Arbutus unedo

Arbutus is a broad leafed evergreen in the Ericaceae family, native to the PNW. My family moved to BC from Ontario in the 60’s. My mom was born in 1919 in a tiny town in northern Ontario and had always felt embarrassed by her obscure middle name – Arbutus. Who knows where my grandmother came up with it! But upon arriving in Victoria, we found a beautiful native tree – broadleaf evergreen, cinnamon bark peeling to greens and whites, with flowers and ‘straw’ berries co-existing in late fall/ early winter – also named Arbutus. Imagine my delight when clamouring around the upper levels of my new garden to find not one, but two Arbutus unedo in situ. Not our native Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone) but dwarf-er and (honestly) close enough to!  Scrambling around up there today, I spotted the A. Unedo flowering and fruiting:

Arbutus unedo

Author: joannewesterby

Although I lived in Ontario for 25 years, Vancouver Island has always been home to me. 15 years ago we bought a "little house on the prairie" in Brant County, just outside Hamilton, Ancaster and Brantford, Ontario. Over the years, with a lot of sweat, determination, luck, skill, frustration, elation and endurance we turned that 2 acre clay field into an amazing chronicled in Through Leaves. When we recently retired we immediately came back 'home' to the Coast. We have settled in beautiful central Vancouver Island at the edge of Nanaimo on 1/2 acre with a mature shrub garden adjacent to a ravine that winds its way up to Westwood Lake and eventually Mount Benson. Although the garden is mature and is very overgrown, too homogenous for my liking and needs my personal stamp! I am dizzy with the possibilities!!!

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