Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Canadian zone 9

Canadian zone 9, I know, it seems kinda crazy; however, much of our southwest coast is actually USDA zone 9a. Places like English Bay, Victoria, Tofino, and the Gulf Islands are a large part of what first made me want to grow plants like palm trees!!  To me, one of the best zone 9a locations would have to be in the town of Ganges on Salt Spring Island.  I try to get out there once every winter/spring for some inspiration.  As some of you know, the Gulf Islands benefit from the rain shadow of the Olympic Peninsula and in turn receive significantly less rain than other coastal locations in the PNW.  That coupled with protected warmer waters around the gulf islands, and you have the Canadian Riviera! Here are some pictures from last February.

This photo is looking back towards the mainland

Approaching the Gulf Islands from the ferries

Check out this Eucalyptus tree in downtown Ganges! SSI seems to plant Eucalyptus trees all over!  That is certainly something we do not see very often on the mainland.

A very excited me had to jump in front of it for a picture!

If you ever visit SSI, you have to check out the plantings at Grace Point just off from the main shopping area in downtown Ganges.

Can you spot the Jubaea Chilensis in the back there?  They also have mediterranean fan palms, sabal species of some vartiety, butia capitata, and obviously many many trachies!

The shaved trunks sure give a tropical feel on these palm trees.

The boardwalk is another great place for some great sights and serious plant lust!

Crystal clear waters of the gulf islands!

I forget which beach this is, but there are many!

One of the best reasons for visiting Salt Spring Island in late winter is that you will see some of the first blossoms of the season! its like a little glimmer of hope (until you get home and realize you are two to three weeks behind!)

Trachys can be spotted in almost every private garden it seems.  People on the island have certainly embraced the "riviera" feel

SSI also offers magnificent Arbutus trees!!

This orchard really caught my eye!  I believe it was an apple orchard, however, rumour has it, there is a large olive grove being planted on SSI this year! it is certainly my kind of place!!!!

I'll certainly do a 2012 update in the next couple of months.... can't wait :)


  1. What a great place! Is it less expensive than the Vancouver area? When are you moving? Can I come along?

    1. Oh my goodness I soo want to move there. It's fairly remote and so job wise it's tricky but I would love to live there. And yes, significantly cheaper than metro van and you don't deal with all the crazy congestion! It's truly paradise.

    2. I should also mention... Significantly drier and sunnier too!!!! Cactus grow wild on some parts of the island