Friday, December 15, 2006

from Vancouver

yuccas with ? (the little evergreen tree)behind them, dogwoods and kerria in the background

You'll have to pardon me if I'm mistaken in naming some of the plants here. And if you are able to enlighten me, please help me out! Having lived in zone 6 and colder for most of my adult life, I'm amazed at the range of plants that are not familiar to me!

On this visit to Vancouver, the perpetually green hedges drew me in. But what are they? Laurel, leylandii, thuya, hornbeam..? The local varieties of hedging plants I'm most accustomed in Ontario to are cedar, privet, yew and boxwood, although any number of other plants are used and would be hardy. My Dad (who failed to be the huge source of knowledge I remember from my childhood ;) ) didn't know either. To locals, they are ubiquitous and probably very, very ordinary. (I'm reminded of Thomas Hobbs, a Vancouver area garden writer who encourages the use outrageous colour in the garden in two books, Jewel Box Garden and Shocking Beauty -- a quest, it seemed to me, for the most extraordinary and obscure plants one could lay their hands on -- great fun maybe, but out of the reach of most of us. On a previous visit to Vanvouver, I was able to visit Southlands Nursery that Hobbs runs, and found it is chock full of gorgeous plants and design ideas and I readily admit I lusted after everything!)

Another couple of things that I found ubiquitous were English ivy and dead nettle (Lamium), which have both perhaps achieved the status of "pest" long ago. But I couldn't help enjoying them, carpeting the ground and draped high into the trees that surround the golf course a little east of my parents' home. I was able to do my run through those trees on soft paths surfaced with very finely chipped bark.



ornamental kale and pansies
(text edited Dec 19, 2006)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures--reminds me how much I love my own bergenia! I own "Jewel Box Garden" myself, and am of a like mind... it's fun to drool over, but a little crazy to have in my own backyard. :)

7:27 p.m.  
Blogger sisah said...

I am quite surprised 'Lavender stoechas' is hard enough for Canada, I love all lavender but in particular L.stoechas, which is natural in Turkey. Here in zone 7 in my garden it never survived the winters.
We german gardeners always seem to go crazy for everything which has to do with english gardens, I also have quite a few books from famous english gardeners (Beth Chatto, Penelope Hobhouse, Sackville-West..) but now I find out there is more interesting beyond the ocean: T.Hobbs´ books are on my list now!

2:50 p.m.  
Blogger Kati said...

Sisah, except for the freak snow storm, the lower mainland and Vancouver Island are zone 8 or 9, I think. I too love the English gardeners and have read every one of the writers you mention (thank goodness for libraries).

11:00 a.m.  

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