Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Visit to Mum and Dad's Garden

My parents have the energy of twenty-year olds and they achieve as much as twenty twenty-year olds. As well as working tirelessly to preserve the native environment in the parks near their home they tend their own garden with a passion that exhausts me just thinking about it. Yes, they are a hard act to follow. They are also a great gardening resource for me and I phone my mother whenever I have gardening questions - which is frequently.

I visited my mum and dad last weekend and took some pictures in their gorgeous woodland garden in West Vancouver. I was astonished to hear mum describe these peonies as her favorite flower as I assumed that her plants are like her children. She loves us all the same, right? Mum - you will have to remind me what this peony is and I will post it here. In fact, once you see this blog post you can tell me what all these plants are, one more time, and I will add their names.

Mum described the interior of this peony as a "jester's hat" which is great! She made sure I understood that she loves these plants as much for their perfect foliage as for their perfect flowers.

My mother loves ferns and told me this was something special, I think, right mum?

I remember this fern had a name something like "Fishtail" which is delightful.

This fern has an amazing greyish blue color that was so pretty with the fallen rhododendron blossoms.

A native columbine whose name will be posted here in a day or two.

My dad had just finished cutting back a huge laurel hedge and had turned the branches into firewood for our Christmas fireplace. We grew up with a couple of wood stoves in our New Brunswick house. Old habits die hard.

Dad's mason bee condos on the side of the house.

Dad's pots of tulips.

The house and garden from across the koi pond.

The patio and bbq area.

Happy gardeners.

My parents were environmentalists even before such a term existed. We were raised on home grown organic vegetables and I am so glad to see that the rest of the world is (slowly) catching up with this far sighted and conscientious way of thinking. Thanks Mum and Dad. You rock!

25 May update
Mum writes:

The fishtail fern is Dryopteris filix-mas 'Cristata'.
The other fern is nothing special but I love the way the fronds open in little knobs. It's Polystichum setiferum.
The peony is Paeonia obovata.
The blueish fern is Japanese painted lady-fern. Athyrium nipponicum I think there are a few new varieties.
The native columbine is Aquilegia formosa.


  1. Love the Paeony, that one is a stunningly pure flower. I have both the ferns you showed, think the later is known as a Japanese painted fern here. Not sure about the former, I have it growing in the hay mangers in the shade by the front of the house along with some blue pansies. I shall have to check the name of it.

    Lovely garden.

  2. Well, I can see where your artistic bent comes from, looking at all those lovely flowers and their amazing garden. The spiral! The koi pond! My folks have that level of energy too, I didn't seem to have inherited it alas. I didn't know you were Canadian, but it makes sense now, you are even more polite and gracious than the average Seattleite! Are you excited or what that Daniel has invited us all out to the farm?! I'd love to ride with you if that works out.

  3. What a lush and beautiful garden- you'll have to take us back again. I don't think that I've seen a peony like that- jester's hat indeed. And I love the fish tail fern.

    How long have they lived and gardened there? And how large is the garden? With our climate- everything grows year round and there's so much to keep up with.

    Especially if you have laurel! My father always said that by the time he'd finished at one end- it was time to start over at the other end.

  4. Zoe you are, of course, right about the Japanese painted fern. Do you really have hay mangers? How romantic sounding.

    Karen I am happy that you want to share a ride to Daniels. Maybe you think I am polite and gracious because you have never seen me drive in traffic! Just kidding.

    Karen/Blackbird - Mum and Dad have been in their garden for nearly 20 years. Yes, it is a matter of cutting things back as much as adding now. The garden is huge and they seem to work it full time, along with the park next door. No garden help for them as they have always been do-it-yourselfers.

  5. What a magical garden and how lucky you can go to visit it ... if it is twenty years old I guess you got to live in it for some time. It is clearly a labor of love for your parents!