Tag Archives: autumn blooms

Geum macrophyllum – Large-Leaved Avens

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I first really noticed Large-Leaved Avens as a specific wildflower when I found it blooming beside the waterfall at Goldstream Park one May.  Before that, it was just one of the many yellow blooms we see in spring.

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Recently I was pleased to see it blooming in a parking lot, not far from the ocean, near Tofino.  That was at Thanksgiving!

October is really very late for a spring wildflower to be blooming – but I’m not complaining.   🙂

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The flower is a simple yellow daisy style; a smiling happy bloom that I find charming.
Unassuming.
Easy.

But Geum macrophyllum is not as plain as it first appears.

large-leaved avens, Geum macrophyllum, largeleaf avens, big leaf avens, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

The seedhead is funky – certainly something that I’d let stand in my garden rather than tidy up.

The achenes (fruits) kinda remind me of googly eyes floating above the alien body.    Apparently, the pom-poms are happy to catch rides on passing pant legs or animals: free spirits looking for adventures far afield.  Groovy.

garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But really, the magic is in the foliage.  What other plant has 2 kinds of leaves?  Right at the base, near the ground, the leaves are round.  Further up the stem, near the flowers, they’ve morphed into 3 lobes with deep serrations.  Crazy.

The guidebooks say Avens are common to wetlands across most of North America.  I’m hoping they’ll become common in my garden, too.  Last month I won 3 in the plant raffle at the Native Plant Study Group.  They’re now growing in one of our courtyard beds (where they’re more likely to get the extra summer moisture they need).  Cross your fingers for me.

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Shaggy Mushroom

This fall I’m really trying to let fungi thrive.  Mushrooms pop up in several spots around our place.  They’re pretty, but for some reason I’ve always weeded them out…

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps they scare me a bit.
Are they edible?
Hallucinogenic?
Medicinal?
Poisonous?

Perhaps I’m just a neat- freak?

Years ago someone told me that trees use fungi root systems as information highways between other trees.  I dismissed the idea.  It sounded too airy-fairy.  But scientists are looking into it.  BC’s Suzanne Simard explores & maps the fungi mycelium networks that trees use to share nutrients with offspring & neighbors.  Sounds a bit like the story line to Avatar, doesn’t it?  Perhaps the Old Ones were on to something?

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane
photo by SVSeekins

The Pacific Northwest is a great place for mushrooms.  The rainforest at one of our favorite campsites is prime.  In 2015 I was charmed by orange stools with white spots.  This October, right in our campsite, was a beautiful white shaggy mushroom.

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane, lawyers wig, mushroom fungi fungus edible garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Growing in afternoon sunshine beside a well trodden gravel pathway, not far from the beach, it struck me as unusual.  This is not the regular deep humus-rich growing site I’d expect for fungi.

The shape & outer texture of the mushroom are distinctive.  I’m pretty sure it’s the edible  Shaggy Mane, aka Lawyer’s Wig, aka Coprinus Comatus.  That said, I’m no expert.

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

For several days we carefully left the cap to its business. While striking camp, the mushroom was knocked open.  I felt bad, but took the chance to look at the inner gills where the spores were maturing.  The dark coloring is further evidence that the ID is correct.  Maybe we should’ve made mushroom soup. (Actually, I wasn’t tempted to use it because of the high traffic area & the large population of dogs around camp.)

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Did you also notice how much the fruit grew in just 3-4 days?  Doubling size  in 48 hours seems amazing to me. The apples in our garden don’t produce like that.

Now I’ll try to keep a closer eye on the fungi growing through our gardens.  Perhaps I’ll shift even further out of my  comfort zone & explore farming some edible types.
🙂

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Embarrassment of Riches

It felt so awkward,  I couldn’t talk about it – – – until now.

At first, I was in disbelief.  Here I am with errands done & time on my hands. What to do?

Check out Abkhazi Garden.   🙂    Each visit, I pick up a few more seasonal tips.  It is always lovely, no matter the month.

snowdrops blooming at Abkhazi Garden November 20, 2015 garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This time, even before walking through the gate, I’m awestruck.
Snowdrops!
At this time of year?
That’s crazy early.

I dig out my camera to prove the sighting.
An embarrassment of riches.

snowdrops blooming at Abkhazi Garden November 20, 2015 garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now, I’ve heard the Oak Bay area is within the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains (just across the Straits of Juan de Fuca).  Under the rain shadow, there’s more sunshine & less rainfall than anywhere else on Vancouver Island.

It’s real.  My buddy RG, who lives only 3 km down the road, and on the border of Oak Bay, has crocus 3 weeks earlier than we do.

snowdrops blooming at Abkhazi Garden November 20, 2015 garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But these snowdrops – – these are super early.
Unbelievably early.
November 20, 2015.

I asked gardening expert Jeff de Jong about them & he said they were regular snowdrops… no unique species or cultivar… just well established, in a prime location & very happy to be there.  Wow.

I wanted to tell y’all about the blooms, but though it might be taken as bragging instead.  For a while, I contemplated El Nino, & stewed about global warming.

variegated camellia blooming in mid Februarygarden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Then Jeff posted a picture of a variegated camellia he spotted on December 14.  (Similar to this one I’d come by mid-February last year).  Perhaps his is a natural fall-blooming variety, but the posting took me by surprise anyway.  Even by Victoria’s standards, It felt too early.  Under our grey skies, this seemed an omen of climate change.

Daffodil blooming mid December at Deep Cove Chalet garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by Bonnie Manning

Then on December 20, BM posted a shot of daffodils blooming at Deep Cove Chalet.

Are these a super early variety?
Or just well established and happy in a prime location?

Again, I’m awestruck.
On the last day of Autumn – before winter even begins – –
blooms!

Snowdrops, camellia & daffodils before Christmas?  Seems crazy.

Now that Solstice &  Christmas have passed, and we’ve delighted in a few days of sunshine, the snowdrops are just starting to bloom in our garden.  I’m looking at the world with fresh eyes.  No matter El Nino or whatever else is going on, I’ve decided to enjoy the flowers along the way.

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PS Here are some other snowdrop patches I admire: