Monday, August 9, 2010

PEI Rural Beautification Society

Do you remember back in April I talked about the PEI Rural Beautification Society and their annual contest?  Each year they hold competitions for best family vegetable garden and best flower beds, among other things.  I decided to enter and drew up a plan of action here.  Well today a man from the Society came to visit.  Yikes!  I wasn't expecting them for several weeks!  Luckily I weeded the vegetable garden on the weekend so it didn't look too bad but the flower beds aren't exactly what I was hoping the judges would see.
The vegetable garden was freshly mowed and weeded just in time for viewing.  What luck!
While I don't think I'll be winning any major awards this year the great thing about the contest was that it forced me to make up a list of all the things I wanted to see accomplished this summer.  Now the summer is far from over but this is a good time to stop and take a look at how I'm coming along with my To Do list.

The first thing I had listed was Compost.  I had a loose pile of material I wanted put into a bin and cleaned up.   Well the bin got built and filled but the pile has not decreased that much.
Compost pile still lurking behind the bin
How is that possible?  Well, every time I dig a spot for a tree or a shrub or a new flower bed I pull out sod.  I've got more sod and weeds than I have room for in my bins.  However, one bin is essentially composted at this point so I'll be removing this in the next couple weeks and I can refill from the pile.  Perhaps another bin is in order though?

The second item I had on my list was the Vegetable Garden.  If you recall there was no vegetable garden at all back in April.  I'm very pleased to say this item got done exactly as planned.  Raised beds were built, the ground dug and the seeds planted.  Everything has been growing very nicely although somewhat tightly packed in.  We've enjoyed onions, lettuce, radishes, and cilantro so far.  Tomatoes and carrots are just beginning to ripen.  The boxes have worked so well that next year I hope to expand and double the amount making room for strawberries, peas, garlic and more varieties of lettuce.
5 boxes this year and another 5 next year?
The third item I intended to work on was the Flower Beds.  I had plans to weed and rejuvenate all the old beds on this property.  I think what I learned here is that I need to be a bit less ambitious and narrow my focus more.  Instead of just tackling one bed which would have made sense I tried to take on several areas.  This hasn't worked very well.  Back in April the main flower bed looked like this.
Today it looks like this

A lot greener but just as messy.  The front bed has fared a little better and went from this

To this

I've still got some time to work on these but I think next year I'll be a little more careful about how much I think I can take on.  And I'll also try to finish one project first before I start another one!

The last item on my list was Planting Trees.  I'm happy to say I planted a lot of trees and also a lot of shrubs this year.  25 trees were planted in all including white birch, yellow birch, white pine, white spruce, butternut and red oak.  13 shrubs were planted consisting of highbush cranberry, serviceberry, witch hazel, hydrangea, mock orange, and ninebark.  This past weekend I managed to visit all of my trees and shrubs.    While many are showing signs of stress, such as spotty leaves, only one tree is doing really poorly.  A bit of stress the first year is not unexpected and only one tree doing really poorly is wonderful odds as far as I'm concerned.   Given a few years these plants will start to grow up and fill in the property.  However, we could still use more.  I already have plans for next spring to plant more white pine and yellow birch, catalpa, maple and crabapple.

This white pine is looking very healthy and happy
While I didn't get everything done on my list I think I've made a good dent and can feel pretty proud of what's been accomplished thus far.  And maybe next year we'll finally find the end of that garden hose.


  1. I love that you've been planting trees! So many people buy a house and then clear the land. Because a big grass field will do what exactly?

    It looks like you made great progress on your list! Don't get discouraged by what wasn't accomplished. The first item on my list this year was to landscape the side. Now while I've cleared the side, it is far from landscaped. What do you do? I get carried away! Instead of doing number one on my list, I created a bunch of projects that weren't even on my list :) Sounds right doesn't it?

    Good luck with the judging! Your veggie plots look awesome! 5 more for next year? You are ambitious! It makes me yearn for land!

  2. oh I know! who wants a lot devoid of any life?! My complaint with this property was there were not enough trees. Such a shame it takes them so long to grow but that's why I wanted to plant them first.

    Creating new projects sounds exactly right. Every time I turn around there's another project on my list. I spent a good portion of last weekend tearing down bindweed - where was that on the list?! LOL

  3. It looks great. Gardening is very rewarding but it takes time to make it look like what you imagine. You need to be sure too water all new plants, including shrubs and trees once a week for at least the first year even if it rains otherwise they won't do well and may die. The white pine looks fabulous.

  4. Melanie, you're very right. We've been quite lucky this year to have plenty of rain but even so I've spent a few days lugging pails of water out to trees in the meadow. It's more work watering than it was planting.