My summer vacation

I’m following Holly’s lead and slipping into fantasyland today.  Though this part of the country has no snow, it is a typical cool, misty and gray winter morning in Seattle.  So I’m going to a happy place and reminiscing about my summer vacation to Sechelt, British Columbia.

Sechelt (pronounced like “seashell” with a “t” at the end) is a lovely place full of wonderful people (and great gardeners!), but I’m going to focus on the coastal rock gardens at Smuggler’s Cove Marine Provincial Park.  We visited on a day much like the one I’m experiencing now, so there weren’t many visitors.  All the better for us.

Since my interests trend towards plant adaptations to harsh environments, this rocky, salt-sprayed landscape naturally drew my eye.  Trees colonize the bare rock, rooting along cracks and fractures.

Even though we were past the flowering season, these natural gardens were still striking with their miniature plants.  Many of these are cushion formers, and together they formed living patchworks.

And there were still a few wildflowers left as well.

 

Hot and dry in the summer, constantly sprayed with salt, and living on the thinnest of soils, these rock gardens nevertheless have a rich diversity of plant and insect life.  And all without vitamin B-1, compost tea, Epsom salts, or any of the other products aggressively marketed to the gardening world…truly amazing.

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Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - www.facebook.com/TheGardenProfessors "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/GardenProfessors Books: http://www.sustainablelandscapesandgardens.com

2 thoughts on “My summer vacation”

  1. Hot and dry in the summer, constantly sprayed with salt, and living on the thinnest of soils, these rock gardens nevertheless have a rich diversity of plant and insect life. And all without vitamin B-1, compost tea, Epsom salts, or any of the other products aggressively marketed to the gardening world…truly amazing.

    Yes, but how many millions of seeds or spores did Nature plant in order to get that result. I don’t actually use any of the above substances, but I do understand people’s desire to better the odds for the many fewer plants they’re willing to invest in.

  2. I’m all for bettering the odds, Deirdre, but many of these products aren’t going to help and in fact can create unsustainable conditions. The point I’m trying to make (and maybe too subtly?) i
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    s that plants are tougher than we give them credit for, and maybe we shouldn’t pamper them so much.

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