Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chocolate Treat

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”

 – Chief Seattle, 1854 

Spring delights and surprises me at every turn.  I am awoken by birdsong, I hear the whirring buzz of hummingbirds, I see the bright fresh green of the new shoots.  We watch the blueberry blossoms, hoping for a plump sweet berry with every flower.  It was almost a year ago that I started to blog about the garden.  Since then, so many things have captivated me.  It’s been slow, the process of finding the plants, learning which ones to encourage, and which to eliminate.

For months, we have been scrutinizing the poster of Garry Oak Ecosystem plants and have coveted a chocolate lily.  Uncommonly rare, propagating one would take years – and luck.  Last weekend, I bought a seedling from Agnes, an expert in native plants.  She said it could be a couple of years until it flowered.  It might be more, according to my neighbour David.  It looks pretty puny even for a seedling and far from ‘adolescence”, let alone flowering (can you describe a wanna-be flower as adolescent?)  In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s a visual:DSC_0752

Hence, I resigned myself to keep up the hunt at plant sales.  We had given up on this flower for this 2014 Spring.  However, yesterday, walking about the front yard, to my wandering eyes did appear…

chocolate lily

Chocolate Lily

This beautiful specimen was sitting unexpected in the front driveway between our property and that of our neighbor (whose mother gave him a chocolate lily bulb a few years. back).  Today, feeling so lucky for and grateful to my neighbors on both sides who don’t use pesticides and encourage native species, I changed lenses on my Nikon and rushed out  to capture the lily before it was trampled or munched on by a deer.  Then I buzzed about the garden (with the pollinators) and took pictures of some established and new native plant species we’re trying to encourage to proliferate.  I just had to share these pictures with you.  This is my first Spring post, reviving with the Earth’s energy, the Sun’s blessing, and Spring’s promise come true

trilliums sword ferns buddha

Trilliums behind the Buddha trilliumTrilliums up close, note the pink hue on the right.  The flowers turn pink then brown and then the petals completely shrivel and fall.  Probably as hard to grow and propagate as the chocolate lily, these graceful woodland plants have their seeds dispersed by ants, a process known as myrmecochory.

nodding onion bud detail Nodding onion, last year’s gift from our garden’s Godmother, Nancy Turner, Professor of Ethnobotany.  It not only lasted, but is hearty and has 4 buds.  They will emerge pink and will smell like… onion.maidenhair nice light Maidenhair ferns.  Like the other ferns in our garden, the fiddle heads come up so innocently.  Watching them emerge determinedly a inch every day brings happy confirmation that winter is indeed behind us and the sunny summer will saunter over in her own good time.

garry oak seedling growing on moss Garry Oak sapling emerging on the mossy rock.evergreen huckleberry Evergreen huckleberry.  Look forward to tasting the berries for the first time.arbutus seedling growth New growth on the arbutus we planted end of last summer.  Also known as Madrona.  We thought it was a goner, sadly noting the sorry looking leaves.  But about a month ago, we spotted a bud, gave thanks and whispered a prayer.  ant on strawberry This is a woodland strawberry flower.  I caught the ant on it and wondered if they pollinate the strawberries – in addition to bees?  I learned that the ants are important disperses of trilliums.  Several wasp species pollinate and some flies too!  DSC_0748 Blueberry expectation! (note the fence of split cedar- an new and important deer repellent for the backyard berries) deer fernsDeer ferns framed with the penny farthing’s big wheel.  Maybe someone can enlighten me… Is the penny or the farthing bigger?

garry oak seedling next to broom stub

To the left of this garry oak sapling is the stub of a scotch broom.  This species is highly invasive and I’m so glad that an oak is taking the place of an invasive and not the other way around.  I’m hoping that’s the trick to a thriving native plant garden: take out the invasives, encourage the natives and the pollinators will come.  They will then nest in their original habitat and help restore this unique and fragile ecosystem.  Oui?  DSC_0705Peaceful Buddha amidst the sword ferns.

It’s coming up to 9 pm and it’s still light.  The greens and yellows play tricks in this almost twilight.  The greens seem more yellow than green and it’s soon dark.  I know I will wake up at dawn to birdsong and then hope I’ll go right back to sleep, content that the garden is being pollinated, loved and cherished as a home to countless creatures. Buona notte!