Welcoming More Nodding Onion

The warm July browns the moss on our rocky outcropping.  The licorice ferns have disappeared into their summer dormancy.  It’s the Nodding Onions that brave the drought.

sweet onion, barbecuing onion, nodding wild onion, lady's leek, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The delicate pink flowers of Allium cernuum look too delicate to survive the heat – but here they are.  🙂

Last year the deer grazed this patch of wild bulbs. That surprised me because deer tend to leave smelly plants alone.  But this year? It seems this onion is not on their menu. Who knows why?

sweet onion, barbecuing onion, nodding wild onion, lady's leek, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Nodding onion is a native wildflower throughout the pacific northwest.  It likes the winter rain & summer dry of Southern Vancouver Island.  It’s a perfect low maintenance garden plant.  Instead of primping & coddling exotic plants – I welcome more of these natives into our ornamental garden.

So, I’m letting this little clump just do its thing.
No deadheading,
therefore
Self-seeding.
I’m imagining a haze of summer pink on this hillside in a few years.  Can’t you imagine?

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Cyclamen Seedpods

What does Southern Vancouver Island have in common with Turkey on the Mediterranean?
Hardy Cyclamen.

hardy cyclamen, persian violet, , ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Cyclamen hederifolium is native to Turkey,  and that climate is quite like ours.
Would you’ve guessed?
So it kinda makes sense:
What prospers there…
prospers here.

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

Hardy Cyclamen likes our dry summer.  It goes dormant. Later, the cooling temperatures & returning rain of September triggers the awakening.  One morning flowers are popping out of the ground & dancing in the dappled shade.  What a lovely surprise. Flowers in autumn!
(Plus, what a bonus – a pretty plant that doesn’t need me dragging around a garden hose…. AND one that’s happy in those tough-to-garden spots under trees!)

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

After pollinators do their thing, the flower stems curl into tight coils, pulling the seed pods to the ground.  Leaves emerge, protecting the pods from our winter wind & rain.  How tidy is that?   I never feel the urge to deadhead.   (Extra bonus – decorative foliage that stays green through our long, glum winter.  And IF we get snow & severe cold, the cyclamen survives to -28C  a colder winter than we’re likely to get.)

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

While so much of the garden is going nuts through spring, Cyclamen hederifolium is wrapping up its display. The leaves die back revealing the maturing seed pods. A matt of balls on coil springs remind me where the plant is preparing for sleep.  Doesn’t it look GROOVY?

hardy cyclamen, persian violet, , ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Ants think it’s pretty groovy, too.  The seeds are coated with a sweet film.  Ants gather them & take them home to feed the masses.
Win – Win – Win.
Ants get a treat.
The seed is sown.
And the gardener has a new no-fuss plant.

hardy cyclamen, persian violet, , ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

What an ingenious system for naturalizing though the garden … and beyond.

Barely noticeable little seedlings sprout in lawns & woodland parks alike.  Eventually, the tiny corms can grow to the size of dinner plates.
Welcome or not.

hardy cyclamen coum, eastern cyclamen C. coum garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I grow a few varieties of Hardy Cyclamen. Over 10 years I’ve noticed a couple baby plants growing near their parents.  I’m particularly fond of the February bloomer Cyclamen coum.

C. coum is a timid seeder in comparison with the C. hederifolium.  The fall bloomer out-competes the winter bloomer.  I’m very careful to keep each cyclamen variety in its own bed.

hardy cyclamen, persian violet, , ivy-leaved cyclamen or sowbread, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Believe it or not — C. hederifolium is on the District of Saanich’s Invasive Plants list!  It naturalises that well around here.  It must out-compete more than just the C. coum.

I have to admit to still holding a torch for these funky plants.
Does it count in my favour that I’ve dug some cyclamen invaders out of a couple wild parklands?
They’ve been planted in spots they’re not likely to escape without notice….

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Pondering Public Art

We’re driving along a country road on Saltspring Island & a curiosity catches my attention.

statue art Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

It’s a circle of tall figures standing in a field.
Sorta like Stonehenge…
but kinda like Easter Island, too…
Intriguing…
There’s no time to explore it closely, but I just have to smile & wonder what it’s all about.
My mind’s eye will go back there several times in the coming days.
I like it.

Entering the island’s town centre, more art grabs my attention.

statue art Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Such energy frozen in a moment!
I wonder how long it took to gather enough driftwood …
and admire the artist’s skill for creating something so recognizable…
I smile…
but won’t wonder about it for long.

I like Saltspring’s vibe.

statue art Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

A few days later we run across another sculpture.  This time it’s in Seattle.  I have to wonder “Why?”
Yes, it’s recognizable…
but to what end?
I smile.
Laugh out loud.
Perhaps that’s the point.
I have to wonder about it, too – – but just a little bit.

Returning to Victoria’s inner harbour, right in the hubbub of the tourist area, we come across an artist’s avocado slices.

statue art Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Hmmmm.

Again, “Why?”

And furthermore,
I’ve never been able to poke much of anything into a hard avocado pit, so what’s this all about?
I’m just confused.  🙂

Public art is something I really enjoy running across.  It doesn’t always make sense to me.  But I’d rather it be there than not.
How about you?

PS – I with a little google magic, I think the circle of wooden folk on Saltspring Island is the art of Michael Dennis
… the popsicle in Seattle is the art of Catherine Mayer
… the concrete avocado in Victoria is the art of Twyla Rusnak &  Illarion Gallant

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garden variety life

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