There was a greenhouse on the property when we moved in. A stamp in concrete says it was built in 1977 and when I first saw it , it gave me goose bumps. Roof glass was mainly broken , ready to fall down and it was quite dangerous to be in. One fine spring day in 2010  it collapsed. I do not remember if there was a storm or just  from an old age. When I walked outdoors there it was….down. I swear  that I was picking broken pieces of glass for another 5 years.  Eventually we cleaned the area out from all the greenhouse debris and eventually it became a field for my “production area” ….. but mainly a field of weeds .

spring2010 x-green-house

I was promised a new one and after 8 years , my OH built me a new building which I really cannot call greenhouse because there is not much sun in. Although, It is very attractive structure. We put a cedar shingle roof and few skylights. It is snugged right against the forest which blocks the sun in the afternoon.  This kind of  roof is more practical in this spot because in winter storms big branches brake and most likely would damage the glass roof.   So I call it a  “HUT” .

In early spring in 2018 the building went up quickly because the walls were put together in the shop over winter. We used an old door which came out from the main house in the time of remodeling.  I will be painting it pale green .

Skylights are in

Putting the glass in was not an easy task because of the custom sizes of windows.

Wood shingles are coming on in the middle on April:

It is all done on outside and maybe usable but at this point just few details on inside need to be added:

Just in time of rhododendron high season…view from distance

This is how it looks now .Our neighbour and friend made these chairs and  OH painted them. The dog is nor a real animal. A little statue I call Tacko. . He looks realistic and very cute.

We put a stained glass on top of the large window (north side) which gave it a nice touch.


The new counter is still pretty empty until I decide what I actually will use it for. Maybe I can pick up an interest in growing orchids or making bonsai. Both could be interesting hobbies. I really do not  know anything about either of them. The plant in front is a “future” coffee tree.

So far I have red banana tree  and an artichoke. I also bought a passion flower but it really does not like it there.

The inside has  girlish feel with all my nick-nacks

I am sure this will be a pleasant place to be in the winter when all the gardens go to sleep. Although, so far there is no power for lights and I will use a propane heater to keep the temperature above 0 deg Celsius at night



Meet my new deer friend. I named him Sebastian. He comes every day and can make a mess in the garden. We try to let him stay away  from front gardens with motion activated sprinkles. There are few plants in there that are on his menu.



Browsing though the forest I came across this interesting plant which was about 20″ tall..

Not knowing what it was I had to search the net to find out.

Corallorhiza maculate – also known as western coralroot 

Little blur picture below shows little orchid like flowers. I was delighted that it is in orchid family. There are no leaves and no photosynthetic green tissues. The stems bear dark red scales and intricate orchid flowers. Roots feed of forest floor fungi thus it is parasitic. Apparently it is common around here but it is first time I noticed it and was quite delighted it found a home in our forest.


Better picture of the single flower is here:











 After the miserable winter and slow start of spring flowers finally the bulbs started to show their faces. and  camellias, magnolias and few early rhododendrons started to open. Unfortunately it rained most of the time until late May and we were not able to fully enjoy their beauty.

Rain in May is not anomaly on this Island and some years are worse (better) than others. Blooms on most of mine fruit trees blackened this spring. I am not sure if it happened because of the cold winter or wetness or disease . None of them look very happy. I do not care about the fruit but hope that these trees recover.

Red rhododendron Taurus and the ornamental plum never disappoint in spring.

May (and October) is my favorite month around here. Everything looks so fresh in May and it is a rhododendron, magnolia and camellia’s time to shine.

I inherited several rhododendrons and planted many more. Some I love for the flowers and some for their leaves.

Love these flowers of rhododendron Konkardia below. It grows very tall for me, almost tree like.

Konkardia was hybridized by Hans Hachmann,. in Holstein, Germany, 1957 .Seed parent ‘Humboldt’ and pollen parent is ‘Direktor E Hjelm’ .

These are young leaves of Japanese Full moon maple Jordan. Acer shirasawanum (Below)

Introduced by Fratelli Ghiradelli and named after his son
Unfortunately, I planted it in full sun and it will burn top later in the summer. Every description on the web tells me that it is the only yellow Japanese maple which can be planted in the full sun. It even says that it thrives in the full sun. Mine is in the ground for 2 years now and I hope that when it will be more established it will respond to sun more favourably. So far it burns crisp on the top every year.

May is also good time for our ” star” trees to show off. blooming in early spring are few camellias, viburnum, magnolias alongside with many rhododendrons

Magnolia Susan fills the yard in wonderful fragrance each evening.

Flowers of Magnolia Elizabeth


Blooming doublefile viburnum or Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ .

Very dense bush or small tree in our case ….it is uprooted every snowstorm we get and has to be lifted up and tied up to the close by flowering cherry.

It is very gracious plant and a major attraction in early spring and also in fall when its leaves turn beautiful red.

 Japanese maple Shindeshojo (in the picture below) is primarily grown for its striking spring foliage color not fall.  It really shines in the spring. In summer it changes colour to pinkish green and it is sort of invisible. I have this maple for a few years and it have not grown an inch. They are known to be a slow growers and probably OK to grow in a container.   Mine survives miraculously in full sun.

In the picture below are: Yellow rhododendron Nancy Evans, ivy covered dead trees and red maple

‘Nancy Evans’ is a compact  shrub with bronze young foliage . Her growth habit isn’t the nicest, she doesn’t keep a good bushy habit naturally, it’s bit untidy and leggy if left to her own. 

Parentage  (Seed Parent x Pollen Parent):  Hotei x Lem’s Cameo


Early forget me not  mingle with young leaves of irises.

forget me not in irises

First bloom in tree peony Hoki

Alliums peaking at the view

RHODODENDRON Elsie Watson was hybridized by Frank Fujioka 1977

Seed Parent “Anna” ; Pollen parent Purple lace

I am replacing a rhododendron Mrs  GW Leak which was so beautiful when we moved in but died.

I hope that one day I will find that rhododendron again. This is a good substitute

Rhododendron Blue Boy

Parentage: ‘Blue Ensign’ (s) X ‘Purple Splendour’.

Bred by: Elsie. Watson

Wonderful colour of  Camassia cusickii

A Pacific Northwest native  blooms in the blank period between the Narcissus and Tulip spring show

Resident California quail is watching his mate taking an evening bath  in my veggie garden. Grrrrr…


Bunny is posing for me. LOL. What a ham. I am inside the house and shooting through a window.

Cute fellow with big appetite ….. can be quite destructive.

Most of the times our sunsets are not spectacular but this was an exception.

 This year……we did not go to Mexico and it was the worst winter on the record…. it was brutal and spring just did not  want to come. I do not know how we survived it…..but we did but some of mine more tender plants did not. In early April very few plants were blooming. Some shrubs tinged green but no flowers .  Some shrubs were beaten up and deformed by the heavy snow. It caught me by surprise and I had no opportunity to protect them.

2 shrubs that herald the spring here on the Island and are blooming usually in early March were blooming in the first part of April.

A native shrub  Oemleria cerasiformis  also known as Osoberry or Indian plum. 

This picture of Osoberry was taken on April 4th and the flower is not completely opened but the picture shows the shape of the leaf nicely.They are quite happy in the endless rains. It will grow in deepest shade and at difficult sites. I noticed only one on the property and it almost looks like it was planted there by human, not birds. I noticed it after we moved in but never knew what it was and it looked somewhat insignificant so I did not bother to explore it further. Only couple of years ago it sparked my interest when I started to clear many ferns in that area.


Native  Ribes sanguineum (flowering currant) blooming in early April. We have both varieties, red and white. The red one is growing wild but the white was planted on edge of the forest by one of the previous residents and it’s now a sizable bush.

 Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’


Mahonia aquifolium  (Oregon grape ) is another native plant  that is blooming in early April. l It is an understory of our Douglas-fir forests. I consider it invasive on in our environment . The inner bark of stems and roots of Oregon-grap eare used by aboriginal people for yellow dye; the berries give purple dye.

Deer path through Mahonia aquifolium under the Douglas Firs and Big leaf Maples

Violas grow in the grass in middle of April

Primroses look at their best in April also and bloom for long time. I love these cheerful little plants in early spring  . They grow wild everywhere in many colours (probably cross pollinated).

The more cultivated ones I grow in my flower beds as this  Primula vulgaris Belarina Pink Ice


Hellebores did not mind the snow and cool temperatures. Thre is a local craze about them but I have only 3. Although they are somewhat pretty they never exited me. I should love them as the deer and rabbits don’t.. Maybe in the future I could thin my colchicums and plant few more hellebores. They starting to introduce new hybrids and some are little bit more interesting than my old ones. Especially the leaves. Colchicums have also large leaves (not pretty) and smother everything else in the border…..but comes fall and they are stars in the garden when all the other plants are gone.

I do not have name for this Hellebores.

Hellebores Merlin starts this pink and fades to beige and then to almost green.. It is a smaller plant which is not noticeable from this picture.

Winter Daphne also blooms in early April and in addition, it smells heavenly.

Rhododendron Christmas Cheers is blooming since February. 2 little plants are blooming by the guest house.

These are my few early March to early April bloomers) Other plants are starting to wake up in the middle of April and explode by May. Lots around here was planted for May show and this property is at its best at that time.


This is the last time I saw her. It was March 26th. She lived with us all winter. She slept behind the shop and basically stayed in sight most of the time. I think she felt safe here . We have no dogs to chase her and I mostly ignored her. We almost became friends even though I knew that she will be a problem comes spring. I also think that she was born on this property and felt that this was her home.She did not look entirely healthy and because of the snow there was very little to eat. Unfortunately,  she was in some plants which are poisonous if eaten in larger quantities…..such as rhododendrons . Some of my rhododendrons were stripped. Hopefully she found a friend and left with him. I think of her often. So far I did not see any deer damage.


Rhubarb cheesecake . We have lots of healthy rhubarb this year.

Robins are back, building their nests and destroying our grass areas.

Such is life

This is the first winter we are staying on the Island in a decade (or more) and WOW look at the snow on December 10th.

Where is the ocean and the Island on the other side of the channel?

I have to admit I found it so pretty.  It looks quiet and so serene.


Little hummingbird was caught by surprise too and  I am sure that that this shivering little bird (pictured below) does not agree with me.

Somehow a tiny hummingbird does not fit in this Christmas snowy scene any more than a Macaw.

This is “Anna’s” hummingbird. The other hummingbirds we have around in Summer such as Rufous, Calliope, and Black-chinned have enough sense to leave for Mexico and the Gulf Coast by late summer. I read it is only past few decades that they stay around. In the past the most northern sighting were in San Francisco area.  People feed them (we have many feeders around for them) and there is plenty of “winter gardens” blooming( Mahonia, Sarcococca , Witch hazel, Winter Daphne ,Viburnum bodnatense, Heathers, Hellebores, Primroses ….just to name few). Some of these these provide their food supply during the winter.


 My OH who tries to keep the driveway clear is not impressed either..


Deer is looking for food too. The laurel hedge is munched on every winter but interestingly only in that spot. It is not touched anywhere else



This amount of snow is rare anomaly here. Last big snow like this was on  November 21st  2010 just a day we were leaving for Mexico. The roads were mess all the way down to California.

This snow stayed on till middle of February . It was very cold for few months and I have not been around the garden much.

This is a little rhododendron Nova Zembla I planted in the summer and it obviously does not like the cold either.


These next few pictures are from February 7th. Looks like winter on the prairie. Lots of snow. It seems unbelievable.


Just a white vacuum behind the trees.


We have an 42 annual flower count in Victoria starting March 5th every year and this is a write up from the organizers on their webpage:

” Count is an annual light-hearted promotion sponsored and organized by The Butchart Gardens and Tourism Victoria. …… It brings national and international attention to the fact that Victoria (City of Gardens) has the mildest climate in Canada. While the rest of Canada and much of the US is still in the cold clutches of winter weather, Victoria often enjoys spring temperatures of 10-15° Celsius (up to 60° Fahrenheit).”

oops… well they say “often”.

The winter snow storm was vicious. Tons of trees  and  branches broke off under the load of heavy snow

The mossed up maple is our neighbours . I do not like these trees go but it will provide me with more light.


Our damaged hot tub cover and deck rails


 Obstacles thrown in our way


There is lots of clean up awaiting after the snow melts.

In mid February came the rain snow is disappearing and early spring flowers started to poke up.

Welcomed sight


Spring is coming.





October is very colourful month at our place on the Island. Although, most of my planting was aimed for spring splash, fall colour is very vivid due to many big leaf maples which mingle with big conifers such as Western Red Cedars, Douglas firs and Western Hemlocks.



Lovely fall colours in front of the yard with Viburnum mariesii turning red (on the left) and Japanese maple in bottom right corner of the picture.. The dark red tree in the background is a flowering plum with big leaf maple behind it . The lollipop shaped tree by the fountain is a pink Camellia .


Peaceful and misty fall morning.


For me the fall starts in late September when colchicums ( fall crocuses) star to bloom.


Potentilla pink paradise is a new plant this year…hoping to add more colour in late summer.

potentilla pink paradise

I did not record names of these heathers but they are the fall blooming variety and lovingly fuzzy.


In late October all dahlias are starting to look pathetic and it is time to pull them out of ground. That is one chore I am not looking forward to.

My new dahlia this year AC Dark Horse. Sometimes I have to wonder about the plant names. It would be interesting to know why it was named “Dark horse”


I am always impressed by the fluffy plumes of a pampas grasses.


Over past few years I’ve collected several Japanese maples but this Acer dissectum  Crimson Queen was inherited. It is getting quite big and starting to block our pathway. I would hate to have it destroyed by a bad hair cut. It is still OK for a year or two as is . It turns fiery orange later on. 

The maple in the pot in the background is Acer Osakazuki. It was a first maple I purchased and it lives in the pot ever since. It has best red fall colour of them all.


Gentle colours of Acer “Butterfly”. Excellent tree to brighten  darker spots.


Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ (Mexican orange) was  planted last year and it is brilliant chartreuse colour all year round. I am very happy about the purchase.


Yellow colours of Acer Villa Toranto will turn much more orange in November. It holds its leaves much longer than my other maples. The red colour above belongs to Nadina domestica.


Not too far from Acer Villa Toranto  is this red leafed Japanese Maple–( Acer palmatumAtropurpureum )  It is Red all year round but the redness intensify in the fall


Detail .


Delicately cut foliage of acer Inaba Shidare has very bright red fall colour I keep this maple in tub as I still need to find the perfect location for it. Its leaves burned in full sun last summer.

Japanese maples are a must-have for any foliage-loving gardener.


Fall colour of Cotinus (Smoke tree) which has stunning dark red-purple foliage in spring and summer . They are mostly grown for their large, plume-like panicles (after the flowers are gone)


Bold colour of Nerines Bowdenii in October. They belong to the Amaryllidaceae family.  The flowers appear on naked stems before the leaves develop therefore the common name Naked Ladies. They usually bloom till November for me.


Cercidiphyllum japonicum ‘Rotfuchs’ (Katsura Red fox). This is the most interesting tree for leaf coloration. The leaves emerge dark red in spring and hold their colour until middle of summer when  they’ll change to interesting dark bluish green. In October they start to turn orange/yellow .

This picture was taken October 23 rd.


October is also month to preserve some of the fruit  from our trees. I planted  crab apple tree for wildlife to enjoy in winter but it has so much fruit that I decided to steel some.


And the result…..good for another year. These pretty hand painted glasses came from a friend.



Late October is also a month when local  “fisheries” are open for salmon fishing and the commercial boats move to our bay in droves and stay for weeks (sad to say) This picture is taken from our deck.


Because we have not stayed on the Island in winter in past many years it will be an adventure to find out what it actually feels like. Good bye October.



Looking at  pictures from previous years our spring was warmer this year and all  plants were at least 2 weeks ahead of their regular schedule.

This pink inherited rhododendron heralds the end of the spring and beginning of the summer for me. It starts to bloom end of the May and ends full bloom in the middle of June. It is interesting hybrid as it will re- bloom here and there all summer and occasionally even in the fall. I tried to search the interenet for a match and closest I could come up with was Rhododendron ‘Mrs Horace Fogg’ or her child Brianna.

pink rhodo

Very “blousy” flowers and the “Lordei Group” look.

large pink rhododendron1

My new rhododendron Karin is definitely in the same family


As Usual rhododendrons were fallowed by peonies, poppies ireses, lilacs . I added few more peonies but they did not  bloom this year.


But the star this spring was Magnolia Elizabeth.  I do not have it for long time but it is already substantial and lovely tree.


Detail if the flowers



Magnolia Susan looked especially lovely this spring and the fragrance filled the yard every evening.



magnolia susan-close-up

Another nice tree I planted couple of years ago is Japanese maple Jordan. Unfortunately, it seems that it cannot take the sun its getting and its leaves completely burned at end of the summer. I really like it in the spot it is in but will have to dig it out and replant in more shady area. Only few  of my Japanese Maples can take full sun. Most can’t.


Comes May and June and the garden comes alive. Whisteria blooming by the entrance door


Delightful flowers of Indian hawthorn “Majestic beauty”  (Rhaphiolepis  indica).indian-hawthorn3


Bright colour of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Shindeshojo’ ) brightens the otherwise green corner. April colour:


July colour


And this is September colour


Looking up hill from an area I call Sun Valley this is a mish-mash of plants. Some planted by me, some inherited and some just growing wild. One of the favorite spots I love to sit in the summer.



and later in the summer


I am realizing more and more that I cannot plant a large variety of plants that our climate here would allow me. Wild life is just too numerous. And that goes not only for flowers (perennial or annual) but also for my fruit trees, berries, grapes and produce. Everything is eaten before it is ready for us humans. Between deer, bears, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, numerous birds there is nothing left for us. Even wasp get into small fruits and berries.  Interestingly, I have planted an crab-apple (red sentinel) just for wildlife and no one is interested in it.

It looks lovely in spring, just loaded with pink blooms which will fully open to white.


and in fall these little red apples are like jewels shining against the sky.


My sad story at the end of the summer.

We have many deer browsing around and through our property. I learned to accept them.

One very young fawn was around all the time and appeared to be very friendly.


 I did not see any adult deer walking with her and she was into everything. I noticed that even some very toxic plants were munched on. I speculated that for some reason her mother abounded her. Poor thing looked sick and worse with every day passing. 


We offered her an apple and she accepted.


Then I did not see her for some time. She died.  My OH found her dead in the forest but did not tell me. So I did not know for some time. He waited for me to get out for part of the day that he could bury her without me being around. Then he told me. It was a sad day.

RIP in peace little one.







Few trees around here had to be trimmed as they were hazard or too close to our deck and very messy.
Big tall Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) was first. Two very professional loggers came to do the job. One was a young British fellow who moved here 5 years ago and from his experience this tree is about 100 years old and 130-140 feet tall. Just a baby by the local standards…he said


There are 2 kinds of Douglas Firs (technically not a fir). Costal and Rocky mountain, they differentiate by their habitats, growth rates, and physical characteristics.
I read somewhere that coast Douglas-firs frequently exceed over 500 years in age and occasionally over 1,000! They commonly grow up to 250 feet . The Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir grows up to 160 feet and is much more cold tolerant than the costal one. The British Fellow was telling us that he was recently involved in falling one of the 250 feet tall Douglas fir and being 250 feet up in a tree was “awesome”. He really must love his job 🙂 We have few bigger trees than the one shown in this picture on the property.

Here comes the first branch:

first branch

And more branches to followtrimming fir

can you spot the logger in the tree?


They make it look so easy and effortless


The Arbutus was a little bit of challenge with their crooked trunks and branches


They had to cut this in pieces not to damage our deck. Arbutus wood is very dense and heavy. The branch is tied on one end and the second end is carried off the deck while the rope is slowly released.logger3

My OH helped with hauling the branches and was rewarded for it by backache later.houling branches

These industrial chippers are amazing . Guys can throw in a whole medium size tree and it will suck it in like nothing. No need to force it in. It only took few minutes to chip the pile.


One of the branches had what they called tear drop. A branch split and re-grew together again in a different location. Plants have clever ways to heal themselves.
I should have kept it for inspiration.

tear drop

The rusty looking tree is Chamaecyparis Lawsoniana “Pembury Blue”. It is not blue because it is dead. They were actually 2 trees side by side which have been toppled at one point. The guys from the tree service are removing the top part and leaving the bottom for me to grow climbers.

dead trees

Much easier task then the previous 2, I suspect.easy task

These people are very acrobatic and fearless:


Almost done. He is cutting the top and then down to the level of the 3 ends on the right side. We will put some bird houses at the top. I’d like to attract swallows again. We had some( long time ago) and then they’ve disappeared. They are great for mosquitos control. It also opened the sky to the northwest so maybe I will see some nice sunset colours.

almost gone

On the right are tree trunk stumps where few birdhouses will go. The tree which is being cut has two more stumps and will be cut to the same level as the first tree.


Job is done and there is even little bit of firewood for our neighbour.


Clean up begins……now