Category Archives: urban deer

sharing the garden

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:

 

 

 

Embracing the Easy – Japanese Anemone

With waist height blooms twirling in the breeze, Japanese anemone caught my eye shortly after we moved into Richmond House.

Japanese Anemone japonica x hybrida blooming in November garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest,
photo by SVSeekins

A good patch grew close to the house foundations, but because of the drain tile project, it had to go.  Happily Japanese anemone transplant like a dream.  Their roots run along just under the soil, and don’t seem bothered about being split up a bit.

Japanese anemone japonica x hybrida in bloom, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Originally the deer seemed to leave the Japanese anemone alone, so I’ve experimented with several locations around the property.  In areas of deer congestion, the plants were grazed to about 8 inches high, and rarely bloomed.

Beside the busy bus stop, or along the crowded driveway, the deer leave Japanese anemone alone.  I’d say they’re salads of opportunity.

Japanese Anemone japonica x hybrida in drought, blooming in October garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest,
photo by SVSeekins

In their favor, Japanese anemone are hyper-resilient.

  •  After the deer eat them, they come right back.
  • After I shift them to a new location, they come right back.
  • There’s a very determined specimen that survived the soil being removed 8 feet deep during drain tile renovations.

Considering that plant is happy so close to the foundation wall, under the eaves where there’s no rainfall nor irrigation – – I’d say it qualifies as drought tolerant as well.

Japanese anemone japonica x hybrida blooming in September garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest,
photo by SVSeekins

It’s nice to have a plant that is happy in dry shade.  Dappled shade is great, but it struggles in deep shade.

The lengthy blooming period is a big plus in my books.  The pink blooms decorate the garden starting in July, and wrapping up in December.  That’s 6 months of color!

WS - Japanese anemone japonica x hybrida blooming in September garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

With all of these qualities, some might consider Japanese anemone an invasive.  I don’t really look at it that way.  Certainly it is determined, but I haven’t found it popping up in areas where I haven’t put it. My advice would be to consider carefully when choosing a planting site.

I may live to regret this.  Have you?

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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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