ocean spray, ironwood, arrow wood, holodiscus discolor, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest

Oceanspray

ocean spray, ironwood, arrow wood, holodiscus discolor, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
ocean spray
photo by SVSeekins

Splashes of frothy white flowers are reminiscent of ocean spray.
Well named.

Some call it cream bush, and it’s easy to see the reason for that, too.

Another name is ironwood because of the strength of trunk.

The west coast  first nations call it arrow-wood. That’s self-explanatory.

So, it’s a pretty AND useful shrub.  I like that.

ocean spray, ironwood, arrow wood, holodiscus discolor, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
ocean spray
photo by SVSeekins

The Latin name is holodiscus discolor.  Doesn’t that name just sound ugly??  But realistically, the 2nd part of the name is what makes sense to me.   Discolor. The flowers fade, turning to brown seed clusters.

I’m reminded of hydrangea & lilac – so pretty at the beginning, but looking more like used tissue paper later on.   ick.

oceanspray,
ocean spray
photo by SVSeekins

That complaint aside, I still  like the idea of having such a showy shrub in our yard.

I’ve seen some looking lovely on rocky outcroppings in full sun. That’s gotta be the epitome of drought tolerant & low maintenance.

Oceanspray is a multi-season work horse:

ocean spray, ironwood, arrow wood, holodiscus discolor, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
ocean spray
photo by SVSeekins
  • spring  – flowers that attract pollinators
  • summer – pretty flowers persist
  • fall – leaves color & seed heads form
  • winter – seed clusters continue to feed birds (especially bush tits) even past some tough storms

Oceanspray is also deer food..  The urban herd that uses our yard nibble on the 2 oceanspray that I bought from Swan Lake Nature Sanctuarys Native Plant Sale.  I don’t know if either bush will ever reach full height (15 ft / 5 m)  unless I cage them in for their own protection.  Once they’re tall enough (6 ft/ 2 m) I reckon the upper limbs will survive the grazing.

Cages just don’t seem decorative to me, so I’m looking for other suggestions.

In the meantime I enjoy 2 short (1 ft /.3 m)  bushy  shrubs.

-30-

 

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