Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Vancouver Island : Clubs new and old, plants wild and domestic.

Congratulations to the formal formation of a new rock-garden club based around Nanaimo, BC:
The Alpine Gardeners of Central Vancouver Island.  Above is the rock garden they maintain.

I must extend my personal thanks to their very active Valerie Melanson, who even grew Paintbrush (C. miniata) to raffle off at their club's meeting and spearheads the international-quality newsletter of their healthy young interest group.  If you can't get enough of Crevice Garden literature, subscribe to "The Crevice" through the above link.

Anthyllis montana var. rubra.  
I will forever be a defenseless sucker for true red and orange 
on mini-plants. Growing in the AGCVI's Crevice garden, 
which is Paul Sprigg's handywork.

Sempervivum 'Cafe' in my friend Gord's Hobby Nursery, 'Alba Plants.'

He's built a lovely new glass-roofed structure since I was here last.

Huh.  It feels strange to see folks in what feels like a wet climate doing so much to traip rainwater compared to my homestate, but the wild reality is that Victoria, BC, being rain shadowed by the island's mountains, recieves only 24 inches (600mm) of yearly annual precip, which is not much higher than Denver.    {However, there is more winter cloudcover, cooler summers, and a bit more humidity, and these are what really separate the Coastal BC and Colorado Climates.}  They are a classic "Mediterranian" climate being dry and warm in the summer.  

Beekeeping is Gord's most current obsession.

 The Crevice Garden at the windswept Beacon Hill Park in Victoria is growing well,

Thanks to Niel, of the VIRAGS (Victoria Rock Alpine Garden Society) who tends it religiously, and has done for years. He's generous and educatoinal to passersby.  This sort of dedication is the heart and success of plants in our public culture.  We mustn't take folks like him for granted.

Paul Sprigg's Home Crevice Garden.
I had to make a botanical pilgrimmage to the very crevice garden which, upon seeing it four years ago, galvanised me like a thiunderbolt and sent me off in a wild direction; my life's not been the same since!  The plants are chowing down on the space; the rocks are barely visible. This brings up the aesthetic question; what per cent of your stone do you want covered by plants?  They'll take it all if you let them!  

Paul opines lately that five years is what it takes for a crevice garden, with its slow-growing and small palnts, to be "mature."

He took me and his friend, Ty, up to a bog in the Island's Mountains.  This is the first time I've seen carnivourous plants in nature.  Note the wet, in-curved light-green basal leaves of Pinguicula aff. vulgaris.  Isn't it suprising?- Carnivourous plants tend to have ridiculously showy flowers.

 Erythronium montanum was having a good year in the moutains.  Rare on the island, but common in mainland BC.   Not a small Glacier/Dog-tooth lily.

Amanda Carruther's Garden is another pilgrimmage, for me; she inheirited it from her late mum Joyce, who was Zdeněk Zvolánek's sweetheart and rock-gardening buddy.  I understand he built this end of her rockery recently, after her passing.  It's a big, sweeping mass of stones around the back yard, and full of jewels...

Like Moltkia petrea.  Another first for me; I have never seen it in bloom.
It's more electric that the pictures allow. Seriously.  Don't you want it now?
Borages tend to have a long blooming time based on their successive flowers.  Now you want it, eh?

My interest in Moltkias was zapped into me when I saw one in bloom in the Caucasus.  It's only gotten worse now, having seen this.  I told Paul is was his duty to collect seeds from these plants.

Daphne giraldii.
Speaking of collecting seed.  This plant bloomed for the first time for my friend at Alba Plants when I was visiting; it was grown from Jim Archibald seed, and has a consuming yet perfect fragrance.

I do not tire of living in the culture of loving plants. 
Thanks for reading.

(Paul Spriggs crevice detail)

1 comment:

Panayoti Kelaidis said...

Love following you around vicariously: we're back from Canada before you! Nanny nanny poo poo!

Vancouver Island is absurdly wonderful. I hate them ...................................................................just kidding.