Early Spring in the Shade Garden

It is mid April and it has been very soggy here for ages! But finally plants are popping up from the soil and it is a relief and a delight to see them. I am eager for a bit more warmth,  but that will arrive soon I think.

Next to our front driveway area there is a large shrub, a Ribes, which is one of the first plants to bloom, along with some Primula and narcissus. These were here when we arrived, though I have added a few more bulbs and pruned the evergreens away from the Ribes to better see its pink dangling flowers.


Over the last couple of years I have planted a few clematis (Group 1) near our stacked firewood.  I believe they are C.White Swan and C.Blue Dancer. In another part of the garden I also grow C.Pink Flamingo. This is Clematis Blue Dancer with its buds.


Beyond this area is our sauna which is decorated at the moment with hellebores. Some were planted here when we moved in (fall of 2014). Many have been added since then too.



Along our shady path are plants both new and old (brought from Ontario). It is exciting to see that most everything is returning…ever so slowly! The white Dodecatheon are maturing and expanding. They are in bud, but not yet in bloom.


Last year’s fern like flowers have come back to my relief. They are delicate little plants from Japan called Pteridophyllum racemosa. So sweet!


The Erythronium are doing well. They too are white. For some reason I like white everywhere!


This is a special Disporum which is returning at last. I brought it from our former home. It is called Night Heron and has dark glossy foliage and pale yellow flowers. It grows especially tall here and I am so glad it is happy! Just poking up now.

Other dark leaved plants grow nearby. One is a corydalis which is one of the first plants to appear in spring and eventually grows to be huge with pale lavender blooms. It is called Corydalis quantmeyerana “Chocolate Star”.  This is what it looks like today.

Nearby is a wonderful brown Rodgersia, which is barely peeking up out of the ground. I think it will take off very soon!


There are also three pale yellow Corylopsis, small because they are quite young. They are in bloom now with blue Hepaticas mingling nearby.  They are very hard to photograph though….

There are several kinds of Podophyllum here, some older than others. They are fairly slow growers, but it is so exciting to see them return each year. When older, they have amazing blooms, usually red, hidden beneath their leaves.


The Hellebore foetidus is lovely right now with drumstick primula nearby.

A great delight is the return of our Meconopsis. It looks like we will have lovely blue poppies again this year. There are about 10 clumps of them!

Anemonopsis macrophylla is a wonderful plant that looks amazing as it first emerges. Later it has dainty pale lavender blooms and after that, adorable seed pods. It is coming up right now too. It seems to have a Hellebore growing with it!

And finally, meet this wonderful large leaved plant. It is called “Skeleton Flower”. This is another white woodland blossom whose petals turn crystal clear when they make contact with water. Diphelleia grayiis the scientific name. The petals return to white after the rain has evaporated. So far two of my three plants have poked their way up along our path. I can’t wait to see their blooms. There were none yet last year.



Every day something new is happening out in the garden. I have no desire to stay indoors when it is sunny out!
Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Here is a Pasque flower for you!

Garden Tour : The Last Five Gardens

It is mid January and I feel the need for colour! Time to complete the garden tour
at last. There were five more spots to visit in the afternoon of June 26th, following our picnic lunch.
Len and Bonnie’s garden

This garden was started in 1980 with raised beds. The soil needed ammending. It is a shady location, but they have a greenhouse for growing tomatoes in summer and for holding a bonsai collection in winter. They have a spot in the Community Garden for things like squash and corn, enough for winter food for themselves and their kids.


Again, quilts were displayed in each garden by the Quadra Island Quilters.
It was a very warm day in the sun and if you check carefully, you will see the owners’s Chow dog pacing in the heat, greeting the visitors. In addition to vegetables and bonsai, notice the espaliered fruit tree. I love the sweet peas too!


I enjoy gates….

garden-tour-part-june26-2016-048b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-049b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-050b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-052bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-057b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-055b  garden-tour-part-june26-2016-058bjpg garden-tour-part-june26-2016-061b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-065b


Doug and Vicki’s large property was where we stopped for lunch. This was stop #9. (We actually toured here at the end when fewer people were around.)


The house is situated up a hill beyond a wooded area. It is about a quarter mile up the path, with Crocosmia blooming along the side. There is an area for growing vegetables and beyond, flowers grow near their home. And what a lovely view of the water and mountains they have too!













Ted and Judith’s garden is mainly about vegetables, but is situated in a lovely spot with a fabulous view. There are bird feeders about which are fun as well. Their garden is about 4 years old and is terraced. Under the terraces are subterranean trenches filled with large rocks covered by gravel and soil. The garden also has micro-irrigation fed from a 1200 gallon rain collection tank. They continue to build up the soil.

  See the birdhouse?garden-tour-part-june26-2016-077b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-075bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-079b  *****

Brian and Lil live in a fairly shaded area on the site of an old logging camp. It was a dumping area for old equipment. An alder grove became well established by the time they broke ground for their garden and so the soil is very acidic, black sandy loam. The fact there was too much moisture was a challenge. As they became accustomed to their colder new surroundings, they accepted that Hostas and Rhododendrons were successful, but they continue to experiment with other plants as well. (This is tour #11)


Lovely seating areas!


I certainly like this quilt and thought I’d share the swirling design in black thread with a close-up shot below.


These small quilt pieces are on a Mennonite theme.



Sonia and Jay’s home has quite the beautiful garden with both perennials and vegetables. There is always a new project being created. Purchased in 2003, they cleared the land of alder as well as scrap metal that surround them…right up to the front door. They are almost surrounded by water and the barn swallows visit and are tracked for a bird watcher’s site.

 garden-tour-part-june26-2016-082b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-083bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-084bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-085bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-088bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-091b garden-tour-part-june26-2016-089b

These are thornless blackberries. YUM!

garden-tour-part-june26-2016-096b Instead of a sturdy shelf, hanging half plastic barrels hold more plants. garden-tour-part-june26-2016-093bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-094b

Where the barn swallows live.garden-tour-part-june26-2016-100b

A fine pet indeed! And very curious about all the visitors.garden-tour-part-june26-2016-098b


Before leaving for home, we decided to visit a nearby friend at her studio home. We had a wonderfull chat , made use of her facilities, and headed back after our wonderful day!

garden-tour-part-june26-2016-138bgarden-tour-part-june26-2016-139b *****

Island Garden Tour: Day Two

It has been too long since our trip, but I will try to show you the seven gardens that four of us visited on the tour to a more northern area of Quadra Island near Granite Bay.
Today I will begin with the first two visits only.

Our first visit was to Jude and Allen’s Farm, a piece of history in a small valley with a huge pond. The frame of the first car on the island, an Oldsmobile,  is situated in the front yard. The area was first settlerd in 1903 and the exhisiting farmhouse was built in 1926-7 aqster two forest fires burned down the original.



A dear little puppy was very excited to be featured on the tour!


The gardens include berries and cherries…and vegetables and chickens are on the other side of the  driveway.Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-017BBeyond this planted area, in view of the pond, were tents displaying lots of quilting activity!

Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-010B Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-011B Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-012B Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-013B


We moved onward to visit the farm of Sam and Emily, who happen to be friends of our daughter. Emily also has connections to Haiti, so we have discussed our travels as well.


In 1998 Sam and Emily purchased the homestead of the Luoma family who had moved from Sointula, not far from Alert Bay, in 1906. The  old house is quite incredible and the top soil rich and black. Their main goal has been to raise livestock and grow food to feed their family year round. They keep laying hens, honey bees, runner ducks, dairy sheep and raise lambs and sheep for meat. This year they have several pigs as well. The livestock keeps Emily very busy indeed, not to mention her garden.
Sam, it turns out, helped the builder of our home with much of the carpentry work. A lovely roof garden is planted above Sam’s shop.
Their home


Sam’s shop
Garden-Tour-Part--June26-2016-036BThe roof garden above the shop (I climbed a ladder to take this shot)


The view of gardens beyond the house.


The Greenhouse…


Vegetables growing… See the pigs?






Quilts on display


Baby Chicks


A perfect spot on a perfect day! There was fun for everyone. There were even ripe cherries to be picked from the trees!

To be continued….


Island Garden Tour: Day One

Saturday, June 25th

The Quadra Island Quilt and Garden Tour began today. It is a two day event, and I took in five very interesting gardens on this first day. All of them were new to me.

First I went to see friends I know through my daughter, Kathy and Nick.  They have been transforming their property in many ways since they bought their land 4 years ago. First they worked on the house and a little over 2 years ago gradually created an extremely lovely garden out of hilly acreage once covered in grass, sedges and blackberries. Their soil is sandy and drains well, except after a day of rain, they have flooding. They are extremely hard workers and love their time together in their garden. Nick is a wood carver and enjoys making paths and walls, driftwood fencing (to disguise the deer fencing) benches and artistic rock designs. Kathy works her magic making amazing floor designs (indoors and out) as well as terrific outdoor seating areas.

      Entrance to the gardenGarden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-001B

Meet Kathy!






Floor in deck by Kathy


Circle of life, by Nick
The red stone represent a baby who moves through the cycles of life. Dark forces are the charcoal stones, positives are the light stones. The center represents the stage where the child has now turned into a parent.


Garden Number 2

The original jail and courthouse on the island were built in 1912. They were burned to the ground in 1999. Nancy is now the owner of the property and has been working on her labour of love here over the last 16 years. Her love of colour is aparent in both paint and plant combinations.
Nancy’s garden includes ferns, Japanese maples, bamboos, and ornamental conifers. There are also bright spots of colour seen in Japanese Iris, Fuchsias and many other blooms, including a pink rose and even a Pitcher Plant! Her seating area is charming in red with ligularias behind.

The entrance to Nancy’s garden















Garden Number 3

Changing with the seasons, and over the years…this delightful Japanese garden has gradually emerged first from a forest, then into the Craddock’s Garage parking lot, into now a place of serenity. The gardens bring a sense of peace and spaciousness into crowded lives. This garden includes common elements (rocks, water, trees, buildings, gates and fences) in a carefully controlled manner to remind us of the natural landscape. The owner makes use of bamboo, moss, koi and aesthetically pruned trees The dry landscape style reproduces natural landscapes in an abstract way. There are splashes of whimsy in the courtyard. There is a very long and bountiful vegetable garden as well.

This is the entrance to John and Susan’s Garden



And greeting us is my favourite quilt of the tour displayGarden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-052B-Tuscany

So many details to share with you….

Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-055BGarden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-058B Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-057B Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-056.B

Organized tool areaGarden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-060B

The vegetable gardensGarden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-059B

Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-069B Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-068B Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-061B
Details… Loaded apple branch

Water chain and tools


Gate, paths and fencing

Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-071B Garden-Tour-Part1-June-25th-2016-070B


The Community Gardens: Stop Number 4

The Community Garden is in its sixth growing season.  It has evolved from the vision of a group of gardeners and the generosity of Fei and the late Milton Wong. The organic garden is situated on one acre of land and produces a wide variety of pesticide free organic fruit, flowers and vegetables. The plots are rented for a modest annual fee and the money contributes to maintaining fences and water lines. No two plots are the same!
Join me for a look-see!

The entry through the deer fence…


















A place to chat and cool off after hard work….


Quilts and more at Milton Road: Stop #5

Lots going on at this residence! The owner is working on a new studio and gardens on her woodland property. We were welcomed by a stone folly at the entrance. People meandered on a forest path and saw a vintage trailer (named Jenny),  an outhouse, an outdoor bedroom with stars dangling on fine threads around it,  an outdoor kitchen…and other things… until a large owl watching us emerged and we foud bright daylight again and a small vegetable garden. A very personal spot!










What a fine outing!

Spring has Sprung!

I am still adjusting to our new zone 7 where in spite of cool, or even cold weather, plants emerge in February from the ground.
So much has appeared already! I’ll share with you some of the early starters from February…







Corydalis Chocolate Star


Clematis began to rise…. (This one is Saphyra Indigo)


Witchhazels Diane and Pallida are in bloom



Iris reticulata brave the rain…


More Hellebores show up




This is Asarum Panda. I need to peek underneath to check for blooms!

March2-2016 017

Blue Hepatica surface at this time too. They are tiny and delicate so far…


Last year I planted three pale yellow Corylopsis shrubs. They are still small but doing very well.


The drumstick primulas are also doing well this year.


In front of the house the free daffodils given to me last fall are blooming in March.


Nearby the Ribes is about to bloom.



Corydalis Chocolate Star is now showing off its pale lavender flowers.


This Corydalis Blue Heron is also blooming now.


Rhubarb is surfacing!


The Cornus Mas that was planted last year is blooming nicely.


Close by, the Meconopsis Sheldonii are growing and I am impatient to see their blooms. Keeping my fingers crossed!


I’ll try to add to this as time permits.