|Wild flowers, that is!|
It is much too quiet in my house and my days are too empty and unstructured without Eddie and Shiloh to boss me around. So in the absence of needy dogs (Mitzi is more like a cat - very independent and aloof, and with a very capable bladder), I signed up for some Elder College outdoor activities. This week I went on a Spring Wildflowers Walk with them, at the Somenos Garry Oaks Reserve and then the Ecological Reserve on Mt. Tzouhalem. We saw dozens of kinds of flowers, and saw or heard many birds (heron, red winged blackbird, quail, ducks and geese, pileated woodpecker, and the usual assortment of sparrows, swallows, juncos, and chickadees) and a couple of bunnies.
While the flowers were not as plentiful at the Somenos reserve, that park had many other interesting features. This post will focus on the Somenos Garry Oaks Reserve, and I'll do a separate one on the amazing Mt. Tzouhalem reserve in the next couple of days.
The Somenos Garry Oaks Reserve is located just behind a residential area off Lakes Road and Trillium, in North Cowichan. It is an 8-hectare park, where dogs on leash are welcome, and visitors are requested to stay on the trails. It includes meadows, forest, and bog ecosystems.
|Entering the park|
|There are several information boards at the park entrance|
|Second largest Garry Oaks in BC|
|Because garry oaks are late coming into leaf,|
they provide an excellent canopy of sunlight
for spring flowers.
|Camas lilies under garry oaks.|
|Old Surveyor's Marks|
|This tree bears permanent damage around its trunk, where |
long ago someone had attached a barbed wire fence to it.
(Note the newer fence, with its own posts, in the background)
|Sedge in the bog. Sedge has triangular stems,|
which differentiate it from grasses (round, notched stems) and
reeds (round smooth stems).
|More colourful sedges|
|A stump with bark growing over the top.|
The garry oaks are often nourished underground by a beneficial fungus
which travels from tree to tree via the roots and allows the
bark to keep growing even after the tree has been cut down.
|On the edge of the Garry Oak meadows,|
we found these chocolate lilies in bloom
|Lovely yellow sepals inside|
the chocolate lily.
|Wild mustard growing near the bog|
|Wild red currant,|
native to our region
|Fawn lilies amid the garry oaks -|
but too far away for my lens.
Splashes of white amid the green.
Further resources on the history and preservation of this beautiful area: