The Darling Buds of May (April, March...) Pt 1
thumbnail Perhaps not quite wild, but neglected -- forsythia is one of the first flowering shrubs to bloom, and hardy "volunteers" lurk in untended back lots, on the fringes of industrial sites, here there and everywhere.

thumbnail I have no idea what this prehistoric-looking plant is. We saw it in one limited patch, along a drainage ditch on a logging road off Nanaimo Lakes Road, in the foothills. It looks like a huge fat asparagus spear, but the top opens out into a crown of stiff, spiky blossoms.

thumbnail Fully open it's rather a festive little critter, but quite alien-looking. I must find a plant book and try to identify it; have never seen one anywhere near sea level, only by running water up in the foothills.

thumbnail A sure sign of spring in BC is the skunk cabbage blooming in shady wooded spots, near running water. The flaming yellow "pulpit" is unmistakable; the leaves come later and eventually eclipse the blossom in size. These are in a swampy spot out in the clearcuts above Nanaimo Lakes.

thumbnail These skunk cabbages are nearer home, in the little Beach Estates Park (a jewel of a park in a ravine from Departure Bay ferry landing up to Brooks Landing shopping centre).

thumbnail Say what you will about the skunk cabbage -- it is decidedly proletarian and doesn't smell nice -- it's a showy and cheerful plant. It's also one of very few plants to be exothermic: it actually shows up on IR.

thumbnail Skunk cabbage season -- early Spring -- is also trillium season. One of my favourite wild flowers, the trilliums (trillia?) don't last long...

thumbnail ... but while they last they enliven the woods like a picnic of ballet dancers.

thumbnail In a drainage ditch near Campbell's prop shop I saw what I swear is watercress! If it only weren't a drainage ditch on a hill made out of coal mine tailings near a park that may or may not have been sprayed with herbicides, I'd have been very tempted to harvest some and make cress sandwiches. Ah well.

thumbnail A sign of spring (mid-April) is this purple bloom -- some kind of stonecrop? -- on one particular boulder on the W shore of Newcastle Island. It's a landmark -- ephemeral but familiar -- every Spring.

thumbnail A closer view gives some idea of the delicate beauty of the flowers.

thumbnail The lush grass of late Spring is sprinkled with daisies and dandelions.

thumbnail In the Brechin Hill park playing field the grass is lush and green, sprinkled with dandelions and daisies. It just makes a person want to lie in the grass and watch the clouds drift overhead... and maybe make daisy chains.

thumbnail I don't know what these stiff, shiny little white blossoms are, but they show up in late Spring in neglected corners of vacant lots and suburban yards.

thumbnail Beside Jon's house (and in similar green shady spots all over town) bluebells suddenly burst forth in late April to early May.

thumbnail Over at Shingle Point, an old Lyaaksen First Nation settlement is now just ruins... ruins, and drifts of beautiful irises that someone planted many decades ago. It's stretching a point to call them "wild," but no one is tending them so at least we can call them feral.

thumbnail I don't know what this showy, snow-white ground cover is, but it occurs in just a few places on the waterfront, growing among the stones of the seawall.