Patty Siddall focused on keeping trees to the outside and an abundance of shrubs as she creates her own backyard oasis.

Patty Siddall focused on keeping trees to the outside and an abundance of shrubs as she creates her own backyard oasis.

Ground Rules in Gardening: Home sweet home

“Home is where the heart is.” This famous saying befits the completion of my new gardens.

“Home is where the heart is.” This famous saying befits the completion of my new gardens.

Well, maybe ‘completion’ is too strong a description, as gardeners usually agree their garden is really never complete and is always a “work in progress”. Even though there might be lots of changes ahead, I discovered over this past week my new garden already occupies a big part of my heart.

It was a test of spirit to leave the family homestead but I now feel like I’m home again; I have my puppies and many of the plants I love with me. It was a lot of heavy work but worth every blister, ache and pain.

Transplanting fairly mature shrubs to the new home presented a test of physical endurance. Everything was well ensconced on Olivia Crescent and difficult to lift; then the sandy soil fell away and left exposed root systems.

The race was on to get them all back into the soil at their new home as quickly as possible. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of keeping transplants watered regularly and deeply through the first season. The silver lining in the last several weeks of dark clouds was mother-nature’s steady supply of rain, keeping roots hydrated while they re-establish. On the rare dry day, I hand watered.

I’ve squeezed as many trees, shrubs and perennials as possible into the front and back yard beds.

The creative test was to craft some kind of symmetry and balance. This can usually be achieved by using drifts (three or more) of the same plant, repeating certain plants through the garden or repeating colours to take the eye from one side to the other.

I didn’t have room for more than one of a specimen (each which I absolutely had to have with me), so I tried to balance with colour.  Lots of colour brings me lots of joy but the amount used is a creative preference – from the colourful display like mine to a serene, monochromatic (white) garden.

In traditional garden design, trees should be kept to the outer edges.

The old apple tree up near the patio and back porch is a bit out of place but will provide pink and white apple blossoms in mid-May and much needed shade come summer.

The magnificent Tulip Magnolia (magnolia soulanginia) bursts forth the end of April and acts as a beautiful, strong anchor in the back garden; zone 5; full sun; 18 ft. tall x 18ft wide.

My beautiful Golden Full Moon maple (acer shirasawanum aureum) is now the anchor for the front shade garden; zone 5; part shade; 16-20 ft. tall and wide.

I was also able to bring the Kwanzan Cherry tree (prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan), whose job it will be to provide spectacular pink blossoms after the magnolia finishes as well as cover the back of the neighbour’s garage; zone 5; full sun; 15-20 ft tall and wide.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll let you know about shrubs and perennials that made the grade.

Next time, though, I’d like to talk about annuals/bedding plants.

The May long-weekend is just around the corner and it’s time to plant our containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. Bill Garnett (Columbia Valley Greenhouse) has kindly shared his experience and extensive knowledge on great sun and shade performers. I’ll pass along some of his favourites.

Meanwhile, keep your grow on the go!

Patty Siddall operates a local garden business and shares this space with business partner Betty Drover every other Friday. Contact: 250-364-1005

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read