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Garden Photo of the Day

Spring Surprises in BC

By Kim Charles

Anna Echols of Victoria, BC, Canada is enjoying her inherited gardens and close proximity to the fabulous Butchart Gardens.

"My inherited garden… surprises me each Spring with little wonders in the soil like those attached. This is our 2nd Spring with this garden and I just love watching it unravel as I forget where the little gems like these attached, will sprout up.

However, I’m an avid bulb planter – about 1,000 between the last two fall seasons. Luckily here on the west coast, I can plant in containers in the Fall and have blooms wherever I need them in Spring, like the tulips in the faux/makeshift window box."

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  1. Maggieat11 05/17/2017

    Beautiful, Anna, love your bulb enthusiasm! It must look fabulous there.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Like all gardens, it's a work in progress. Thanks Margaret.

  2. tennisluv 05/17/2017

    Spring ephemerals are always such a delight. Pots full of tulips, how delightful.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Tulips are my favourite flower. Too bad that more of them don't smell. My next project is building a rose garden of David Austin roses along with my husband. His first time taking a major interest in the creation of a garden!

  3. user-7007498 05/17/2017

    Good morning, Anna. I love the coloration of the trillium, and your faux windowboxe is cool. Envious of your location near Butchart gardens-such a great garden to see.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Thanks Kevin. Trilliums are fun.

  4. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 05/17/2017

    Wow, 1000 bulbs in just 2 seasons, Anna...you are the Johnny Appleseed of tulips, daffodils, etc. Really, for just one person, that's very impressive (and rewarding) number. Your pictured ephemerals are enchanting and such a spring treat. How often to you visit Butchart? Such a glorious feast for the eyes and hearts of gardeners.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Hi there! Butchart is only 5.2km away from my home, so with my annual membership I try to get there at least once a month. It's very inspiring. Today we are going to the Abkhazi Garden to see their annual rhododendron display. http://conservancy.bc.ca/featured-projects/abkhazi-garden/

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 05/17/2017

        Oh, my, thanks for the link for Abkhazi Garden...the first couple of pictures in the slide show on their home page about made my heart burst with delight. Looks like a wonderful garden. Lucky you!

        1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

          It's got a great story! Also check out the Royal Roads University gardens online: http://hatleypark.ca/ Does that castle look familiar?X-men the movies were shot there.

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/17/2017

    Nothing like spring bulbs - daffs are my very favorite. But I have to say I do love muscari as well.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      I planted a ton of new and unique daffs last Fall. The very short ones are on my hit list for Fall 2017 plantings! Our daffs are almost done. Probably just a handful left in the garden now blooming. Do you bend the stems down above the ground once they are finished? Any other daff tips to get them to bloom/spread next year?

      1. User avater
        treasuresmom 05/19/2017

        I just leave them til they are almost brown. I have them in an area that really doesn't bother me when they look like that. Also, I have some little wildflowers that bloom right after and I try to leave those til they are finished.

  6. Chris N 05/17/2017

    How fun to have trillium and trout lily popping up by themselves. The view out your window looks like you have other gems as well. Shows why they say to not make major changes to a garden when you first move in. Wait for a year and see what surprises it holds.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Thank you Chris for identifying my lily... I had wondered which one it was. We're on year two and we're finally hearing what our new Secret Garden is asking for - changewise. Lots of shrub moves for one thing.

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/17/2017

    That's a great inheritance ad some wonderful plants. Even more enviable is living on Vancouver Island! :)
    Those pots outside your window are marvelous. Do you change up the show when the tulips are done? I've been trying to pay more attention to the views out our windows as far as the garden is concerned.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Yes, Tim I do change them up, and yes, living outside Victoria is lovely after our 11 winters in Winnipeg. Currently I have Canada's 150th birthday tulips in triple red outside my window. From Florissa'a Fall 2017 collection, these tulips look more like roses or peonies - very special!

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/17/2017

        Those tulips are amazing. I found Victoria to be a stunningly beautiful city and the Abkhazi garden there is magical!

        1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

          Yes it's a magical place to call home. One of the best places in Canada that's for sure - a gardener's paradise. Did you also visit the gardens at The Horticultural Centre of the Pacific? More untamed than Abkhazi even. But Abkhazi has such a great story attached to it.

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 05/17/2017

            My kids were teens, so we limited some of the horticultural sightseeing on our two trips to Vancouver Island. I missed that and Butchart, but we did swing down to Bainbridge Island for a short tour of Bloedel Preserve. Definitely on my list get get back up your way.

      2. User avater
        Linda on Whidbey 05/17/2017

        Wow! Love those tulips!

  8. user-3565112 05/17/2017

    Good morning, I hope your inherited garden provides little surprises every spring for years to come.. Mother nature may drop in a few of her own & that's not all bad either. I am a fan of blue in the garden , Would you tell me what those blue plants are in the last photo? Thank you & good luck with your surprising. garden, Joe

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Hi Joe. Thanks. Those are muscari - grape hyacinths.

      1. user-3565112 05/17/2017

        Thank you Anna,I like those a lot & will order them this fall.
        Good luck , Joe

        1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

          I'm going to plant a bunch more of them too around my 0.2 acre garden. Last fall I mostly concentrated on snowdrops and crocus and mini early irises for my first kick of colour. I had snowdrops before Christmas and they lasted through our slight snowstorms through to March! These muscari have been blooming for almost a month.

  9. anna_echols 05/17/2017

    I think it is a trout lily... though I hadn't a clue until someone else commented on it. It's a guest welcomer by my front door.

  10. Annek 05/17/2017

    Your photos are so pretty and welcoming. Ahhh, I think we need to see more of your garden. 1000 bulbs popping up in the spring must be glorious.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      It sure was. We've had a super late and super slow Spring here in Victoria this year... but it's been fun to slow down the enjoyment and spread it out over weeks. I took these with my 3 year old smartphone BTW. Still alive and kicking! Have a great Spring wherever you are, Annek.

  11. anna_echols 05/17/2017

    Thank you everyone for your kind words. This has been such a fun process of interacting with fellow gardeners. I DO encourage you to submit your photos to FG too. Who knows... you may be their next GPOD webpage!

  12. GrannyCC 05/17/2017

    .Hi Anna your Spring bulbs are wonderful. I live near Sidney and enjoy Butcharts on a regular basis. Love to see more of your garden.
    Do you know about Playfair Park?http://www.hodgepodgephotography.ca/playfair-park-victoria-bc.html
    They have beautiful and old Rhodos and it is free to visit.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      Hey neighbour! I have heard of Playfair Park... haven't been yet. Is that the same as Outerbridge? I think they are different. I must visit! This is only Year 2 in the CRD... so I get around, but not too fast. Today we're going to see Abkhazi's Gardens rhodo display - do you go there too?

      1. GrannyCC 05/17/2017

        Hi Anna
        No it is not the same. I haven't been to Outerbridge I think that is in Broamead. I love Abkhazi especially at this time of year. another place to go to see Perennial Gardens is the Governor General's Garden that surrounds the home of the G.G. It is close to Oak Bay.Have fun!!

  13. user-4691082 05/17/2017

    I am envious of your inherited garden. I had new construction which includes all of the topsoil being scraped away and sold back to us! We have rich Pa. clay! Ugh. I am going to try to get to that beautiful area of the world someday! Sigh!

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      I have a bit of clay in my garden too - it's so frustrating. In Winnipeg, where we moved from, our whole backyard was clay. We'd just finished building a filling a ton of raised beds that had awesome soil... then we moved the next year. wah-wah Good luck, Rhonda. Amend amend amend or go up up up.

    2. frankgreenhalgh 05/17/2017

      Hey Rhonda - your own top soil was sold back to you??? How does that work?? Cheers from an intrigued friend

      1. user-4691082 05/17/2017

        Well, not directly, but the developers sell it to soil people. Then we have to amend our soil with a purchase from them. That's only initially until you learn how to amend your own!

        1. frankgreenhalgh 05/17/2017

          Very interesting, Rhonda. I guess good soil is in short supply, and hence your current system. Have you tried incorporating spent mushroom compost into your soil?- after all you have a good source. Also, have you tried amending your clay with gypsum (calcium sulphate dihydrate; spread 1 or 2 kg per metre square and incorporate it into the top soil) - great for improving the drainage of clay soils. Cheers, Frank

          1. user-4691082 05/18/2017

            It's hard to come by spent compost. It has to sit somewhere for six months or else it's too high in nitrogen and will burn everything! I know you realize that, but for others who are reading, do not ask your mushroom grower to bring you a load of compost. I've seen many a new planting die! Our soil is good now, Frank, but thanks for the suggestion!

  14. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 05/17/2017

    Hi Anna, we are also transplants from the Midwest, cold country, to the PNW, and feel lucky just as you do. It is an easy journey for us to get to Sidney from Whidbey and we visit often. Love your garden photos and story. Thanks fir sharing.

    1. anna_echols 05/17/2017

      sigh... I hear that Whidbey Island is amazing! We have family in Friday Harbour. It is truly a huge blessing. Have you been to check out Victoria yet? Such a BIG savings with that US dollar this year... Here's what I found at Abkhazi Gardens today. Destination British Columbia asked me to share a photo, but I couldn't help taking 30! oops Enjoy them all at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155161166086257.1073741892.742261256&type=1&l=5300cf7953

  15. PerenniallyCrazy 05/18/2017

    I agree we are so lucky here on the Westcoast. Love your inherited garden Anna.

    1. anna_echols 05/18/2017

      Thanks. I'm just heading out to do some more planting this morning. Lilies & Pansies.

  16. user-6536305 05/23/2017

    Thanks for sharing your bulbs and beautiful Abkhazi Garden!

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