Tag Archives: spring meadow

Youthful Blush of Spring

Last spring, I came across the loveliest drift of foamy flowers that I’d ever seen.  It grew on a rocky outcrop.  Pink blooms smothered the moss-covered rocks.  It was as if the hillside was blushing.

grape hyacinth on hillside
photo by SVSeekins

“That would look great in my garden!” I thought.

We have a rocky slope that blooms with grape hyacinth at this same time.  Wouldn’t the pink & blue combo look fabulous?

My friend SK had similar thoughts.  Little green plant-coveting monsters chorused from our shoulders, encouraging us both to forage some of this wildflower.

It was a group consensus.

We just took a few plants.  We only took them from crevices already overflowing with the pink population.  I felt a weensy bit ashamed by our boldness – but only for a moment.

The plants were tucked into similar mossy crevices in my garden as soon as was possible.  Fingers crossed for their survival, I went inside to search out the details on the plant.

It turns out that it’s named appropriately.  Sea Blush.  Blooming on rocky hillsides throughout the Pacific Northwest, it’s a native wildflower.

I certainly hadn’t noticed any unusual smell from the flowers, but when I read about it, I hoped there might be just enough to deter the deer from feasting.  Deer frequent this part of the garden more than any other.  Time would tell.

It was disappointing to find out Sea Blush is an annual.  Since we’d moved it while it was in bloom, I figured there wasn’t much chance it would set seed.

sea blush 3
photo by SVSeekins

What a delight to find it blooming this spring!    Was the winter mild enough that the plants survived?  Did the seeds develop even though I’d set it back by transplanting?  I’m not sure how it survived, but I’m thrilled it did.

sea blush 1
photo by SVSeekins

Now I hope it’ll spread across the rocks & produce the blushing spring meadow of my fantasies.

Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary offers classes on native plant gardening. I took one last weekend.  The instructor, Pat Johnson, listed Sea Blush as one of her plant picks for native gardens.  She has superwonderful photos of gardens on Vancouver Island that benefit from the use of native plants.  I definitely recommend the 1/2 day class if you ever get the chance.

Swan Lake also has a native plant sale coming up this weekend.  Imagine –

  • getting coveted plants without scavenging…
  • and raising funds for a local park.

Win-Win
Even better than foraging, don’t you think?

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Dandelion Dilemma

In my mind dandelions have pretty yellow flowers.  They’re deer resistant.  Long blooming. Survive drought & famine.  They’re tasty as salad greens.  And even make wine.

To C, that’s just not enough.

C carries a big grudge against dandelions.  He harbors dark thoughts & plots their demise.   He’s carried bucket loads away from the lawn after battle.  But still he lives in fear that the common dandelion will win the war.

This fall I initiated a new plan.

After having some success during wet seasons past, I decided to have another go at digging the dandelions out – and this time replacing them with crocus.

spring crocus
photo by SVSeekins

Fall is the proper time to plant bulbs. Considering I’ve dug the hole to get the dandelion out, I might as well take advantage of the effort, right?

My good friend AT planted the idea in my mind years ago.  When she was very young, her dad had employed the same reasoning in his yard: replace dandelions with crocus.  I’ve never seen that lawn, but in my imagination it is wonderful.

The crocus of choice promises to grow no higher than 4 inches tall.  They bloom in mid February.  Even if they’re still blooming when C brings out the lawnmower, they should be safely below the blade.  Cross my fingers.

After some rain in the fall, most plants can be dug out quite easily.  The soil is moist, and therefore softer, and easier to dig.   Dandelions however, have multiple, deep, sometimes cork-screwing roots.  If any section of root remains in the ground, it’ll happily renew itself.

planting crocus in lawn
photo by SVSeekins

For this project I chose the dandelion patch just outside the fence-line.  It was especially resplendent in dandelion.  It’s also a high visibility area that C is the most embarrassed about.  I gave special attention to get as much root as possible.

Working an hour or two at a time, I slowly made progress.  There was so much digging that the lawn looked pretty rough for the first while.

Well over 400 crocus bulbs were planted.

I’m hoping that by spring there will be a colorful blooming meadow.

So much of gardening doesn’t seem to be about having a green thumb.  Having a strong back is certainly a plus.  So is crossing fingers.   Wish me luck.   🙂

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© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2012

snow crocus, woodland crocus, early crocus, summit park, crocus, garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

PS – here’s the follow-up post a year or so later:

… and one from an established meadow