Island Garden in early May

Early May;

Fruit trees are blooming profusely right now but where are the bees……I do not see any bees around. Is it still cool for them to come out?

We inherited a small (old) orchard:. 3 apple trees 2 plum trees and 2 pear trees. I subsequently planted 4 cherry trees (one of them is sour cherry) more plum trees, the oriental pear tree and a crab apple for birds and other critters. Unfortunately they all think that all the planting is done for them.

Oh,  cannot forget the walnut trees. I grew up in Europe and still remember the beautiful walnut tree we had in our yard. Now, that we have a property big enough I can plant several. Walnut is my favorite nut . And I speculate it is also squirrels.

This is an oriental pear combo (4 grafted into one stock) as it looks today May 3rd 2012. It was planted in 2009 and had some fruit last year. It blooms beautifully early in the season

.And an Italian plum  planted in 2010. Lots of blooms but no fruit last year. I actually went and pollinated few dozens blooms with a little brush. So we will see if we can get to taste few plums.

These trees were planted in different site than the original orchard… a spot on the property where the sun stays little longer during the day and I call this piece of land Sun Valley .Originally I started to put few grapes in but learned very quickly  that the weather on the Island is too wet and not hot enough for grapes.

Some farms/vineyards on the Island are in little pockets of micro-climate and are more or less successful in growing “on the edge”. In such locations grapes can grow well but the best growing climate for grapes  in Canada is in Okanagan Valley.

We do have several vineyards around . As the matter of fact, our neighbourhood is known for wine tasting and culinary tourism and festivals. There are little farms around with speciality products from lavender and teas  to eggs, vegetables, berries ,artisan cheeses, poultry and other meats.

The white wine I like is from grape ( grown  around here)  called Ortega. It is not a table grape. Its small and seedy but the taste is excellent.

I love to cook with fresh, either mine own grown or locally sourced ingredients and feel very fortunate that we can do that.

We also have a mature apple tree by the guest house which is the most productive tree I have ever seen. Every fall we have several of these plastic crates full of good-looking apples. Most of it is juiced. I believe they are Spartans.

Next picture is the apple tree in full bloom in middle of May 2012. We already found couple of tent caterpillars and that  is why the stepladder is standing by. According to our arborist there  are more than usual of them  this year.It finally warmed up and I have seen some bees around. Although most of them are in our rhododendrons. I  have learned not so long ago that the honey from rhododendrons is toxic. All parts of this plant are toxic. I found that some rhodies are nibbled over the winter and that is probably why we found another dead small deer under the hot tub deck.That is second dead young deer in the  past 3 years…… in the same spot.But they could die for many other reasons as well.

The land we own is not suitable for vegetable garden. Not enough sun.There are enough people around who have wonderful vegetable gardens and we can get or buy from them (or local farmers markets). I do have some herbs around though.

Gardening is not in my nature. I lived most of my life in the heart of a city. The closer to the downtown  the better. When we retired to the Island, we moved to this property because of its pretty view I needed a hobby so I joined a garden club. …..then got subscription to a fine  glossy magazine and got the bug.

End of May is my favorite time in the garden . Most planting is done and everything is just so vigorous.

Days get much warmer as well so it is such a pleasure to sit outside with a cup of coffee or just simply  browse around the acreage and smelling the fresh air..


The rhubarb does not mind the cool air or the rain. It is in its glory. Picture is taken May 2nd 2012.


Robins are back and building nests in awkward places.

Mrs Robin is collecting the nesting material.

This is on the deck right next to our patio door.They raised 3 young ones there and were not at all concerned about us. This happened  2 years ago. Sometimes I wonder where I will find the next nest.

Last year Mrs Junco bird made nest in the hanging pot. I could not water the plants and had to let them die. She had  3 young ones . This is one of them in the first minute out of the nest.



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