Gardening in Merritt BC

Butchart Gardens Lookout!

Prepare for the Spring

Gardening in Merritt, BC, Canada can be very rewarding as you take a boring property to the heights of beauty. While the Butchart Gardens, just outside of Victoria, BC may be the gold standard for gardens you can make your property a thing to behold as well.  All it takes is some planning and you can be on your way.

Planning is Essential

I have to admit I have no formal training in gardening but as a homeowner for nearly fifty years I have learned a few things.  Besides, my wife has a gift for remembering plants, what they look like, when they bloom and how big they get,  all important aspects of planning a garden.

The best place to start is with a plan of your yard.  On a large sheet of graph paper lay out the dimensions of your yard and place the outline of your house on the sheet.  You then have to determine where you want your gardens beds to be.  I personally prefer garden beds that have some shape to them rather than just a rectangle.

 You also have to figure out where your hardscapes will go.  Is your lot sloped?  Do you need retaining walls or terraces?  What kind of walkways will you need to connect various spaces?  Place all these ideas on your plan.

Examples of Terraced Gardens

Terrace garden with logs

Terrace Garden-Tom Reynolds Photo

Terrace Concrete bloc

Terrace-Concrete Block Tom Reynolds Photo

Rock Wall

Rock Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

Examples of Pathways

The following path connects the driveway to the front door.  You will notice that it is curved to add interest.

Pathway

Curved Path-Tom Reynolds Photo

When Gardening in Merritt BC What Plants Can You Use?

The first thing that you need to know is what gardening zone is appropriate for Merritt. According to the BC Interactive Plant Hardiness Zone Merritt is in Zone 5b.  This means that plants that are rated for this zone will be more successful than zones that are different.  You also need to know their drought tolerance as Merritt is considered semi arid.

Once you determined what plants will be suitable for your garden you need to make other considerations.  If you are renovating your current landscape you will probably have a good supply of plants already.  For example, you may already have trees that are well established and therefore you want to work with their current locations unless the tree is not healthy.  Trees provide shade and are a dramatic feature.  

Flowering Tree

Flowering Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

Flowering shrubs are also great additions to any garden.  I particularly like a mock orange blossom shrub.  This is one of those cross over plants that could also be considered a tree. It grows quite large and provides a great privacy barrier and wind break.

Mock Orange

Mock Orange=Tom Reynolds Photo

Colour should be Your Goal when Gardening in Merritt BC

Perrenials Garden

Perennial Garden-Tom Reynolds photo

Perennial plants should be a part of everyone’s garden.  They are called perennials because they self propagate in place so you don’t have to renew them every year.  The downside is that they generally bloom for a short period during the growing season.  The good thing is that not all perennials bloom at the same time so with a littlie planning you can keep colour in your garden by selecting plants that bloom at different times.

Annuals have to be replaced every year but they have the advantage of  blooming all season long.  I think placing them between the perennials  provides constant colour.

Annuals

Annuals-Tom Reynolds photo

Colour can also be created by using different types of shrubs and perennials.  Some shrubs, like barberry come in many different colours.

Barberry Shrub

Barberry Shrub-Tom Reynolds Photo

“Colour in my garden is so up lifting”-Shirley Reynolds

Hostas are also a plant that comes in many different colourings.

Hostas

Hostas – Tom Reynolds Photo

Gardening in Merritt, BC doesn’t have to be all plants 

Plants aren’t the only things that you can use to make your garden interesting.  My wife likes things such as old chairs or head boards, while I  like things more on the tacky side such as garden gnomes and whirly-gigs’

Chair

Chair-Tom Reynolds photo

Rock Wall

Roc Wall-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Joy of Gardening Never Ends

If you take in these tips you can start your journey to a beautiful yard and a great hobby.  Have fun!

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Managing Cash Flow Merritt – The First Pillar of Financial Planning

“If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.”

Managing Cash Flow in Merritt, BC – Last edition we looked from a high level overview at the 6 pillars of financial planning. This edition will focus a little more in depth into the financial pillar of managing cash flow. 

managing cash flow merritt

Budgets are just guides. We are in control of how they flow.

 

Managing Cash Flow Begins With A Cash Flow Analysis

Managing cash flow in Merritt, or anywhere else, varies over our pre-retirement and retirement years. No matter the season of life, the process remains the same.

First, we need to determine all the sources of income that we have entering our picture. Then we need to determine our current and future expenses. This can be tricky as future expenses will increase due to inflation and the loss of purchasing power takes place on our retirement nest egg.

 

managing cash flow merritt logan lake

To coffee, or not to coffee…that is the question…

 

Managing Our Income In Our Pre-retirement Years

In our pre-retirement years, income will come in different ways. We will earn employment income, rental income or income from being self-employed. If incorporated the income may come through dividends. We could even receive capital gains from our investments. These are all taxed differently and the goal is to bring them “into our picture” in the most tax efficient manner. For the most part, if planned properly, we are in control of how we receive these and even when.

 

How We Determine Our Retirement Paycheque

In retirement we could still receive any of the incomes listed above. There are a few additional benefits that become available in our sixties. Firstly, between the ages of 60 and 70 we can begin receiving CPP or Canada Pension Plan benefits. If you receive the benefit before age 65, you will receive a penalty of 0.6% per month that it is taken early. Alternatively, each month after 65 that you delay receiving CPP you are paid a 0.7% bonus for life.

Secondly, between age 65 and age 70 we can begin receiving OAS or Old Age Security. Thirdly, the year we turn 71, it is mandatory that by December 31st of that year any RRSP’s, or Registered Retirement Saving Plan’s, are converted into RRIF’s, or Registered Retirement Income Funds. The government determines the mandatory minimum amount that must be withdrawn on an annual basis. Confusing? You bet it is! Fourthly, there is even a GIS, or Guaranteed Income Supplement, available in the mid to late sixties to those who can qualify for it. 

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“Why Would I Wait To Receive Government Benefits?”

A common question I am asked. It is uniquely situational. Each individual or couple has different things that are available at different times in their life. Some are struggling  to make ends meet when they reach 60 years old and just take the CPP benefit early. Others may be receiving payouts upon their retirement and delaying additional income a year may be beneficial. Most answers are based on tax strategies when it comes to planning in this area. There is no cut and dry best time to take it for everyone. It must be something that is analyzed and planned for. 

Some Things To Have In Place Before Retirement

Most of us will be at the height of our earning years before retirement. If planned for, we could see ourselves entering retirement mortgage free. There is no better time to have a line of credit or credit solution in place “just in case” we may need it in retirement. Credit solutions always look at what you own and what you earn. However, if you wait until you are already retired it will reduce the credit you have available. 

Tax-efficiency Is Key In Retirement Income Planning

There are many strategies for income planning in retirement. Again, all are uniquely situational. Similar to questions raised above like, “When do I start collecting CPP or OAS?” These are big picture questions.  It is all tied in together. Taxes are the single largest expense of our lifetime. If we arrange our retirement income correctly we can lower the tax we pay over our retirement and, eventually, lower the amount of taxes due at our passing on.

These Decisions Have Lasting Effects,

Seek Professional Help To Get It Right!

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