Plants of Pipers Lagoon Park

Last Friday I had a chance to take a walk around Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia. This small park includes a mixed Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) and Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii) meadow with associated plants. It looks like it could be a fascinating place to spend some time botanizing a little later in the spring. The twisted branches of …

Here’s to Hemlocks!

Guest Post By Jocie Brooks Western Hemlock Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) is one of coastal BC’s most common conifers. It is also a very beautiful tree, with fine needles and attractive downward-sweeping boughs. Early settlers called the tree “hemlock” because they thought that the odour of the crushed needles resembled a European plant. “Tsuga” translates from Japanese as “tree mother,”and …

Born of Fire

Guest Post by Vijay Somalinga Last summer I was having a conversation with a friend about the native flora of British Columbia. I was quite disappointed when I learned that most of the the flower pictures I had taken that summer turned out to be invasive and non-native species. It was during this conversation that for the first time I …

Hazelnut Harvest

We’ve always liked growing our own food and have four very productive raised beds in the backyard garden. These have been a great source of fresh produce throughout the summer and the kids love to help with the harvesting. The gardens are also a bit of a biodiversity oasis in our little patch of suburbia and we get all sorts …

Cascara!

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks Here on the West Coast, we tend to boast about big trees, forever going on about massive firs and cedars. Sometimes, we are so mesmerized by these giants that we fail to notice many of the small but attractive trees that are also a fine feature of our forests. Showy dogwoods, delicate Douglas-maples, and elegant …

Apple Blossom Time

We’ve had a small apple tree in our backyard in “downtown” Courtenay for a couple of years now but it has yet to produce blooms. It’s actually a refugee from my mother-in-law’s place in the country where its growth was effectively kept in check by deer browsing. Looks like the little tree is finally feeling comfortable and now its decided …

A Mountain Tree: Yellow-cedar

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks On a sunny Saturday during the recent cold-snap I took a morning off to do some cross-country skiing at Mt. Washington, gateway to Strathcona Provincial Park. The smooth, creamy-white snow glistened in the morning light, studded with troops of frosted trees. They call this “Paradise Meadows” for a reason; it’s a spectacular place and feels …

Hemlock is a Beautiful Tree

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I drive through Miracle Beach Provincial Park quite regularly, en route to my mother’s house. I always enjoy going through the park, where the boughs of western hemlock fan out on each side of the road in broad, sweeping sprays. When dusted with snow the effect is even more enchanting, like entering a scene from …

Cottonwood Snow in June

The thick leaves of the Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) are heart-shaped and somewhat waxy in texture. Along the rivers on the east coast of Vancouver Island Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) is now producing seed. In fact, there is so much Cottonwood fluff in the air at times that it seems like it is snowing beside the …

Spring Snow at Mount Washington

A brilliant blue sky and sun make for an excellent day of cross-country skiing at Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. There’s been so much snow this winter at Mount Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island that “spring” skiing conditions are still quite good. I got up to the mountain on Thursday this week and did some cross country skiing. The …