Category Archives: boulevard garden

growing outside the fence

Smile of the Day 3

There wasn’t time for a good look as we drove past…
So I asked the driver to turn around. I’m glad he did. Perhaps he got as big a smile out of seeing this happy little guy as I did.

Thanks to the creative folks who set this Jack-o’-lantern at the end of their driveway.

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Creeping Bellflower – Campanula rapunculoides

It came into our garden with some ‘free’ soil.  I didn’t know its name, for sure.  It looked an awful lot like ladybells, Adenophora liliifolia?  It was a decorative, bonus plant – score!
Little did I know the work that pretty bellflower would create.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Deer ignored it for one season… at the most. After that, they ate the buds before flowering. The deers’ pruning might’ve spurred the plant into a frenzy of suckering.  When digging out the extras, I realized how this bellflower got its common name– Creeping Bellflower spreads from the mother plant by lateral roots running below the soil surface.

It quickly became quite a thug.  I had to be realistic. A monocultural garden isn’t my thing.  Campanula rapunculoides had to go.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

One soggy autumn weekend, I dug out the entire bed.  Other keeper perennials were set aside to thoroughly wash their root systems before replanting at the end of the project.  I discovered creeping bellflower was even more invasive than I first realized.  It also has deeper storage roots, enabling survival through brutal winters & long droughts. Those roots can easily sprout a multitude of new plants, even if the original is removed from the base.
Tenacious.

Sifting through the soil & removing the invading white roots of the C.rapunculoides, was a tough job but worth it.  Many years later, I regularly weed out young plants surfacing from roots that I’d missed, but I’m winning the war.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This summer, I noticed a new patch at the College campus. Can you imagine the tenacity of a plant volunteering in a crack in the pavement?  These plants must’ve arrived via seed distribution. Behind some fencing, creeping bellflower is protected from the deer. Fortunately, the grounds staff cut them to the ground in record time.

Campanula rapunculoides, creeping bellflower, Bluebell weed, rampion bellflower, rover bellflower, European bellflower, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

So, I guess it’s not even safe to keep this bully restrained in a pot because it’ll spread like mad if it ever goes to seed, too.

I’m pretty lenient when it comes to vigorous plants in our garden..  Wild violets grow in our lawn. Cyclamen hederifolium is still welcome in certain beds. I’ve left some patches of bluebell in well-contained spots (but they’re sheered as soon as the blooms begin to fade).  Some other tough-as-nails plants are held in check by simply not watering them through our long, summer drought.

But I’m putting my foot down when it comes to Campanula rapunculoides.
Not in my backyard.
My goal is to grow the native harebell, C. rotundifolia, instead. It’s much better behaved.

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Fernwood Snowdrop Meadow

How often do you stop mid-errand to admire a roadside garden?   I did just that the other day.

galanthus, snowdrops, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Cycling along Haultain in Fernwood, on the way to downtown Victoria, I’m caught off guard by a snowdrop meadow.  I pull over & take a closer look.

The meadow runs the whole outside length of the fenceline.  AND as it is a corner lot, so it runs along  Forbes street, too!  There was even a mini meadow on the wee boulevard right at the crosswalk. 🙂

galanthus, snowdrops, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The patches of snowdrops are interspersed with patches of daffodils.  This winter meadow will morph into an early-spring meadow in another few weeks.

On closer inspection, I recognize Calendula (Pot Marigold), too.  Even with our summer droughts, they’ll flower all summer & well into the fall!

galanthus, snowdrops, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

All three are deer resistant.

The calendula will self-seed a crop for next year as well as feed the birds.

These folks put care & attention into the city boulevard beside their property.  (Can you see him painting his fence in the distance?)

In my mind, this meadow has so much more going for it than the regular grass lawn.  I’ll bet the bees & other beneficial insects like it a whole lot more, too.

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other snowdrop patches I admire: