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