Just a few of the very nice flowers in our garden on Vancouver Island right now
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

July 31, 2016

Two shots of Tigridia chaipensis which we don’t actually have growing this year, but likely will again next year; followed by one shot of a very tall lily, called ‘Robina’ that is in excess of seven feet tall and in bloom right now. Below, our ‘Golden Stargazer’ is now finished but was lovely again this year; followed by the plain (older) ‘Stargazer’ both of which have a delightful fragrance. The last photo is of just one bloom of our Hymenocallis festalis which by the way is one lily that likes to grow on the edge of a pond which we have done here in the past. Author photos.




It seems to me that both the calendar and the current weather are telling us that it is mid-summer already! I thought mid-summer would be a good time to take another look around our garden here at what is doing well at the mid-point.

I have to start with the lilies which are definitely at their best right now. And, in addition to the glorious looks in the daytime, the wonderful perfume that emanates from most of them (particularly at night) is simply gorgeous.

This past week a good friend sent me photos of two different-coloured Tigridia chiapensis which grow from bulbs. Now I’ve grown these on a number of occasions but have trouble having them overwinter—even here on Vancouver Island! I thought what I should have done (or should do in the future) is plant them slightly deeper than the package recommends. I have shared a photo fairly close of one of ours from 2006 along with a more distant shot I took of them in Victoria’s Abkhazi Gardens in July 2003, not long after arriving here on the Island.

Most growers of these bulbs in climates such as ours do remove the bulbs right after first frost, store them cool indoors, and replant them in the garden in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

If you wish to try some, most garden centres do sell them packaged in early spring; and Brecks Bulbs the major Canadian bulb suppliers, do also offer them in their catalogue and on the Web— —the same company mentioned here last week for the Canada 150 (or `Grand Perfection`) tulip.

I seem to have gone off on a side branch so let me get back to lilies in general. One of our pride and joy lilies here is Lilium x ‘Robina’ which this year exceeds seven feet in height! And while it does tend to lean out from the border a little, it achieves that height without staking or other support.

Since I like to leave seed pods attached after flowers finish for almost all perennials, we have young lily seedlings springing up almost all over the garden. The birds (and I) are responsible for this, but it does make for interesting plant combinations.

Already finished for this year is the ‘Golden Stargazer’ Oriental lily but I shall include a photo in any case. This one is always a highlight in the garden even though it does not reach anywhere near the height of ‘Robina’ mentioned above.

While writing about `Golden Stargazer` lily, it seems only fair that I mention and show you the original `Stargazer` lily which has grown in the garden here since before we bought the house!

Finally today, I should mention some other bulbs we bought this spring, which have just come into flower this week. There are two types of Hymenocallis; known more commonly as Peruvian daffodil. One is H. festalis and the other H. Sulphur Queen.

I have grown these here before, but like the Tigridia it is best to store them indoors over the winter and then plant them out in the spring. We planted them in a pot as you will see in the photo. I have a photo of the Sulphur Queen but did not include it because festalis is such a gorgeous flower. As it happens it was one of the favourite flowers of Albert E. Brown, when I worked with him in the mid 60s at Sheridan Nurseries Ltd. in Toronto. He loved them and we grew them every year in our large perennial border at the company head office.

Make a note to try a few of these next year as well. They are sold with the packaged bulbs in most garden centres.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row