Tag Archives: deciduous shrubs

In The Fuchsia Garden

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

One of my favorite places is the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific.  A gardener’s garden.  I learn something each visit.

MS - Hardy Fuchsia in bloom , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

This time it’s putting a specific name to the hardy fuchsia growing in our own garden:
Fuchsia magellanica var. gracilis.

At least I’m pretty certain that’s what our hardy fuchsia is…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Walking through HCP’s Fuchsia garden boggles my mind.  Apparently there are many more varieties of hardy fuchsia than I imagined.

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There are tall hedging shrubs and shorter mid-border shrubs…

Others that are so small they’re classified as perennials instead of shrubs…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Most have flowers with red sepals and purple petals in the centers…

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

But others are pink… or white… or even orangey…

Most leaves are forest-green,
but others are lime-green,
or variegated-green.  These really show up against a bit of shade.

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

There are so many species, sub species & hybrids!

hardy fuchsia at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, September , garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Now that I look more closely, I’m thinking my garden’s hardy fuchsia might be a F. coccinea instead…
maybe?

Either way, I’m stoked to grow a plant that looks so exotic. Check out the variety of Fuchsia that are winter hardy for gardens in the Pacific Northwest (Canada & USA) :
The North West Fuchsia Society

Perhaps there’ll be a few varieties at HCP’s annual Fall Sale coming up on October 1.

FYI – these photos show only some of the hardy fuchsia varieties growing in the gardens at HCP

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Forsythia Through Four Seasons

It’s taken a couple of years for me to really appreciate Forsythia in all seasons.

ws - Forsythia in April
photo by SVSeekins

Yes, Forsythia is at its best in spring.  Every morning through March, I sit with my coffee & ponder the coming growing season.  As I’m peering out the kitchen window, my anticipation builds as the buds on the Forsythia show more & even more promise.

I’m energized by the sunny yellow blossoms in March & April.

Each year I feel so desperate to see any spring colour.   Forsythia will never be challenged over its prominent real estate between our driveway & the kitchen entrance.

For all that hoopla, it’s easy to forget about Forsythia for the rest of the year. But that would be ignoring the assets.

ws - Forsythia in May
photo by SVSeekins

In April & May, the yellow blooms give way to yellow-green leaves.  Like the rest of the garden, the shrub begins to fill out, supplying much-appreciated privacy.

ws - Forsythia in June
photo by SVSeekins

By June, Forsythia is a steadfast background green and working hard to compliment the new flowers in the garden parade throughout the entire length of the summer and into the fall.

ws - Forsythia in early October
photo by SVSeekins

When the brisk winds of October arrive, Forsythia again steps up for a more significant share of the garden interest.  The yellow, apricot and red leaves add lovely colour to the fall palette.

For Halloween, they’re even more vibrant.  No wonder Forsythia has become one of our garden mainstays!

ws - Forsythia in late October
photo by SVSeekins
ws - Forsythia in late December
photo by SVSeekins

By December, Forsythia is naked again.  That’s not my favourite look for a shrub… but I understand that without the barrenness of winter, the spring probably wouldn’t be as exciting.

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Another indispensable:

Doronicum, Caucasian Leopard's Bane, Great Leopard's Bane, Plantain Leopard's Bane, leopard's-bane, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Winter Winner: Viburnum Pink Dawn

Viburnum bodnantense, Viburnum pink dawn garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
Just when it seems all the trees are bare & the skies will be permanently grey, these small pink flower clusters catch my attention & bring on a smile. They even offer a sweet scent!   For these 2 reasons alone the Viburnum Pink Dawn wins prime Real Estate at the edge of the shrub border of our short driveway.
Forsythia & Viburnum bodnantense in sept.
photo by SVSeekins
Right through to late summer it’s just another green shrub earning space in the garden by working as a privacy screen.   As there’s so much else urging me to explore the garden, this shrub blends right into the background. Through autumn its green leaves take on a coppery tinge offering seasonal interest.  Like many other deciduous shrubs in our garden, that’s nice…  and counts as another reason to keep it around.
fall color of Viburnum pink dawn garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
But in winter, especially at Christmas, when we come & go between the dry vehicle & the warm house, we hardly enter the garden at all.  At the driveway’s edge, Viburnum bodnantense gets all the attention & appreciation.  The rest of the garden is pretty much ignored.
Viburnum Pink Dawn in December garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
It will hold its own for several more months, sharing the spotlight with a sequence of spring bulbs: the early snowdrops in January, the crocus in February, and daffodils in March. What a winning strategy.  I’m not likely to question its value to the garden or reconsider its highly visible position near the driveway.
Viburnum bodnantense, Viburnum pink dawn garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
The first time I noticed one of these winter flowering treasures was when I moved to the property on Cedar Hill. (I’m sure the shrub is still there today)
  • It had maxed out at 10 feet tall.
  • In the summer I enjoyed the privacy it gave us as we sipped wine under the front porch.
  • In the rainy winter, I held off the blues with its promises of spring.
  • Birds nested in it, even though it was right beside the house.
  • The deer left it alone.
  • It grew slowly, so required very little maintenance.
Viburnum bodnantense, Viburnum pink dawn, Viburnum spring dawn, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwestiburnum pink dawn garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
It was definitely a keeper.   Even the Royal Horticultural Society in Britain had given it their Award of Garden Excellence. When we started our search for a new property, it was right near the top of our ‘want’ list for the new garden.   I tried taking cuttings several times with no success.
Viburnum bodnantense, Viburnum pink dawn, Viburnum spring dawn, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
After we moved to our new home with no viburnum, D.Smart gave us one as a house-warming gift.  What a wonderful way to start a Friendship Garden.

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Other January gems in the Pacific Northwest:

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2011. 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.