Mt. Tolmie’s Camas in Bloom

camas blooms cu garry oak meadow garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

It was well worth the half hour walk up the neighborhood trails into Mt. Tolmie Park this morning.  What a sight – – the camas is in bloom!

I like garry oak meadows.  They’re especially inspiring when colored with a sea of blue.  Spring is really here.

early camas bloom Mt. Tolmie, garry oak meadow, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

Who would expect wilderness just a short 5km from Victoria’s inner harbour?

Checking out the wildflowers in April & May is at the top of my list for reasons to be a tourist in Victoria.

early camas bloom Mt. Tolmie, gary oak meadow, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

AND if you’re fortunate enough to be around during the last saturday of April, it’s worthwhile checking out Camas Day in Beacon Hill Park.  Its hosted by Friends of Beacon Hill Park & has wildflower tours & speakers.   🙂

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© SVSeekins, 2014

April Garden Activities

Fawn Lily bloom & leaf CU
photo by SVSeekins

The birds are waking me up with the sunrise at this time of year. They’re busy nesting & hooking up. The bird bath is occasionally dry now, so it’s good to give it a good cleaning & refill. Even birds need a nice spa treatment when things are hectic, right?

 

euphorbia in bloom Victoria BC garden
photo by SVSeekins

Tools

  • Keep the lawn mower blades sharpened & the proper bits lubricated as the machine is back in regular use now.
  • Give the garden hoses & sprinklers a good once over to be sure they’re in shape for the upcoming dry season.
  • Keep those pruners & clippers sharp, too!
  • It’s best to clean pruners between bushes. Spray with a 10% bleach + water mixture. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases through the garden.

 

heather path at Abkhazi Gardens
photo by SVSeekins

Pruning

  • Pinch back snapdragon & other summer bloomers to promote bushier plants & more blooms
  • Shear back winter heathers after blooms peter out.
  • Shear back rosemary.
  • Prune conifers when the bright new growth starts to darken to the matching shade of green (as needed to contain size)
  • Prune stone fruit trees while blooming (plum, peach, cherry, nectarine…)
  • Roses can be pruned when the forsythia is in bloom.
  • Prune back ornamental grasses 4-6 inches from the ground & compost clippings.
cu - forsythia in bloom
photo by SVSeekins

Forsythia & Other flowering shrubs should be pruned right after flowering so they have the full growing season to prepare for next year’s bloom

  • start with removing dead, diseased & damaged limbs
  • then take out crossing branches, & give the interior of the shrub some breathing space
  • take out some old branches to allow for fresh growth
  • try not to get too crazy… 1/3 of the living growth is plenty    🙂

 

Tulip buds that the deer haven't eaten... yet
photo by SVSeekins

Fertilizing

  • Add compost or sea soil to areas of heavy feeding
  • Sprinkle horticultural lime around clematis & scratch it into mulch
  • If you’re really wanting a lush lawn, now’s the optimum time to fertilize.
  • Fertilize spring bulbs after bloom so that they can soak up as much nutrients & rebuild the bulbs for next year.
    note: Let the leaves (solar panels) can soak up as much goodness from the sunshine to help out with the rebuild

 

Pacific Bleeding Heart in bloom
photo by SVSeekins

Planting

  • Plant summer flowering bulbs (dahlias, gladioli & lilies), depending on the soil conditions. They don’t like sitting in waterlogged soils.
  • Sow sweet peas and hardy annuals such as alyssum & marigolds.

New rhodos, camellias & other spring temptations are in the nurseries. Get newly acquired plants into ground ASAP

Camellia in full bloom
photo by SVSeekins
  • dig the hole just a bit wider & deeper than the pot leaving some loose soil in the bottom
  • add bone meal as a root booster & compost as a fertiliser… stir in some water
  • gently tap plant out of its container & set in hole so that it matches ground level… fill in hole with mix of compost & original soil … firm in
  • water well so air pockets bubble  out of any places around the roots

 

Basket of Gold (aurinia)
photo by SVSeekins

 Weeding

  • With the temperature increasing so is growth. Thank goodness for that January mulching! It helps keep moisture in the soil, but also really deters weeds. Wander through the beds digging the occasional perennial weed (dandelion) as well as any snails or slugs as you discover them.
  • If the mulching didn’t happen, keep a check on the carpet of young weeds and remove them before they take hold… Pop weed goes to seed quickly, so get rid of it fast!

 

grape hyacinth (muscari)
photo by SVSeekins

Perennials

  • Peonies are jumping out of the ground. Before the plants gets so big that branches will break during support installation, get those peony rings in place. (I use tomato cages instead)
  • Overgrown clumps of snowdrops & winter aconite bulbs can be divided & moved to where ever you’d like more

Divide overgrown perennials astilbe, day lilies, hostas lamb’s ears…)

The Japanese Garden on Mayne Island
photo by SVSeekins
  • cut the tops back to a couple of inches.
  • lift the whole plant out with a fork.
  • look for a natural line across the plant and cut it with a sharp knife right through.
  • continue this until you have divided the plant up to suit your needs.
  • replant the pieces in groups of 3-5 to make an impact in ornamental borders from repeating colour schemes.
  • pot up spares immediately.
  • water well.

 

aubretia at Camosun College Victoria Garden
photo by SVSeekins

Lawns

  • Edge the beds & lawns, slicing the grass runners and digging out any weeds while they’re still easy to manage.
  • The grass is prime now,
  • Re-seed any bare areas: scratch the surface with a lawn rake and sow.
viburnum at Camosun College Victoria Garden
photo by SVSeekins

Veg & Berry Patch

  • Plant the potatoes after they start to sprout.
  • It’s warm enough now to take the heavy winter protection off the asparagus & strawberry beds
  • Dig out the winter kale as it finishes up & goes to flower (unless you’re waiting to collect seed

Get into the raspberry patch (or loganberry, or blackberry…)

sea blush 2 victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins
  • take out the spent & spindly stems.
  • tie this year’s producers to the trellis.

starts
Direct seed carrots, leeks, onions, spinach, swiss chard, beets, parsnips, broccoli, radishes, arugula, broad beans, corn salad, kale, chard, spinach, oriental greens and peas outdoors.

 

leopards bane in bloom Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins

Greenhouse & Cold Frames
Starts

  • tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers & eggplants if you haven’t already
  • move starts into larger pots as necessary

Watch for ‘damping off’ disease in seedlings in the greenhouse or indoors. This fungus causes the stems to collapse and the seedlings to fall over.

Pieris Japonica Mountain Fire Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins
  • avoid over-crowding seeds & sprouts. It’s better to have a tray of fewer, healthy plants than to lose many to this disease
  • water often, but sparingly
  • give seedlings enough light to prevent them becoming ‘leggy’
  • turn seed trays daily to ensure even growth.

 

apple blossoms in May
photo by SVSeekins

Seasonal Color

trees: early apple… plum… cherries…. crabapple… pear… dogwood… magnolia…
shrubs: forsythia… flowering red currant… silk tassel bush… camellia… oregon grape… heathers… pieris (lily of the valley shrub)… heavenly bamboo… early rhododendron… early azalea…
perennials: aubretia… basket of gold (aurinia)… candy tuft… wild violets… trillium… pasque flower… bleeding hearts… erysimum (wall flower)… euphorbia… leopard’s bane… myosotis (forget me nots)… pulmonaria… bergeniahellebore… primula… winter jasmine…  vinca (periwinkle)…
ferns: licorice…
bulbs: fawn lily… daffodils… tulips… grape hyacinth… chionodoxa (glory of snow)…

 

elephant ears (bergenia) in bloom Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins

Planning & Events

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© SVSeekins, 2014