Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August gardening on the West Coast

This is a Japanese anemone.  I have a few of these graceful plants in different areas of the garden.  This particular one is just behind the the boxwood at the front and the burning bush shrub at the side of Mrs. Pee's sidewalk.  Behind it is the Jackimani royal purple clematis.  They are both in bloom now.
There is also fireweed in bloom with the clematis and anemone.  At their feet and behind the clematis is bishops weed, that is in front of the chimney.  There are also some orange daylilies in this combination.    I might want to move the day lilies, some day.   I think the bright orange clashes with the other colors.
This is the Irish heather in bloom in the front garden, next to the grass path.  Behind this heather you see Ladies Mantle.  This plant seems to go with anything, and grow anywhere.  It is easy to remove, and not too invasive.  All the heathers in my garden are in bloom.
I have had this photo on my desktop all summer.  I finally took the time to look it up and found it is called Marsilea Mutica.  I had thought it was a clover, of course.  It is actually a fern.  It can grow in my pond.  The planting depth should be 6 to 18 inches, full sun to shade, recommended pot size 8 x 5.  It is US hardiness zone 6 - 11, so we should be okay.  I think we are in US hardiness zone 8.
I am getting a few new plants on my wish list.  This one, a maltese cross (lychnis).  I get along fairly well with the lychnis plants.  :)  The photo of the water plant was taken out at Glendale Gardens.  It has been ages since I was out there!
A couple of nights ago, I was looking at my videos.  I noticed the one of my waterfall that I had not loaded to u tube.  So, now it is on you tube and I have been able to add it to the bottom of my blog, if you care to scroll down.  My new camera is suppose to do even better videos, in hd.  Have not had time to try it yet.   The reason I was looking at my videos is because I want to be able to  use my new hd screen for movies and videos.  I want to learn how to find movies and how to watch TV on this screen.  According to Trevor, my techie, I can use both of my screens.  I like this one for my photos, and everything.  The new one is a wide screen and I am having a hard time getting used to its resolution for surfing web pages and for viewing photos.  So, in this regard, I now have a new little desk with the new screen on it behind me.  I can swing around in my chair and take my wireless mouse and keyboard to the other screen.  I hope they are now far enough apart so that they do not interfere with each other.  I will get Trevor to come and hook them up, properly, soon.  I am hopeless at hardware connections.
Yesterday I walked from my doctor's office on Blanshard to Chinatown, probably about a mile.  Then in the afternoon, I managed to get the seven, new,  round stepping stones laid into the path in the back garden.  It looks pretty good.  I shall add some pea gravel between the stepping stones, and add Corsican mint to grow.  I only want the Corsican mint along the stepping stones.  It looks really good on the other end of this path.  I must keep the blue eyed grass under control.  It seeds around far too much. While getting some clay soil from under the deck, I managed to hit a wasps' nest and got two bites.  Dammit.  The bites are still itchy and bit swollen.  Thank heavens I am not one of the people who is terribly allergic to bee stings!
Today, my walk was to the 7 - 11 to get my winning lottery ticket, of course.  They are doing some work on Roy Road, so I did not come home via Roy Rd.  It was another lovely day, today.  I have watered around the back, in the woodland, and along the driveway.  The front garden will have to wait for another day.
We are eating the few little tomatoes form the plant on the deck.  I use parsley also.  The plums are ripening.  The figs are still green, but there are some big ones.  The grape is loaded this year. The apples should be good too.  The red currant needs to be picked and made into currant jelly.  It is so good, when take the time to make it!
Pat finished putting my new little desk together last night and I spent this morning moving things around. By this evening, I feel quite comfortable in my new computer space.  I am working on tweaking more photos for the 170 photo album for June for my old web page.  The Gardening Page has a few more albums to go, yet! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

On the deck

The lobelia is doing fine in the shade on the deck,.  The hollyhock is a shocking red color and goes very nicely with the dark royal blue delphinium.  These two plants are on my deck this year in seperate pots, but both tall.  Both in bloom at the same time.
I managed to get quite a few things done today, including watering and feeding the indoor and deck plants. 
Last night, in anticipation of having my HD screen connected and sitting on my new desk, I watched a movie... the day after tomorrow.  Once I get this screen working I shall attempt to figure out how to watch tv and movies on it.l 
I now have a couple of chicken soup jars and potatoe soup jars frozen for future use. We are planning our next short trip to Barkerville.  We can catch the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola.  With stops along the way, I believe we spend 2 days on the ferry.  .   .  a mini cruise!  This is going to be fun.
  I must know how to shoot movies in Barkerville.  I think they have people playing the part of those good old gold days.
This is a photo from our last trip to Pincher Creek and the surrounding area.  I love this shot.  Thinking about printing it,  nahhh to much road in it.   I am so enjoying the RAW conversion stuff.  I spent a bit of time looking at some of the new stuff on my computer.  This computer, as the one before, and the one before that, is really rather marvelous.  I am enjoying windows 7, my new camera, and all.
I managed to set one of the round stones into the path today.  Did some weeding and watering.  Watered and fed the deck and house plants..  I am using parsley from on the deck and the little cherry tomatoes, too.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Madly gardening in August

I took these photos the other day, in the bright sunshine.  I really should know better.  They were fairly easy to correct in the RAW converter in Adobe Photoshop.  The David Austin Rose at the top is a wonderful color and very fragrant.  The orange double day lily is something I have had for years.  This particular one is on Parmar's side of the house... not that they would appreciate it.  It grows like crazy so I have been able to divide it and move pieces of it to different areas of the garden.  The oriental lily is something new.  I have finally got lilies to grow!  It takes getting them up out my clay soil.  So this one is in the little rockery in the front garden.  I also have an orange one (not my favourite color) that was a gift from the Grants one year when they stayed at our place.

On Thursday, I was out for two hours in the morning and for 3 in the afternoon.  I cleaned up around the beds near the holly tree.  This involved picking prickly holly leaves out the flowers and grass.  Also weeded, of course and dead headed the campanulas.  The area is looking so much better, now, with all the dried perennial stuff cleaned out, and the jasmine shrubs pruned and cleaned up.  I hope its not too late to be pruning stuff.  In the afternoon, I dug out the front part of the woodland garden next to the water tub.  I took out the lemon balm, and the big leafted perennial.  (Can't remember its name).  Then I dug a hole for the butterfly bush.  It is in front of a small cedar and beside the water tub.  I left 2 of the big leafted perennial plants at the back by the cedar.  They will spread again, no doubt.  The tritoma is behind this  five square foot area also.  Actually the area is probably more than 5 feet deep. I watered the new hole generously and then brought the butterfly bush and transplanted it.  Then covered the area with more of the left over 'mulch' from the Virginia creeper bed renovations.  Watered this all in very generously again.  The butterfly bush is in bloom and is a lovely dark red/purple much like the color of the David Austin Rose above that I love.  There is nothing in front of the butterfly bush yet.  I might like to have something that stays green in winter.  I will wait on this, to see if I have the lemon balm, blue bells and other 'weeds' taken out of there.  Mulching is a good deterrent for the blue bells, and most other things.  But the mulch has to be pretty thick.  I may need cedar bark in the Fall.  Some tulips or daffodils would be nice to have in the front there.  Nothing that will spread into the trilliums, though.  Next, in this woodland area, I need to remove the big herb thing that grows behind the irises. I want to add some lychnis chalcedonia, or maltese cross to this spot.  This plant is a vivid red and blooms in July.  It needs good drainage.  The soil in this area is surprisingly good.  I must have added tons of peat moss when I first made these beds 20 years ago.

I spent Friday morning getting photos and planning a few things.  I thought I needed more flat stones for the path in the back garden.  Since Pat wanted to go to Slegg lumber to get some stuff, I begged his help to get some round stepping stones.  This is a really good idea, as it is very opportune to get the round stepping stones, and the bottom part of this path is made with round stepping stones.  The bottom part of the path has Sicilian mint filling in around the stones.  It looks really great, and the fragrance is wonderful. Now that I have the 7 new stones, I will renovate the top part of this path adding the round stepping stones, and putting down news paper to block weeds from growing.  I will need to find some clay to cover the newspaper.  I guess I could liberate this from under the deck.  This will free up some flat rocks for use elsewhere, should i need them.  I can always use these rocks, it seems.  After Slegg Lumber, we went to Canadian Tire and bought my new desk, in a box.  It needs to be put together.  Today, we started it, and it is looking pretty good for a very inexpensive 41 inch desk. It has 3 drawers and a keyboard shelf.  The front has 2 doors that close over the drawers and all.  Really quite nice. I am going to use this to make an "L" shape out of my computer area.  I will keep my new monitor and my old printer on it.  I will be able to use this new wide screen with the HD stuff for watching movies.  I may even learn how to watch TV on it, if I can find the time for this.  I have a few movies that I have saved from my Limewire days, and I find I can also watch movies in parts on you tube.  With this hd card and new screen set to its proper resolution I should have another time consuming pass time.  Man!  nothin' like being retired!

Since Saturdays are my watering days, I spent 3 hours this evening moving the little sprinkler around to get all the areas in the front watered.  Between moving the sprinkler around I did more dead heading and weeding.  In the morning, I ran the big sprinkler at the back on the vegetable garden and the apple tree area.  I will need to set up the sprinkler that shoots in a long narrow line to do the woodland area around the old garage, and the strip along the driveway.  It takes time to do this, but the plants seem to appreciate the effort.  I can see where mulching is going to be just what is needed in places to keep the weeds down and conserve moisture in the summer.  I like the self seeding plants in the woodland area, though, so I may leave the back corner without mulch, but clean up the thistles and lemon balm and other weeds.  So, I have a few things to do out there!  All this is good exercise and I am on track for my weight loss  as per my doctors orders.  .. 3 lbs in a month... seemed easy ... but just not that easy after all.  The exercises in the morning and all the gardening is working, along with less starchy stuff, and no more jelly beans or chips.  I certainly feel a lot better, already.  If I can keep this up, I should be down the 3 lbs., plus and well on my way to the 15 lbs. loss.  I want to take off even more than that, too.  This has to happen over time and with sticking to the diet and exercises.  Think new wardrobe, hair and everything!  :-)
This is a Lychnis Chaledocia, or Maltese Cross.  My Mom used to grow a great big patch of these.  Very nice flowers.  I have a plant in the front garden that is slowly spreading.  With the natural leaf fall I think I need to add more nitrogen to this area that is constantly covered in dried leaves or the freshly fallen ones in the Autumn.   Next year I should look into getting a bag of this 30 - 30 - 30 fertilizer, perhaps.  The vegetable garden could sure use it too.  John and Isabel grew the most fantastic vegetable gardens where ever they lived.  They used lots of good natural fertilizers as well the commercial kind.  Of course, there is no substitute for regular attention to watering and weeding too.

While trying to get my photos together for my "June" album on the gardening page of my old web page, this Maltese Cross was one of the photos I chose to use.  I could not, for the life of me, remember the name of the plant.  I tried to google it as red flowers, but did not find it.  Finally, I remembered the Maltese Cross common name.  While trying to look up the name, I would often see Daves Garden mentioned under the names of the google images I was seeing.  I thought this Dave must be one hell of a gardener to have all those photos showing on google searches!  Well, of course it is a gardeners website, with forums and people can load their flower photos to the forums or their 'journal'.  So, I joined, to brag my Maltese Cross  name search.  There are all kinds of forums.  But most of them are for subscribers only.  Ok,... this might be good when I have more time, if ever... at the moment, I can use google to find things like this, instead of paying the $20.00 to ask a question in the forums once every 5 years.  But, it does look like an interesting place and fun to participate with other gardeners.  It is out of California, of course.  I do hope to get back to it, sometime.  Gardening, travel, photography, computer stuff, reading and just generally living seem to more than filling my days. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August in the garden

While working on the June album for my web page last nite.  This Delephinium photo is one I chose to use.  I really like this photo of this delphinium.  It is rather a pale blue but is near the lovely dark purple water iris and blooms at the same time.  I really like the combination.
This is one of this years snapdragons that are on the back garden next to the round stepping stones.  The snaps at the front did not come up this year.  Considering they are suppose to be annuals, I feel I did fairly well to get about 3 years bloom out of them.    I hope the mixed ones I have on the back garden do as well.  Although, they are in a spot that gets quite soggy in winter. 

This morning I spent about 2 hours cleaning up in the vegetable garden and preparing the soil to put in the 6 swiss chard that I bought yesterday and carried home from the mall.  They look like good plants.  I must keep them well watered.  And so, to that end, I have the sprinkler running now, on the back.  The vegetable garden is not too good.  It has a couple of tomatoes,  a cucumber and 3 potatoe plants that grew from last year's none production.  I added a bag of compost to them all after weeding and transplanting the swiss chard. 
In the afternoon I was out again for another couple of hours.  I am getting the back woodland cleaned up.  It is looking pretty good.  I weeded from the irises to the trilliums which are just across from the compost bin... about 12 feet of weeding.  This area has polyanthus in the front, the irises, and a weedy tall herb with cedars and the saskatoon berry trees at the back..  I think I will get rid of this herb and plant sedum, perhaps, or delphiniums and holly hocks.   For the moment I have nothing in the strip between the irises and the cedars at the back.  The irises end at the water tub, and have the saskatoon trees behind the tub to the red hot poker.  On the other side of the tub there is this big leafted shade plant with racemes of blue flowers.  Nice leaves and the bees like the flowers.  But it has spread all over this five foot square area in front of the red hot poker.  There was also some lemon balm in there.  I need to dig all of these roots out as I want to put the butterfly bush in there next to the tub garden.  Across the sidewalk from the irises is the lovely lace cap hydrangea that is putting on a great show this year.  The butterfly bush is also coming into bloom, so these two shrubs will be in the same area and almost across from each other and booming at the same time.  The compost bin is hidden by tall ferns and a lily of the valley shrub.  The woodland is going to be very nice.    I put down 4 bags of the mulch left over from when I cleaned up the Virginia creeper and St.John's worte.  I hope the Saskatoon trees produce a little better next year.  I must get them some fruit tree spikes next spring.   The woodland path is looking good.  The twiggy stuff from the Virginia creeper worked well for the path.  The two thirds of the woodland that I still have to do is very wild and over grown.  There is the tall Japanese cedar and a small grove of sumack, with a nice Japanese anomone, honesty, columbines, malva and other self seeding plants, as well as thistles, another big her with fern like leaves, and a couple of little shrubs, a bamboo that I should dig up and put into a container before it runs everywhere.  Across the path from the big Japanese cedar is a rhodo and a pin oak, monkshood and more self seeding plants.  It will take me a few more days to get this cleaned up.  I must be careful; not to dig up or mess up the fawn lilies, as they are spreading very nicely.  They are dormant now, so I should only dig in their area to remove roots of weeds.  I have avoided digging where the trilliums are dormant today.  The trilliums have been multiplying a bit too.  I will have to keep after the blue bells in the spring, as they are very aggressive and take over the area.  Once they die down, the honesty and other things come up though.  Hopefully I can get the area under control.  It looks so good when cleaned up.

Monday, August 08, 2011

August ruminations

The Yucca is looking pretty good this year.  You can see the second stalk of blossoms growing.  The plant has an offshoot that has progressed to the blooming stage.  I cleaned up this plant and the surrounding area, earlier this year.  The virginia creeper has grown back vigourously.  The St. John's worte is taking a little longer to recover.  The sedum in the foreground will soon be opening its blooms too.  I must spread a few more of these well behaved plants around the garden. 
Today was a lovely day outside, again.  But, I spent most of the day on my computer while making chicken soup.  I have 2 jars of the soup frozen, for a colder day.  We tested it with our dinner and it is as good as always.  While on my computer I got a bit of Megashot stuff done.  We really have some good photographers there.  The site was pretty fast today compared to what it has been in the last while.  They are working on Version 2 which should be ready soon, in its new data center and servers.  Its a marvelous site and is going to be even better and faster in version 2.  Its no wonder Megashot and chicken soup are mentioned in the same paragraph! :-}
I spent a bit of time reading about HDR, the newest thing in photo processing.  The dark room has come a long, long way since the old wet dark room days.  Its quite fun.  Somewhere in my readings, it said that you could drag and drop any photo onto the icon for your photoshop program, and sure it works wonderfully well.  I dragged and dropped this RAW  file on to the PS icon and it, of course, went directly to the PS RAW converter.  I am getting better at using that converter, slowly.  I didn't find much I wanted to change on this yucca photo. 

Sunday, August 07, 2011

August in the garden - dead heading perennials

this is an older photo of my very colorful water iris.  I missed the blooms this year, as we were away at the time.
I have been working on the 'June' album for the gardening page on my old web site.  I have gone through my photos for June, over they years and have come up with 170 of them that I want to add to the album.  Its going to have 17 pages with 10 photos per page.  I have 2 pages of photos downsized and ready for the creation of the album on photoshop.  Its a long process, after the creation of the album, too, as I go through the html and add comments on each page and sometimes on the photos; and menus for each page to link back to the rest of my web page.  I got quite a bit done last year, despite being away for 3 months.  I should be able to get this album finished, at least.
I did a couple of hours out in the garden dead heading perennials and shrubs.  The fire thorn is under control again.  That's always a thorny issue.  It will have lots of berries on it again, for the robins, in winter.  The pinks, the tall campanulas at the back, are clipped.  The Michaelmas daisies are going to be the next show.  I clipped the old blooms off the lilac, and sheared the cedars along the vegetable garden.  The malvas are finished and cut back.  Despite the watering yesterday and day before, the garden, is not that terrific.  I need more plants to fill in for when the earlier ones are finished, perhaps.  The little tomatoes on the deck are ripening.  The perennial plants are mostly finished, except for the delphinium, the hollyhock and the scaboisia.  The delphinium pot with cosmos looks good. 
I see we have a bee hive up in our tree.  They seem to be black bees.  The little honey bees are pretty thick on the blooming germander, too.  So, it looks like I will have my own bee hive for the pollination of my fruit trees, or vegetables, if I ever get them growing.  This is good too.

There is rioting in London.  This is madness, like the riots in Vancouver after the Stanly cup final hockey game.  I makes no sense to me at all.

Friday, August 05, 2011

August in the garden

The delphinium on the deck is a wonderful color.  I am waiting for a sunset to shoot with this one in front of it.  The lace cap hydrangea is covered with blooms this year.  It is a lovely color too.  This hydrangea has wonderful fuzzy leaves.   There are a few other plants in bloom, but these two are the best.  The day lilies are nice, and the campanulas are looking good.  The tomatoe plant on the deck has tiny tomatoes that are ripening.  We will be able to be eating them in a day or two.  I have been using parsley, fennel, oregano, chives from the garden.  I watered by hand back and front today.  Yesterday, I was out weeding and pruning back the fig tree and other stuff along the old sidewalk and the stepping stones at the back.  The humming birds have been around and a few butterflies.  The ravens visit the deck railing looking for more party snacks. 
While viewing some of my old photos I found this one and thought to play with it a bit in photoshop to give it a bit more pizzazz.  It is the parliament buildings in Budapest, Hungary.  I will probably load it to Megashot some day. 
I have managed to get our recent trip added to my web page with yet another under construction page.  I must get to work at creating albums and get the gardening page finished.  I have the June album to do next.  It is going to be a large album.  I think May is the best month, followed closely by June, in my garden.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I was looking back at a few RAW photos from July.  The little pink flower is in a planter on the deck.  it is a penstemon.  I cropped it tightly and made it square format.  The next photo is a play on texture of the size of the leaves of the fig, the fennel and the strawberry tree foliage.  The last photo is the stepping stones in the bottom back garden.  There is Corsican mint filling in between the stones.  It has a wonderful minty aroma when stepped upon.  The blue flowers are annuals.  The snap dragons are along the edge of this path as you go towards the back.  I am working on a perennial planting for this area of the garden.
The stock markets have been falling like rocks, globally, in reaction to our governments overspending. 

Every man, woman and child in Canada currently owes $16,953.41 for their share of Canada's public debt.  The USA is at apx $46K per person.  I wonder if companies like Bombardier Aerospace or other Bombardier company employees would be willing to kick in extra monies for the extensive loans the company has received from the Canadian Government... which, no doubt, went right into their bank accounts.  We could review Malroney's bank accounts and see if he has a few million lying around for his grasping, piggy raping of the Canadian economy while in office.  Will the real Conrad Black please stand up?  And those are simply the names that made it into the public domain.  I hate to think of all the names that are not public, but are still feeding at the public trough. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

August... so soon!

I was playing with my files from our last trip.  I printed this one ... right out of the camera, no photoshop.  I think it turned out really good.  It is downsized here. I think I will frame it and start a small gallery along by the wall next to the stairwell.

The hoodoos from near Drumheller,Alberta, in color and black and white.  I have lots of RAW photos of the hoo doos to play with. 
The charge of the RCMP musical ride at Fort McLeod on Canada Day... a month ago!  oh my, where has the time gone.
The gardens and lawns in the city are starting to go brown.  Tomorrow is my official watering day, so I should get out and do some of that.  It has been cloudy the last few days, and I was hoping we would get rain but no such luck.
I have 4 more solar garden lights and a pair of garden clogs.  The light I bought for a test, works really well.  I am going to keep one of the new ones on the window and see if it works inside.  I have a stalker.  There is someone leaving little drink bottles, banana skins and other evidences of their presence in the inner garden at the front.  The garden stalker has not been around for a few days, though.  I should set a trap for this intruder.  Any ideas?  a pit bull guard dog?  a bit extreme maybe.  One of those scare away water pulse things might be just the thing!  Should keep the bunnies out too.  I understand these things work on motion detection.  Maybe I could set it so it only monitors the inner garden, so that guests don't get soaked coming in the front door.