Rain Garden’s First Birthday

Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2013 WS2
BEFORE
(photo by SVSeekins)
Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2013 WS2
AFTER
(photo by SVSeekins)

Don’t you just love Before & After photos?  I do!   I lose appreciation when measuring small day-to-day changes.  Progress is so much more apparent when distanced by time. 

That’s why I’m excited to compare the changes of the Fisherman’s Wharf Park after its 1st birthday.

When I originally visited the newly renovated park, I was charmed by the landscape architecture.  A flat field had morphed into undulating hills & lovely ponds.  Pretty.

Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2012 WS1
BEFORE
photo by SVSeekins
Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2013 WS1
AFTER
photo by SVSeekins

Careful plant selections of natives & non-local species provide potential for a low maintenance park.

As any new transplants need regular watering until established, Victoria Parks department installed irrigation into the beds.

The plants, trees & shrubs prospered.  The water requirements will diminish as the beds mature.

The holding pond of the rain garden is coming into its own.

Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2012 MS1
BEFORE
(photo by SVSeekins)
Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2013 MS1
AFTER
(photo by SVSeekins)

For the past year, rain has been redirected from the neighboring parking lots & streets, and into the catchment pond.

Check out the height of the drain.  It shows how deep the pond will get before overflowing into the storm drain system.  Any standing water is filtered by the rain garden.  It returns to the natural water table, instead of being sent to out to sea.

These plants / filters sure don’t look any worse for wear, considering they clean up any of the runoff’s pollutants.  Isn’t science & nature groovy?

Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2012 beach
BEFORE
(photo by SVSeekins)
Fisherman's Wharf rain garden fall 2013 beach
AFTER
(photo by SVSeekins)

I’m not convinced the sandy beach is really what was here before Fisherman’s Wharf took over the area, but it’s a nifty idea.  Can’t you imagine leaning your back against a big log & reading a good book?

It’s looking much more natural to me now.  Sunshine & warm sand will be calling to me this summer.  No doubt I’ll have to arrive early to get a spot.

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© SVSeekins, 2014

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February Garden Activities

iris reticulata, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It’s easy to LOVE February!  The crocus bloom is a Valentines gift I treasure  🙂

Tools

  • It really feels like the beginning of a new season to me.  I like to start fresh, so now’s the time to tidy up the garden shed.  Gather up all the tools.   Scrub off any debris or soil. Wipe wooden handles with some oil to strengthen & lengthen their lives.   Sharpen & oil pruners, shears and hedge clippers making sure they’re rust free.
Crocus in lawn 2013, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Pruning

  • Summer blooming Clematis (Jackmanii, Earnest Markham, and Tangutica), the ones that flower on wood grown this year, should be cut almost to the ground, down to 4 to 6 buds.
  • Prune summer-flowering shrubs like Buddleja davidii, Spiraea japonica, and hardy Fuchsia. They benefit from cutting down hard in mid-late February.  Go crazy & copse the Red Twigged Dogwood.
  • Hydrangea is another summer-flowering shrub to prune now that the buds are showing… but be a little more delicate than a ‘copse’.
  • Tree peony flower in the spring, but by now we can see the buds swelling & know which branches died off through winter, so prune away.
  • When I’m feeling very tidy I’ll also cut back the evergreen sword ferns that are now at their most ragged.  They’ll soon be sporting fresh new growth & it’s a kinda fun to watch it unfurl.
  • DON’T PRUNE spring-flowering shrubs like Forsythia, Clematis montana, Spiraea x arguta, Buddleja globosa, Viburnum tinus and Ceanothus burkwoodi now.They flower on stems produced after last spring’s flowering, which have ripened over the summer.
primula, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Fertilizing

  • distribute a handful of lime & bone meal beneath Clematis,  Lilac, Hydrangea, Flowering Red Currant, Peony, Mock Orange, Sedum, Spirea & Aubretia
  • sprinkle tomato food onto areas where spring bulbs grow
Yucca in the winter garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Watering

  • Check any plantings under large overhangs for soil moisture. These areas can get very dry over winter. They don’t need a lot of water but enough to survive
 hellebore and crocus garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Perennials

If they’re out-growing their space, most late blooming, hardy perennials can be lifted and divided now.

  • Cut the tops back to a couple of inches.
  • Lift the whole plant out with a fork.
  • Look for a natural line across the plant and cut it with a sharp knife right through.
  • Continue this until you have divided the plant up to suit your needs.
  • Replant the pieces in groups of 3-5 to make an impact in ornamental borders from repeating colour schemes.
  • Pot up spares immediately.
  • Water well.
crocus cluster gardem Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Lawns

  • Looking over the front yard, we seem to have a few blades of grass growing in our moss patch. Moss control can be applied in February, but remember it requires 2 full days without rain.  (Good luck with that  🙂
    The recommended type of moss control is a product that has fertilizer + ferrous sulphate (iron). Something with NPK numbers of 9-3-6 greens the lawn for about 30 days after the moss has been killed. Dolomite lime should be applied about 2 weeks after the moss kill.
  • If the lawn isn’t too wet & grass is growing, give it an early cut.
 bergenia - elephant ears pig squeak garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Veg & Berry Patch

  • Start early plantings providing the soil isn’t  saturated. Sweet Peas, Broad Beans, Spinach, Radishes, Green Onions, Chives, Clarkia, Poppies and Flax will all germinate in the cool weather
  • Start Asian Greens and Radishes under row covers.
  • Buy seed Potatoes now and store the tubers in a light, cool (10°C), frost-free spot and leave them to sprout. This is known as chitting. Egg cartons make good chitting trays. Make sure you put the tubers with the ‘eye’ end ( where the sprouts will grow from) upwards.
  • Dig in over-wintered green manures such as Winter Rye.
  • Top dress’ over-wintered crops, such as autumn planted Onions, Broad Beans and Spring Cabbage, to give spring growth a boost. Use a good rich garden compost or organic fertilizer.
  • To help the soil warm up more quickly, pull back any organic mulches, then cover with clear or black plastic. Put these in place a couple of weeks before sowing.
Donkey Tail Spurge garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Greenhouse & Cold Frames

  • Tidy up & sterilize thoroughly (even glass) before starting new plants. Remove all traces of last year’s problems rather than putting new plants at risk.
  • Prep seed starting supplies.: trays, pots, starter mix, heat mats, grow lights
  • start:  Pansies, Lobelia, Begonias, and Pelargonium can be started in the greenhouse.
  • It’s also time to start Artichokes, Onions, Leeks and Parsley indoors.
mahonia in February garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Watch for ‘damping off’ disease in seedlings in the greenhouse or indoors. This fungus causes the stems to collapse and the seedlings to fall over.

  • Avoid over-crowding seeds & sprouts. It’s better to have a tray of fewer, healthy plants than to lose many to this disease
  • Water often, but sparingly
  • Ensure that seedlings get enough light to prevent them becoming ‘leggy’.
  • Turn seed trays daily to ensure even growth.
camellia, february, at the legislature, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Seasonal Color

  • trees: Evergreens… Twisty Baby (dwarf Black Locust)… paper bark Maple… Paper bark cherry… holly…
  • shrubs: witch hazel… winter  jasmine… early Camellia,… Viburnum spring dawn…  Mahonia,… Heavenly Bamboo…  Sarcococca…  Red Osier Dogwood… Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick…
  • perennials: Hellebore…  Primula…  Cyclamen coum,… Yucca…   Euphorbia…
  • ferns: Licorice…
  • bulbs:  Iris reticulata…  Crocus… Snowdrops… Winter Aconite (eranthis)… narcissus
Cyclamen Coum, February 2013 garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Planning & Events

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© SVSeekins, 2014