Category Archives: garden plant lists

featured plants

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?

-30-

Advertisements

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.

🙂

 

A Heavy Snow Load

It was a dark and snowy night…

This is not normal for Victoria.  The snow might be pretty but this is a rain-forest.  We’re not set up for snow.  Neither are our gardens.

the Yew bending under the weight of snow
photo by SVSeekins

Tonight’s concern is the snow load on the hedging.  It’s amazing how flexible some branches can be as snow gathers & literally weighs them down. But some wood fibers are breaking as the branches bend.  The sooner the weight is removed, the more likely a branch is to bounce back & resume its regular shape for good.

the Yew recovering from the weight of snow
photo by SVSeekins

Out comes my trusty rake.  Wielding it backward, I thrust the pole end into the lowest branches & give the shrub a light shake.

It’s best to start low & gradually work up.  Release the load from lower branches before risking adding more to them with the snow falling off upper branches.

Arbutus unedo bending under the weight of snow garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Once broken, there’s no mending a branch.  All those years of growing into a full-sized shrub…
the lovely shape…
our increased privacy…
can be ruined overnight.  Heart-wrenching.

Arbutus unedo recovering from the weight of snow garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by sVSeekins

Although hedgers like yew & cedar are especially susceptible, same goes for the broadleaf evergreens.  Rhododendron.
Strawberry Tree.
Camellia.

Flower buds are already well-formed on the rhodos & camellia.  So if I want many blooms this spring, it requires a delicate shake to remove the snow & only the snow.

After that, it’s good to head inside, dry off & treat myself to a hot chocolate (with Frangelico). After all, it’s a dark and snowy night…

-30-