The Not So Red Common Red Paintbrush

One of the plants that seems to be common in the Courtenay River estuary is the common red paintbrush (Castilleja miniata). What interested me about the plants that were growing along the edges of the slough and wetter areas was the variety of colour represented. Colours ranged from deep red through to a pale yellow. The classic Common Red Paintbrush …

Nanaimo’s Rare Bog Birds-foot Trefoil

Speechless—that’s how I felt after spending a full day photographing flowers in Harewood Plains in Nanaimo. Not only is the flower display in the meadows absolutely stunning, it is also one of only five locations on Vancouver Island where you can find bog birds-foot trefoil (Lotus pinnatus). A detail of the flowers of Bog Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus pinnatus) showing the …

The Secret Side of the Courtenay River Estuary

When I do the regular Aipark Lagoon loop with the kids, I’ve often wondered about the far side of the Courtenay River which can be seen from this popular and well used walkway. The opposite bank has a wild and abandoned look, which is anchored by the empty Field Sawmill site. There’s no obvious access point, so there doesn’t seem …

Vancouver Groundcone at Little Qualicum Falls

Don’t let the “little” part of the name of Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park fool you—these waterfalls are definitely a worthy of a stop on the way out to the West Coast of Vancouver Island or as an easy day trip from Courtenay or Nanaimo. In addition to the dramatic falls, the narrow canyons also make for good photography. And if …

Deltoid Balsamroot

If you live near Campbell River on Vancouver Island you don’t have to take a ferry over to the mainland and drive all the way to the Okanagan to see some gorgeous wild sunflowers. In fact, the deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) that grows on Tyee Spit is much rarer than its cousin the arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) that covers the …

Comox Lake Bluffs

Earlier in April, Jocie and I spent an enjoyable day without the kids revisiting Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve. The last time we hiked out to this ecological reserve was in May, 2008 with Comox Valley Nature (note the year on the web page is incorrect). Alden was just coming up to age 1 at that time and you can …

Wildflowers on the Canyon View Trail

This is the time of year on Vancouver Island to get down to local riverside trails and check out the spring wildflower bloom. One of my favourite places to walk is the the Canyon View Trail in Campbell River. We usually start this moderate 6 km loop trail at the John Hart Generation Station and then walk downstream along the …

White Fawn Lilies at Pipers Lagoon Park

The white fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) at Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia are in full bloom this week. Jocie and I were doing a bit of botanizing last week and were astounded by the display. White Fawn Lilies (Erythronium oregonum) cover the ground at Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo. The dense carpets of white nodding heads and mottled …

Gorgeous Gold Star in Bloom

Spring is definitely here on Vancouver Island. Forget about the crocuses and snow drops and all of those other flower bed plants, the true signs that winter is moving on are the return of the Pacific Herring and the small yellow bloom of Gold Star (Crocidium multicaule). While it is hard not to notice the herring spawn, the diminutive Gold …

A Succulent Story

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Whenever I come in my back door, I’m greeted by two pots of hardy native succulents that I planted last summer: Oregon stonecrop and broad-leaved stonecrop. Attractive rosettes of fleshy leaves have completely engulfed the pots, and I marvel at the vigour of these plants that thrive in wet winters and dry summers with no …