February 22

Finally some clouds.  Oops, they’re gone.  Such is the weather at this beautiful bed and breakfast in Victoria, BC.  We’re having such glorious weather here and I understand they are having the same over in Vancouver, home of the 2010 Olympics.  Vancouver and Victoria do not always have similar weather: Victoria’s is usually much sunnier.  Being right up against the Coastal Mountains, Vancouver gets a lot of rain.  Seattle is much the same although it gets even more rain than Vancouver.  Victoria on the other hand is at the southern end of the mountains that run down the centre of the island making Victoria the driest place on the Island.  Although the West Coast is considerably wetter than the East Coast, in Victoria we get only 64 centimetres (25 in.) of precipitation per year.

You won’t know this in a normal winter when it can be quite rainy, but the summers in Victoria, and on the Southern Island, are very dry and it is not unheard of to have water restrictions in Victoria.   I am concerned that, with the very light rain and precipitation we have had this winter, there will be a real shortage of water this summer, not something that an avid gardener looks forward to.  The gardens at the bed and breakfast are a real attraction to our guests and it is important that we keep them looking in top condition at all times, something that is embarrassing to write, given the current condition of the gardens.  I am however, for the first time ever, hiring someone to come in next week to give me a hand with the spring cleaning.  They will be coming in on Friday and I hope we can get the worst of it done in one day.  With any luck, we will.

Peony Buds in the Garden at Albion Manor in Victoria BC

Peonies coming up in February

Here’s something that brings joy to the heart of any gardener: tender young shoots, in this case peonies.  I would remind you that today is February 22 and some of these are up 2” already.   On our recent trip back to Spain to visit Fernando’s family, his father showed us a recently installed tank which he uses to collect rain water.  I can’t remember the exact size, but something like 4000 litres.  It sits above the ground and is about 6’ in diameter and about 5’ high.  He plans to install another one sometime this summer.  I know that you can get similar things here in Victoria and it is something that I have considered in the past, but the problem here is that there is no place to put them.  The whole property is already completely taken up with something or other and finding an efficient location for huge tanks would be a problem.  They would certainly take the pressure off the summer water supply though.

More Peony buds in the Garden at Albion Manor

More Peonies at Albion Manor

Also today, the first signs of the sneezeweed on the west side of the driveway and the lupins are up about 2”.   Buds are forming on the crab apple trees and tulips are springing up all over the place.  I planted hundreds of them again last fall so there should be a lot of colour this year.  Antici…pation.

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