Friday, June 24, 2016


I don't know. I just don't know.

In my little patch of dirt, I dig and rake, I cultivate and weed. I provide bags of fresh topsoil and peat moss; I build compost and pour on fish fertilizer. I check the requirements; sunshine and shade, water, eggshells, bug protection; and then buy seeds that suit the spot. Or even bring home pre-grown specimens, coddled and fed for maximum vigour. I check them daily. Need more water? Sure, here it is! Don't like that bit of shade? I'll trim a branch; whatever their little green hearts desire.

And then they limp along, turn yellow, lie down and moan. Or invite in a friendly blackberry, entwining the stems and roots so that I rip apart my fingers trying to help. Some actually grow, but most just go.

And then I go out and look at a bare rock face; if there's a speck of rock dust in a crack, or a leftover fragment of moss, a seed will settle in, grow and thrive.

I don't get it.

Here's Tsuxwin Falls, just west of Gold River, streaming down a rock face.

The top half of the falls. 49.72992, -126.09537

Among the rocks beside the pool at the foot of this section, red columbines dance in the wind. And all the way up the rock face, an assortment of wildflowers and ferns cling, trembling, to cracks barely big enough for a skinny root.

An assortment of mosses, green, thready, and red-brown. A smooth alumroot, Heuchera glabra, just to the right of a deciduous fern. Above it, something with red stems, and a spreading plant with tiny leaves at the top. To the left, there are a few wood saxifrages, Saxifraga mertensiana. They like the spray zone beside waterfalls, soil or no soil. There's even a bit of grass.

At least these get watered. The rock garden a few steps down the road doesn't even get that.

Wooly eriophyllum, grass, and something with hairy arrow leaves.

And one of yesterday's photos turned out to be a Silverleaf Luina. It was growing just beyond the eriophyllum.

No fertilizer needed, thank you!

The waterfall drops into a pool beside the highway, flows through a big pipe, and drops into the Gold River far below.

The bottom of the falls, in the distance. Taken from a viewpoint down the road, in March, before the leaves got in the way.

And even in the early spring, there was no shortage of vegetation on those lower rock faces, either.

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