Monday, May 30, 2011

The eagles

The tall bearded iris at the edge of the vegetable garden are doing very well this year.

Lately, I have been waking up at about 5:00 am and cannot get back to sleep.  So, I sit at my front window and watch the animals and birds.  There is a bit of traffic, and a very few walking people.  The drama of this morning was the eagles and crows dispute.  We have a nesting pair of eagles in our neighbourhood.  Last year I watched them flight training 3 of their baby eagles.  This morning one of the eagles came swooping in ever lower circles towards the tall trees across the street and along the power line area.  I have never seen the eagle hunting that low or close before.  On its swoop towards the trees, it was immediately mobbed by about 6 - 8 crows.  The eagle then flew away back up over the roof of my house.  The other eagle then arrived and took up a perch on the top of the power line tower.  It was attacked by a couple more crows as it sat there.  I wonder, if maybe the eagles nest has been raided by the crows.  I don't usually see both of the eagles away from the nest at the same time, at this time of the year.   I don't know where the nest is, but I think it is somewhere in the Panama Flats park. 
After all this excitement, I got out my new Rebel camera and played a bit trying to get good shots of the Limoges box with the 50mm lens.  I did get a couple of eagle pictures in RAW but have not uploaded them to my computer yet. 
It was a beautiful day today.  After lunch I went out to the garden and got the new plants I had purchased at Brentwood Bay nursery transplanted.  I now have 4 gentians in the front inner garden area.  I added a thrift, a pink geranium and a Johnson's blue geranium, and a blue daisy like one to the rectangle closest to our driveway.  This little area is seen from the street and our driveway.  It is nicely cleaned up now.  The bamboo is running into the bed and I have to clip it back every year.  I weeded some of the area by the smoke bush, and moved the ratty looking hebe from there to the strip in front by the purple plum tree.  I have this little area cleaned up, also.  The rectangle area behind it on this side is rather wilder looking, but has some nice plants in it.  The peonies are not doing well on this side, but the other side the peonies have lots of buds.  I have the butterfly bush in a pot.  When I get the woodland cleaned up, I will be able to just cut this pot off the bush and plant it.  The plastic is not very thick.  I added the butternut squash and 2 tomatoes to the vegetable garden and the marigolds along the edge of the veggie garden.  I see last year's potatoes that did not do well are showing little leaves.  I planted the 2 new primulas near the little spruce tree just behind the snapdragons I have along there this year.  The soil was very soggy in this new bed  from the winter rains.  The soil needs more improvement.  I have only 1 1/2 bags of compost left now, as well as the good woodsy stuff I have in 16 or so bags, that I took from under the st. john's worte, when I cleaned it up.  With a bit more weeding and grass edging the front should be in pretty good shape and it will be time to give the woodland some serious attention.  Its so much easier to have the big green bin for clippings, and the cordless mower and hedge trimmer. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

May, the tulip month

More of the tulips.  Last Autumn, along wtih the black tulips, I planted about 40 more.  Most of them along the driveway strip.  The ones I like the best are the lily flowering tulips.  They have the pointy petals.  The pink tulips along the old sidewalk by the garage look quite nice too.  All of the tulips are tall this year.  I fed them bone meal and compost. A little attention goes a long way. 
The oriental poppies are in bud as are the tall bearded irises, and the perennial geraniums along the driveway strip.  The geraniums look good all year, but the others are going into dormancy by August.  I need a few more plants along the driveway to have more of a show for autumn.  There are some michaelmas daisies migrated there, and there is some low growing phlox.  Perhaps a day lily or three.  I can get them from Mrs. pee's side of my garden.  She won't miss them.  But, I am thinking I want the Stella d'or one that has a very long bloom period.  I also want some that are not that bright orange.  The orange looks good with the bishops weed on Mrs. Pee's side, but I do not want that bishop's weed anywhere else.
Today, we went to Mary's Blue Moon cafe for lunch.  We shared a lobster sandwich and each had a cup of soup.  Most delicious seafood chowder.  After that Pat caught up on some of his reading while I had a quick look around Brentwood nursery.  I came away with $50 worth of new plants.  I have 2 gentians that I want to put in the front garden by the smoke bush.  I have 2 primulas to add to my primula collection.  The p. vivali needs special attention, 2 more perennial geraniums... a Johnson's Blue and the lovely smaller pink one, a butterfly bush.. needs to be in a pot for this year, until I get the woodland cleaned up, another thrift, and an alpine aster in dark blue.  Also got a six pack of marigolds, a butternut squash plant a two tomatoes, another little blue daisy thing.  After we got home I helped Pat measure up the Model T for its new cover.  I also got some more of the woodland path chopped down and it is beginning to look like a path again.  I sure hope none of these clippings grow.  I will have to cover them with old carpet or something to kill them!   All in all, a very good day.

May - the black tulips

These are photos of the saxatilis tulips.  They are the first to open in the Spring.  They spread nicely all over the garden.  They are usually finished by mid-June.

Grace left me the 30 black tulips.  I put them in along by the old garage, thinking they would be good against the white.  They are really quite tall.  I had a few in the house and they lasted very well.  They are very good boquet material.  I shall be emailing Grace with a link to my block, rather than filling her email with photos.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May hedging

This is a view from our driveway along the path that goes across the top of the garden.  The hedge on the right side is made from the boxwood clippings and is slowly filling out.  The top left is a low cedar that covers the bottom part of the big pink tree peony  The vase has arabis in it.
This is a shot of the lovely hebe in full bloom and the hedge is now trimmed.  This hebe is currently the star of the front garden.
This is the honeysuckle pilea along Parmar's side, with the new cedar hedge behind it.  These cedars are going to be good screening from all the cars in the driveways, all the blank lawn area and the butchered trees across the street.
Shooting from the thyme circle upwards to the top of the front garden through the alliums to the hebe.  The thyme circle is in bloom, but there are no bees.  I need to do more weeding in this area.
The magnolia and the big tree peony are in bloom at about the same time this year.  They are nearly the same color and sit across the grass path next to the entry way.  They are putting on a fine show now.
The peony, closer.

I spent about 10 hours clipping the hedges.  It actually goes quite fast with my little battery powered hedge trimmer.  After doing the top hedge and the side I mowed the grass, front and back.  The crocuses leaves were beginning to brown, so I took them down also.  I dumped these hedge clippings and lawn clippings on the back woodland path.   There are no pictures of the honeysuckle hedge that runs along the street side of the large cedar hedge.  This honeysuckle is really ratty looking.  I really should dig it out and replace it with boxwood clippings.  Maybe this Fall, if I have time.  In front of the ratty little hedge, the daisies are coming into bloom for their show time.  I also clipped some of the big cedar hedge and took a couple of wheel barrow loads of the cedar duff and clippings to the woodland garden path.
It was rainy yesterday, and I had laundry to do.  In the afternoon I went over to Royal Oak mall, and picked up a few books, other stuff, and of course, two more six packs of annuals.  All of this exercise over the past couple of weeks, as well as a few late nights spent on Megashot had played me out entirely.  Last night I slept from 8:00 pm to 9:00 this morning.  I tweaked photos, and transplanted the little annuals today... nothing too strenuous. 

May in the Garden

This is a look at the little rockery at the front in full bloom.  I see the little weedy flowers growing in the gravel.  I shall need to kill them with that weed be gone.  They are very difficult to control by hand weeding.
A lovely bright magenta azalea just under the window of the suite at the back. 
this is the rhodos and the little azalea.  Those terrorist tree killers really don't deserve to have this for a view along their sidewalk.
The apple tree had quite a few blossoms this year.  I did not see many bees around though.
The lilac is in full bloom.  I cut some of the blooms off Mrs. Pees side and have them in the house in a huge boquet.  They are nicely fragrant outside and in.
It was raining the other day, so I managed to get a shot of the Peony tree in the rain.  This plant is right by the edge of the deck at the front entry.  It is gorgeous and fragrant.  The flowers rise up out of a low cedar.
This is a perennial bachelor button that self seeds around.  I have some in the front and a big patch in the back near the water tub.  They are a lovely royal blue color and look good in a big clump.
This is the water tub in the back woodland.  These bachelor buttons are now in full bloom. The water iris has buds.  The honesty is coming into bloom and the blue bells are finishing up.  I have this area weeded just about up to the tub.  That is, the irises are weeded, and there are a couple now showing buds.  They are getting more sun since old weird sheila removed her ugly board fence.  I must feed them compost, too.
Over the last week, I have cleaned up the Virginia creeper and the st. john's worte.  I had all the clippings piled up along the woodland path.  I now have some of this stuff put into the big green bin.  I hope I can get most of the rest of it chopped down to little twigs to cover the wood land path.  It takes time to chop it up, and is not my favourite thing to do.    The path will be better for it, once I get it finished though. 
This is the solomons seal that is at the front.  There is also one under the deck.  It is a very good shade plant.  It is mixed up with too many other plants at the front.  I need to make it a stand alone plant and have the clematis, for one plant, taken away from it. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Limoges little boxes

On our way down south last winter we stopped at the Puyallup, Wa., swap meet.  I collect little boxes as keepsakes of places I visit. While dashing around the swap meet, this little box just about jumped off the table into my pocket.  On closer examination it said Limoges in the tiniest print on the top and larger on the bottom.  At $4.00, I had to have it.  Today, I finally took the time to research these little Limoges boxes.  Most of them I looked at had the hinges on them and so I thought that mine was just a very nice copy.  More searching on the internet shows me the manufacturer's name on the back.  It is Fontanille and Marraud piece, probably from the 1930s.   
My little box has the stamp on the left.  It is made in Limoges, France.  I have seen pictures of other hinged boxes using this same design of the dancing couple.  Its very intricate and a lovely thing.  I now have a new craze for collecting Limoges.   There are very many of these  boxes that were used for snuff boxes, gift boxes, pill boxes, patch boxes, perfume boxes, etc.   It is quite interesting.  Probably the most famous Limoges would be the Faberge eggs done for the Tzar (Pat says for the omelette) to give to his mistress.

When I get more time I shall do up better pictures of this little treasure box.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May in the Garden

This wonderful hebe is in full bloom.  It sits in the front garden as part of the little rockery.  You see a few of the other plants in this area.  The hedge was not yet clipped at the time of this photo.

Here is a photo of some of the tiny plants on the little rockery at the back.  These are last year's transplants that are doing very well.  I think they may get bigger than their tags say they will be.  The next photo is full of shadows.  It is the view of the strawberries in bloom and the newly transplanted Chinese vegetables.  Behind them are the big black pots, that I have yet to plant up.  Behind the black pots, are the tall bearded irises.  They are going to have a great show this year.  There are lots of buds now.  The last is the mermaid at the top of the waterfall.  I need to find a different place for the mermaid or make moss grow on it.
Yesterday and the day before I spent a few hours trimming the hedges along the top and down the side by Parmar's grass.   I also trimmed back the burning bush off their sidewalk.  Now, of course, we can see their garbage cans sitting out there from our front door.  Amazing... people will keep their garbage cans by their own front door.  I have yet to clip the little bottom hedge.  Since it is a bit misty rainy today, I am taking the day off.  I watered the deck plants a bit yesterday, also.  I moved the grass front and back.  Since I have the access to the back grass covered in vine clippings that will not fit into the big green bin, I devised a way to take the lawn mower up the two back steps.  I have a light board that is easy to place down as a ramp.  I take a short run at it with the mower and it works, really very well.  I may do this to get to the back grass, all the time, now. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Some spring clean up in the garden

This is some of the tulips in bloom now.  These flowers are so easy and put on such a grand display for years.   I have them planted everywhere in the garden and they are a riot of color just now.

This is the before and after picture of the Virginia creeper and the St. John's worte.  The Virginia creeper had advanced way up the telephone pole and then slumped down again with all the weight of the debris, squirrel nests and all within in the vines.  The ivy, that I added for some winter color was advancing up the pole too.  It put on a glorious display in Autumn.  It will grow again, in no time.  The St.John's worte will be better for its close pruning.

It seems we are on water rationing again this year.  We also have a by-law out lawing the use of weed killers on lawns.  Everyone has to pull out their dandilions by hand.  I have all kinds of little weeds taking over my bits of grass.  They will become 'meadows' in no time.
Yesterday I spent about 6 hours out in the garden doing numerous things.  I finished the clean up of the Virginia creeper and st. john's worte.  I now have about 16 bags of this good woodland type soil, to add to the woodland when I get it cleaned up.  I spent some time clipping out dead wood in the Japanese cedar and on the pin oak.  So far I seem to have one tall bearded iris in this woodland iris bed, in bloom.  I cleaned up that area a few days ago, but they need some good compost.  The irises on the vegetable garden edge are going crazy this year.  Many buds forming from just a bit of attention to their soil and weeding last year.  They are really tall too.  Anywhere that I have added compost, the plants seem to be extra tall.  The tulips are at least 2 1/2 feet tall.
I cleaned most of the birdseed weeds out of the bed by the side of the garage.  The tulips are doing great, there.  The oriental poppies are coming into bloom.  There is still some grass there that I will have to keep after.  At the top of the driveway strip the perennial geraniums are looking terrific and are covered with blooms.  There is morning glory along this flower bed strip along between our driveways.  I really need to keep after it with the round up and the paint brush. 
I transplanted the plants I had purchased on Sunday.  The 6 little Chinese vegetables are looking good in their garden row.  The strawberries have lots of blooms and the rhubarb is slowly growing up.  I clipped some of the cedar hedge along the top of the garden.   It doesn't need much, so I can do it with the hand pruner.  I transplanted the new small pink baby's breath into the strawberry jar on the little rockery at the back.  It should fall over the edges in a cascade of pink.  Most of last year's new little alpines have survived and are doing fine, along with the lewisias, a campanula and a few other older ones, on this little rockery.  I put a couple of cosmos into the pink pot by the back garage entry.  I have the tomatoe and 2 basil in a big pot.  The new delphinium in a big pot and 2 of the smaller perenials and the same with the hollyhock.  The triouchina tree is in a pot of its own.  It is suppose to bloom all summer.  I hope I can keep it alive and well grown.  It is a beautiful tree, but will need to be brought in for the winter. 
I fixed the water flow of the pump and now have a faster wall fall.  The 4 new fish are visible.  the water hawthorn is blooming.  I saw the frog again.  It is not big enough to eat the fish.  So, what ever got them did a thorough job of it.  I no longer even see little black ones, and I had hoards of them.
Trimming the hedges is next on my to do list.  The sun is suppose to shine tomorrow. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

May in the garden

The fern leafed peony is a very exotic plant and lives next to the little rockery in the front garden,.  It's wonderful show is not long-lived, but it is quite elegant.  It has the lime green coriscan helebore for a good foil to the bright magenta perfectly formed flowers on their background of ferny green leaves.
The ajuga is putting on a grand show in the little rockery at the front garden.

This the Mountain Avens, or Dryas Octopetala.  It also lives on the little rockery.  It has these lovely white blossoms  held above the evergreen, oak-like foliage; on a small scale.  This plant is happy to spread along the rocks over clay.  The flowers turn into very nice fluffy displays of seed heads that give the base of the West Coast Planter the look of a chiffon gown. 
This is a look at the woodland garden along the side of the garage and part of the path leading to the back woodland.  There is the bleeding heart, anemorella, cyclamen, the self seeding honesty, a  perennial forget me not, that has the most gorgeous foliage.
These photos are from about a week ago.  Since then I have been working at reducing the Virginia creeper to about 4 feet high, on its climb up the telephone pole.  It took about 15 years tor reach its height..  but I hope to have before and after photos of this end of the strip between Shauna's driveway and mine. It has been a big cleanup.  I have 12 bags of leaf mold kind of stuff collected to use in the Woodland, after I am sure all the Virginia creeper and St. John's wort clippings are dead.  I have this in 12 twenty litre plastic bags, for now.  Since the big green compost bin is full, I have more of this vine clippings stacked along the woodland path, that you see above..  I have about 8 feet to clean up on the street end of this strip.  I have spent at least 16 hours on cleaning this strip, so far.  On Friday, I used my weed be gone to spray some of the more persistent weeds along the strip.  But the morning glories will need constant attention.  I sprayed the woodland path, and hope all the thistles are gone for good.  I hope I can salvage some of the twiggy stuff for the woodland path.  Next compost day is the 24th.  I shall be stomping over this collection of twiggy material to try reduce it to leave some stuff on the path, and reduce the size of the material to go into the bin, next week.

Today, it rained.  There is about 1.5 inches of rain in the gauge.  This is fine, it gives me a break from the exercise of cleaning up the strip along the driveways.  I must have about 16 hours invested in this clean up, so far.  The Virginia creeper and the ivy took about 16 years to grow to these proportions, so its a fair trade off. The creeper is cut down to about 4 feet, that will be going up the pole in no time again, I am sure.  The St. John's worte has been clipped to ground level.  It will be even more healthy and growing thickly after its pruning.  The Agave has been cleaned up.  The New Zealand flax could not compete with these plants and the snow.  It is history.  I have uncovered about 3 feet of driveway where the plants were growing.  There was a lot of debris inside the old creeper's vines.  I believe the squirrels were nesting in this nice secure place.

Alas, I no longer see the squirrel that once did the high power line runs in such an acrobatic display.  Lately, I have been waking up at 5 in the am and watching the creatures in my front garden and in the deer pasture just across the street.  We have deer, rabbits, and many  regular visiting birds.  The tree in the front has not leafed out yet, so I can see the front garden from my living room window.  Its designed for this view.  The view from the lower floor window is good too.  The lower floor view goes on throughout the year and is shady in the summer with the leaf canopy of the liquid amber tree. 
Since it was raining today, I went to Cannor Nursery and picked up a few more plants.  Basil, a few annuals and 6 more perennials.  I think I will be adding then to the pots I have on the deck.  There is a hollyhock and a delphinium for height.  Snapdragons and petunias to fill out the containers.   Some chinese vegetables and one tomato.  Four new little goldfish for racoon fodder.
Otherwise, I am almost finished the Girl who Played with Fire book, the 2nd in the the Stieg Larsson series of books.  As my IT friend Ken said, the characters get more weird as the series goes on.  I want a really good book to read about the computer world of today.  I doubt I will find it. I want a good novel with good information about how much this IT communication has changed our societies.  I understand that people now text message their friends that they are going to call them later on their cell phone.  :-)))  Parents have their children wired into their Blackberries to keep track of where they all are in their busy lives.  And FaceBook knows everything, just like god.  Its amazing how much stuff people put on their FaceBook and other social networking sites.  When there is a crime to investigate, it seems there is always something about it on Facebook.  People make themselves so vulnerable.
My last site meter counter said I had an average of 89 hits per day.  Not too bad for someone who is not even trying for hits.  Speaking of which, Megashot is, as usual, a place for people to gain recognition for their photography.  I get tired of the games they play to try to stay ahead of this game.  People are interesting, on the internet or off.