Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elsie Claxton's Memorial Garden - WSANEC

Elise Claxton Memorial Garden Tour
With John Bradley Williams, Nancy Turner, Earl Claxton Jr and Judith Arney.

Wsanec Trail at Glendale Gardens, Saanich BC
August 17, 2009

In a glorious summers day a keen group of 20 plant lovers listened and shared in the knowledge and teachings of the Saanich People.
John Bradley Williams led us through the amazing trail that created though a partnership with the Harvest woods working group. He, Judith, Nancy, and Earl Jr created an interruption walk. We walked through the gardens and were shared the teachings and knowledge of over 10 plants. There was still much more to see but we stopped for tea and a great time to visit and share.

Below are the plants we talked about:

1) Salal Berries – Are still harvested and are commonly made into jams by itself or mixed with other berries. The branches were used by our hunters as blinds because the leafs stay green for a long time.

2) Red Huckleberries – The berries are sweet and bright red, these are one of the berries made into jams with Salal, Blackberry, Oregon grape and a lot of the other berries that are found the area.

3) High Bush Cranberries – These berries are really bitter and need to be submerged in water for 6 to 7 days to sweeten up.

4) Grand Fir – The needles are high in vitamin C and were used to treat scurvy that the Europeans had gotten from having to sail so far. The best time to harvest the needles is when there is new growth in the spring and last until mid-summer.

5) Trailing Blackberries – These blackberries are the only native to the island, there is two introduced ones as well, the Himalayan and the Evergreen blackberries. The native ones usually ripen in the summer time and are made into pies, cakes as well as jams.

6) Bull Rush – You can peel the skin the length of the blade and use your thumb nail to gently scrap the flesh from the centre of the blade to get the porous material to use as a candle wick, all you need is a source of oil.

7) Salmon Berries – The young shoots taste sweet in the spring before they get too tall because they will get fibrous and taste bitter. The berries have three colors when they are ripe that is yellow, orange and red. These berries are usually one of the first ones to ripen.

8) Pacific Crab Apple – This is a small native apple that is still harvested today. Commonly mixed in jams with sweeter berries or other fruit because it is bitter. The fruit of the Pacific Crab Apple needs to be submerged in water to sweeten just like the High-bush Cranberry.

9) Thimbleberry – The Thimbleberry is in the raspberry family and like the young shoots of the Salmonberry these ones can be eaten in the spring. The berries are delicate and can easily be crushed in your fingertips which give rise to the second common name the Kiss Berry because if you “kiss the berry” it will come undamaged.

10) CatTail and Tules –These two aquatic plants were used to mats, curtains, and covers for food to protect it from the heat of the sun. The Tule was used to make large mats for insulation of our houses. These mats can be as large as six feet in width by eight feet in length.

1 comment:

  1. Gramma must be totally excited about this project! I have tears welling up in my eyes. I can see her smiling at everyone who was involved with this project, "Elsie Claxton Memorial Garden". Thank you Dr. Nancy Turner and associates. I will plan to tour this garden soon. From one of the many grandchildren, Marion J.