By Kim Charles

April from my favourite lunch spot by the pond. Because this is a sheltered spot I can eat lunch outside on nice days for much of the year. The primulas in the foreground are the supermarket  ones that appear each spring and cost less than a cup of coffee. I plant them out and most come back year after year. With a little deadheading and water in the summer they repeat bloom into the fall. Best plant deal ever!  In the middle of the pond is a marsh marigold (I think) which puts on a great show late March and into April. I put the plant on an plastic box, the kind that holds milk jugs. This give the fish (orange spots in pond) a place to hide from the great blue herons. I stick to goldfish due to having to share some with the herons. However the fish seem to be doing OK, most make it through the winter and every spring we spot some babies.

Pam Fraser gives us a glimpse of her slice of paradise on Vancouver Island.

"Every morning I enjoy the garden pictures you post from all the wonderful gardeners in many parts of the world. A great way to start the day. I thought maybe it was time to share some pictures from my “piece of paradise”, shots from my small back garden. They are a bit different from most posts in that they are all of one garden feature, my pond, taken at different times of year (also in different years, which explains the rapid growth and shrinking of some plants).
I have always admired garden ponds but was put off installing one due to the effort involved. So when we retired to Ladysmith on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, I was delighted to find a house with a pond already in place, plus mature, professionally installed landscaping. Maintaining my narrow back garden is relatively easy due to the mature, low maintenance plants. My main job is hacking things back as plants grow very rapidly in our moist, mild climate. I also get to enjoy the “borrowed scenery” of the slope behind our property."

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Some of my “pets” out and about. While most are orange note the black one on the left. Some are multi-coloured and a couple are almost pure white. They provide lots of interest in the pond.  I only feed them occasionally in the summer, mostly for my own amusement, otherwise they seem to do well on what nature provides.

Later in April, the Spirea (white plant) puts on a great, albeit brief, display.


Into May and the hostas are reaching their prime. Oddly enough, my garden is not troubled by slugs, at least not yet.

June by the pond. The irises come from Ted Baker’s fabulous iris garden/farm on Salt Spring Island.

Close-up of iris in last shot,  Siberian iris 'Shaker’s Prayer'.

August, Landini Asiatic lillies, they grows about 3 feet high and have multiplied nicely.

November view from our bedroom over the pond. In one of those unplanned but pleasant surprises, the fall foliage on the Japanese maple echos the new side fence. The bright red shrub is a barberry. The small green tree beside it is a Portuguese laurel which I added. It keeps its green foliage all year. I am striving for more winter interest plants to increase my year round garden enjoyment.

January. Although we live in the “banana belt” of Canada, we do get some winter freezes and some snow, although it usually last only a few days, then its back to the winter rain.
Don’t know what the plant in the left foreground is, but it keeps its pink/red foliage all year.

Giant Cynthia rhodo, over 100 years old.  This is NOT in my garden but is the horticultural “star” of Ladysmith. When in full bloom it can be seen from across the harbour. It's even become something of a tourist attraction. Should you be up our way, it's in bloom in late May.  

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