Friday, April 6, 2012

G - Garry oak meadows

Victoria is home to a rare ecosystem called the Garry Oak Meadow.  At one point these lovely areas dominated the southern end of Vancouver Island.  Now there are only a few spots left, high on hilltops around this area.  Garry Oaks are a specific type of oak tree native to Southern Vancouver Island. They are gnarled and twisted and beautiful.

But what makes them extra special is the growth beneath them--a mass of wildflowers and  brilliant green leaves.  In April we see the Satin flower and the Avalanche Lily but later the whole meadow fills us with most beautiful blue of the Camas Flower.  (Check back here in May for photos of that.)

Apparently the Natives on this coast cultivated the Camas for its edible root and actually did controlled burns of many Garry Oak meadow areas.  Since the settlement of Victoria, only the hilltops with very thin soil can still provide the right environment for these meadows.  Many of the hilltops in Victoria are now parks showcasing the beautiful Garry Oak trees and the flowers.  These photos were taken at two of them:  Summit Park and Knockan Hill.

A lot of the Garry Oaks in the parks are getting old now and starting to die.  In some areas the Parks Department is replanting these beautiful trees, although it will take many years for them to become mature.

If you're interested, you can read more about Garry Oak meadows here.


  1. What A beautiful post today !

    cheers, parsnip

  2. I love those trees. I wonder if the meadows are the result of the leaf mulch that must be abundant each year?

  3. Beautiful pictures and information on a species of trees that I never knew existed. I just love the learning experience on the A-Z challenge and with blogs like yours I'll continue to learn for a long time. Good work.

    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

  4. Your pics are beautiful - the first one's a show stopper!

  5. Gorgeous pictures!!! Beautiful blog! I'm glad you stopped by mine so I could get to yours!!
    New follower and happy A to Z!

  6. When I lived in Victoria I loved climbing up to the top of a hill just outside the city where there was a great Garry Oak Meadow. They are beautiful trees.


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