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Archive for the ‘Green Thumb Sunday’ Category

Grooming, watering, feeding, weeding, and reading about gardening — that pretty much sums up my weekend. I would have loved to hand over the first four tasks to a “helper”, though:
A Little Gardener_1761
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Cornus canadensis

Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry, Dwarf Dogwood)

Yesterday during a late morning walk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, I turned a corner of Swordfern Trail and unexpectedly came across a bunch of bunchberries. A happy meeting between thriving, flowering plants and delighted human. We spent a few moments together face-to-face, sometimes with a camera lens in-between.

At home later, I wanted to learn more about Cornus canadensis so I consulted my favourite book on native flora and found a few new online resources. I especially like the description at Paghat’s garden:

This dogwood (Cornus canadensis) only grows to around eight inches tall. If you get down on your belly, a patch of it looks like the tiniest imaginable dogwood forest. The leaves are the same, the flowers are the same, everything about it is like a big dogwood, only teency.

A shade-loving Northwest native woodland groundcover, it can be a bit fragile in gardens if its needs are imperfectly met, but spreads by underground runners & by seeds thriving marvelously if it finds itself in the right situation.

Yes, fragile…and eventually dead. This is one of those native woodland plants I wanted in my balcony garden a few years ago. But C. canadensis needs moist, shady, cool conditions and prefers to grow near rotting stumps. So unsuitable for my balcony — like trying to grow a fern in the desert. Today I am more than content — I actually prefer — to appreciate their beauty in their natural habitat.

Here are three more excellent links for botanical facts:

Bunchberries of British Columbia (UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research)
Boreal Forest
Cornus canadensis (from Flora, Fauna, Earth and Sky: The Natural History of the North Woods)

Note: Bunchberries are edible so I can legitimately include them on this blog if not in my actual edible balcony garden.

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Photos of the gardener’s helper adding removing worm compost to from the containers this afternoon:


No wonder cleaning up takes more time than any other gardening activity.
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I’ve spent the last week of evenings and several hours today dividing tangled root balls, repotting and potting on, amending soil, pruning, trimming and shaping — in other words, dealing with previous seasons’ plants — and tending to seedlings — oh where will I put them all? But my focus in this post will be simple enjoyment and appreciation of the oldest plant on my balcony (12+ years): Inaba Shidare’, “Cascading Leaves of Rice“:

Japanese maple 'Inaba shidare'_1290

I didn’t know the meaning of its name until today. Quite lovely and it makes me enjoy and value my favourite plant even more — and it has nothing to do with the price of rice.

You read more about the tree with ricelike leaves here.

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