The Secret Path, continued.

Some of you may recall the first installment, the start of a secret path in the shadiest part of our property. ( We’ve managed to move ahead a great deal in large part because of a very mild winter which allowed us to work quite steadily.  DH managed to repair the deer fence all around which makes us feel more secure about the plants lasting!

One of the features of this spot is the presence of Salal, Elderberries, Salmonberries and Huckleberries. The Salmonberries have lots of prickers and so we finally got that cleared up quite a bit this week. Now the ferns are the main feature which is quite nice and there are spots where Hostas and Hepatica and Primula grow. I love the bright green foliage of the Huckleberries. It will be a continuing battle with the prickers and lamium I’m sure.

One fairly large spot is covered in cardboard. We expect to cover this soon in sawdust and leave it to break down the weeds until next spring when we can plant more shade plants.

In another spot a small bench will be built. It’s all coming along nicely.

Follow along with me:

The Full Moon Maple on the left begins the trail…


Next spring this area will be planted. Right now I will probably add more cardboard as I find it. There’s a Witch Hazel Diane in the open spot.


Walking on past a few newly planted Hosta areas.


A bench is planned for the front right area.


This is the final bend in the path where three Corylopsis are planted. Quite a few dead Elderberries were removed here. There’s a support here for a clematis as well. I am hoping it will tolerate the lighting now that things have been cleared out.


The end of the path is largely planted and so the big wait begins.  I have never planted a big area from scratch  before, so I imagine there will be some adjustments over time.


The final step will involve sawdust covering of the path and the cardboard section. Lots of “wait and see”. It’s been fun!


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The Colours of Spring!

My spring gardens always seem to be packed with blue, yellow and white. Even here in the shade garden there are blue Hepaticas, Dodecatheon and Trout Lilies in white, and a yellow Epimedium.

This week the Kerria is performing well.

 This is a mystery Hosta which I quite like. I hope it does not change too much as it matures!

These Camassia buds appeared suddenly when the weather turned warm. They should be blue soon!

Forget-Me-Nots are a sure sign of spring. They are a little bit too enthusiastic here and I’ll need to remove many…along with Sweet Woodruff.

Just the right number of Bluebells showed up. I’m happy to have them.

I brought two kinds of Dictamnus to our garden, I think this is the pink variety.

This I am told is called “Glory-of-the-Snow.” I know it as Chinodoxa. I had never seen this white form before.

I am so happy that I was successful in bringing this Gillenia stipulata to BC! I LOVE IT!

This form of Rosemary claims to be 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide on its tag. But others say it is a creeping form, which means it could grow to 8 feet. I can only imagine which will be correct….

Shortly after our move I ordered Spring Green tulips and planted them in a pot. I intend to plant them near the Camassia after their foliage dies back..

The clematis are mostly happy with their moves. Some are a good four feet tall already. Two others are showing no signs of life so far. These two are from a mail order, so I’ll try to be patient….

This one is Tie Dye and seems to be healthy and happy.


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Outdoor Work Advances: Part 2

No shortage of rain here. That and lots of cougar sightings have kept me out of the garden.  But weather hasn’t kept me from nurseries, and so eventually I find my way back to digging and planting.

This weekend I should be enjoying my Pasque Flowers, but they look quite sad and droopy due to the rain. But they are planted! Almost everything is planted by now, but the eternal problem of deciding if the locations really work has begun. I call it “Plants on wheels”. The most difficult for me is finding homes for all the clematis.  Determining ultimate size of plants is tricky. Deep shade areas are a challenge too.

I will need to accept that at this smaller property I cannot grow everything I would like… Which means that I am once again reminded that gardens are about the process. I suspect that even this new (to us) smaller spot will never be “completed”. For now I am enjoying an early spring filled with newly planted trout lilies, dodecatheon, woodland phlox, hellebores, epimedium and other delights.

Emerging plants are also intriguing: the brown foliage of Rodgersia, new green and purple stems of Clematis, fat buds on Camassia, lacey shoots of Gillenia stipulata, purple and oranger buds of Wallflowers, green shoots of Kirengeshoma and Ornamental Grasses. All add to the excitement of the season.

Pasque Flower


Trout Lilies




Phlox Sherwood Purple


Hosta Halcyon








Thalictrum Black Stockings


Camassia? We’ll soon find out!


Rodgersia podophyllum


Japanese Maple


Anemonopsis macrophylla


Carex buchananii


Clematis Juuli


Persicaria Golden Arrow


Gillenia stipulata


Kirengeshoma koreana


Magnolia about to open…


Planter for shade

Many more… and I am eager to see them all thrive!


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A visit to Cortes Island

We have had friends visiting for a few days and enjoyed a trip to Cortes Island together yesterday. Cortes is a 45 minute ferry ride from our home on Quadra Island in British Columbia. It was not terribly sunny at the outset, but the clouds were beautiful against the layers of mountains.

Cortes-trip-001bHere we go!


 Two of us worry about sea sickness, but we managed very well. The water was calm.


At last we approached the dock. Cortes-trip-019b

We drove through sparsely inhabited woodland and reached a lovely resort where there was a little shop. We bought a map and watched 3 landscapers working on the grounds  preparing the place for the Easter weekend. There was rosemary in bloom, apple blossoms, daffodils, Mahonia and other colorful flowers.


Skunk Cabbage is peeking up in wet areas near streams and is a cheerful bright yellow. There was a great deal of blue periwinkle in bloom as well.

Cortes-trip-022bCortes-trip-026b Cortes-trip-028b Cortes-trip-030b Cortes-trip-034b Cortes-trip-036bCurrants

Love this middle goose!


We headed off to other beaches with no specific destinations in mind.

At this dock we looked at boats and then studied plants, shells, fungi and driftwood on a rocky beach.

Cortes-trip-042bCortes-trip-048b Cortes-trip-049b Cortes-trip-050b Cortes-trip-054b Cortes-trip-063bWe drove onward to find a picnic spot. It was now sunny. We met people who shucked fresh oysters for us, and later, were treated by seals popping up their heads to greet us. They were so close! We heard them before we saw them!

And then it was time to drive back to the ferry… and head home.

Cortes-trip-088bCortes-trip-098b  Cortes-trip-106bA lovely visit!


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Outdoor Work Advances…Then More Rain

This has been a very exciting week! Once new soil was moved to separate garden areas, young dude helper #1, Ryan, mixed ammendments  specifically for our soil.  DD Sarah had sent samples to a lab for testing.  Ryan is great at interpreting the figures and measuring things out…as well as spreading it evenly where needed. Then he and young Dude #2, Cory,  worked the soil gently with their magic tool so that everything was ready for planting.

“Who is that masked man?”


More work …  Garden-day-006b

Then using the cultivator…Garden-day-007b

Young Dude #2, Cory, moved more soil from the mountain to other areas that he had weeded.Garden-day-009bGarden-day-010bGarden-day-008b

We eventually began planting the following day: oakleaf hydrangeas, amsonia, etc…Garden-day-004b

Young Corylopsis move inGarden-day-005bGarden-day-008b

Then, four witch hazels, a Cornus mas…Garden-day-007bShade plants arrived bare root by mail: trout lilies,  dodecatheon, and more.

Meanwhile, there is loads of rain. There are also way too many plants waiting to go in the ground…


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Being Read To!

1503-23 Quadra IslandLast year I gave the kids a book. A book on an age old theme. That book seems to still be at the top of their favorites list. The title? NAKED! They loved my friend reading it to them. Oh the giggles of glee….!

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Wordless Wednesday

Earth-Day-(sort-of)-020bFritillaria Persica

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