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About a very late spring season here in B.C.
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

March 19, 2017

Above, Crocus in bloom in our garden here as early as January 26, 2003; a Vancouver typical street scene with flowering cherries taken on April 1, 2002; and a lovely flowering cherry in Bowen Park, Nanaimo on April 20, 2002. Below, Viburnum New Dawn in flower here for most of the month of February back in 2004; typical green moss taken from a lawn; and a container of Wilson MossOut. Author photos.




On Friday evening I talked briefly with Donna Dawson who, as most of my readers will know, is the web mistress of this ( website. I was actually calling the Dawsons at their home in Panama, but Tom whom I wanted was busy preparing their dinner. So, as I write this, I still have not talked to him.

But, it was interesting to talk to Donna about our weather here on Vancouver Island!

For example, in looking through many of my thousands of photos taken here at home, and elsewhere in British Columbia.

Let’s take Daffodils for example. I told Donna that a way back in 2004, I took a shot of a group of Daffodils in full bloom in our garden on February 4. Those bulbs are currently about half their normal height, and a few have flower buds developing. That is a full 50+ days behind this year. And that is only one example.

As far as I can see, our harsh winter has not resulted any excessive amount of death of perennials or shrubs/evergreens, but at the rate we are going, the folks in Ontario will have some plants in bloom before we do! That is hardly fair! The one aspect of this that will be different between here on lotus land Vancouver Island and southern Ontario is that because of our generally colder spring weather, our spring bulbs and flowering shrubs/trees will likely stay in bloom about twice as long as is usually the case.

Another example of this spring’s tardiness occurs in Vancouver, where officials have delayed their annual Cherry Blossom festival. There are going to be plenty of flowers all right, but currently they are mostly just in the tight bud stage. If you (like me) did not know about Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival you can find out all about on their Website ( where there are literally hundreds of photos and directions to the best areas for viewing the different cultivars of cherries.

It is a site that is updated regularly every year and so there are comments dating back some six or seven years. The official festival begins on March 30 this year which is about a month later than usual.

Returning to our garden here in Parksville, I just did another walk-around and while some things are looking good many are yet to be seen. For example, our witch-hazel shrub (Hamamelis) has only tight buds so far whereas ordinarily it would have been in full flower for the past several weeks.

Early blooming flowering shrubs, such as the New Dawn Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn') which often blooms during the late winter here is still not showing much colour. The same applies to basically every other early-flowering shrub.

As to winter casualties, at the moment I am not seeing too many, which is good. For example, one of our older Rhododendron shrubs (R. somebody’s Best Purple’) seems to have as many, or more, flower buds on it as ever. It should give us a good display.

One plant that has done as good or bad as ever is the common moss (Bryophyta) that grows in lawns. Here at least, it had a good winter! Last year I did not apply a “de-moss product” but I shall certainly have to this spring. Products such as Wilson MossOut also has a 5-0-0 nitrogen fertgilizer with it and thus will give your lawn an early feeding at the same time. It comes in a convenient 2.5 kg plastic container that easily attaches to the end of your lawn hose. The container has enough solution to cover 186 square metres or 2000 square feet.

Ideally you should get this product on all of the moss areas in your lawn as soon as possible, and then follow up about three weeks later with a good turf fertilizer.

When you do apply the MossOut product you will very soon see the moss turn black, and at that time it is reasonably easy to rake it hard with a lawn rake and get rid of the moss. The lawn with the fertilizer from the MossOut should fairly quickly fill in.

Let’s hope we soon get some spring weather all across the country!


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