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The Hummingbird Vine

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Coral Trumpet Vine

The Hummingbird Vine is a very beautiful, fast growing, deciduous woody vine that hummingbirds just love. This plant is also known as a Trumpet Vine because of the shape of the flowers it produces. Aliases Trumpet Vine Hummingbird Vine Star Glory Cypress Vine Trumpet Creeper Cow Itch Vine Hell Vine Devil’s Shoestring Latin Lingo The Hummingbird vine or Trumpet Creeper is called Campsis radicans in Latin. It is a species of flowering plant in the family called Bignoniaceae. The Latin word “radicans” means “with stems that take root”. This is an important characteristic to pay attention to before purchasing and planting. This means that …


Orcon Dellocate Snails

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Predaceous Dellocate Snail

What are Orcon Dellocate Snails? Orcon is a brand name, short for “Organic Control Inc.” and Dellocate snails are molluscs with the scientific name: Rumina decollata. They are a type of predatory snail that eats brown snails, slugs, other snail types and all of their eggs too! These particular snails are actually beneficial to the garden. They’ll catch your eye because they have a different appearance than your average garden snail, Dellocate snails are conical and slender whereas average garden snails are more round in shape. The Dellocate snail was introduced to southern California from the Mediterranean in the early 1970’s to …


Pink Lemonade Blueberry

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Have you ever seen a pink blueberry before? It looks like something that just shouldn’t exist! It’s bright pink and perfectly unique.  If you don’t have any of these plants in your garden yet then I highly recommend adding a couple to the garden this year. The best little surprise from the pink lemonade blueberry is that these these eye-catching little beauties have a taste quite different than a regular blue blueberry. You’ll be amazed, they actually have a distinct tangy sweet taste just like pink lemonade. It’s very unlikely that will you see these berries picked for sale in the …


Carrot Sprout Carnage

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Hugging Carrots

It’s carrot seed planting time! It’s springtime, an exciting and rejuvenating time of year, seeds being planted, perennial sprouts emerging, spring flowers and summer flower buds are abundant everywhere. Well, what am I talking about then…carrot sprout carnage?? Back up a little while: Read about how I built a small raised bed on a pallet about two weeks ago. This unique pallet was re-purposed and used to create a raised bed for planting Rainbow Blend and Purple Haze carrot seeds. May Showers Anyway, it’s late April and early May, summer is right around the corner. The carrots have been planted for …


How to Build a Raised Bed on a Pallet

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Almost any pallet can be modified to create a raised bed on a pallet. This is a pretty quick way to build a raised bed on a pallet. If you keep your eyes peeled when driving around the neighbourhood you will sometimes see unique pallets that have been specifically created for uncommon jobs and transportation of odd shaped objects. These are usually not reusable for further shipping and quite often considered garbage by the receiving business. These types of pallets are easier to get your hands on because of this. Try to locate a smaller size pallet that has sides …


My Cherries are Falling Off

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June Fruit Drop on Cherry Tree 2013

It’s almost June and summer is under way. The cherry blossoms have bloomed their dazzling spring beauty and are now almost gone. The immature cherries are just forming behind the flower petals as they blow away in the wind. But then disaster happens… The newly formed, immature cherries start falling off your cherry tree and there are a lot of them that fall! It makes you wonder the obvious question: Is my fruit tree sick? The answer is probably not. It might be a natural occurrence. It really depends on how much of the total crop of cherries actually fall off. …


Raspberry Crown Borer

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Raspberry Crown Borer

The Raspberry Crown Borer (Pennisetia marginata) and its larva are common pests of the raspberry plant. They are common throughout most of North America and are very common here on the west coast of BC and Washington. They are also known as Blackberry Clearwing Borer, as they can affect the closely related blackberry plant as well. Wild blackberries are a carrier of this pest and they will spread to nearby gardens with raspberries if they are close enough. They will infect your raspberries easily. Their life cycle is nearly invisible and you don’t notice they are there until your plant is …


Raspberry Cane Borer

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Raspberry Cane Borer

The adult raspberry cane borer (Oberea bimaculata ) appears in June. It is a slender black beetle about 1/2″ long.  How to recognize it and its’ presence This pest is a slender, dark coloured beetle, about 12 mm long, with antennae as long as its body. It can be recognized by the yellow band near its head and its long antennae. Larvae are white, cylindrical and legless. Adult females chew two zipper-like rings around the tips of raspberry primocanes and lay an egg between the punctures. The cane tip wilts above the point of injury and eventually dries up and dies. The beetle …


Big Fat Worm on Basil

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Worm on Store Bought Basil

So I caved and actually bought a couple of basil plants from the store, I just wanted more of it and the season was passing quickly.  There wasn’t enough time to sprout more seeds. You already know that there’s never too much basil! The plants are doing beautifully and were growing nicely. I watched them for a couple of weeks while they grew and made more leaves.  I hadn’t pinched any yet and was tenderly growing and nurturing these new additions, but then I started to notice some of the branches looked as though they had been harvested or pinched already. But I …


Cheesy Homegrown Potatoes

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Cheesy Homegrown Potatoes

This is a deliciously simple recipe that can be made on short notice and is best with small home grown potatoes of any colour.  This recipe can be made using tiny store bought “new” potatoes if you don’t have any left from the garden. They shouldn’t be larger than a ping-pong ball or cut to be about that size. Step One  Boil the potatoes until tender in a large pot of salted boiling water. When tested with a toothpick it should slide easily through, but not disintegrate. It should still have some structure. Step Two While the potatoes are boiling …


Slugs in January!

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Brown Slug

The garden usually rests around November in the Lower Mainland of BC, depending on the weather and when the rainy season returns. Usually the rainy season has long since arrived by the end of November and the gardeners of this area retreat to the dry warmth of the house.  Unless you have a greenhouse, then your growing time can be extended quite a bit. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the hard earned break from the work load of the spring and summer planting and growing season. That was two months ago. We don’t really get winter around …


Start with a Few Good Tools

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Fiskars Power Gear Shears

Gardening is a whole lot easier when you start out with a few high quality tools that are made tough for the job.   They’ll make your life so much easier and things will get done more easily and with less effort than if you choose inferior tools.  The tools featured here are some of the ones that I personally use just about everyday and know to be perfect for this type of gardening. They are Loppers, Shears and Pruners. Don’t Buy Cheap Tools You get what you pay for is true of so many products and is definitely true of garden tools. …


How to Grow Oriental Lilies

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Pink and White Oriental Lily

There are so many beautiful Oriental lilies available that they could easily make a stunningly colourful garden on their own without any other flowers. They’re most beautiful standing among other shorter growing flowers and shrubs. Giant Oriental lilies are really easy to grow and they produce beautiful fragrant flowers right from their first year. They are great for novice gardeners and kids gardens. The bulbs are available in the early spring and early fall. They come in a wide range of solid colours and many colour combinations. Their height ranges from 18″ to 72″ depending on the variety. They can …


How to Build a Raised Garden Bed

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Raised Bed Corners

This project can be as simple as buying a few pieces of lumber and some hardware to secure the corners.  Start by deciding how big you’d like to build the bed. If you’re working with a limited area then 4′ x 4′ is good, or 2′ x 4′, even 2′ x 2′ is a usable size. Go to the lumber store and choose 2 – 2″ x 10″ x 8′ or something like that and ask the staff to cut it down to 4 pieces of 4′ planks. This will give you a nice 4′ square raised bed planter. I recommend a board that …


How to Build a Pallet Garden

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Pallet Garden April 2013

One simple way to create a garden is to plant in containers and then set them on a row of pallets. Building a pallet garden on the surface of the ground creates a portable alternative to in-ground gardening. It’s also much easier than trying to dig up, loosen and repair the soil that’s there, especially if it’s old and hard packed. If you rent your home, it’s a good idea to check with your landlord before starting a gardening project to avoid potential problems. Supplies Needed a pair of scissors or an X-acto knife a roll of landscape fabric some similar …


How to Grow Carrots in Containers

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Hugging Carrots

The humble little carrot, in Latin its name is Daucus carota. Carrots of any type or colour are a great way to get yourself or the kids started in gardening. They require little skill, minimal care and minimal effort. You’re almost guaranteed a delicious harvest in the late summer with spring planting effort. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, niacin and calcium. A carrot is actually the young root of a plant that looks a lot like Queen Ann’s Lace. There are many unusual colours of carrot, such as Purple Haze that you’ll sometimes see in the stores. The yellow, white and …