Carol Davies tends the native lilies at Oak Bay’s Native Plant Garden. The garden is reaping the benefits of new deer fencing.

Carol Davies tends the native lilies at Oak Bay’s Native Plant Garden. The garden is reaping the benefits of new deer fencing.

Deer invaders locked out by legacy

Anonymous benefactor adds security to native plant garden

Blooms not spotted in recent years are returning to the Native Plant Garden in Oak Bay thanks to new fencing.

The camas and fawn lilies will see the light of day this spring in the garden gifted to the community in 1939.

The .21-hectare garden off Beach Drive near Margate endured seasons of deer prior to fencing last year.

“This past summer a new fence has been put up around the garden because of the deer problem,” said Carol Davies, who has invested a dozen years worth of time into the garden. “For the first time in quite a few years we’re seeing things that were normally eaten down.”

“There’d been several meetings about having a fence. It was going to be a much more modest fence than we have,” she said. While budgeting was under way, the executor of an anonymous benefactor’s will came calling. Now that private legacy of cedar lattice fencing surrounds the garden.

Davies works at the garden each Friday clearing invasive plants and at times planting native species salvaged from sites under development around the region.

“We work closely with the municipality – they do things like arborist work and take away all our garden debris,” she said.

“It’s a nice garden, it’s a Garry oak ecosystem, there’s the Garry oak tree and the arbutus tree and all kinds of different shrubs that go with that.”

The garden, which features a natural rock formation and multiple trails as well as several ponds and vantage points with benches, is a designated Oak Bay Heritage site.

“Over the years it’s gone through various clean-ups and various states of being overgrown,” Davies said.  “We cleared out all the invasive species, there was a lot of ivy and blackberry, holly and non-native grasses. Then we planted quite a few native plants and bushes in the garden.”

The camas are expected to pop up soon, earlier than usual due to the “mild winter and warm spring.”

Explore the garden with Friday walk

Oak Bay’s twilight walk offers a chance to explore the community’s Native Plant Garden this Friday.

The  Embrace the Night walk will start early, allowing participants to enjoy the sight and fragrance of blossoms by twilight, with the hopes of catching a beautiful moonrise and sunset along the way.

Choose from two routes at two paces. Both will feature native wildflowers including fawn lilies, shooting stars, camas and buttercups along the Brighton Walkway and throughout the Oak Bay Native Plant Garden on Beach Drive. A more energetic group will also enjoy the stunning views from Anderson Hill Park.


Meet at 7 p.m.  April 3 at the Monterey Recreation Centre. Personal reflectors will be handed out. Wear comfortable footwear and hope for the best but prepare for worst as the walk is on rain or shine.