Spring has flown by and who can believe that it’s already June? Our gardening season got off to another very early start; here are some musings on what has passed and predictions of what is still to come.
I’m not sure of the exact cause but it could be the combination of a very hot summer, a relatively mild winter and good soil moisture through that winter. The result is an explosion of buds, blooms and fruit on any plant that produces a combination of these three. If it blooms it has really bloomed! If there’s fruit there’s a lot of fruit! On our hillsides I’ve never seen as many flowers on the Balsamroot as there was this spring. Same with the Amelanchier, the Saskatoon berry. The latest native plant to reflect these circumstances is the Mock Orange, Philadelphus. They are solid, sweetly fragrant blossom right now; you can smell them long before you see them. It’s been amazing this spring and the set on fruit trees is very heavy too.
We don’t live in a rural area of Summerland but we’ve had our share of wildlife encounters this spring in the garden. Two deer have enjoyed shady afternoons so far in our back garden; a mature doe and a young buck. A slithering bull snake gave us a start as we walked to our front door before it moved off into the cedar hedge. A large hawk had the local quail very agitated as it tore apart an unfortunate victim in one of our flower beds one afternoon. We didn’t see or hear any quail until I raked up the feathers the next evening. Despite the loss of one they’ve returned in numbers and have nested in the lilacs now. They have dust baths in sunny areas where there is open soil. I see large shadows on the lawn occasionally as a raptor cruises over looking for lunch. I feel somewhat responsible for our quail so I hope there are no more meals to be had.
I was asked to address the Friends of the Summerland Ornamental Garden group last Sunday as they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Showers forced us inside the Superintendent’s House so it felt like one of those fun house parties. The gardens celebrate their centennial this year and a huge event is planned for July 16 and 17; entertainment, artists and artisans, tours of the gardens, activities for kids and food will be part of the festivities. If you haven’t been up to the gardens recently there’s a new xeriscape demonstration garden and the best raised beds I’ve ever seen. Made from repurposed steel they are overflowing with vegetation already and I’m deeply envious!
The Summerland Ornamental Gardens and our own gardens as well, have benefited greatly from this spring’s warm temperatures. With a bit of moisture the past two weekends we are entering into June in prime condition. Of course there are the usual annoyances; aphids and powdery mildew being the chief culprits yet again. But it’s hard to spot either of these from my deck!

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