Tag Archives: drought tolerant

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 it’s best in spring.  Every morning through March, I sit with my coffee & ponder the coming growing season.  Peering out the kitchen window, my anticipation builds as the buds on the Forsythia show more & more promise.

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

Because each year I feel 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.  The shrub, like the rest of the garden, 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.  It’s not my favourite look for a shrub, but I understand that without the barrenness of winter, 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

Summer’s Shasta Daisy

shasta daisy - flower grouping
photos by SVSeekins

The Daisy is such a likable flower.  She’s happy, pretty & uncomplicated.

She reminds me of the character Betty, of the duo Betty & Veronica, in the Archie comic books.  I’ve always preferred Betty.

My first Shasta Daisy came from my good friend & mentor, KC.  She gardened on an acreage in Sooke, where deer were common all year & black bear came around in the autumn to feast in the apple trees.

KC assured me the Shasta Daisy could stand up to anything.  Even drought.  Now, that’s my kind of plant!  Something that blooms without any attention from me.

Shasta Daisy - row along south wall
photo by SVSeekins

Along the hot, windy, south side of our home, we now grow a row of tenacious Shasta Daisies.  They add colour with minimal effort.  I haven’t watered the bed at all this year – not even once.  Scout’s honour!

In the shrub border, that gets a good weekly drink, the Shasta clumps bloom well above 4 feet.  Happily, KC gave me a head’s up about that, too.  Because the Shasta Daisy is tough as nails, she can be a bit of a bully when given any encouragement at all.

I’ve followed KC’s advice & kept the Shasta clumps in big pots, then sunk the pots into the flower beds.  The Shasta easily gets enough water, and the pots keep them contained.

Shasta Daisy - happy blooms
photo by SVSeekins

Some folk say the Shasta blooms are kind of stinky.  After 5 years of growing this long row of Shasta Daisies, last July was the first time I ever noticed any smell – –  and I have to say, the scent really doesn’t offend me.  The clouds of white & yellow flowers through July & August easily make up for an unusual fragrance.

KC recommended deadheading at the end of the bloom cycle. That’s not too big a chore, so each September, I shear the tops.

I figure it’s not a good idea to put all those seed pods into our compost heap. Instead, they go into the garbage can I use for weeds.  Whenever that can is full, it goes to the municipal yard where their compost reaches heats strong enough to neutralize the seed.

The best part is that Shasta Daisy is perennial.  She rests quietly over the winter, wakes up in the spring, and parties again all summer.  🙂

© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

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California Poppy

California Poppy - many blooms, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

I like the saturated orange of the California Poppy bloom.  It’s bright and happy.

Even more, I like that the plant survives well on roadsides & rocky areas.  A plant that doesn’t need nurturing – bonus!

California Poppy at Snake Rock, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

This little patch of poppies lives just down the street at Snake Rock.  It blooms in mid-spring & continues well into the dry summer.

Of course, the thought occurred to me, “We NEED that in our garden!” Can’t you imagine how lovely a wave of bright orange would be in the shrub border?

California poppy - seed pod, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

Even C is encouraging.  He really likes the bright orange blooms, too. So, for the past 5 years, I’ve gathered seed from the roadside, then spread it through our gardens.

There’s been the occasional reward, but mostly I’ve had little success.

The California Poppy has a long tap-root, so where ever it pops up, that’s where it has to stay.  It does not like being moved.  And it doesn’t seem to like being watered either.   Nor fed.  Nor coddled in any way.

The shrub border had a fair amount of fertilizer, mulch & water over the past few years, as the plants were all so new & getting established.  Maybe that’s been too much attention for the poppy.

The most successful patch is on our rocky hillside.  It’s a well-drained site and bakes in the sun.  The California Poppy will grow in the soil, but seems even happier in the gravel of the pathway!  Go figure.

California Poppy in gravel path, garden Victoria BC
photo by SVSeekins

So far, I’m resisting the urge to weed it out of the path.  I’ve decided that it’s ‘whimsical’ growing there.

I’m happy about growing a local wildflower.  I’m also delighted that the deer, who spend their afternoons on our little mountain, leave the California Poppy alone.

My plan is to keep spreading seed in the rest of the garden & be happy with whatever we get.  That’s the true definition of ‘low maintenance,’ isn’t it?


© copyright 2012 SVSeekins

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