Category Archives: garden plant lists

featured plants

Geum macrophyllum – Large-Leaved Avens

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I first really noticed Large-Leaved Avens as a specific wildflower when I found it blooming beside the waterfall at Goldstream Park one May.  Before that, it was just one of the many yellow blooms we see in spring.

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Recently I was pleased to see it blooming in a parking lot, not far from the ocean, near Tofino.  That was at Thanksgiving!

October is really very late for a spring wildflower to be blooming – but I’m not complaining.   🙂

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The flower is a simple yellow daisy style; a smiling happy bloom that I find charming.
Unassuming.
Easy.

But Geum macrophyllum is not as plain as it first appears.

large-leaved avens, Geum macrophyllum, largeleaf avens, big leaf avens, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The seedhead is funky – certainly something that I’d let stand in my garden rather than tidy up.

The achenes (fruits) kinda remind me of googly eyes floating above the alien body.    Apparently, the pom-poms are happy to catch rides on passing pant legs or animals: free spirits looking for adventures far afield.  Groovy.

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But really, the magic is in the foliage.  What other plant has 2 kinds of leaves?  Right at the base, near the ground, the leaves are round.  Further up the stem, near the flowers, they’ve morphed into 3 lobes with deep serrations.  Crazy.

The guidebooks say Avens are common to wetlands across most of North America.  I’m hoping they’ll become common in my garden, too.  Last month I won 3 in the plant raffle at the Native Plant Study Group.  They’re now growing in one of our courtyard beds (where they’re more likely to get the extra summer moisture they need).  Cross your fingers for me.

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Self-heal

It’s no secret that I like wildflowers, but occasionally my affections are tested.

self-heal, Prunella, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Self-heal is a perennial with pretty pink (sometimes purple) flowers.  It’s tough as nails.  It thrives in moist meadows & dry roadsides alike.  It thrives so well that it’s pretty much worn out its welcome in my garden.  I always weed it out of formal beds and usually remove it from the rockery, in favor of plants I prefer.

self-heal, Prunella, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But I feel torn.

  •  Indigenous Peoples and cultures around the world have made good use of self-heal.
  • Bees & butterflies love the flowers.
  • Birds eat the seeds.
  • Deer nibble at the leaves without over-grazing.

Just because it self-sows willy-nilly, should I really be so judgmental?

A neighbor welcomes self-heal into her garden.  I can appreciate it there, but I’m not the one working to keep it from out-competing her other plants.  Lazy me.

self-heal, Prunella, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Self-heal has established itself in C’s lawn.  It seems to hold its own beside the grass, clover, wild violets and English daisies. It survives the mower and the foot traffic. I’m rather pleased that C’s monoculture ‘lawn’ is becoming more of a diversified ‘meadow’.  I’m just fine with enjoying the self-heal in this space, too.

self-heal, Prunella, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps this balances out barring it from the garden beds & borders?
Is it enough?
Am I redeemed?

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Winter Magic

Life is magic.  Two days after the heavy winter storm, life proves itself.

winter aconite, eranthis in early February garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

And magic begins.

The snow has melted!  In just 2 days?  Even here on the coast, that seems crazy-fast.

I tentatively wander through the yard assessing the damage.

snowdrops galanthus primula wanda after the big snow garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

My muscles certainly remember shoveling sidewalks & shaking shrubs.  But the winter blooms?  They’re like children in a hospital ward.  Perhaps a little bent & broken, but mostly they’re just happy to be alive and enjoying the sunshine.

snowdrops and primula after the big snow garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The yellow cups of the winter aconite (Eranthis) don’t seem to have noticed they’ve survived 33 cm of snowfall since they showed themselves in January.   (That’s more than 12 inches – a full foot – – radical for balmy Victoria  BC!)

cyclamen coum in early February garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The snowdrops (Galanthus) have also held up well.

The Primula Wanda leaves are super-sad, but who can’t smile at those tough purple flowers?

I hadn’t even noticed the crocus buds before the snow.  How did they arrive so quickly?

snowdrops galanthus after the big snow garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The Cyclamen coum unfurl their petals as the sun warms them.  More blooms are on their way, too!  Soon they’ll be a mound of pink.

I’ve just gotta smile.

🙂