Whitehead Park 2020

Jan 2020


6 January – 27 January

Jan 6: Audrey, Mary & Lori met for 2 hours for the WHP planting planning [=7.5 hrs] plus WHP walk about Mary & Lori x 1 hr [=3.5 hrs]. I add 0.5 hr for each person driving time, so 15 min there & home. Today: 11.5 hrs total.

Jan 20th: Audrey, Kathleen, Mary & Lori met.  4 people for 1.75 hours plus 3 hours Lori for photography here & earlier at the Flats plus posting photos here & fb. Total today: 12 hrs

From Whitehead Park, a juvenile Bald eagle is interested in the bait-ball. Jan 20/ 2020



Walking on the west side:


One of the large willows.


Circling toward the east side of the park.


Standing on the ramp, looking up Tod Creek and toward the park’s east side.


Before shot: volunteers standing in front of the area to be mulched today.


Dumping the mulch.


Looking at things from both sides now…



Looking back toward the park’s west side, almost from where we were spreading the mulch.


Mulch spread over this corner of the plot.



It’s hard to see in these two photos, but Audrey & Mary are tying the Hardhack up. During the winter, the grasses & Horses Tail have held the rain & snow, bringing the Hardhack to a lying down position.









The team: Kathleen, Mary and Audrey.



Jan 6th: these photos belong above [under this correct date]. 

Whitehead Park, west-side.


Crossing Goward Bridge

Whitehead Park, east-side

Oregon-grape [Mahonia aquifolium], historically used by First Nations for dye for basket material and medicinally but with caution; the tart purple berries can be eaten, especially as an excellent jelly; and can make wine.



Slough sedge [Carex obnupta]. When first assessing whether a grass or sedge: remember the catchphrase “Sedges have edges, rushes are round, grasses have knees that bend to the ground. … The ‘knees’ of grasses are joint-like nodes found along round, hollow stems. The stems of sedges and rushes are solid; in cross-section the stems of rushes are round, while those of sedges are triangular and so have edges.” [see https://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/grasses-sedges-and-rushes.html ]







Resilient willow


Rose hips


Resident beaver damage


west-side, beautiful bark

west-side, looking toward east-side


Jan 27th

Audrey, Kathleen, Mary & Lori spreading mulch and weeding. 4 people for 1.75 hrs each: total 9 hrs [more hours noted on spreadsheet r/t website & meeting].

Lungwort [Lobaria pulmonaria]. If any mistakes in ID, they are certainly only mine. I’m using “Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest” Second ed., by Bruce McCune and Linda Geiser.


Feb 3/ 2020

We continued clearing out the old horsetail and the odd blackberry from the hardhack. The hope is that they will be able to stand up. Audrey tied some with surveyors tape for the time being. Kathleen put the last of the chips on the path and raked the “works yard” ready for more. The water has been very high, and some of the path is still underwater. Afterward we went round and showed Kathleen the lake access opposite Meadowbrook. 4 people for 1 hour.





2 views of the same site as in the above photo, comparing water levels





These are almost exact same perspective, above and below.

Above Mary stands at the far end of the trail, clearly seen in the photo below.


10th Feb 

We worked at cleaning up. Audrey and Lori tied up the hardhack that has been pulled toward the sun and held down by composting horsetail. I cleaned up as well and Kathleen spread the remainder of the chips on the trails. We are now ready for more mulch. 4 people for 1 hour.

Common Snowdrop [Galanthus nivalis], members of the Amarylidaceae family, native to Europe and the Middle East. Feb 10/2020


Whitehead Park, east-side: the tall grass & Horsetail have weighted the bushes [mostly the Hardhack] down to flat.


Here Audrey leads us in clearing the grass & Horsetail off the bushes, tying the Hardhack to wood stakes, held upright [see next photo].



Tod Creek water levels remain high, Feb 10/ 2020.




Feb 17

Saanich has delivered lots of glorious black mulch. We spread it around the tidied up hardhack with Sherron and Lori wheeling the barrows and Mary spreading it around the hard hack while Audrey continued clearing horsetail and reed canary grass from more hardhack. 4 people for 1 hour.

Beaver damage to one of our tree plantings.


Hair ice. See our page “Local Photos: Flora” for an explanation from Smithonian Magazine.


Mary & Sherron on the trail beside Tod Creek, which was under water only two weeks ago.






Still rescuing the Hardhack up: pulling the water-weighted grass & Horses Tail off the flattened bushes, tying them upright, and spreading mulch throughout.




Feb 24th

We continued spreading the mulch and clearing more hardhack and ocean spray of the horsetail that pulls it down. The part we did last week looks much healthier and is almost ready to stand up on its own. At 10:30 Jill Tuson and Katie from Saanich came. They had the plants we ordered and generally had a look around. They gave the thumbs up to what we had been doing. They drove the 100 or so plants to Mary’s house where they are stored until we can arrange a work party. Jill and Katie had to go but Lori, Kathleen and Mary had coffee. 3 people for 2 hours.

Alaska violet [Viola langsdorfii] Pojar & MacKinnon p. 201, going by the shape of the leaves, as opposed to Early Blue violet [Viola adunca]. Feb 24/ 2020

Saanich staff, Jillian Tuson and Katie Turner, toured the park with us today. Here they identified deer rubbings on this tree trunk.






Jill and Katie also delivered these plants for us.




March 2nd

Lori and Mary continued spreading mulch on the hardhack. We noticed that it is shading out the reed canary grass so we made sure to spread it thickly in hopes that it continues to keep the rcg down. The birds are coming back in great numbers. (2 people for 1 hour)

March 9th

We continue to spread mulch on the hardhack on both sides of the path. We also watched the birds – red winged blackbird, winter wren, Bewicks wren, eagles and many others. Lori, Audrey, Mary and Valerie HB. (4 people for 1 hour)




March 16th: Planting Party, see “Activities Page” for photos of the event.

In spite of the Covid-19 virus, we held our planting party figuring we were outside and spread out. Some arrived at 9:30 to spread out the plants and others came at 10:00 to help tuck them in. We tried to choose spots where they would do well, and we planted in mass groups where we could. We will see how they do. Audrey, Lori, Mandy (a Camosun College student doing work experience), Mary, Valerie, Winona, Bernie, and Carmel were there. After coffee break we placed the lovely labels made by Lori and Michael beside our new plants. 8 people for 3 hours.














Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis: moist to wet ecology, fruit is edible [p.76]. Found WHP east-side, by the classroom.




The Plantings: plant names [common & scientific], some info, and page number are all from Pojar and MacKinnon. 

These photos are of this month’s planting, and of our older plants: some seedlings, some bare bushes, some early flowerings.










Western Trillium, Trillium ovatum: moist to wet ecology, leaves, petals, sepals & stigmas ‘in 3s’ [p.102]. Forested lot, Prospect Lake area. This flower is just beginning to turn pink, so an aging bloom.










Pacific Water Parsley, Oenanthe sarmentosa: “WARNING: reputed to be poisonous…” strong laxative & vomit-inducing [p. 216]. Placed WHP east-side, along Tod Creek, by Alder trees.


Fringecups, Tellima grandiflora: moist forest, glades, stream-banks [p.167]












Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanum: bright yellow flowers 30 to 150 cm tall, large leaves, skunky odour, found in swamps & fens, wet ecology [p.334]


Early Blue Violet, Viola adunca: perennial, not to be confused w/ Alaska violet nor Howell’s violet [p.201]











Mountain Sneezewood, Helemium autumnale: perennial, wet ecology, lovely yellow flowers, 3 lobed at tips pointing downward [p.290]


Golden-eyed-grass, Sisyrinchium californicum: showy yellow flowers usually open in the morning & close by mid-day, wet ecology [p.115]











Nootka Rose, Rosa nutkana: spindly, up to 3 metres, large pink flowers, have a pair of large prickles at the base of each leaf [p.74]










Clustered wild rose, Rosa pisocarpa: wet ecology, has several clustered flowers vs the solitary flower found in Nootka rose, Rosa nutkana [p.74]









Indian-Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis: shrub/ small tree, lovely white flowers hang in long clusters, appearing very early in spring, bitter berries [p.72]















Black Hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii: large shrub/ small tree, with long sharp thorns, white stinky flowers [p.73]




We have a few hawthorn trees, more photos to follow. As you can see, the accent is on the ‘thorn’ here.










more text to follow on these photos:


























Pacific Ninebark, Physocarpus capitatus: shrub with shredding bark, white flowers in clusters [p.73]

Black Twinberry [Bearberry Honeysuckle], Lonicera involucrata: shrub, berries not considered edible [p.69]


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