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Victoria’s Garry Oak Meadows

Articles: Victoria’s Garry Oak Meadows

Spring peak in a Garry oak meadow, with common camas (Camassia quamash), shooting stars (Dodecatheon hendersonii), and spring gold (Lomatium utriculatum). Author’s photographs
Oak Bay is a an affluent residential area of Victoria, British Columbia, at the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Like other cities and neighborhoods along the West Coast, Oak Bay includes within its borders remnant patches of natural vegetation communities that existed there before development. Garden writer Lynne Milnes writes passionately about the need to see, understand, and preserve these botanically rich vestiges of priceless ecosystems.
If you took the oaks out of Oak Bay, what would be left? Oak Bay matrons driving Range Rovers with golden retrievers in the back seat. If those same matrons got out of their cars and walked their dogs, they might see one of the most endangered ecosystems in British Columbia and, indeed, in Canada: the Garry oak meadow.

Endangered, you scoff? But there are big oaks everywhere. Mature Garry oaks (Quercus garryana, also known as Oregon white oak further south) do exist in Victoria but these mediu...

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