Tag Archives: spring bloom

Lithodora Drought Tolerance

Lithodora diffusa, lithospermum diffusum, glandora diffusa, purple groundwell, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I planted Lithodora diffusa underneath the apple tree years ago. It flourished.

A few years later, a Garden Club Speaker told us Lithodora is far more drought tolerant than most people think. He said that, after getting its root system established, it pretty much took care of itself. I love hearing this kind of news from experienced local gardeners. He would know about the months of drought we get on Southern Vancouver Island. He would know what ‘drought tolerant’ really means to us.

Lithodora diffusa, lithospermum diffusum, glandora diffusa, purple groundwell, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Lithodora originates in Turkey & Greece – another area of the globe with long, dry summers. And temperatures there get a lot hotter than ours. (More clues that Lithodora can survive without me hauling the water hose out every other day. )

Lithodora diffusa, lithospermum diffusum, glandora diffusa, purple groundwell, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

So, I shifted our 3 Lithodora plants to the shallow bed near the top of our rocky outcrop in the fall. They were all large enough to have decent-sized root systems, but I watered them occasionally through the following summer just to be sure they established thoroughly in the new bed.
They survived. 🙂
The next year, with hardly any summer moisture, they did just as well. 🙂 🙂

Then I discovered some small Lithodora volunteers under the apple tree. I decided to risk them. So I planted them on a bit of stacked rock along the path leading up the slope.
They survived. 🙂
They established themselves during our rainy winter…
grew more…
and even bloomed.

Lithodora diffusa, lithospermum diffusum, glandora diffusa, purple groundwell, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

I’m so stoked.

Lithodora makes it onto my list of High-Value Plants.

  • The low-growing evergreen covers the ground like I want.
  • It looks even better draping down rock walls.
  • Each May, blue flowers brighten the spring garden.
  • It’s winter tolerant to -15 C — and that’s plenty cold for here.
  • AND the deer leave it alone.

Happiness blooms in our low-maintenance garden.


Early Camellia

Camellia is one of my favourite broadleaf evergreens.  It blooms early, then works hard as background support the other 3 seasons. Several birds make themselves at home in the camellia in our courtyard  – – AND the shrub is deer resistant!   That’s my kind of plant.     🙂

camelia in december, at LD downtown
photo by SVSeekins

A few years ago, I spotted a hedge of camellia in downtown Victoria, beside London Drugs. They were almost finished blooming in mid-December!   I have no idea how early they’d started… November?  October??

Who’d have expected blooms in autumn?

Camellia japonica apple blossom, Joy Sander, Camellia sasanqua,, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Not long after that, KC gifted me with a fall-blooming camellia.  It starts blooming before Christmas and has even more flowers through January!

Yeah, Baby!

Once I knew it was possible to have blooms so early in the year, I kept an eye out for even more samples around town:

It was delightful to find another variety of camellia starting to bloom in mid-February sunshine near the BC Legislature.

Just a month later, in March,  I notice these camellia blooming in a yard not far from the YM-YWCA downtown.

A block or so away from our place is a camellia that flowers through April.

Then there is the camellia in our courtyard typically begins blooming in April & is in full blossom in May.

Autumn… winter… spring…

Who knew there are so many cultivars with differing blooming schedules?

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2014

Meadow Blooms 4 – Fawn Lily

How could I have missed this?   For years I lived right across from Beacon Hill Park!  I celebrated their fabulous meadows every spring.  Daffodils & tulips in March & April; later the camas meadows in May…. But somehow this Fawn Lily meadow had eluded me – until now!

Fawn Lily meadow at Beacon Hill Park
photo by SVSeekins

I first became aware of native fawn lily when a naturalist pointed them out during a spring wildflower walk around Elk Lake.  The fawn lilies grow along the forest edges of the walking paths there.  I was particularly charmed by the leaf pattern: dappled spots just like the back of a fawn.   (Aw…  Bambi flowers…)

Fawn Lily bloom & leaf CU
photo by SVSeekins

Since then I’ve noticed fawn lilies along the trail around Cedar Hill Golf Course, too.  Later, I was delighted to discover them growing wild in the backyard at the Cedar Hill Road house.

Of course, when we planned our move to the Richmond house, it was IMPORTANT to bring some of those fawn lilies with me to the next yard.

They had such long taps (6 inches or more) that led down to thin, elongated bulbs.  They were really tricky.  Most broke off & stayed rooted where they grew, but I did get a few.

Only a couple survived the transplant trauma.  The 2 successful specimens are in the border near the driveway.  For the first 3 years, they just produced leaves.  Last year one bloomed!  I’m coddling them (go figure).

3 x fawn lily at Beacon Hill Park
photo by SVSeekins

I’ve also been buying seeds from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary & scattering those willy-nilly.  So far, no luck, but I have dreams.

One gardener from the Native Plant Study Group tells me that she seeds them into trays & lets them sit outside for a couple of years.  That way they’re easier to identify when they come up, & she doesn’t weed out the tiny babies by mistake.  She’ll eventually be able to move them into her beds to naturalize.

I might just have to do that myself – – if I can muster the patience.  I have lots of dreams, but little patience.    🙂

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

P.S.  Here’s some other meadow faves: