June 2022
Seaside Garden & Botanical Sanctuary Update!

Here is an update on the progress of creating the new Seaside Garden!

It’s been a year now since I moved to Lasqueti Island, BC and the botanical garden is moving ahead step by step!  The overall vision aligns with permaculture principles and preservation of local species.  

Just as I did when I lived in Alberta, I am creating this garden in British Columbia as a botanical sanctuary that is part of the United Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuaries Network. Click HERE to learn more and become a member!  I also follow the environmental guidelines and donate to LINC (Lasqueti Island Nature Conservancy).

More progress on the seaside garden!  And for this part of the creative project I can take little credit, as my roommate and our strong handyman worked diligently to finish the fence, complete with the iron gate installed and archway over top.  The archway was a piece of a cedar that we cut down to create more sun for this north facing garden.

Being a north facing garden on a hill we did need to create more openings for sun to come in, and this opened up the garden to more light as well as revealed certain smaller trees that were struggling behind the tall bushy cedars and firs.  

The most beautiful surprise was a Pacific Yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) that was revealed, along with its companion, an elegant pacific Arbutus tree (Arbutus menziesii, Madrone). 

Taxus brevifolia, the Pacific yew or western yew, is a species of tree in the yew family Taxaceae native to the Pacific Northwest of North America. It is a small evergreen conifer, thriving in moisture. It is said to have a very long life span and grows slowly. I have read that the Yew is the only living creature biologically capable of living indefinitely.

The perseverance associated with the yew is that of all life, which continues in the face of overwhelming odds and grows stronger because of it. Much of the yew's symbolism is concerned with transcendence, the transformation that arises from death (not necessarily a physical death), or a Dark Night of the Soul. 

Yew trees are psychospiritually associated with immortality, renewal, regeneration, rebirth, everlasting life, transformation, protection against “evil”, connecting with ancestors, shamanism, dreaming, and heightening psychic abilities. One can find Yew trees in England in many religious garden sites, such as around churches. Yew has been used in magical spells to raise the spirits of the dead and burning Yew to contact spirits of the deceased.

Paclitaxel, the most well-known natural-source cancer drug in the United States, is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) and is used in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancer, as well as Kaposi's sarcoma.  I use a tincture from the needles/bark of the Pacific Yew tree (other species are poisonous!) in my clinic for this purpose and as a cold/flu remedy to boost immune function.

Back to the garden: Drainage was needed between the driveway and garden to divert excess water away that was creating heavy saturation and pooling. 

Poles for the garden fence were cut on an angle to prevent rot from the heavy and frequent rain, another thoughtful idea from our handyman! 


Six garden boxes on two tiers of the garden were also installed with my dog Delphi supervising the process. We layered each box with landscape fabric on the bottom, a layer of small rock for drainage, small branches, horse manure, soil, more horse manure and then soil. 

My horses, Good Karma and Quest, are earning their keep by doing lots of pooping for the garden, then the manure is left to compost for six months and by the time we put it in the boxes it smells like earth and is loaded with big, juicy earthworms!

Now I am in the process of planting vegetables in them, along with planting flowers and shrubs in certain places in the garden! Yay - the growth begins! 

I hope you have a wonderful summer of being in nature to soothe your soul!

Sending you a galaxy of love!  Samantha


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