It’s easy to tell the Great Camas flower from the Common Camas flower, especially in our garden.
Each May, Great Camas blooms naturally in the full sun of an open meadow. That said, it’s also happy with a bit of dabbled shade along the forest edge. (Common Camas is a stickler for full sun.) So, if you see Camas flowering in our garden borders, it’s Camassia leichtlinii.
Great Camas blossoms open gradually from bottom to top. Sometimes the flowers at the bottom of the spike are finishing while the very top is yet to begin. (Common Camas blooms in more of a rush to open all at the same time. I’m trying to restore a Camassia quamash meadow in some deeper soil around our rocky outcropping.)
The spent petals of Great Camas twist themselves into a hug. (Common Camas petals die back willy-nilly without even thinking about tidying up).
While the strappy Camas leaves naturally wither to the ground, feeding the bulb for next year’s bloom, I enjoy the decorative seed heads amongst the supporting foliage of other perennials. The glossy black seeds feed birds (and deer) or eventually drop to sprout in the spring.
In the meantime, the Calla Lily follows with its elegant summer flower. Later, simple pink Japanese Anemone flowers float in the breeze atop tall stems. Then the Viburnum ‘pink dawn’ entertains me through winter. Together, they all make good garden companions.
In digging a planting hole for a new treasure, I found a splendid example of the wild violet root system. How deep do you think they grow?
The primary root went at least 6 inches into the clay before sending out its feeder roots.
Who knows how much further those fine roots reach down to get moisture in a dry summer!
Can you imagine the mess I’d make trying to dig the wild violets out of our lawn? (I don’t bother coz I enjoy seeing them there … but…) Undoubtedly, some root would be left in the ground & in no time, the bees would be feeding on the violet’s sweet nectar again.
Some plants are so resilient.
Let’s hope my new treasure does half as well as the wild violets.
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.
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.
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 🙂