Virginia creeper-clad Fairmont Empress Hotel

30 09 2008

Located front and center in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress is an imposing, Virginia creeper-clad thing of beauty! This year the Fairmont Empress, known for its world-famous afternoon tea, turns 100 years old. The Empress is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Over 130,000 visitors come here each year.

The Edwardian, chateau-style 477-room hotel was designed by Francis Rattenbury (whose biography rivals modern day soap operas). It was built between 1904 and 1908. Rattenbury also designed the Legislative Buildings in Victoria.

Read Robert Fulford’s column from the Globe and Mail: “Rattenbury: The Case of the Murdered Victoria Architect,” for details about Rattenbury’s rather interesting personal life. And click here for the UK census bureau information on the Rattenbury family.

From http://www.encyclopedia.com: “The walls of Ivy League colleges are not covered with ivy; they’re covered with Virginia creeper. Still, the name “Creeper League” colleges wouldn’t conjure up visions of institutions for higher learning.” by Lee Reich, Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Never too many flowers

30 09 2008

So much for that “give plants room to breathe” rule! They seem to be doing just fine, don’t they? This was a spectacular flower bed we saw en route from the ferry toward the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

The plaque reads:

The Peace Tulip Garden: A lasting commemoration in honour of the Canadian troops who liberated the Netherlands. Individually, each flower represents a memory; collectively, they represent the effort of all Canadians and the resulting friendship with the Dutch. October 14, 1995. City of Victoria, Vancouver Island

I especially liked the orange Lantana “tree” in the center. I’ve been seeing more of these available in our local garden centers (and they’re not cheap!). This border contained daisies, sweet potato vine, ageratum, salvias, dusty miller, coleus, cannas, petunias, and many other flowers.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Visit www.cindydyer.wordpress.com to see more images (some not garden-related) from our recent trip to the Pacific Northwest.






Dahlias as far as the eye can see…

28 09 2008

I spent well over an hour photographing the rather long “Dahlia Border” at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. I estimate the border is about a half block long. The images below are just some of my images from just this one area. Because of their overwhelming diversity, Dahlias have moved up the list to become my new favorite flower!

According to www.dahliaguide.com/, the Dahlia is named in honor of a Swedish botanist named Anders Dahl. The Dahlia originated in Mexico and was brought to Europe during the 18th century by Spanish explorers. There are tens of thousands of different types of Dahlias. This is possible because the Dahlia has eight genes that control its appearance while most other flowers have just two. They have some of the most diverse shapes and colors of any flower in the garden! Dahlias are grown from rhizomes, although they can be grown from seed as well (though not as easily).

The top photo shows just one small section of this meandering perennial border.

Below are some online sources for Dahlias:

Corralitos Gardens

Dan’s Dahlias

The site below is a particularly good one with lots of information on growing and caring for Dahlias, as well as the “twelve official divisions” of Dahlias, which will show you just how diverse this flower is!

American Meadows

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





In the pink

26 09 2008

Here are just a few more shots of Osteospermum ecklonis I photographed at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia last Thursday. Speaking of “in the pink” —click here to learn where that phrase originated.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Calling all bug aficionados!

23 09 2008

I photographed this critter near the Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens this past Thursday. After some quick research, I’ve determined this is not a Canadian soldier (which is what we call every long legged bug we come across anywhere). He has those little antennae that stick out on his back like this Crane Fly here, but I think it it most likely is Elephantomyia westwoodi. Any bug aficionados care to enlighten us and verify or dispute my claim?

Learn about the interesting history behind the gardens here. Click here for a list of what was in bloom during our visit.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Butchart Gardens, Passel #2

23 09 2008

The parade of flowers continues…words simply cannot describe how over the moon I was to be photographing in that garden all day long…flitting from flower to flower to flower just like the insects I encountered…would someone please please please pay me to do this every day?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Butchart Gardens, Passel #1

22 09 2008

Thanks to Baker-Watson of Fish and Frog—Turtle and Blog (and a frequent visitor to this blog) I now have a name for my huge collection of vacation images….a passel of photographs! Thanks, Baker.

Here is (mini) Passel #1 with images from Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. We couldn’t believe how much was still in bloom in the Pacific Northwest. I shot almost continuously from 11:00ish a.m. until the shuttle came at 4:45 p.m. We only stopped to grab a very quick lunch at Butchart’s Blue Poppy Restaurant. The salad we shared was garnished with sunflower sprouts—baby sunflower seedlings about 2+ inches high that tasted like sunflower seeds…very tasty. I must admit I had a brief twinge of guilt eating them—that handful we consumed will never reach their full sunflower glory.

I shot over 4 gigs of photos in this one garden. Now that’s a passel of photos!

Plant Identification:

#1 is a Cleome or Spider Flower
#2 is a Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis affinis, possibly)
#3 is the back side of a Japanese anemone, I believe
#4 is a Lace-Cap Hydrangea

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.