Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

-30-

 

Advertisements

Shaggy Mushroom

This fall I’m really trying to let fungi thrive.  Mushrooms pop up in several spots around our place.  They’re pretty, but for some reason I’ve always weeded them out…

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps they scare me a bit.
Are they edible?
Hallucinogenic?
Medicinal?
Poisonous?

Perhaps I’m just a neat- freak?

Years ago someone told me that trees use fungi root systems as information highways between other trees.  I dismissed the idea.  It sounded too airy-fairy.  But scientists are looking into it.  BC’s Suzanne Simard explores & maps the fungi mycelium networks that trees use to share nutrients with offspring & neighbors.  Sounds a bit like the story line to Avatar, doesn’t it?  Perhaps the Old Ones were on to something?

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane
photo by SVSeekins

The Pacific Northwest is a great place for mushrooms.  The rainforest at one of our favorite campsites is prime.  In 2015 I was charmed by orange stools with white spots.  This October, right in our campsite, was a beautiful white shaggy mushroom.

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane, lawyers wig, mushroom fungi fungus edible garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Growing in afternoon sunshine beside a well trodden gravel pathway, not far from the beach, it struck me as unusual.  This is not the regular deep humus-rich growing site I’d expect for fungi.

The shape & outer texture of the mushroom are distinctive.  I’m pretty sure it’s the edible  Shaggy Mane, aka Lawyer’s Wig, aka Coprinus Comatus.  That said, I’m no expert.

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

For several days we carefully left the cap to its business. While striking camp, the mushroom was knocked open.  I felt bad, but took the chance to look at the inner gills where the spores were maturing.  The dark coloring is further evidence that the ID is correct.  Maybe we should’ve made mushroom soup. (Actually, I wasn’t tempted to use it because of the high traffic area & the large population of dogs around camp.)

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Did you also notice how much the fruit grew in just 3-4 days?  Doubling size  in 48 hours seems amazing to me. The apples in our garden don’t produce like that.

Now I’ll try to keep a closer eye on the fungi growing through our gardens.  Perhaps I’ll shift even further out of my  comfort zone & explore farming some edible types.
🙂

-30-

 

Solar Eclipse in the Garden

While watering the garden this morning, I watched the solar eclipse reflected on the lawn.  Hundreds of tiny crescents sparkled through the leaves of the apple tree.

solar eclipse through the leaves garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The taller gary oak beside the driveway cast shade with similar crescents peaking through the leaves.

I’d heard about this indirect way of watching the eclipse, but honestly, I still don’t “get” how it works.

solar eclipse through the leaves garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

As the moon shifted & revealed the sun, the magic morphed back into plain old dappled shade.

-30-