Who would expect wilderness just a short 5km from Victoria’s inner harbour?
Checking out the wildflowers in April & May is at the top of my list for reasons to be a tourist in Victoria.
AND if you’re fortunate enough to be around during the last saturday of April, it’s worthwhile checking out Camas Day in Beacon Hill Park. Its hosted by Friends of Beacon Hill Park & has wildflower tours & speakers. 🙂
So much for the golden haze of summer. It’s been below freezing here for almost a week. That’s not a complaint, because we’re cozy inside, but I feel badly for the creatures living outdoors.
A couple of winters ago C & I started hanging a suet log. The birds love it!
They also clean it out fairly quickly – – which means one of us must refill it. We’re pretty good at that, but not perfect. 😦
This autumn I decided to make a change in garden maintenance that would help out the birds just a little more. I chose to NOT cut back some of the perennials when their bloom finished. I reckon the seed heads might come in handy when the suet log is empty.
Goldenrod has really funky looking seed heads. This perennial is native to North America, so I figure the birds have learned to make use of it over the centuries just as the First Peoples did.
And if the birds don’t eat these seeds, perhaps they’ll use the fluff to insulate their nests?
Lychnis is another with great summer blooms & and an abundance of winter seed. This patch along the fenceline is left standing in hopes it’ll be useful for the birds too.
Happily I’m not worried about those seed heads foretelling a full future for weeding. We mulch the garden beds quite heavily, which (aside from keeping roots warm) has the added benefit of slowing down scattered seeds turning into unwanted plants.
But hopefully the seeds will all be eaten before my pruning hand become so itchy that I just HAVE TO cut the plants back for tidiness sake. (I have good intentions, but I also know my nature.)
Even as we speak the crocosmia & the hardy fuchsia are dying back & will soon be luring me outside to tidy up.
An early summer adventure when I was a kid, was picking tiny, wild strawberries. They were packed with incredible flavour. We would forage for ages just to bring home a small bowl full, but it was always worth it.
More recently (2 years ago), at a ‘Gardening with Native Plants’ workshop, I learned those very same plants will happily grow in the urban landscape. How cool is that? Plants that provide an opportunity to forage in my own yard AND do double duty as a ground cover! Bring it on!
I’d never seen thick mats of strawberries like those in the photos at the gardening workshop, but Pat Johnston really knows her stuff, so I totally believed it was possible. I immediately formed a plan.
After running across a bed of wild strawberries growing prolifically in a curbside city garden – – and looking like they were about to take over the sidewalk, I was even more encouraged. Who knew wild strawberries would grow so well in town? I set about planting coastal strawberries in our sunny garden bed.
The landscape trend was spreading. A new native landscape area at the college down the street was planted with wild strawberries, too.
The other day (2 years later) I walked by the spot and was impressed by how well that area had filled in. Perhaps the Camosun groundskeepers fertilize a little more than I do?… or maybe they water the area more? or maybe they originally planted more starts?… I’m not sure. But it looks great, doesn’t it?.
I reckon our strawberry patch will catch up in another year or two. In the meantime I’m enjoying watching my own little community of strawberries send out their ‘runner babies’.
The birds are more vigilant than I am, so I don’t expect to ever have enough harvest to make jam or pie. I figure the occasional berry is a reward for getting out in the garden to water or weed.