenty of water plants will attract a variety of wildlife, including frogs and toads, insects such as dragonflies and birds.  Garden owners might find rabbits, squirrels, and even deer visiting a garden with all these different, interesting features.

It is true that well-ordered gardens can be easier to maintain than wilderness gardens and they sometimes seem to demonstrate that an owner takes the time and effort needed to keep it so organized.  However, such gardens can easily slide into becoming hackneyed and tacky rather than pretty and elegant.  A garden left to become a little rough around the edges is often more appealing to people, who recognize the benefits of letting nature have its way.

Despite this, wilderness gardens do still require maintenance to stop invasive plants from taking over entirely.  More robust gardening equipment may also be needed to deal with the unrestrained plants and shrubs, such as those found at Pat’s Small Engine store.

Wilderness gardens are not good just for wildlife, but for the family too.  They provide plenty of different play areas for children, whose imaginations will surely be sparked by the unleashed landscape.  Tall grasses become a place for children to play hide and seek; a rocky section becomes a mountain for them to climb and a pond becomes a safari watering hole.

A garden with a wilder aspect can also serve as an education for children by exposing them to a variety of different wild species and how they breed, eat, and spend their time.  It also becomes a great tool for teaching them how to garden.

A suburban garden with a wilderness theme will create and improve wildlife habitats, entertain and educate children and add visual and fragrant interest to the home.

A Couple of Urban Gardening Ideas

A simple addition to your patio planter can be chives; amazingly beautiful when added yo your urban gardening routine and also very useful in your kitchen.

For example, this beautiful planter has chives growing in it and foodies know that chives are absolutely delicious in many dishes. When homegrown they are even more amazingly flavourful. Along with their wonderful flavour, they add an exquisite beauty to any patio.

Chives
Chives

Another food that is shockingly easy to grow – green onions. All you have to do is stick the onion set (that is a slick little gardener term for the tiny onion that you plant) in the dirt and within a couple of weeks you have fresh green onions growing. And if you have ever tasted a green onion cut fresh from a garden, you will NEVER go back to store bought.

Green Onions
Green Onions

Go ahead, give it a try. Stick an onion set in your patio garden box. Then add some chives, some parsley, basil, whatever you want. You can grow some of the best tasting food. Get growing.

 

Apple Trees to Replace Ornamental Trees on City Streets?

One thing that I got to wondering about today was, why do cities plant ornamental trees instead of apple trees along their streets? Okay, the cherry blossoms are beautiful in the spring for the couple of weeks that they are in bloom but otherwise, what purpose do ornamental trees play?

Ornamental Trees
Ornamental Trees

I understand that some housing developments have encroached so far into bear country that there is a problem with attracting bears, but what about in the city where there is no real bear problem?

Why not plant fruit bearing trees in targeted areas? For example, in the picture to the right there are ornamental trees planted alongside an elementary school in Burnaby. Why not plant apple trees along the street in the picture?

What a perfect place to plant apple trees! The city crews come along and do the trimming of ornamental trees so why could they not do the same for fruit trees? Why not have apple trees along the sides of a school so that the students can learn how to grow food? This could be a perfect living science classroom. Students from the nearby school could be responsible for checking up on the trees so that they develop a sense of ownership of the trees.

If the city were to rethink the trees planted along city streets the residents of the streets along which the fruit trees are planted could also develop a sense “ownership” of the trees; during drought times they could help water the trees and later in the summer or early fall they get to collect the fruit.

Seems to me like an idea that is ripe for the picking. (I couldn’t resist that last line.)

100 Foot Diet Update

Because the kids are out playing in the tent I set up in the backyard, I have a couple more minutes to share a SECOND blog post with you, yes two in one day!! SO here is a pictorial update on our suburban gardening adventures, or, as I call it, our 100 foot diet.

The Overview
The Overview

 

 

Yes, these are the four little garden boxes I built in our front yard.

In the closest two are our potatoes which have exploded in growth. I have not yet dug around to see what they are setting for spuds, soon enough.

 

The Beet and Carrot Box
The Beet and Carrot Box

 

 

This box, is the bed of carrots and beets. The first seeding of beets are almost ready. They are the size of an enlarged golf ball. Just the perfect size for a summer feast.

The carrots are still pretty much baby-sized. Our girls love eating them fresh from the garden. I have at least three plantings in here so the yield will be sustained over a few weeks.

Beet Greens
Beet Greens

The beets have grown extraordinary greens. Same with the carrots. Obviously the soil is rich in something that makes the greens grow. I will have to figure out what that is see what I can add to the soil this winter to get more root production.

 

 

 

 

Leeks
Leeks

 

The leeks are doing well. I’m sensing potato and leek soup in my future.

 

 

And then the prodigious zucchinis have set their first go around of production in place. I love zucchinis so the four plants will keep us set.

Zucchinis
Zucchinis

 

 

 

 

And then the funniest thing, three times I have planted two rows of bush beans (I can’t stand climber beans!) and this is the single bean plant that has poked his head out of the ground. Odd.

Mr Bean
Mr Bean

 

 

 

And that is it for today! The 100 foot diet adventure continues.