Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

Food For Thought

I planted a golf ball sized Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) in mid March and it was a real success. By September it had reached a height of 18ft and by late October flowered topping over 20 ft. As the weather cooled in early November the flowers faded, the leaves dried and the plant told it’s gardener to cut it down and reap the rewards below. Today I dug out the Jerusalem artichokes and was blown away by how much it had multiplied.

The size of the original planting in mid March.

The crop 7 months later. 100x my original planting.

I would definitely plant these again! While I’m pretty new to eating Jerusalem artichokes I’ve read you cook them much like potatoes, either mashed, fried, or baked (preferably in butter). They are high in iron, potassium and fiber. Planted in rich composted soil, with medium to full sun and adequate water, helianthus tuberosus is a easy to grow, and practically care free. Some forethought in setting up some solid supports will make your life easier late summer when they become taller. Staking mid season might lead to damaging the tubers below.


Today it poured in Victoria, rain Rain RAIN! Funny how it stays dry all week for work and then the weekend comes and it pours buckets. Typical BC I guess, who’s complaining, not me?

Anyhow onto cheerier topics, today my girlfriend and I decided to catch a late breakfast at Demitasse in Oak Bay. As needlessly roaming Victoria and Saanich on the weekends is a bit of a tradition, Demitasse has become a regular stop for a tasty coffee and a delicious bite to eat. Certainly a gardener’s hangout, what other coffee shop / bakery has such a wide variety of beautiful plants to tempt and view. My lunch was excellent, a very nice roast beef sandwich, with a bowl of one of the best potato and leak soups I’ve ever had. We sat under an outdoor awning and ate our lunch to the sound of raindrops.

Demitasse seems to specialize in unique plant stock. Generally speaking I find their selection a bit more unique then your average garden store and you can usually count on seeing something new. Of course being located in Oak Bay has it’s price and you might end up paying a little bit extra for the experience. Still for the high variety and friendly vibe, Demitasse is a formidable place to satiate one’s plant addiction (and appetite). Today I ended up picking up a beautiful specimen of Cyclamen Coum in full flower. As it’s no secret to the readers of this blog, I love cyclamen and in turn I couldn’t resist adding this one to my collection.

Now for the Run on Sentence!
Visit Demitasse,
Eat their delicious baked goods,
try there specials ( I once had a pulled pork sandwich there that could knock your socks off),
drink their americanos, espressos, and brewed coffees,
enjoy the pleasent vibes from the “mostly female staff”,
and buy a new plant for your collection.

The perfect weekend procrastination tool, a great place to unwind, feed, and be happy.

Demitasse Bakery Store
2164 McNeill Avenue, Oak Bay
(250) 598-6668

It’s amazing the amount of food I go through in an average day of hard work. Sure things have slowed down a bit now that I’m taking in some winter hibernation, but come spring when the greenhouses are full, watch out buffets, this guy is going to put you out of business. I’m conscious about my weight, fluctuate like anyone at my age, but when it comes to work food I don’t skimp.

As I spend more time amending soils with nutrients, digging holes and stuffing them full of compost the world seems to make a little more sense. We’re all operating complex machines (plants and all creatures alike) and need the right fuel for premium performance. You wouldn’t believe how many people I work with that skip breakfast, as well as first coffee, and eat a ramen noodles at lunch. They wonder around with low energy and weak aspirations and wonder why. When you find yourself working 40+ hours a week, even if it’s a little more of an expense, treat yourself right! Providing yourself with an opportunity for a quick snack and a nice lunch really gives you something to look forward to, especially when one finds themselves digging a ditch for half the afternoon. (SOMEBODIES GOT TO DO IT!)

I’ve also recently put myself on a daily vitamin regime and I’ve noticed the effects of proper nutrition even more. A certain level of clarity as of late. Our populous is more over fed then ever and yet the majority of us still aren’t consuming enough vitamins for good health. In the world of ipods and Internet the majority of people still still don’t know how to eat right. Vitamins can help this.

Plant a petunia in sandy soil with low light and sure it will “grow”, but give it what it needs and it will truly thrive.

I stumbled upon this blog earlier today and it made me smile. I enjoy burgers like the next guy, but this fellow has brought it to the next level. No more will I have to wonder the streets of Victoria seeking out a good burger blindfolded, this guy has done the leg work. BRAVO!

The Victoria Burger Blog.

Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
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