Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Acanthus hungaricus

Acanthus hungaricus

Acanthus hungaricus is a fairly common species of Acanthus in Seattle.  It is more tolerant of dryness than Acanthus mollis, which is much more common.  Acanthus hungaricus has beautiful, holly-like foliage that is not at all spiny.  Flowers come in midsummer, with purple bracts forming hoods over white corollas, which line the stems in many tiers to present quite an impressive display of flowers.  The stems may reach 4 feet in height, but more usually 3 feet.  This plant spreads continually, but not very aggressively & will need to be divided when it begins to crowd its neighbors.  Acanthus hungaricus is a perennial plant for full sun in well drained soil.  It is native to Europe in Romania, the Balkans & Greece.  The common name for Acanthus is bear's breeches, in this case Hungarian bear's breeches.  I hear it called Acanthus more often.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Butchart Gardens

Cafeteria & gift shop complex near the entrance

3 photos above of the sunken garden, the main part of Butchart Gardens

The rose garden.  All photos were taken in August 2014.

Butchart Gardens is the principal tourist attraction on Vancouver Island near the city of Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia.  It receives over 1 million visitors a year. It is the tackiest garden I have ever seen. The fact that it is a huge garden makes it all the more difficult to bear. In August, it was very crowded with tourists. And to top it off, it cost more than $30 per person to enter.  I suspected I might not like it, but felt I must see it at least once. I had been to Victoria at least 5 times before & never gone. It was mostly filled with annual bedding plants in the style that was popular in the early 20th century. These same plants are used over & over again in different combinations. It looks best from above & at a distance.  The main part of the garden was created between 1909 & 1921 in an old limestone quarry. Other gardens were added later. There is a reasonably interesting Japanese garden, as well as less interesting Italian & rose gardens. The Italian garden displays the same endlessly repeated bedding plants in a formal design.