Category Archives: garden plant lists

featured plants

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger looks lovely carpeting the understory of a Pacific Northwest forest. I’ve often admired it in its native landscape & longed to grow it in our garden.

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Years ago, I bought a small pot at the Swan Lake Native Plant Sale & dug it into a nice spot in our woodland.
It didn’t survive.
Apparently, Asarum caudatum is only summer drought-tolerant “once established.” Mine died before its roots grew deep enough to survive between waterings.
My bad ­čśŽ

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Later, I sourced another one from the Native Plant Study Group. I carefully planted it in a pot in our courtyard, where I knew it would get enough water. It thrived & eventually filled the pot.
Redeemed!!!!! ­čÖé

By this spring, the Wild Ginger was established enough to divide.

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Carefully, I slid the plant into a tub of water to tease the roots out of the soil. There’s so much to learn when I get a really good look at the roots of a plant. Asarum caudatum spreads through rhizomes, slowly travelling outward, just under the soil & starting new plants. This way, the established mother ginger can support the young ginger until its new root system develops & reaches deep enough into the ground to find moisture itself.

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The original plant had crept around the pot several times. It created at least a dozen decent-sized root balls.
Score! ­čÖé ­čÖé

We’ll get several pots to tend through the summer diligently. With regular water & attention, these larger root balls will develop some of those delicate feeder roots & be ready to go into the garden in a few months.

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Asarum caudatum is also known for shy spring flowers that hide under its evergreen leaves. Last month I found seed heads leftover from the blossoms. (Flies & beetles pollinate them – so those beasties had paid better attention than I had when the plant was flowering). I searched for some sign it self-seeded into the pot. (Ants typically carry the seed away.)

There were at least 6 Wild Ginger babies. Most were pretty tiny & I worry they might not survive the transplanting. Here are 3 with roots that are large enough to show up in a photo.

It took 4 new pots the same size the ginger had just come out of to give homes to all the divisions. That’s 5 in total.

wild ginger, asarum caudatum, British Columbia Wild Ginger, Western Wild Ginger, Long-Tailed Wild Ginger, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

By late September or October, the weather should still be warm & the rains will make the ground workable again. It’ll be an excellent time to transplant our treasures. They’ll settle in over winter & be ready to begin fresh in the spring. I reckon that with this many pots, we’ll be able to test them in a few different spots — to see which locations they like best.

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Wall Lettuce (Mycelis muralis)

Wall Lettuce, weed, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The rosette of jagged leaves hints that this plant is probably related to the common dandelion, but I didn’t know for sure…
so I left it growing.

After a bit of time, a tall stem rises from the centre & produces a mist of tiny yellow flowers that are more like a daisy than a dandelion.
Hmmm.
Weed?
Not a weed?

Wall Lettuce, weed, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I kinda like the cloud of yellow daisy flowers ‘floating” 3 feet above the ground.
But they don’t last long…
then they’re just messy looking.

And I’m not keen on the foliage.

Overall, Wall lettuce is not all that decorative…

Wall Lettuce, Mycelis muralis, Lactuca muralis, Prenanthes muralis, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Mycelis muralis is native to Turkey & other European areas. Wildlife in the Mediterranean evolved using this plant.
Not so in North America. Wall lettuce is still new to the wildlife here. If I want more beneficials & pollinators in our garden I’d be further ahead adding more native plants that the wildlife enjoy & depends on.

So, in our garden, wall lettuce is a weed.
Decision made.

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Other plants that might be considered ‘weeds’:

White Stonecrop Hanging Basket

I know myself well enough to avoid plants requiring too much moisture. Hanging baskets typically require far more attention than I’m prepared to give, so I’ve created a (relatively) drought-tolerant one.

Sedum album hanging basket, white stonecrop, Oreosedum album , small house leek
photo by SVSeekins

It turns out White Stonecrop is tough enough to survive under my care. Yeah, baby!
(It gets an 8 oz. glass of water every afternoon when I get home from work.)

This discovery was a fluke, really. A couple Sedum album were already growing in the moss I peeled off some rock to create the basket liner. I popped a small reservoir in the bottom before adding the soil & other plants. A few spare sedums went on top for good measure. They grew & exceed my expectations.
­čÖé

Have you got any other ideas for tough-as-nails, drought-tolerant baskets?

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