Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gardens to See: Pictures from Glendale Gardens

Oberon in the Rhodo at Glendale Gardens

Glendale Gardens and Woodland at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific in Victoria British Columbia is a self described garden lover's paradise. In my opinion it reflects varying degrees of success (which is one of the things I like about this garden). It is really worthwhile becoming a member of this garden it has a lot to offer - check out the website.

Seed pod from the Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonica)

I like Glendale for ideas and to see the plants I want to use in my garden design as they would appear during different seasons and at maturity. Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonica) is a tree in my design plan that I got to see with no leaves and with only old seed pods on it and knew I loved it.



I am not a big fan of Rhododendrons. I take Rhodos on a one by one basis and make my mind up if I like them individually.



After getting to know this Rhodo, I think I like it; but I am not 100% convinced.
I know there are Rhodo fans who are wondering what the heck is wrong with me. And maybe they are right...

...Because I find these thorny things beautiful without hesitation

I took more pictures of decaying brambles than I did of Rhododendrons and other flowers at Glendale Gardens.

Which begs the question: What is considered beautiful and desirable in the garden?
To be continued...

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Bloom Today In The Garden Brae

In Bloom Today In The Garden Brae - Lilacs

Come and smell the lilacs with Oberon

Syringa (Lilacs)
Syringa stems (pun intended) from the Greek word 'syrinx' meaning tube or hollow pipe

Greek legend has it that a nymph named Syrinx was chased by the god Pan
Naughty Pan turned Syrinx into a reed from which he made his very first flute (Pan-pipes)
Lilacs are a very hardy ornamental woody shrub
with colourful, fragrant flowers that bloom here in the merry month of May
Are lilacs old fashioned? Maybe. I love them because my mom loved them for their fragrance. They reminded her of her childhood in Dublin, Ireland.
There was a house down the street from me as a child that had rows of lilacs over flowing along a picket fence onto the sidewalk. My mom would take my hand to cross the street just to walk by them and smell them on the way to the bus stop.
I was young but I could tell she was homesick for Eire

It was the 60's in Victoria and lots of moms took buses and walked instead of driving...
but I digress.
Fragrance does that to you - it triggers memories

Thanks for walking through the lilacs at the Garden Brae with me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Could You Kill THIS?


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Could You Kill THIS?

Taraxacum laevigatum

Perennial herb from a simple or branched stem-base and a thick, often deep taproot;

Stems: erect; solitary to several;
simple; hollow; glabrous or sometimes hairy above; exuding milky juice when broken
10-60 cm tall

Weeds are growing, well, like weeds, in my garden. I have spent hours weeding this last week and I do enjoy it but, like Uncle Albert, "I am so easily called away" by the beauty I see all around The Garden Brae of wildflowers and ferns and wonderful walks through the woods with Oberon.

Evidence of Weeding 
Look at the blur of that stirrup hoe go. Faithful companion Oberon by my side. BUT WAIT! What is that beautiful, exotic, naturalized species? Look at that exuberant yellow petal face looking up at me so confident and proud. Quick, Oberon, fetch the camera! Taraxacum laevigatum! Okay so it is only a dandelion but what a dandy lion it is! I am using exclamation marks because that's the feeling it gives - dozens of bright, clear, sulfur yellow exclamation marks radiating out of a center shared with a few wisps of tight, tiny petal whorls! How could I scorn nature by killing it?What would you do?
Hence forth I shall spell dande!ion with exclamation marks to commemorate the memory of this stunner
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Symbolism of Ferns

The fern in Christian iconography is a symbol of the life and humility of the hermit because ferns live in shaded, half-hidden locations

The fern is also associated with magic, fascination, confidence, shelter, discretion, reverie and a secret bond of love.

Here are more pictures of ferns from in and around the Garden Brae

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ornamental Hermit for the 21st Century

A Hermit on "my" Hill? Sure, it would be great. He, or why not she, would have wireless Internet for their laptop and would also be kitted out with the latest and greatest camp gear from Canadian Tire. I mean, after all, workers' rights have improved a bit since the 18Th century. The Hermit could eat up some of the destructive invasive alien introduced critters that overrun the place - grey squirrels, eastern cotton tailed rabbits and American bullfrogs. And after eating hearty eliminating alien meals, the Hermit can get to work at the endless task of pulling broom (Cytisus scoparius). I hate that stuff and pull it every chance I get - about 20 a week - following a broom pull strategy. I dislike broom so much I won't even show a picture of it.
Would my Hermit be territorial? Would I be bailing him/her out of jail for warring in barroom brawls with the Skirt Mountain (AKA Bare (Bear) Mountain) Hermit? Well I am sure it would only occur every payday when Hermits gets tippled at one of the local pubs in the area. And since Hermit paydays are once every 5 years, I don't expect this to be a big problem.


So, yes, a Hermit for my Garden Brae it is. Some nice, old, wisdomful ancient who talks to the wind in the forest, who is a wizard with a dowser for divining water (sure to come in handy with global warming on its way here) and who would dine on rabbit and deer to keep them from feasting on my flowers.

What has this all to do with Genius Loci in my garden design? Blogging it down is like keeping a journal on the discoveries and thoughts about what it is like to live here. The conclusions that emerge from the blogging will hopefully reveal the Genius Loci.