Saturday, 25 May 2013

How to Camoflouge a Shipping Container

This is our very plain, very utilitarian shipping container/tool shed. It isn't much to look at so I tried a few different things to camouflage it. 

We found some scrap wood lying around the property and used it to make some flower beds in the front and right side. Lucky for us, there is a place that sells soil right across the street, so we loaded up the truck twice with lovely rich dirt.

 It looks a little bare now, but I am continuing to add plants and have faith that the ones I have planted will fill out eventually. In this end are 2 lilac bushes, a gooseberry bush, a bleeding heart, some Chinese lanterns and sunflower seeds all along the back wall.

The far left tree is an olive tree, beside that is a pink peony, then an azalea, some pink and purple columbine and a small rose bush.

Behind the olive tree is a red seedless grape vine.

We traded a friend a bunch of glass fishing balls for all this wood to build trellises out of.

I've planted a Boston Ivy smack in the middle which should eventually cover the whole shed. It turns a magnificent crimson and orange in the fall
Hopefully it will look like this someday!

I've never seen these before, I have planted four of them, can't wait to see them in bloom!

My lilac in bloom. The other one was supposed to be purple, but when it bloomed it turned out to be white as well, so I am still on the hunt for the perfect purple lilac for my collection.

A few weeks later and things are starting to fill in now.

The olive tree now has all these little buds on it...can these be olives? Can't wait to find out!

The grape vine is doing well, lots of new growth in the last few weeks.

The peony has three big buds close to blooming, I feel like I am waiting for something to give birth!

The neighbor donated a few plants from her garden to me. This is a bunch of chicks and hens that hopefully will spread and make more ground cover.

 She also gave me two bunches of this stuff. Not sure what it is called but it apparently makes a good ground cover with spikes of purple flowers.

Here is a bee enjoying a lunch on the purple spikes.
The Chinese lanterns are really taking off now, should be a good crop of them this year!

The gooseberry bush has lots of lovely berries.

We had built a lean-to shed off the side of the container to store bikes, gardening gear and building supplies. It needed a make-over as well. We made two small shade beds on each side of the door.

And here they are a few weeks later, a few more additions and things are starting to fill out.
There is English ivy to grow up the back of the wall, an Astilbe sp? bush in the center that has lovely pink spikes in the spring. Some Hostas for lovely green colours, some Forget-me-Nots which hopefully will spread along the border and some Lily of the Valley also donated by the neighbor.

The backside was looking pretty rough as well so I bought some cedar fence panels to cover it up

We put some more trellises in the small gardens The goal is to make these gardens perennial, so I only have to do this once. I can't wait until it's all covered in ivy and grapevines and the beds are full of lush plants.

Elsewhere in our yard, there are two cherry trees in bloom over the driveway

Sadly this beautiful old tree that used to have a resident eagle hanging out in it, had to come down. The local beaver had undercut the root system so badly, it was a hazard waiting to happen in the next big windstorm. So now you see it and...............

........... now you don't :(
Well, it's still only May, lots of growing season yet, looking forward to see how this all looks in a few months.  I want a food garden as well but have so much left to do on the house, that I will leave that project until next year.  This year I will just focus on finding more perennials for my flower beds and enjoy watching them grow! Happy gardening to you all!

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Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Fraser Floods Early This Year!

Every year the Fraser River swells in size during the spring/summer months as the snow pack in the mountains begins to melt. They call that the freshet and some years it can be much worse than others. Last year was one of the worst in 40 years. There was extensive flooding in the upper Fraser Valley and the property we live at had the driveway under water for a few weeks. That happened around the end of June, so we weren't expecting anything to happen for another 6-8 weeks. However, two weeks ago we got a freak hot spell with temperatures soaring to around 29 Celsius in the interior and which lasted for almost two weeks. Then when the rain finally came back, it did so with a vengeance and we got slammed with torrential downpours that went on for a few days. This combination of extreme heat and heavy rain caused the river to rise about 30 feet or more in a period of a few days. So far there doesn't seem to be much danger to the house itself but we are keeping a close eye on things as it inches closer to the driveway and threatens our ramp access to the docks.

Here are some before and afters to illustrate the rise in water

Notice the height of the steel pilings on the right in relation to our roof line

Another before shot showing the height of those pilings and the beach on the right. Check out the pilings on the right with the silver caps on them, later you will see a picture where only the silver tops are still out of the water!
 A before shot of our ramp which as you can see is very high above the water.

The first sign that something wasn't right was when we noticed a ton of what looked like large lumps of soap scum floating downstream

Here is a closeup of said scum, each of those blobs is about 2 feet long, one foot wide... yuck!!! You can also see how brown the water looks now, you can literally see the sediment swirling in the water when you look at it closely.

This is another before shot showing the height of the pilings in comparison to the roof lines of our house and the neighbours boat shed

Now the water is starting to noticeably rise, look where the pilings are now!

The water is now only a few feet from our storage container( and my new garden beds which I spent hundreds of dollars on, so am praying they don't get washed away!)
 The river rose another 10 feet overnight, now look where the pilings are!

Here is a before of the ramp and the height of it compared to the water level

Here is the after shot, the ramp which usually has a very steep drop to the docks is now almost totally level and the river is only a few feet from the deck of it.

Another shot of the water creeping up towards our driveway

The river has risen a few more feet again, note how small the pilings are now. If you look carefully, you will see the smaller pilings that are capped with silver metal just barely sticking out of the water in front of the dock

This is a before shot of those same pilings in the background ( and the beach which is no longer there) The big old dock sitting up on the land is now totally floating!

Here is Dave standing next to one of the 40 foot pilings. He is 5'10" so it gives you some idea how much is under water now.

 So that is the excitement for now, waiting and watching the river to see if it will cut us off from land. The last few days the temperatures have cooled down and the river has stopped rising for now but it is holding its height that you see here. I am saying a prayer every day that it doesn't get any higher than this. So far the only real affect it has had on us ( other than some sleepless nights), is the fact that our water supply has been cut off. We depend on the drop in height from the well to our house to create water flow. Now that we are the same height as the driveway we have lost our gravity feed for the water line. Until the river drops again we have no running water to our house. I am seriously hoping the river doesn't stay this high for a few months! I am guessing that when I was born, I must have asked for an interesting life because there is definitely never a dull moment around here.

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