November’s Pink: Kaffir Lily

To be honest, I am not a SUPER-FAN of pink.

kaffir lily, scarlet river lily, crimson flag lily, Hesperantha coccinea, Schizostylis coccinea, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But in mid-November…
When it’s cloudy & drizzling….
I’m thrilled by a soft pastel pink.

Today it’s a kaffir lily.  Blooming right beside the deer route!  And this patch will bloom until a hard frost kick’s its butt.

kaffir lily, scarlet river lily, crimson flag lily, Hesperantha coccinea, Schizostylis coccinea, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It amazes me that these late-flowering perennials are native to sunny, South African streamsides .  Here they bloom in the light shade of our dry woodland garden.  Perhaps the thick mulch helped protect them from drying out too much this summer?

The mysteries continue… some websites call them ‘crimson flag lily‘ or ‘scarlet river lily’. But I’ve always thought those are the crimson / scarlet versions that bloom in our sunny borders in spring ??  Perhaps they’re cousins?

kaffir lily, scarlet river lily, crimson flag lily, Hesperantha coccinea, Schizostylis coccinea, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

What’s more, neither are actually from the lily family.  They kinda remind me of miniature gladioli. BUT they grow from a rhizome rather than a corm.

Scientists say they’re iris.  Go figure.

Can you imagine the hullabaloo & debate at one of those scientific Naming Conventions?  I figure those folks have some serious work on their agendas,
with figuring out who first claimed a name…
checking the flower specifics…
& then all the DNA analysis…

kaffir lily, scarlet river lily, crimson flag lily, Hesperantha coccinea, Schizostylis coccinea, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I reckon it’s during the evening cocktails  when the final naming decisions happen.

Well, if you can’t choose your family, at least you can choose your friends.  I’m happy to have this friend in our garden.

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MS - Nerine Lily blooms, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

PS.  Here are some more pink fall friends:

 

 

 

Bunchberry Sightings

On a moist spring day in June, I spotted my first bunchberry.  It was blooming in the dappled shade, beside an old stump in Strathcona Park.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

You know how it is, once you notice something, you suddenly start seeing it everywhere?

That’s what it’s like with Cornus canadensis.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It was in an old clear-cut near Jordan River (also Vancouver Island) , I found it again.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Even in full sun, it seems decaying wood is bunchberry’s happy place.

The underground rhizomes spread out, creating a matt of blooms – – almost a meadow   🙂    No wonder it’s also called creeping dogwood. What a beautiful transition for a logging debris field.

After getting comfortable identifying the dwarf dogwood flowers, it became my mission to find the plant in berry.  Shouldn’t be hard, right?  After all, it’s named bunchberry.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It was 1000 km away, seeking shade from a scorching summer day at Fairmont Hot Springs in the Rocky Mountains when I found the berries.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now I realize why the latin name Cornus canadensis makes sense.  They grow all across Canada.

The bright orangey-red berries stand out, even in the dappled shade of the understory.

Apparently, they’re edible, but I didn’t test them.  Alongside this well-travelled trail, and easily below a dog’s hip level…  ??  Nope. I was a teeny bit squeamish.

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Back on the coast, near Tofino, the bunchberries persisted.

Yup.

Berries
– – in October!

Isn’t that a good way to mark Thanksgiving?

bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, dwarf dogwood,, creeping dogwood, dwarf cornel, crackerberry,, native wildflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Word has it that bunchberry leaves turn a beautiful red color in the fall.  I noted some autumn color, but perhaps there’s more to come?

It’s also reported semi-evergreen in the Pacific Northwest… so now I have a new mission.  Do you know where I might find more nearby to monitor through winter?

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