Sunday, July 03, 2016

Along a country road

The inhabited area of Campbell River is a long, narrow strip along the shore. Turn inland on any road, and you either come to a quick dead end, or after a few blocks of housing, wild country. Long roads wind off into the forest, sometimes passing a cluster of homesteads, sometimes just petering out into narrow, rutted lanes. On the map, they often have no name, and seem to lead to nowhere in particular, although they may meander halfway across the island.

Along one of these, I stopped to walk in the sunshine. When I stepped out of the car, I was immediately aware of scents; baking wood, a perfume reminiscent of pineapple weed, the tangy aroma of pine, dry grass. Birds chattered and piped in the bushes, unseen. Far in the distance I could hear the rattle of a helicopter; other than that, there was no sign of other humans.

Nobody's been along here for a while.

A wider section of road, with oceanspray, Holodiscus discolor.

Flower cluster, with ant. The flowers turn brown and stay on the shrub over winter.

Insect gall on ground-level plant, unidentified.

Great mullein, Verbascum thapsus. The flowers are yellow, but few were out yet. The leaves feel like fine suede.

Thistle. Bull thistle, Cirisium vulgare, I think. Those spines are wicked!

Zooming in. Branch with unidentified beetles. Or bugs.

Distressed beaked stump-critter. In thicket of bracken, fireweed, native blackberry, salal and thimbleberry.

I picked a cluster of vanilla leaf to take home. It's drying now beside my door; I can find it by the scent, even with the lights off.

Vanilla leaf, Achlys triphylla.

Fresh leaves have little or no fragrance, but if left hanging from a nail or drying in a basket, before long their sweet odour will lightly drift though the room. Even a scant three or four leaves can perfume an entire room for several weeks. (From BCLiving)

They say the scent repels mosquitoes, too.


  1. Nice spot for a stroll. - Margy

  2. I didn't know that about vanilla leaf. I always wondered why I couldn't smell it. Next time I'll bring some home!


If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!