A Walk on the Wild Side

Hi everyone! Janis here, from Pinecone Camp. With a few long weekends coming up in the next couple of months, I thought I'd share a magical place with you, located on the wild west side of Vancouver Island. Cougar Annie's Garden, near Tofino BC. Have you been to this part of Canada? It's a pretty spectacular place. I had the opportunity to shoot Cougar Annie's garden, with Erin Mclaughlin (editor of Style at Home and Canadian Gardening), and a writer, Masa Takei, a while back. I have to admit, I'm a city girl, but I absolutely loved hanging out here. The story of Cougar Annie is fantastic too. She settled here in 1915, had 11 kids, many husbands, and had to kill several cougars. A fascinating woman. You can read more here, but I'll fill in a few bits through the post.

This was our float plane that would take us to Hesquiat Penisula Provinical Park, where Cougar Annie's garden is located. It was just before 5am, best light of the day for shooting a garden. Only a 12 minute flight to our destination so all was looking good.

Looking down on Cougar Annie's garden from the plane. Incredible view.

No one was there to meet us, so we had to find the garden ourselves. I have no sense of direction, so I was happy that Erin is a human compass. After a 3 km walk, and noticing some large animal tracks, we finally found it! Erin is the one in awe, on the right.

The entire place is one huge moss carpet. Looks and smells beautiful and it's fantastic to walk on.

Beautiful lupin, and some remnants from the past.

The original house is crumbling. Cougar Annie operated a general store and a post office out of her home. Her main business was her nursery, and she shipped plants all over Canada.

Natural paths, moss all over the trees, and a stunning variety of plant life. If anyone knows what the plant is, bottom right, I'd love to know. I had been told it was something like a "venus flytrap". Really?

I know many of you have heard of, or been to, Tofino, maybe even did a little surfing, but if you get the chance, you really should check this place out. I think a visit to Tofino, and a trip to Cougar Annie's would make a perfect long weekend!


An interiors and lifestyle photographer (and closet baker by night), Janis Nicolay hails from Vancouver and adores travel, airports, road trips, camping and mid-century style.

Blog: pineconecamp.blogspot.com
Site: janisnicolay.com

Jan Halvarson


Carola said...

Thats a beautiful place! It have a magic atmosphere.
The name of that plant is Drosera capillaris.

kisses from my winter veggie garden,


Felicity said...

I really love traveling with you and this tour was no exception.

To see the landscape from a birdseye view before having the time to take macro captures of the fascinating flora would have been true bliss for me.

Happy day!

Felicity x

Veronika said...

This place looks absolutely amazing, thanks for sharing :)

Helmi said...

The pictures are beautiful, this looks like a fantastic landscape.
grt, helmi

Mirjana Novak Cesar said...

What a gorgeous, enchanting place, so lush. Beautiful photos! Love the story of Cougar Annie.

Mette said...

What a magic atmosphere with the wild lupins and old table. Love it!

Unknown said...

oh to
on the moss
and just


jamie w said...

That is absolutely beautiful. I wish I lived closer so I could see it in person.

RC Reese said...

Wow! I'm ready to leave right now! Very pretty place.

Sarah said...

What a beautiful place!

Margie Oomen said...

similar to the venus flytrap in that it is also carnivorous

chelsea lyn said...

thank you so much for sharing! my boyfriend and i are planning a trip up to vancouver at the end of the summer. i'm definitely flagging this post as a reminder to visit this beautiful getaway!

Pinecone Camp said...

Carola, thanks for naming that plant for me! It was so beautiful and unusual.
Chelsea Lyn, I really hope to can make it out to Tofino. It's a bit of a jaunt from Vancouver, but so pretty and worth it. It's the true "wild west"!

Lady Grey said...

what a fun little adventure! Fabulous pictures!

elisa said...

astonishing story and surroundings. i've never yet made it to tofino, though i've seen so many of my mother's photographs of the beaches. these are quite different.

a sundew! extraordinary. x

Some Korean Website Highjacker said...

as another Vancouverite, i've been to beautiful Tofino before but seeing it through Janis' eyes is quite sensational! i've been a reader of both your blogs for a long while and loved this collabz, kinda match made blogger heaven.

Janis, i can't believe how cool it must have been to take a float plane in, what a dream-like experience for you girls. loved the story behind Cougar Annie's name, that lady had the fight stuff! your walk into the gardens reminded me of Fantasy Island, almost could hear Mr. Roarke welcoming you in ; )

this was a gorgeous post to behold, thank you for sharing the story. ♥

pilli pilli said...

Absolutely & utterly WOW.

That lake view is really amazing.
What a way to start the day...

Thanks for sharing!!!
Too bad it's a little far away for an extended weekend though... - I live in Italy! But if I'm ever lucky enough to be able to travel to Canada, then this will be on my destination list!!! :-)

& have a great day!

Adrienne said...

Ah, Cougar Annie's, one of my favourite places. So will be seeing the garden in an upcoming issue?

The plant is sundew, which is indeed a carnivorous plant. The droplets are sweet and sticky, so attract insects that are then "dissolved" by the plant's digestive juices. It is common in the bogs and other wetlands of the west coast. A great place to see them (for those unable to get to the gardens) is the Bog Trail in Pacific Rim National Park.

Anonymous said...

I first saw Sundew in Killarney and Algonquin Provincial Parks in Ontario on canoe trips. It is also found in bogs in Vermont where I live. Your photo captures the sticky beauty of the plant. Thanks for a glimpse of Annie's world.

k said...

yup, sundew. I see a few have already said that, but it can be found a few different places on VI (notably "Sundew Bog" up near Strathcona Provincial Park). thanks for the beautiful pics from Cougar Annie's - I have visited the Tofino area countless times but have still not made it out there. I really must soon.

PinkPanthress said...

Thank you for this image heav, poisitively so, and inspiring post.
As a Canada lover I was very happy to read this and its links! :D

Jennifer said...

Yes, sundew. Lovely pics. Thanks for sharing.