Star of the show

The star of the show, a white fawn lily in full bloom.

I’ve been itching to get back to Lighthouse Park to photograph the fawn lilies this year, especially as some of my Instagram friends have been posting lovely fawn lily photos of their own, but I’ve been waiting for a fine day as it’s no fun trying to get flower photos when it’s dull and light levels are low. Not that it was easy taking this photo as the flowers were constantly swaying in the breeze – I had to time my shots for when a flower stopped moving for that brief moment.

This was just a quick visit to the park really for me to be able to get at least one decent photo of this year’s bloom. Of course I can’t resist going back with a little more time to take a few more…

Signs of spring

Signs of spring – some cheery, curly witch-hazel blooms.

I love looking out for witch hazel blooms in January. They’re my primary indicator of spring, more so than the snowdrop and crocus bulbs planted in so many front gardens. When I worked at UBC, I’d walk past one particular tree on the way to the bus and enjoyed seeing the curly yellow extensions, a splash of bright colour in an otherwise grey winter. But I hadn’t seen any this winter so far, despite keeping my eyes open on my many walks around the neighbourhood. At least, I thought I was keeping my eyes open. As it turns out, I walked right past this tree several times, though in my defence it was usually dark and I was on the other side of the street. And yet somehow I hadn’t noticed the witch hazel in previous years either.

In any case, I was really pleased to find this tree and took a dozen or more photos to try and capture the cheer, hoping that the residents wouldn’t come out to ask why I was pointing my camera towards their home. And much as I like many of my earlier photos of yellow blooms against a blue sky, I love the depth of colour in this one.

I was surprised to find that I was decidedly not the first person to use the tag “witchhazelwednesday” on Instagram. Who knew that a few dozen others would decide on that tag? Fascinating 🙂

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.

The King of Gentian

It’s waterfall/wildflower/wildlife Wednesday, so I’m posting one of each from our Cape Scott trip. King or blue gentian lined the trail at most of the boggy sections, adding a splash of colour to an often uninviting landscape. The nice thing about these sections, though, was that they were brighter than the deep rainforest. Plus they smelled just like the New Forest where I grew up. Loved it!

Gentian is another one of those flowers that stops us in our tracks, much to the amusement (and bemusement) of our hiking friends. We’re not sure why, but it could be that it’s relatively rare (if locally abundant). There’s a spot near Vancouver where this blooms in late August (called Blue Gentian Lake for obvious reasons!) but it’s always nice to find it elsewhere. We found our first patch on the way in to San Josef Bay, and then more (much more!) in the peat bogs as we neared the northern coast. We saw so much that in the end even I walked past without stopping to take pictures. Eventually…!

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!


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.