Thursday, 27 March 2014

local Spring orchid show wrapped in color and diversity

Last weekend I strolled over in the early morning sunshine to take in the Vancouver Orchid Society's Spring show.  Walking down the gentle street between home and the venue my eyes wandered to early flowering plum trees, their pale pink blooms and buds just awakening.  Needless to say I was quite unprepared for the flower power I would soon encounter!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Pink Mountain plants trial project

I first heard of Pink Mountain B.C. a few years ago through an acquaintance, Ron Long.  Ron is an accomplished photographer of plants,animals, insects and landscapes.  He in turn was led to this remote northeastern spot on a tip.  Since then preserving this special place due to its rare plants, butterflies, Bison and others has become his passion, and now I'm charged with stewarding a handful of its plants...

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Spring is for Saxifrages!

Saxifrages for Spring!   the Kabschia (and related) groups are the earliest and toughest bloomers

Moving outside the crocus-daffodil-muscari box for a moment, I'm advocating for early blooming Saxifrages.  They are connoisseur plants, giving of themselves for our garden's enjoyment at a much higher level.  In return they require only that we follow a few guidelines to get the best out of them.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Beginning with the beginnings ... of a lifelong love of plants

   My horticultural awakening began among the comfortable surroundings of my family's large yard.  There was a healthy sized vegetable garden and many smaller flower and shrub areas on a double-sized town lot.  My Dad's home work was to tame the site and create beautiful outdoor spaces, and he must've seen some budding keenness in me.  I was happy when he granted me a space of my own.  I found some small rounded rocks to define the small bed under a cedar tree (not the best place to start!) and within its boundary I added some dark soil and began to play.  I cared for one primrose, one tulip, even a shrub (Ribes sanguineum, if I recall accurately) and I noticed the first Spring that colorful flowers began to appear!  I still see them vividly depicted in my mind's eye.  I was hooked!  Flashing forward, I worked in a different field until one day, my buried longings awoke.  I went to my job and gave notice to resign.  A horticulture apprenticeship program was offered at a college in Toronto, and I jumped into the opportunity.  You know what happened next?  I never looked back!  Much has happened between then and now.  I am employed at University of British Columbia's Botanical Garden.  My title is curator of alpine plants, and I've managed its huge and diverse collections for seventeen years.  I still love it!  This complex, richly rewarding position continues to invite new learning opportunities.

 Another great passion I cultivate is all about a country and its people: Japan.  In the mid 1990's I journeyed to see a different slice of life.  It was amazing, stretching my imagination beyond its boundaries.  Since then I've experienced it from Hokkaido in the north to Yakushima in the south, in over ten visits.  I lived for part of a year in Hiroshima.  During this time I made many friendships and learned a great deal, and I've gained a moderate ability with its complex language.  In short, I've progressed!  Now I have family, business and friend connections, and in two years I plan a move to live there.  And so this leads me to my blog, Plant Oriented.

I'll introduce plant enthusiasts of all kinds to many new plants, people, gardens and ideas.  Combining my passion for plants of all kinds with Japanese culture and its great love of and respect for plants is my other ambition.  I invite you to join me on my journey of discovery.