Category: Home & Garden
Type of item: Plant or Flower
What was your inspiration?
What began as a bid to have a vegetable garden of our own turned into creating a little bird haven along the way. Our backyard is tiny and so this undeveloped space was the perfect place to put our veggie gardens and after a few years we noticed birds really liked the hill.... lots of bugs, seeds and who knows what else. We also found snakes and salamanders who loved the hot rocks and they help control the bugs, snails etc. The winter was hard so we wanted to give back so we put out hummingbird feeders and suet and boy did that do it. Suddenly we have almost every known Vancouver Island bird in our backyard, at one point or another. I am working on photographing them to create a poster! So we have committed to leaving some of the bank with natural wild grasses which they use for nesting material etc. The rest is beautified with flowers, ground cover and three large veggie garden sections. Growing our own veggies is satisfying, sustainable, organic-ish (as much as I can be!) and yummy! Nothing like fresh!
Up top we plant our sunshine loving tomatoes, basil, eggplant. Down on our living spaces deck we have peas and scarlet runner beans. In our shade garden I am trying out growing mushrooms - Oyster and Shittake.... I'll know next year if it's successful. Between the bottom two gardens we have everything else... Swiss chard, Spinach, green and yellow zucchini's, three types of cucumbers, all sorts of lettuce varieties, purple kale and Violetta artichokes (we'll see how those grow), Kolrabi, hot and sweet peppers, green beans, colored beets and colored carrots, leeks, and all the herbs we need. The herbs are mixed in with the flowers and we tried to plant it so that flowers and interesting foliage created a pleasant view as much as culinary uses. For the rest of the summer now, I just go up top with my basket and pick what I need for dinner!
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I can look out my kitchen window and watch the happy birds feasting, picking and flying around my beautiful flower and vegetable gardens... the backyard is a big part of their day. The flowers are beautiful to look at too- I change the color theme each year for the annuals! I also like the fact that we developed something that is enjoyed by nature and by us and that we are able to co-exist so nicely. The birds offer great entertainment and beauty as well as helping control pests so we have tried to create a chemical free backyard haven.
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
Make sure you put in a watering system! I water my pots by hand so that it ensures I get outside to enjoy it, even when I am busy but I would never be able to keep up with the hot sunshine. It does hinder us when we want to go away.