Some Flowers Are Worth the Effort

It’s my rule never to plant annuals. They’re a waste of time because the plants die in their first year. They must be planted again & again, each year, hence the moniker: annual.

sea blush Plectritis congesta blooming mid april, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But every once in a while there’s one I think worth that extra effort.

Sea Blush tops my list of favorite annuals.

And when I don’t want to spend packets of money buying seed, or can’t find packets of seed to buy, even more work is required.

young sea blush Plectritis congesta in flower, native plant, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

At first, there was the effort to acquire the wildflowers for our garden.  Happily those transplants survived the move & seeded themselves around a bit.   I celebrated the discovery of a couple more blooms the following year.  These little successes make me happy.    🙂

young sea blush Plectritis congesta in leaf garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Once a patch of Sea Blush was establishing, I wanted to be sure I wasn’t doing anything to ruin it.  The seeds germinate during our coastal winter rains, and start showing up with the first wave of weeds early in the new year. l didn’t want to pull any out of the garden by mistake, so I learned to identify a Sea Blush seedling .

sea blush Plectritis congesta in flower, native plant, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now that additional plants are surviving, I want to speed the spread of them around our mountain (rocky outcropping) even more. As the flowers fade, I’ve kept a keen eye on the patch in order to collect seed.  The plan is to sow the seed in some similar mossy crevices.

I’m surprised that the Sea Blush goes to seed so early – – it’s not even June yet – – a full month before summer begins!

sea blush Plectritis congesta igoing to seed native plant, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Some of the seed stalks are harvested & scattered on other slopes of our mountain.

Other stalks are left in place – –  just in case the seed isn’t mature enough yet.  These will self sow when they’re good & ready, confidently guaranteeing  some plants for next year.

But, cross my fingers, that every seed is viable. Hopefully all this effort pays off & there’s even more patches of Sea Blush on the mountain next spring.

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Spring Wildflower Walk

I bet you can guess  my response to this meadow of shooting stars? (Dodecatheon)

shooting star meadow, Dodecatheon hendersonii, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

C, SM & I are exploring Dean Park when I drop to my knees to check out (& photograph ) the pretty spring flowers,
I’m delighted.
SM is charmed.
C smiles indulgently & waits …

shooting star bloom, Dodecatheon hendersonii, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The vibrant magenta colors look so perky! How can these  delicate cyclamen-style bloom be tough enough to survive our temperamental spring weather?

Further down the trail there’s pollen everywhere – in the air, along path edges… even settling on plants & making them look different.  At first glance I thought I’d found a special variegated salal.  Check out the leaf with pollen & without:

I’m not sure exactly where the pollen is from. There’s so much of it I figure it’s got to be from the most dominant species of tree in this park.  Perhaps the douglas fir?

mice tails inside douglas fir cone, Pseudotsuga menziesii, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Cones mottle the ground.  SM confirms they’re douglas fir.  She tells me a story about the little mice that hide inside the cones, with only their tails poking out between the layers.  Pretty cute, eh?

In another small clearing  is a meadow of fawn lily  (erythronium).

white fawnn lily meadow, Erythronium oregonum ,garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I’m used to seeing them in a more open meadow at Beacon Hill Park, so it’s nice to see they prosper in the dappled shade of the forest edge too.  Of course I need a closer look.  This time C smiles indulgently, but continues on his way.  (He’s here for the fresh air & exercise).

white fawn lily bloom Erythronium oregonum garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It’s a little  tough to see into the face of the fawn lily because of its nodding head but I reckon that is its way to protect those private bits from the occasional downpour. Can’t you just imagine the bees taking refuge under a fawn lily umbrella?  Keeping  company with a fairy or two ….

yellow violet, viola, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There are many wild violets  growing in our garden, some pink and some blue. Years ago I heard about a  wild yellow violet.   I finally saw a small clump in a Washington State Park last year.  But that’s pretty much it. Today  SM points out one to me.   It is so tiny!   I’d easily have missed it completely, walking right past none the wiser.   It’s so nice to see them growing locally.

Fairy Slipper Calypso bulbosa orchid, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Then SM spies a wild orchid.
                    OMG !!!

I’ve only ever heard of the fairy slipper (calypso bulbosa) .
We’ve got to invite SM along on our hikes more often.     🙂

I’m running around with the camera – up & down…  this angle & that one…
 Bucket list moment !!

C misses the entire thing.

western trillium patch, Trillium Ovatum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

He’s down the trail. When he comes across another native plant he knows I’ll be excited about, he decides to sit until I catch up…

Trillium Is not your typical flower.   When the bloom first opens, the petals are white. Over time they turn pink.  It’s two plants in the space of one.

western trillium, Trillium Ovatum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
western trillium bloom, Trillium Ovatum, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Trillium is from the Latin ‘in 3’s’.

  • 3 leaves circle the stem.
  • 3 sepals frame the flower
  • 3 petals highlight the bloom
  • the stamens are set in groups of 3.
  • there are 3 chambers to the seed pod

I reckon it looks slightly alien.

With so much of interest in the groundcover I’ve barely looked up at all.

salmonberry shrub coming into leaf, Rubus spectabilis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

SM asks me about a tall, rangey shrub just coming into leaf.  This time I’m the one to help with ID.  Salmonberry is one of the early spring shrubs.   I first noticed its flowers  while  horseback riding through the Sooke Hills.

About the same time these bright fuchsia flowers bloom, the rufous hummingbirds return for the season.  Kismet.

salmonberry flower, Rubus spectabilis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I once planted salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) in our garden but later realized that a pretty flower & tasty berries didn’t balance with my aversion to growing anything with thorns.  Now I just enjoy salmonberries in the wild.

March, April & May are fabulous times to view the native flowers around Victoria.   Before I’m ready, many of them disappear into  dormancy.  It’s their way of surviving our long dry summers.  Seems kinda backwards, doesn’t it?  We often wait for the summer warmth before heading outdoors, and before it even gets too hot, the big show is over.

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