All posts by svseekins

If it's sunny: what a good day to play in the garden If it's rainy: what a great day to dig out dandilions If it's snowy: stay inside & plan new landscaping every day is a good day :-) SVSeekins

Landscape a Driveway

I’m hurrying to a new lunch place when I stop short. I’ve never seen this before — but I like it!
How can I make my driveway more appealing?
Here is my answer — landscape the driveway itself.
Genius! And beautiful!

photo by SVSeekins

The rock garden is set smack in the middle of the driveway, leaving the planting safe from the tire tracks on either side. Here’s the following challenge: What is a good driveway plant? The succulents & mossy groundcovers grow low enough that they’re safe as the car’s undercarriage passes above them.

stonecrops, creeping sedums, succulent, driveway rock garden, rockery, crevice garden, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps the rockery itself also serves to protect the plantings from treads. Situating the creeping sedums in low planting pockets reduces their risk of compaction. Maybe that’s why they’re often called stonecrops?

hens and chicks, Sempervivum, houseleeks, common houseleek, liveforever, succulent, evergreen groundcover,stonecrops, creeping sedums,, driveway rock garden, rockery, crevice garden, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Sempervivum (Hens & Chicks) are tough as nails, too. They happily grow in gravel, forming such tight clumps of rosettes that weeds can rarely squeeze themselves into the party. It’s an added bonus that houseleeks come in many colour varieties.

driveway rock garden, rockery, crevice garden, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Straight through our coastal winter, the evergreen rockery has interest. And with so many foliage colours, can it be called evergreen? Isn’t it more like evercolour? Is that even a word? It should be. There’s so much variety. 🙂

creeping thyme, Thymus praecox, hens and chicks, Sempervivum, succulent, driveway rock garden, rockery, crevice garden, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The drought-tolerant creeping thyme provides background support to the showy houseleeks through the cold months. I envision its mound of bright pink flowers as the headliner through June and July.

Our garden successfully hosts all of these plants. The biggest key to our success is that the neighbourhood deer turn their noses up to all of them. (I’m always thrilled to find something pretty that they won’t browse. )

Was the hardsaper skilled enough to gently slope the bricks toward the central rock garden? The rain could irrigate the plants, soak through the gravel & replenish the water table. Cities are promoting permeable landscapes. This garden is pretty and environmentally friendly.

I’m guessing it’s also a reasonably low-maintenance bed…
occassionally pinching out weeds from between crevices,
sheering spent blooms,
blowing debris away… wouldn’t that be all?
But looks can be deceiving. Next time I pass by, I’m going to knock on the door & ask the gardener. 🙂

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Changing the Message – Willows Beach Portal

Does Public Art have to be static & unchanging? Sometimes it can transition & morph into something more.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Portal, a sculpture along Willows Beach Esplanade, was initially installed as a large open ring framing the horizon like a portal on a ship. The reclaimed rope reminds me of so much flotsam lost at sea. Used as seating to perch on & grasping the rope frame for balance changes the artwork from a view to an experience. Not just a piece to look at— this art is a sculpture to view the world from.
I like the artist’s multi-dimensional messages.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Two years after the art installation, the open ring has morphed into a dream catcher. I reckon it still frames the view but now the message says so much more to me. The piece is still beautiful to look at & to view the world through but it has added layers…
It catches the sunrise, protecting us all from bad dreams. (We certainly need some of that with the exposure of residential school nightmares swirling around us!)

I like this, too, and wonder,
“Was the original artist expanding on her idea?”
Apparently not. Oak Bay Parks says they don’t know who in our community added to the Portal, but it wasn’t the artist.

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Another year on, baby dream catchers are appearing on the web.
Intriguing…
Who adds these?
Has the public taken to the Portal as our own public art gallery?

Portal, Public Art, Willows Beach, Oak Bay, Victoria, Heather Passmore
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps it’s truly become a piece of Community Art that we contribute to ourselves! A message of public support & healing…

Now, this raises more questions:
Who controls Public Art? The artist? The city? The public?
Are these changes vandalism?
art appropriation?
— or a greater form of art?

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Pink Trillium

Western Trillium Is not your typical flower.   When the bloom first opens, the petals are white. Over time they turn pink.  It’s two plants in the space of one. 🙂

Trillium ovatum, western trillium, Pacific trillium, Pacific Wake-robin, Western Wake-robin, Coast Trillium, Coast Wake-robin, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

At the Garden Club’s plant sales table, I was fortunate to find a mature Trillium. (It can take up to 7 years before the first bloom!) Now, it grows in our courtyard — safe from hungry deer.

Trillium ovatum, western trillium, Pacific trillium, Pacific Wake-robin, Western Wake-robin, Coast Trillium, Coast Wake-robin, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Each year I’m thrilled as the perennial emerges in March & blooms by Easter.

Trillium is from the Latin ‘in 3’s’.
• 3 leaves circle the stem.
• 3 sepals frame the flower
• 3 petals highlight the bloom
• the stamens are set in groups of 3.
• there are 3 chambers to the seed pod

I reckon it looks slightly alien. Trillium ovatum, aka Pacific Trillium, is native to Pacific Northwest. It’s a delight to come across on a walk through a local woodland.

Trillium ovatum, pink bloom western trillium, Pacific trillium, Pacific Wake-robin, Western Wake-robin, Coast Trillium, Coast Wake-robin, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Alien or native… bright white or soft pink… I enjoy Trillium. I’m glad to have it in our garden. There are other trillium species native to other areas of North America & further afield. A couple of varieties have made it into our borders. Hopefully, one day — or one year — they’ll bloom, too.

Trillium ovatum, western trillium, Pacific trillium, Pacific Wake-robin, Western Wake-robin, Coast Trillium, Coast Wake-robin, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

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