Tag Archives: evergreen perennials

Happy Valley Lavender Cake

Visiting Happy Valley Lavender Farm in July is delightful.  Host Lynda Dowling is a whimsical force straight out of fairy tales.

Happy Valley Lavender Farm field  Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins

Q: What can highlight a pot luck supper on a warm evening?
A:  Lynda’s Lavender Hummingbird Cake.

AND she shared the secret recipe with us!!!   🙂

Lavender Hummingbird Cake 2014

2 ripe bananas
1/2 c. fresh pineapple (or drained)
1/2 c. shredded coconut
110 ml. tin of passionfruit pulp (available at Fairway Market in WestShore Mall)
2 Tbsp fresh lavender (or dried)
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
3/4 c. oil
2 eggs

Happy Valley Lavender Farm field Victoria garden
photo by SVSeekins


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Grease an 11 x 8 baking dish.
  • In a food processor, whiz together bananas & pineapple.  Briefly blend in oil, sugar, lavender & eggs until smooth.
  • In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, coconut & spices.  Add wet mixture + passionfruit pulp to the dry ingredients.  Batter will be loose.  Add a few tsp. of flour if you think it is too runny.
  • Baking time is 45 – 55 minutes.  Test centre.  If using 2 8 inch square pans, shorten baking time.
  • When cooled, ice with a simple glaze made with icing sugar, a touch of butter, milk & extra coconut…. or make a cream cheese icing with 125 g. cream cheese, 185 g. icing sugar, 60 g. butter, and 2-3 Tbsp. real rum. (How tropical do you need?)   🙂
Happy Valley Lavender Farm field in July
photo by SVSeekins

Thank you Lynda for your not-so-secret secret recipe!

© SVSeekins, 2014


Flower Count – day 7 – hellebore

It’s sometimes called the Winter Rose, but isn’t actually a rose relation.  The flowers really do remind me of the wild rose, but mostly it gets that name because it blooms in winter, some even by Christmas!

Typically the Christmas bloomers have boring white flowers that slowly age into interesting light green flowers before setting seed.  We gifted Mum with one of those hellebore this past Christmas & it’s still looking great on her balcony.

Helebore - Blackthorn strain - evergreen in February border
photo by SVSeekins

There aren’t any Christmas blooming hellebore varieties in our garden.  At that time of year our hellebore are just happy evergreen perennials that the deer leave alone.  I think they’re wonderful just filling in the borders so winter doesn’t look completely desolate.

These come from the new hybrid varieties that have appeared in nurseries over the past couple years.  The hellebore suppliers have presented blooms in pinks and even dark colours that seem almost black.  Those types seem to flower later in the winter.

Hellebore - February promise
photo by SVSeekins

By February our hellebore are starting to show promise.  That’s  my cue to get out there & do a bit of pruning.

The new bud stems shoot up from the centre of the plant, pushing last year’s stems over a bit.  It’s those older stems we need to check out closely.  Some get a bit of gunk on them & that could infect the new growth.  It’s wise to remove any with those issues.  This sample below shows it even better…

Hellebore Pink Frost - early February buds & old growth
photo by SVSeekins

That poor hellebore really was looking worse for wear.  I cut away all infected old stems, knowing that the new growth would arrive in hardly any time at all.  Here’s what it looked like shortly after its trim:

Hellebore Pink Frost - late February flowers after pruning
photo by SVSeekins
Hellebore - creamy buds in February
photo by SVSeekins

Another variety was showing buds in  February at about this same time.  I checked closely but didn’t find any issues on the leafs, so it didn’t get trimmed back at all.  My intention is to let it alone unless it starts to look poorly.

In the meantime I’m really enjoying the fat double blooms it’s producing, even though they’re that boring creamy white colour.

Hellebore - Mardi Gras double & hand
photo by SVSeekins

I’ve heard that hellebore will slowly spread through the garden, & that’s fine by me!  To add some extra encouragement, my plan is to collect their seed pods & help out a bit with the distribution.

It’s just a delight to have a good show of blooms so early in the year!  That’s why I’ve kept a couple in big pots by the back door.  I seem to need that promise of the flowers & warmth that will arrive in a couple more months if only I can hold out that long.

Helebore - full bloom in march
photo by SVSeekins


© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012. 

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Flower Count