Category Archives: attracting birds

Canada’s Dogwood Tree

It’s a tale of 2 trees…

Dogwood Eddie's White Wonder tree in bloom, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

On the very southern coastal region of BC is our native Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).  So admired that it’s honoured as our provincial flower.

Across the continent, Eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) is native to the southernmost tip of Ontario.

Dogwood Eddie's White Wonder tree in bloom, Cornus controversa 'Eddie's White Wonder' Cornus nuttallii 'Eddies White Wonder', garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Both species often suffer from anthracnose fungus that disfigures leaves & causes twig & branch dieback.  Ontario’s native dogwood is considered ‘at risk.’

The answer? A genuinely Canadian fix: combine them.

Enter H.M. Eddie (Henry Matheson Eddie).  A nurseryman in BC’s Fraser Valley who got a kick out of creating new varieties of any number of plants.  His 1945 success, ‘Eddie’s White Wonder,’ is the combo of the Pacific & the Eastern dogwoods.

Dogwood Eddie's White Wonder tree in bloom, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Eddie’s dogwood is pretty much disease-free!  Beyond that,

  • pollinators love the spring flowers.
  • Birds gorge on the berry clusters.
  • Deer leave the tree alone (except the occasional buck needing to scratch his antlers – so trunk protection is needed.)
  • And fall leaf colour is another spectacle.
    Dogwood Eddie's White Wonder tree in bloom, Cornus controversa 'Eddie's White Wonder' Cornus nuttallii 'Eddies White Wonder', garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
    photo by SVSeekins

It’s been such a triumphant landscape success that Eddie’s White Wonder was honoured as Vancouver’s Centennial tree...
and as one of my favourite trees to find blooming during our morning walks each April 🙂

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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:

Apple Blossom Camellia

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Here’s a darling fall & winter flower that caught our Christmas guest’s attention as they came to the door.

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Camellia ‘Apple Blossom’ is just beginning to bloom at Haloween.  It continues through November and December if the weather is right.

I treasure every new bloom.  But the shrub doesn’t garner our guests’ compliments until the winter solstice has passed.

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

When protected from the brunt of the wind, this camellia happily goes about its business.  Even our resident blacktail deer seem to let it be.  🙂

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

My morning coffee is that much more of a treat when I’m also watching the overwintering Anna’s hummingbirds investigating the Camellia blossoms.

When each flower opens, its pink petals fade to white.
Plain.
Hummingbirds typically look for more dramatic blooms.
I reckon it’s the heavy yellow pollen that is drawing them near.

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

In mid-January, the Pacific Northwest suffered a snowstorm.  Now that’s drama!

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The delicate buds & blooms froze – then turned brown & mushy.
So sad.
If it had stayed sunny with only light rain, the flowers would have lasted.  Alas, that’s just not often our January weather.

Fortunately for me, this camellia is listed as zone 5 – – and we don’t get that kind of cold in Victoria.  Our shrub should survive to bloom another day…
maybe not this winter…
but perhaps next fall.    🙂

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PS.  Here are some more pink fall friends: