Category Archives: garden seasons

joy in every season

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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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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Perennial Hanging Basket

Early last year, I made 2 perennial hanging baskets to rescue licorice ferns. The voracious deer in our neighbourhood were browsing them into oblivion. I peeled the moss & ferns off our rocky outcrop & used them to line the wire baskets. Dangling just out of Bambi’s reach, the ferns are recovering nicely.

Now, my challenge is maintaining seasonal interest in the baskets.

iris reticulata, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Each winter, I’m desperate for early colour. Because these new containers hang within view of my breakfast table, I look at them with hope. Planting several types of spring bulbs only makes sense.

perennial hanging basket in February snow garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Iris reticulata & snowdrops bloomed in early February, just a few months after planting. That got me excited about spring. Then a dump of snow insisted it was still winter.
Bummer. 😦
But the bulbs took it in stride & were still showing off their colours at the end of the month.

iris reticulata, galanthus, snowdrops, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This winter, the snowdrops returned, but sadly there was no sign of the tiny iris. On the bright side, comparing how much the licorice fern fronds grew through the 2 winters without browsing is nice.

snowdrops, galanthus, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

In mid-March of that first year, narcissus, creamy crocus & snowdrops decorated one of the baskets.

galanthus, snowdrops, crocus, narcissus, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The narcissus carried the show well into April.

narcissus, galanthus, snowdrops, crocus, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I experimented with some native bulbs in the other basket, hoping to help out the native pollinators & beneficials. Northern Riceroot Fritillary bloomed simultaneously with annual sea blush as the grape hyacinths were finishing up. Through May, the blooms matured and set seed.

Northern Riceroot Fritillary, Fritillaria camschatcensis, northern rice-root, black lily; Kamchatka fritillary; northern riceroot, sea blush, spring bulbs bloom in licorice fern, perennial hanging basket, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

By June, the white stonecrop gave me hope for a summer show. The big challenge is finding drought-tolerant plants that survive while we’re away camping.

Sedum album hanging basket, white stonecrop, Oreosedum album , small house leek, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

As the bulb foliage died back, I planted a few Salvia seedlings for late summer & autumn interest. Fingers crossed that they’re more established for this year.

Isn’t that what makes gardening so fun? It’s all one experiment after another. 🙂

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