Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

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Spent the weekend on Saltspring. Saw the family for my birthday, did a little nursery hopping and managed to sneak in a little gardening on my side project. Amongst all this I took in the sights, and generally took it easy. It’s interesting how the more time you spend with plants and nature the more you appreciate the quiet, “real” moments in life. Here I spent some time watching the birds enjoy their afternoon. Turn your volume up high and take a moment out from your busy day.

Physostegia virginiana is a great plant for maintaining summer color when the rest of the garden starts to calm down. Native to many parts of North America, Physostegia virginiana otherwise known as the obedient plant is an interesting specimen indeed. When you twist the flowers on the stalk of the plant they stay where you leave them, thus it’s common name obedient plant. These seem to operate on some sort of plant like hinge, it really is the strangest thing. Physostegia virginiana comes in pink, violet and white and really has a lot to offer the late summer garden. The plant is care free and pest resistant and requires very little attention. Regular watering and sun to partial shade should lead to success. Some caution should be used when planting out in the garden due to it’s possible invasiveness as it spreads via underground rhizome. I opted to plant mine in a pot as to avoid such problems. While you don’t see these everyday, it’s not exactly uncommon either, give it a try if you happen to spot one. A great plant for the collection.

The other night while doing a long overdue fertilize of the garden, I found this little guy. While I know we’re supposed to be mortal enemies, snails and gardeners are rarely friends, I took a moment to get better aquainted. I plucked him off of my African Bulbine and placed him on the patio table. Within moment’s he relaxed, poked his head outside of his shell and became quite inquisitive. While I snapped photos he seemed intrigued in the large lens of my camera. Feeling a new-found connection with this¬†gastropod I went and grabbed him a fresh leaf of lettuce. Without any hesitation at all he began to feast, and I filmed away. While I admit I’ve been upset in the past by slug/snail damage, a closer investigation reveals a gentle creature indeed. I find the odd slug but this is definetly the first snail I’ve found, and I haven’t spotted one this big since I was a kid. After the photoshoot, the light of the day had faded and not having the heart to destroy and/or relocate him I place him amongst a patch of sagina moss. I figure we’ve got an understanding now and he’ll stay away from the prized specimens, it’s not like their is a shortage of greenery in the back anyways. I’d like to see him again, so off he went, another nature moment in an urban garden.

I know what you’re thinking. “This is what I do on a Thursday night?”. I need to get a life… :)

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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