Lake Bloomers members enjoy a late afternoon barbecue and potluck on Susanne Thom’s patio at her lake front property in Youbou.

Lake Bloomers spend afternoon in lovely lakeside paradise

Members of the Lake Bloomers headed out to Susanne Thom’s home in Youbou for an afternoon barbecue, potluck, and garden tour.

On August 8, members of the Lake Cowichan Lake Bloomers headed out to Susanne Thom’s home in Youbou for an afternoon barbecue, potluck, and garden tour.

Thom is a Bloomers member and an avid gardener who has transformed her property from a rocky, dry section of land to a flourishing lakeside oasis.

Thom has owned the property since 1992, but her and her husband have only lived there for the past few years, and in that time they have managed to make substantial changes.

While the other members of the club enjoyed the outdoor fireplace, gardens, and view of Cowichan Lake, Thom took me on a tour of the property and explained the process of bringing it to where it is now and showed me the gardens.

“When we first bought the property there was building material everywhere and gravel everywhere,” said Thom. “And we were trying to landscape it so I had some people come in at first and I thought, oh I’ll get the landscapers to do it, but they wanted $100,000 so I thought, oh I don’t think so.”

She explained that all the perennials, shrubs, and landscaping features are still young and she is taking the endeavour on in baby steps.

The garden beds are spread out with sections of lawns in between. Many of the mature trees that existed when the couple moved onto the property are still there and have become, in some cases, central features.

A rock wall, built by Thom and her husband, retains the slope that runs down to the water’s edge. Here, Thom has planted grasses, succulents, and a few shrubs such as Lavatera and Cotton Easter.

“We have mostly native plants here,” said Thom. “Anything that doesn’t need watering very much because it gets really hot and dry.”

Behind this are perennial beds and lawns spaced intermittently, reaching back towards the main house, a badminton area, and beyond that more flower beds and finally a vegetable garden.

“In the back we get more sun,” she explained. “It’s two different climates between here [the waterfront] and the back. It can be windy and stormy here and quite warm and lovely in the back.”

“I’m a bit of a plantaholic,” she confessed. “I see a plant in the store and I think, I’ve got to have that, then I come home and, oh, where am I going to put that?”

She says that in this way, her gardens are not planned and are a bit on the experimental side (though you would never know that by looking at them).

One of these beds is created below a large cedar tree and Thom says that she deals with the issue of acidity by trying to pick plants that are natural to the area and that can tolerate higher acidity.

“I’ve had a lot of this and that; things that work and things that don’t, but these seem to have settled in,” said Thom. “I put a little bit of lime on the lawn in the spring otherwise it is too acid for the grass.”

Plants she has chosen for under this tree are things like Oregon Grape, grasses, and a few flowers.

Other tree features on the property are a black walnut and an ash tree. There is also an old holly tree that Thom says a group of doves come and clean the berries off every spring.

“They start at the top and they clean it right out,” she said.

Thom makes much of her own compost for her garden, and has a special area on the back of the property where she processes it.

Thom’s gardens are a lovely example of what can be done in a relatively short time with some dedication and hard work.

 

Just Posted

Take a breather among the rhododendrons at Lake Cowichan

Just off Lake Cowichan’s main road is a quiet oasis

Sunshine and safety for bike rodeo students

Students at Quw’utsun Smuneem Elementary School in Glenora were treated to a… Continue reading

Cowichan Valley Regional District’s affordable-housing strategy moves forward

Board signs three-year financial agreement for initiatives

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Coming up in Cowichan: Spend Father’s Day fishing, or head to the BC Forest Discovery Centre

Deadline coming to register for class reunion The Cowichan Secondary Class of… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

Most Read