Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bliss in the days of repose

We are loving these days after the grand excitement of Christmas. The secrets of new toys are being discovered, the piano is being played several times a day, cheeses and chutneys are making a regular appearance on the snack tray, and we are all falling a little more in love--with life and with each other.

I've always thought the week between Christmas and New Year's feels like suspended time --golden and shimmering. I hope you are all enjoying this special time in the ways that matter most to your heart.

"It feels like marshmallows out there, mommy." ~ my 5-year-old son

Monday, December 24, 2012

Love and Joy to You All

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and many blessings in the New Year!

Your knee-deep in snow gardener,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The first hush

“It's quiet now. So quiet that I can almost hear other people's dreams.”
― Gayle Forman, If I Stay

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Jewel Among the Jewels

To beat the heat we were having dinner on our patio when our flamboyant guest arrived.

He landed on our outdoor chandelier and commenced washing his face--a very tidy guest at that. I managed to get this photo of him with my camera phone.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

My new (and first) red rose, Cuthbert Grant, opened this morning before it started to pour outside.

This photo (taken, edited & posted with my phone) doesn't really capture the gorgeous cherry red velvet of the rose, however, it does give you some idea of the shape.

Now that the rain has briefly stopped it's back to gardening for this girl! xo

Rosa 'Cuthbert Grant'

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Ringy Dingy...Two Ringy Dingys...

Time to stop and smell the roses. Literally. Life has been going at top speed with a major career change and that secret season called "soccer."

Who knew that Under Sixes needed to play two nights a week? Not me--or Coach Daddy. :)

I am trying an experiment here with this post. I am actually phoning it in.
Really. I took the photos with my phone, edited them, and am now sitting in the rain in the gazebo posting them with the blogger app.

I don't see any way to format the actual post, so it looks like it will be all words on top and photos on bottom--or the other way around. :)

If the photos are on the bottom, please do take a moment to scroll down to see them. They are of the trio of J. P. Connell roses I put in last July. It was so wet that month that the buds rotted on the stem.

I must say I am rather chuffed that they are all blooming their little heads off this year. They sit at the front of a corner curve of the bed and steal the show. It was raining when I took these shots so you may see some drops on them.

So much going on in the garden and in my life right now (all good!) that I think I'll need to make a pot of tea and write a chatty post. As soon as soccer is over. :)

OK, time to hit "send" and see what this post looks like.

Hope you are all having a glorious time of it in your gardens! ((hugs))

Monday, April 30, 2012

Into the Greening...

Spring is here in the GWN! Never mind that it has snowed ONCE A WEEK this month. No matter, it doesn't stay, and besides, my garden just ignores the snow and grows anyway. If it can be so calm and single-minded, so can I. I consider this my version of out-staring old man winter -- he'll flinch first.

My greatest champion in staring down winter is my rhubarb. This was here when we moved here; a lone sign of life in a sea of ugly gravel. Despite what the experts say, we've moved it three times and it just keeps coming back brighter than ever. I made rhubarb crisp with it last year and it was divine. So, I'm sure you can imagine how happy I was to see my old friend return. (My son holds my hand and drags me each day to "check on the rhubarb!" I love this!)


This striped squill is my very first flower of the year -- and it is not even mine! Really. It is a volunteer that made its way to the side of our house. I think this is the third year it has shown up, much to my delight. I think it is absolutely charming.


The next brave soul is the columbine, aquilegia 'Beidermeier.' As I had secretly hoped, it has begun self seeding. I simply cannot get enough of the cool pastels of this intricate and elegant plant. It lines the path leading into the garden and lends a lovely woodland feel to the path. Welcome back, lovely lady!


The next eager starter is the clematis, macropetala 'Lagoon.' It is a sweet blue clematis that is practically maintenance-free. It grows on old growth and likes to get out there early and let the world know that there is a reason to stop and stare. Deceptively delicate looking, it is proving once again - now in its third year - that it is one tough cookie. My kinda vine.


Don't these peppery looking little flowers delight? They are not ones that we normally get to see close-up because they are usually so far above us. They are the flower of the tree, Ulmus Americana 'Brandon.' Generally referred to as the American elm, it is a stately vase-shaped tree found on boulevards across North America. Sadly, it has been decimated in many regions by Dutch Elm Disease, carried by a small beetle. Here in Alberta, we claim to be Dutch Elm Disease-free. I think there have been one or two cases reported; however, the province has a rigorous program in place to stop the disease, that so far seems to be working. I am taking it on faith that they will continue to be diligent, and so added this very favourite tree to my garden. I have the room for it and absolutely love them. In a few years these tiny, frothy flowers will be too high for me to see so I'll enjoy their proximity now.


Looking down, I see the patches of Lamium Maculatum 'White Nancy' are springing back to life. I put several of these in last year late in the season. I had this particular lamium in my previous garden and love the way it glows with a silvery light in the shade and in the evenings. The small white flowers look like pearls to me. I understand that some lamiums are thugs in certain conditions; however, White Nancy is a tidy and well-behaved ground cover here and blends beautifully with other shade-loving foliage. Welcome back, silver sister!


Another hardworking and under-appreciated beauty of the dappled light garden is Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla mollis. This beauty is one of the first to show up for the party and keeps her good looks all summer. You can't beat the silver beads of dew that grace her foliage in the morning and add sparkle to the garden. I put in several of these last year as well, and plan to add more this year as an edging plant.


An evergreen shrub I've always coveted is the Taunton's Yew, Taxus x media 'Tauntonii.' It has a graceful low form and soft, arching branches. I was delighted to see it came through its first winter without any burn or dieback. Most impressive. I may be adding more of these pretties as well.


And finally (I could go on as there is more coming up!), I will end with the Rosa rugosa 'Schneezwerg.' The snow dwarf is a sweet, simple white rose that blooms and blooms. I was very impressed with it last summer as the three of them were never without blooms. As a rugosa, it is a tough rose, but small, tidy and shapely. I look foward to seeing them fill in a little more this year.


I know this is my longest post in ages, but think of it as me exhaling after a long winter. Ahhhhh....I have plants growing! These are the days when you just can't wait to get out to the garden as soon as you race home to see what has grown while you were out. Um, can you tell I am thrilled? :)

I hope you are all enjoying the magic of spring, wherever your gardens may be. I'll be visiting your blogs as I can this week to check out spring as she is making her magic across the continents. Yay!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is your wish?

Is it for the first sweet flowers? To see the leaves unfurl? Or, like me, for the snow to be really, truly, finally gone? (Yes, I know, that will never happen in the GWN!)

We are all dreaming this time of year, living just a little bit ahead of ourselves, in hope, in expectation, and with a creeping joy.

As you may have surmised, by my last post, I was in a place where spring presided, the capital of flowers in Canada, Victoria, British Columbia. While it was still early days there, the cherry trees were blooming, the bulbs were opening and the leaves were unfurling. Outside our window, we awoke to the chorus of birds in the mornings. I soaked up every second of it.

I took this photo on a rainy day in the Japanese garden at the Butchart Gardens. (Glorious day!) I think the very soul of spring has a green and gold home in that garden that anchors all that is soft breezes and dappled light to our continent.

Just a side note: I took this photo on the day the government announced they were ending production of the penny. I didn't hear the news until later that day. While that was probably a very practical decision, I, for one, will miss the penny. So, go ahead, come to this photo and make a wish whenever you like. Wishing and dreaming are always welcome here. :)

Oh, and here is my new favourite quote about wishing:

“When you love someone, all your saved-up wishes start coming out.”
~ Elizabeth Bowen

May all your wishes come true!! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Do you hear what I hear?

 This has been a luxurious, soft winter (except for one frigid week that, fingers crossed, didn't do my garden in). I have spent a lot of time on the trails in and around my beloved ravine that borders my neighbourhood. I usually have my phone with me, so I've been taking some pics with it. (The quality isn't great but I do have fun playing with them in the various apps that allow me to texturize them and add effects). Today was an exceptional day to be out and about so I did it twice. Once very early in the morning and once in the afternoon while the gorgeous men in my house napped. :)

The wildlife have been loving life this winter, too. I have seen deer, rabbits, weasels (pure white with a black-tipped tail!), squirrels and some overwintering birds that should be long gone. I've been walking, running, meandering, and just plain enjoying every minute of it. After last winter (think Mordor bleak) we deserve every minute of this wonderful year.

My favourite thing is the birds. Go figure. Normally, I like to get onto the secondary paths, the deer trails if you will, where it is quiet and I can listen to the birds chatter with each other and check me out. Chickadees have absolutely no shame, you know.

Today, however, I didn't have to go looking for the birds. Early this morning, great clouds of Bohemian Waxwings descended on my neighbourhood and into the ravine, where they reeled and rose and fell enmasse all day. I couldn't stay away. At times, I had clouds of them move past me so low that I could feel the vibration of their wings thrumming. It made me laugh. I remembered my final exam in an anthropology class, Preliterate Religions, where I had to write my own religion. I remember that my religion was very pantheistic. While that may have been a very simplistic approach, I still do feel a deep connection to joy and a sense of transcendence when I am awed by nature. I think that is why I want to go sea kayaking in the Queen Charlottes before I die. ANYWAY, I was awed today. I went down one of my favourite deer paths to settle in on a fallen tree and listen to the hub bub all around me. The jays were out of sorts, the ravens had to have a *talk*, the chickadees were having a great tweet-up, and a Coopers hawk flew silently by at shoulder height through the trees about 15 feet from me. The Bohemians were causing quite a stir.

I know it's still winter and spring is further away than it feels, but, dammit Jim, it felt like the world was alive today. Can a girl fall in love with a small bit of urban forest? Hope so, because I think I swooned a little today. In fact, I was speechless.

EDIT: Here is the link to a herky-jerky video I took with my phone. If you turn it up you can hear the amazing sound filling the sky.

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.” ― Robert Lynd

EDIT: Feb. 5: HBG, this pic is for you. It is an awful photo, taken with my phone, of the weasel peeking out of one of the many "doors" of the burrow he ran to. He was fascinated by me. I was a little scared of him actually because I had one chase me, then charge me again, as I was crossing a bridge in the ravine last summer. My ankles felt conspicuously bare as he ran towards me. :)

Weasel in the winter when there was no snow to hide