Category Archives: months 04-06: spring

April thru June

Ted Baker’s Iris

It was so overwhelming, I didn’t know where to start.  It was my equivalent of a candy store. Where to look first?

Ted Baker's iris bed 01
Ted Baker’s iris bed

Our garden club was visiting Ted Baker’s garden on Saltspring Island.  He likes iris.  A lot.

Inside the Iris Societies BC & Canada, he’s a celebrity.  He was instrumental in bringing the 2011 American Iris Society national convention to Vancouver Island.  What a treat to explore his garden!

Who knew there were so many variations of iris?  It was a kaleidoscope of exotic blooms & colours.  With names for each plant, it was an enthusiast’s dream.

It’s too much to try to show you everything.

“Focus – Focus!” I thought to myself, entering Ted’s main iris field.  I decided to concentrate on a single theme.

Yellow.  I like Yellow, it’s a happy colour.  So, get ready, here’s only a ‘Baker’s dozen’ of Ted’s 250+ bearded iris.   See if you think the name matches the flower.

iris - golden ecstasy
iris – golden ecstasy
photo by SVSeekins
iris - dazzling gold
iris – dazzling gold
photo by SVSeekins
iris - leading light
iris – leading light
photo by SVSeekins
iris - pirates quest
iris – pirates quest
photo by SVSeekins
iris - catalyst
iris – catalyst
photo by SVSeekins
iris - aura light
iris – aura light
photo by SVSeekins
iris - tour de France
iris – tour de France
photo by SVSeekins
iris - Mexican holiday
iris – Mexican holiday
photo by SVSeekins
iris - pirate ahoy
iris – pirate ahoy
photo by SVSeekins
iris - crackling Caldera
iris – crackling Caldera
photo by SVSeekins
iris - dream team
iris – dream team
photo by SVSeekins
iris - solar fire
iris – solar fire
photo by SVSeekins
iris - sunny and warm
iris – sunny and warm
photo by SVSeekins

The morning visit to Ted’s garden was fun.  It certainly proved there was more to iris than those delightful purples that still grow (un-tended) in Mom”s & Grandma’s gardens.    Which do you grow in your garden?


© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Grape Trellis

The grape-vine was a delightful bonus for us when we first moved to the Richmond house.  By summer, it would look so exotic & lush.  Granted, its position was precarious as it was planted tight against the far right corner foundation of the carport – – the carport we’d marked for demolition.

the car port (grape far right)
photo by SVSeekins

We needed a garage.  We hoped to keep the grape-vine.

We kept the foundation.  The grape survived the big build.

grape vine survives the garage build (grape far right)
photo by SVSeekins

It even flourished when C set about growing tomatoes.  Roots had made their way into the tomato bed. The grape-vine appreciated the regular fertilizer & watering.

tomato bed spring 2007
photo by SVSeekins

Then last spring, we decided to extend the garage & add a new floor above.

Again, there would be massive demolition.

We’d try to save the grape from the perils of the construction.

grape vine spring 2011
photo by SVSeekins
vine on fence / woodshed roof
photo by SVSeekins

This entailed delicately removing the vine from the building and laying it on the rooftop of the fence / woodshed … before the garage was torn down & rebuilt.

I worried about the grape-vine baking on the asphalt shingles through the hot summer.  I worried about it being inadvertently damaged during the demolition, framing & stucco phases of construction.  I worried that it would be blown away during the wicked winter winds.

This spring, we rushed to put the vine back in place while the grape was still in its winter dormancy.

A beam was attached to the wall of the garage with careful attention to protecting the stucco & rain-screen integrity.

placing the first beam
photo by SVSeekins

Posts were secured to the rock wall of the tomato bed.  A 2nd beam spanned the posts.

the 2nd beam
photo by SVSeekins

Crossbeams were trimmed to size to hold the 2 longer beams parallel.

the short cross beams
photo by SVSeekins

Adding more side beams brought a recognizable shape into form.

the trellis develops
photo by SVSeekins

The grape-vine was delicately maneuvered into it’s upgraded position just in time for spring buds.

re-positioning the grapevine
photo by SVSeekins

Now fingers are crossed in hopes the grape-vine has survived & will provide exotic lushness to the courtyard again this summer.

Enerfab Carpentry did a pretty nice job, don’t you think?


© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Youthful Blush of Spring

Last spring, I came across the loveliest drift of foamy flowers that I’d ever seen.  It grew on a rocky outcrop.  Pink blooms smothered the moss-covered rocks.  It was as if the hillside was blushing.

grape hyacinth on hillside
photo by SVSeekins

“That would look great in my garden!” I thought.

We have a rocky slope that blooms with grape hyacinth at this same time.  Wouldn’t the pink & blue combo look fabulous?

My friend SK had similar thoughts.  Little green plant-coveting monsters chorused from our shoulders, encouraging us both to forage some of this wildflower.

It was a group consensus.

We just took a few plants.  We only took them from crevices already overflowing with the pink population.  I felt a weensy bit ashamed by our boldness – but only for a moment.

The plants were tucked into similar mossy crevices in my garden as soon as was possible.  Fingers crossed for their survival, I went inside to search out the details on the plant.

It turns out that it’s named appropriately.  Sea Blush.  Blooming on rocky hillsides throughout the Pacific Northwest, it’s a native wildflower.

I certainly hadn’t noticed any unusual smell from the flowers, but when I read about it, I hoped there might be just enough to deter the deer from feasting.  Deer frequent this part of the garden more than any other.  Time would tell.

It was disappointing to find out Sea Blush is an annual.  Since we’d moved it while it was in bloom, I figured there wasn’t much chance it would set seed.

sea blush 3
photo by SVSeekins

What a delight to find it blooming this spring!    Was the winter mild enough that the plants survived?  Did the seeds develop even though I’d set it back by transplanting?  I’m not sure how it survived, but I’m thrilled it did.

sea blush 1
photo by SVSeekins

Now I hope it’ll spread across the rocks & produce the blushing spring meadow of my fantasies.

Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary offers classes on native plant gardening. I took one last weekend.  The instructor, Pat Johnson, listed Sea Blush as one of her plant picks for native gardens.  She has superwonderful photos of gardens on Vancouver Island that benefit from the use of native plants.  I definitely recommend the 1/2 day class if you ever get the chance.

Swan Lake also has a native plant sale coming up this weekend.  Imagine –

  • getting coveted plants without scavenging…
  • and raising funds for a local park.

Even better than foraging, don’t you think?


© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.