Category Archives: attracting birds

In The Fuchsia Garden

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

One of my favorite places is the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific.  A gardener’s garden.  I learn something each visit.

MS - Hardy Fuchsia in bloom , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This time it’s putting a specific name to the hardy fuchsia growing in our own garden:
Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis.

At least I’m pretty certain that’s what our hardy fuchsia is…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Walking through HCP’s Fuchsia garden boggles my mind.  Apparently there are many more varieties of hardy fuchsia than I imagined.

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There are tall hedging shrubs and shorter mid-border shrubs…

Others that are so small they’re classified as perennials instead of shrubs…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Most have flowers with red sepals and purple petals in the centers…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But others are pink… or white… or even orangey…

Most leaves are forest-green,
but others are lime-green,
or variegated-green.  These really show up against a bit of shade.

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There are so many species, sub species & hybrids!

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now that I look more closely, I’m thinking my garden’s hardy fuchsia might be a F. coccinea instead…
maybe?

Either way, I’m stoked to grow a plant that looks so exotic. Check out the variety of Fuchsia that are winter hardy for gardens in the Pacific Northwest (Canada & USA) :
The North West Fuchsia Society

Perhaps there’ll be a few varieties at HCP’s annual Fall Sale coming up on October 1.

FYI – these photos show only some of the hardy fuchsia varieties growing in the gardens at HCP

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Changing Attitudes About Yarrow

yarrow, Achillea millefolium
photo by SVSeekins

As a kid I thought wild yarrow was a boring flower.  Its helicopter-landing-pad  flowers might be interesting to butterflies & other pollinators, but I couldn’t get past the bland white petals.

Little did I know, but there are varieties beyond our native wildflower.   Just a block or so away from our current garden, a neighbour grows a striking stand of yellow yarrow (probably Achillea ‘moonshine’ in a very sunny, & dry border.

yarrow achilea moonshine garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now that I care for my own garden, I can appreciate a plant that rarely needs water or attention.

It rocks that our local deer left it alone when I added it to our landscape.

It was an additional bonus that, after cutting back the flowering stems in autumn, a ferny mound of foliage remained evergreen.

yarrow achillea millefolium pomegranate garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

More recently I saw a red-flowering yarrow (likely Achillea pomegranate).  I’m not sure why I’d assumed our native yarrow was the only variety, but I’m delighted it isn’t.

yarrow achillea millefolium pomegranate garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There’s a place for this one in our garden, too. Even though the West Coast is a rain forest, very little of that rain falls in July or August.  Tough ornamentals are treasures.

It’s good to note that if regularly irrigated, yarrow is a vigorous spreader.  The easiest way to keep it in a manageable clump is to reduce irrigation.  Easy-peasy.  I can do that  🙂

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Lychnis Seed Saving

If the leaf is grey & fuzzy, the deer usually turn up their noses.

spring lychnis lychnis coronaria, rose campion, edging the bed
photo by SVSeekins

Maybe they don’t like fuzz, just like I don’t like to eat the felted skin on a peach. More likely it’s because fuzz is common on drought tolerant plants.  And drought tolerant plants are often dry & unpalatable.  Deer aren’t stupid.

lychnis coronaria, rose campion, bloom garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

It is my good fortune that Rose Campion, aka Lychnis coronaria, is so deer resistant.  They ignore the upright stems and the hot pink flowers, too.

Lychnis are tough plants.  Left on their own, they’ll self seed willy-nilly.  That’s not a bad thing while I’m waiting for other perennials and shrubs to mature.  Because Lychnis is very easy to grow & transplant, they’ve become one of my go-to fillers (along with foxglove & snapdragons).

lychnis coronaria, rose campion, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I grow them as a mini-hedge in hopes of keeping deer out of sections of the garden.

They’re also super-handy in areas with very little soil, or little moisture, where little else will survive  🙂
These Lychnis might not grow as tall as the ones that are irrigated, but they’re just as delightful.

Lychnis, rose campion seed collecting
photo by SVSeekins

Sometimes I leave the spent stems standing through autumn.  The birds like the seeds.

Other times I’ll cut them back to enjoy the tidy grey mound of the plant on it’s own.  That way I also get to set aside some of the seed for myself; to sow in the spring wherever I want it to grow.

lychnis coronaria, rose campion, seed in a paper bag
photo by SVSeekins

Lychnis seed is very simple to collect.

  • Turn the finished flower stem upside down into a paper bag.
  • If the seed is ready, it’ll spill right into the bag.
  • If the stems are still green, put the bag  away, out of the elements, so the seed can continue to mature.
  • Once it’s all really dry, while still inside the bag, shake the stems well.
  • Ta-da!  Seed collected.
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