Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung, the grass has riz,

I wonder where them flowers is?

My father quoted this every year in spring, usually when the snow was still in the process of melting on the ground, no flowers in sight. However, wonder no more. Here are some flowers from around my garden. Can you name them? (the answers are at the end of the post).

The first one is  of daffodils, of course. I thought I’d start you off easy. 🙂 Next is heather. This plant likes less water than most of my garden so it grows on the side of the stairs going up to the driveway, where the irrigation doesn’t reach it. The third one is mahonia, or oregon grape, an extremely prickly bush that grows wild in the pacific northwest. The berries have a strong, slightly unpleasant flavour, but if you mix them with blackberry and a bit of apple, they make the best jelly. Next is hellebores. I have about six such plants in my garden, each a different shade of rose to wine tones–one of the earliest plants in my garden. After that is the trillium, you knew that. I don’t know the name of the following plant, but love the look of the little green buds in the spring. Perhaps you can tell me what it is. The last plant is a cranberry bush. I had one planted when the garden was first developed, but it died last year. I was devastated. the blooms are beautiful, have a lovely scent, and  it is the first bush to flower in the spring, usually in late February. I searched everywhere, no one knew what it was, let alone had one to replace it. Then a tiny bush bloomed last spring, and i realized the dead bush had populated a new branch below it in the garden. It is still small, but I will put some good earth around its roots to encourage it to grow tall like it’s daddy did.

Ducks gather at Rithet’s Bog

Went for a nice walk yesterday, around Rithet’s Bog (named after Robert Patterson Rithet, a prominent businessman in Victoria, late 19th C, early 20th C). The ducks had abandoned the bog for some reason and gathered on the other side of the walking path that circles the marshy water.

Here are two beautiful males, the feathers on their heads are iridescent.

We didn’t encounter too many other walkers, most people isolating, I imagine. What we did notice was of the 8 or 10 we saw, most would not make eye contact. Perhaps they feared that eye contact would make them vulnerable to the pandemic. There were several, however, who like us, wished those they saw a good day as they passed. Very heartening.

Stay safe, keep well. How are you keeping busy as you isolate?

Putting the Garden to bed

I’ve finished putting my garden to bed. It involved digging out all the tomato plants, the cucumbers and squash plants and throwing them in the compost bin. Next was the pruning, all the shrubs and bushes, the pear tree which refuses to give us any fruit.

Then we started to dig–the Dahlias will rot in our soil if I don’t dig them out.

I dig them up, use the hose to wash the dirt off, and stack them on the patio out of the rain to dry before packing them into tote boxes covered in shredded newspaper. This picture shows about 75 clumps of bulbs. They certainly expand in numbers and I usually cut the bigger bunches into pieces when replanting in the spring. I’m no expert. I know many people take them all apart, pick the best bulbs and dump the rest, but this works for me.

When I first planted dahlias, it was because roses don’t survive here. I refused to dig the dahlias up, way too much work. But as the crop failed due to rot through the winter, I decided it was worthwhile. The dahlias bloom from July to October, certainly worth my while to plan each year. 🙂

What do you do with your garden in the fall?

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Flower garden

This is called Jerusalem sage. Not sure if it is actually a sage plant, have never used it that way as have tons of sage, but it makes a very interesting dried flower.

A bouquet from my garden, phlox, lupine, foxglove, some peonies. This time of year my windowsills are heavy with vases and the falling petals litter the area. Still, it’s nice to bring some of the flowers in and their subtle perfume carries throughout the house.

Sylvie’s Garden

Here are a couple of other wildflowers that thrive in my garden. This is foxglove. We had a lot of fun with them as kids, stripping the flowers to put one on the tip of each finger. Then there are the lupines.

Funny that nature has a similar colour palette for all three of phlox, lupine and foxglove.  This vine is a honeysuckle. It was my mother’s plant, and years ago I took pieces off it to plant in my own garden. I’ve moved it a few times now, but it is one sturdy plant. The hummingbirds love it, it covers the arbour into the garden nicely, keeping it shady in the heat of summer.

 Let me know what flourishes in your flower bed.