Klahanie-Island garden

Not very serious gardening on the west coast in Canada

I am starting  this document to remind me of the progress and changes I am making on this land.

We have moved to this place several years ago and it is all about the tall trees and not much sun. I love moss and ferns but they are all so green and tell the truth, green is not my favourite color. We have chosen this property because we loved the views. It is a beautiful property and I will try to capture its moods and spirit.Saltspring Island in the bacground

Moody fall morning (October 2011)


There are few overgrown rhododendrons which will have to be rejuvenated.

I do not know name of this one (perhaps Mrs G.W. Leek?)…… unfortunately half of it is dead. What killed it was the deep roots of ferns underneath on that side.

It is shocking pink and  it makes quite a  statement every April. I would like to find one like it because it blooms  early in the season.


Other existing plants here were this star magnolia and ornamental plum-tree . They both bloom vigorously but the branches are tangled and mossy.

The red rhododendron (Taurus) was planted by me in 2010 and it must like the location because it tripled in size. Actually, I planted 2 of them to cover leggy branches of the tall juniper behind them and we bought a large  carved “wood spirit” and positioned it in the middle. It is very powerful site. It cannot be missed. The frilly plants beside the rhodies are Nandina (heavenly bamboo) and I will probably plant a japanese maple behind the face. Interestingly this property had only one japanese maple on it and I am planning to add few more. They grow very well in this part of the world.

This is a fine specimen of Crimson queen we just butchered on the bottom last October (2011) It’s weeping habit spilled all over the  grass and pathway.

I also purchased its green cousin (Waterfall) , planted it in a half barrel  and put it in the spot which has only limited sunshine and I hope he will survive there. It sure brightens that spot. I will monitor its progress (or lack of it) for a year or two and reposition it if necessary.


We have lots of deer on the Island and this property is not fenced so it introduces another challenge for me. I bought several plants not knowing which they might like and which they do not like but have found very quickly that they like everything.  Very few plants are untouched.

The next picture is evergreen shrub (Indian Hawthorn-Majestic beauty) that I planted in the fall 2011 and thanks to our deer there is not much green left on it. It was absolutely gorgeous when I bought it, full of flowers and bees just loved it. Will have to protect it until it will reach mature size. I hope it will survive. I also planted a new camellia (Elsie Jury) which suffered the same fate. We do have a huge camellia (do not know the name) close to the front porch  which deer ignore but this one was young and tasty.

Above shrub in bloom (Indian Hawthorn-Majestic beauty)

One shrub deer will not touch is Pieris Japonica ( I believe that this shrub is poisonous if consumed by people or animals)  We have  couple of good size specimens .


We also have lots of grey and black squirrels around. They were no problem until they chewed the hole in the  carport roof (to have a family) and now my husband declared a war on them. I have to admit that so far the squirrels are winning.

That is not the only war he is battling and not winning. There is a Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) on the hill to my “sun valley” Originally, I liked it  for its bamboo like stem, large exotic looking leaves and zillion of tiny white flowers which bees love. It is literally covered with bees when in bloom. How little I knew that it is the worst invasive plant around here. Now we are trying to eradicate it without much success. It keeps coming up in many places several meters away from the original clump. Husband dug out buckets of the rhizome of the original, thick clump but a year later it looks like he did nothing. Interestingly the rhizome did not completely burn so he dumped the charred clumps  back to the buckets and it (OMG) sprouted new shoots  . We realized then that we are here for a long battle.The next step is Roundup which I usually do not use readily even though this forest floor is covered with lovely weeds. I read that in the far east the Japanese knotweed has dozens of purposes including medicinal and culinary.

This is a picture of very young plant, taken on May 4th 2012 Eventually it will become 12-14 feet tall

Such is life

  1. ron ursell said:

    What a fantastic location. I have some friends who live in North Vancouver and one on Vancouver Island. I visited them about four years ago but never made the one who lives on the island he met us in Vancouver but regret not managing to get there. I am amazed at the colourful bracks on the pieris I am lucky to get a handful on mine what do you feed it on or is it just where you are ?

    • klahanie said:

      Hello Ron
      We are happy here on the Island. But winters can be pretty grey and rainy.
      I do not feed these plants anything, just some water occasionally. I think that Westcoast is a good location for pieris. They seem to thrive here. I have several of them…all doing extremely well.

  2. Willeke Kotvis said:

    Hello, I’m Willeke form Holland. my friend is searching for seeds from the thunbergia mysorensis. She is living in Crete so the climate is fine. Can you help me where to find some seeds for her? Thanks

    • Hello Willeke, we left Mexico before this vine went to seed. I do not even know how their seeds look like but I am willing to look around next time when we will go there again (in fall). Maybe some Garden centers will carry it. It is an amazing plant. We are in our Canadian residence now and we cannot grow it here.
      Take care

    • Willeke Kotvis said:

      Thank you for answering me. I can wait, hope you can get the seeds is fall. I will stay in touch.

  3. klahanie said:

    Hi Willeke . I am in Mexico right now and the plant in our yard is presently blooming but strangely, I do not see it setting any seeds. I would love to get you some if I can. We are here till March so I will ask in the local nursery if it is possible to get it there but I think they propagate it from cuttings. There was another person interested to get some. It is a neat plant.
    Happy New year and all the best in 2015.

  4. Willeke,
    I found something which looks like seeds on the plant.
    I will mail to you when we come back to Canada in April.

    • Willeke said:

      WoW, thank you! I will here from you in April.

      • Yes, I will need your address then.
        Take care

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