Not bluebells

Fields of camas – I was amazed to see so many around the park! Such a beautiful sight! I think I’ll be spending more time here next spring…

Recently I’ve been seeing lots of camas (and other wildflower) pictures from various Instagrammers and it’s been making me want to drop everything and head over to Vancouver Island (or one or more of the Southern Gulf Islands) to check out the spring wildflowers. Vancouver seems a little lacklustre in the spring wildflower department by comparison, and the only ones I make an effort to photograph are white fawn lilies and trillium.

I hadn’t even thought about looking for flowers at the time we arranged a trip over to Vancouver Island to visit some friends, but the sight of all those Instagram pictures had me suggesting we head into town for the afternoon. And I was really quite blown away by how extensive they were in Beacon Hill Park. I didn’t expect that at all, thinking that with it being a city park that it would be dominated by cultivated flowers and manicured grass. So it was a wonderful surprise to find the park has patches of unmanicured meadows and trees. And the camas was growing everywhere! I’ve never seen such a bloom. My first reaction was that I was seeing a field of bluebells, but I was delighted to find that it was a lovely spread of camas instead. They even look similar when first budding and I really had to look twice in a few places.

So my mind is made up: I think I need to make a spring pilgrimage to southern Vancouver Island every year now… 🙂

Rain flowers

Cheery western columbine on the trail to Cream Lake. The Haida call them rain flowers, a name preferred by some of our friends.

There are many flowers on the west coast of BC that could get the name “rain flower” but for some reason the Haida bestowed it on western columbine. This little patch was perhaps the richest and most vibrant meadow of columbine that we’ve ever seen, so naturally I couldn’t resist making it the foreground to the imposing Mt Septimus.

Purple penstemon

Purple penstemon near First Brother along the Heather Trail

We were running out of time on our foray up the Heather Trail so I jogged on to see if I could find any remaining patches of glacier lilies. I didn’t find any but I did find this perfect patch of purple penstemon (trying saying that five times fast!), a notoriously difficult flower to capture. Even better, I could get the shot with the ridge of the First Brother in the background, one of the highlights of hiking the Heather Trail. Alas we didn’t have time to venture up there this time.

Flower Madness

Flower madness on the Heather Trail

Few places can match the Heather Trail for such great rewards for relatively little effort. Wildflowers galore, expansive views in all directions, and gently sloping terrain. Mix in a little bit of sunshine and it’s all kinda perfect really.

In search of glacier lilies

This is why I like glacier lilies so much – when they bloom, they absolutely cover the meadow. I wrote about this in my first piece published on The Outbound – yay!

I’ve had an article at the back of my mind for some years now that explains a bit of my obsession with glacier lilies. I hadn’t found a way to write it before now, until The Outbound Collective advertised a new story-telling feature that prompted me to sign up for an account. After that, I just started writing and before long I had emptied my head of some of the things I’ve been wanting to say about glacier lilies. A bit of editing here and there, and one click on “Publish” later, and it was done.

So here it is, In Search of Glacier Lilies.

That snow lily

A glacier lily pokes up through the melting snow to join the thousands already blooming in the sun

The season for glacier lilies is a short one, so I’m going to make the most of it by posting a few more pictures of my favourite flower 🙂 I loved finding this one poking up through the snow. Some plants actually produce heat that melts the snow above them and allows to break through and bloom. Very cool!

Anemone

Freshly blooming Western anemone in the high alpine meadows of the Cayoosh Range. Also known as the pasqueflower (and later moptops when they go to seed), these little flowers were blooming all over the meadows, each one looking more perfect and more photogenic than the last 🙂 Needless to say, we have dozens of photos just of these flowers never mind all the glacier lilies we saw…

I took so many photos of these little flowers at the weekend I’ve had the hardest time picking my favourite. But at the end of the day I love this kind of radar-dish view, especially against a blue sky and mountains. Just to give you an idea of the scale, the flower is probably about 4 cm/1.5 inches in diameter. The tilting screen of my RX100II came in really handy for getting down at flower level too.