What’s blooming today. 

Viburnum plicatum f. Tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
NOID geranium, lavender coming, Brachyglottis greyi coming…
Alliums blooming, that Ligularia just has to go.  Bug munched, dries out sooooo quickly. Bye, bye.
Fading Darmera pelata flowers….fronting the waterfall.
Allium ‘Schubert’ just starting.
Peony just starting
And the Rhodos keep coming….
and coming….
and coming….
NoID clematis…
Close up of the viburnum. Luscious!!

Shade, shade and more shade…


The biggest change for me in this new garden (well…apart from the climate!) is the shade…lots and lots and lots of shade. This all comes from living east of a deep ravine flanked by towering native cedars (Thuga plicatum), Big Leaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum), and the odd Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menzeseii). Mature trees and the steep slope to the south of the property doesn’t help either. My previous garden was planted (agonizingly, lovingly) from scratch on a wide open 2 acre blank field. After 15 years, it was looking pretty amazing, the trees were actually trees…no longer sticks… but the sun was still dominant – everywhere! Although I get sun very early in this garden, and it lasts all day, there are a lot of big shade trees and I lose direct sunlight in the back garden by 5:00 pm this time of year. At first I was nervous…I’ve always been a sun lover and that’s always been my favourite time to stop digging and pause for a chilled glass of wine and a bask in the fading sunlight. No more! So, I’ve adapted by taking this time for a walk down to the beach or the waterfront downtown. But I’m learning to enjoy the shade. I have a filtered borrowed view of the sunset streaming through the trees in the ravine. The sky stays pale and huge past 9:00 pm, being further north. All in all, it’s been fun switching my focus to shade loving plants. Dizzy with possibilities!  I’ll share a few of my new found favourites with you as we go.
Starting close to the house next to the patio, I limbed up a 10′ tall Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’ and a 10′ wide Magnolia stellata to create a low, cozy shade bed. Generous Hort friends (Susan, you know who you are!), the UBC spring plant sale, and a spring visit to Free Spirit Nursery in Langley and Fraser’s Thimble Farm on Salt Spring Island were all instrumental in helping me flesh out the bed. It’s just a few months old but coming…from left to right (ish):

  • Burnnera macrophylla ‘Emerald Mist’
  • Leucothoe fontanesiana little flames ( behind)
  • Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’
  • Epidmedium wushanense
  • Adiantum venustrum
  • Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’ ($$$, but what a plant – it’s thriving with 2 big new leaves already)
  • Hosta (rescued from a Vancouver tear down)
  • Mingled in are ground covering Galium odoratum, wild violets, Campanula portenschlagiana, and Omphalodes verna