Monday, May 28, 2012


The columbines are all over my garden.  They self seed and always make a nice addition to any perennial group.  They are developing some very nice varieties of color.  The red one is one I purchased and I do not seem to be getting any crosses with it, although it is producing seedlings of its own color and growing into a larger patch.  The seedlings are easily removed from any unwanted spot.
I have the vegetable garden planted to a few beans, some mesclun, some old radish seed (not sure it will germinate) huge mammoth russian sunflowers, some dill, marigolds, cosmos, calendulas, zinnias, and allysum in a cedar trough that Tara left behind.  I have lupines in 20 little pots... I have no idea what I will do with 20 lupines if they all germinate.  They are not long living plants in my garden now.  Although I once had a gorgeous big clump of the most exquisite fuschia color growing for several years.  I hope to get one that is so beautiful, again.
On Saturday we were to Duncan to Vern's celebration of life.  We have lost one of the most active, knowledgeable, fine members of the old car hobby.  We all learned how to leave our families and friends in a graceful, dignified manner by his example.  We got back to town and took our 1912 Torpedo Roadster Model T out to the regular meeting of hobby cars at the Royal Oak Mall. 
There is a blog I like to go to read occasionally.  Today there is a post about the Bilberger Group that I found interesting. 
That should be Bilderberg

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May in the Garden

 The fern leaved peony, corsican hellebore, in front of the West Coast planter
This gentian is at the back beside the garage.  The ones I had in the front little rockery did not survive.  I shall have to try to get one like this one established.
 More of the alpine plants at the front.  This are in front of the fern leaved peony and the west coast planter. 
 This little lewisia rediviva is in the lewisia bed in the little rockery next to the vegetable garden.  The lewisias did fairly well this year. I am slowly getting a few little alpines to survive on that little rockery.  I like the wee ones.  I have a draba, a douglasi (not sure of the names) and a coup[e more tiny ones-- two of which bloomed this year.  I want to establish a silene ... I think that is what the one at the front is; that has grown over rocks in a great mound.  I will have to leave it enough space, if I find one. 
 Yellow lily flowering tulips
 A very nice fringed tulip.  The tulips are about finished.  The irises are coming into bloom, the roses and the rhodos.  There are a few early perennials to fill in the colors.  Photos of them today and hope to upload them soon.. for June, perhaps.
I finished cleaning up the pond and refilled it on Saturday.  Its a messy job, but not too difficult, after all.  I was dreading having to do it.  I dumped the muck from the bottom of the pond over the vegetable garden and the Japanese garden area.  Threw some of it on the little rockery and in the bed by the fig tree.  It should be good fertilizer. I stacked the pots that the lilies were growing in and put another pot of water iris on top of that.  This ended up being just the right depth of water for the water iris.  The waterfall is working good, there are two bunches of blooming water hawthorn... lovely plants.  There is not enough sunlight for the lilies, but the water hawthorn, the marsh marigolds, and the irises look good.  I also have a small Lebanon cedar that is clipped and stretches over its corner of the pond.  The saxifragia, campanulas and other edging plants are slowly covering the rock necklace.  Now I need goldfish, as the water seems to be clearing up.
I have most of the vegetable garden dug over.  There was compost on it over winter, so the top 6 - 8 inches has good tilth but there are just too many tree roots.  I was happy to see some earthworms in it again.  The irises along the side are doing great and so are all the chives, and other herbs.  A little compost goes a long way.  The strawberries have lots of blooms.  I have filled the cedar trough that Tara left and today put radishes (old seed - not sure if it will germinate) and allysum in it.  I cleaned up the rock work at the corner of the veggie garden, and then planted more radish seed along beside the cedar trough.  I planted the verbena bonariensis by the irises and hope it self seeds in this area.  I think it is a good butterfly plant.
The daisies at the front are looking good, and should be nice for a few weeks.  After I finish the vegetable garden, I must week and dead head everywhere.  This should not take long, as I have been keeping it up in the last couple of years.
I spent an hour or so trying to cut out the dead wood in the old yellow plum tree, using the long handled pruner from up on the deck.  It is looking a bit better, but needs more work, that I cannot reach. 

I finally got up the courage to load the ink to my printer and spent some time learning about printing.  This is one I am going to frame and hang as I am really happy with how it turned out.  It looks even better printed than it looks on my computer.  So, I have spent a bit of time yesterday looking for a plain black frame, at Royal Oak mall, but did not find the right size.

Friday, May 18, 2012

More May in the Garden

This is my best columbine.  It goes well with the blue ones that self seed.  This one is in the woodland area, next to the chip trail.
 The solomen's seal is in the front garden.  I am thinking about moving part of it to the edge of the pond. 
 this is the inside of a tulip.  The tulips were the main feature of May... more to follow.  The rock plants were very good in May, also.  More of them, soon, I hope, also.
 Last week end, from Friday to Monday, inclusive, we were in the Parksville, to Port alberni area for the May Tour with the Vintage Car Club.  Pat put his 1912 Torpedo Roadster Model T Ford into the Judging.  He won best of Show.  We blew a head gasket just before arriving on the judging field.  So, we made quite an entrance to the judging field.  We were in a cloud of steam, and looked like a steam car.  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of this special cloud.  ... more photos of it soon, also.
 Yesterday, I spent most of the day, downtown, shooting a few photos, stopping at Russell books to try to find a couple of books I want.  I found one, but in hard cover.  I prefer soft cover or paperback size.  I am reading the series on Arthur, Merlin, etc. by Bernard Cornwell.  I like this old history stuff.  It seems to me to be well researched by this author.  The Sony panoramas I did of the inner harbor did not turn out very well, so I will spare you the views of them.  This is the Native Art and totem poles on the way to the Museum.  I had to get the hydrant in one of the photos.  This hydrant will be added to my ever growing album of hydrants for my old web page.  So far I have 140 of them to tweak and add to my page. 
This is the only butterfly that is in my garden so far.  I looked it up in my new Butterfly book that I got at the Museum ($125.00 but well worth the cost)  It is an Island Marble Buttlerfly.  It feeds on arabis.  I have quite a lot of arabis in my garden, so this butterfly can survive here.  I have started a Butterflies and Dragonflies community on Megashot.  Dave Dube has been doing a Monarch and Milkweed restoration in his garden.  He is making videos that he loaded to youtube; and he has photos of the progress of his Milkweed and the hatched Monarchs.  Fantastic stuff!  It seems that the Monarchs on our side of the Rockies prefer "showy milkweed.  I want to get some of this plant established in my garden and then get some monarchs to release... and see if they stick around and breed.  It seems that the larvae eat vorarciously, so I will need to have a few of these plants growning and flowering.    Last year I planted a pot of 'butterfly' flowers on my deck.  I did not really see any butterflies around them.  I saw only one swallowtail last year, and have not seen one on my fennel for a few years.  Maybe there are too many birds.

I have the hedges trimmed, at the front.  Today I moved the grass again, this time taking down the crocus field as I think they were sufficiently hardened off.  I have cleaned out the tub garden in the woodland and refilled it.  It needs a gold fish.  My tub on the deck has the little miniature water lily showing leaves. I used the pump to empty as much water out of the pond  as I could before the pump started sucking air.  I will have to do the rest of the pond clean up with a bucket.  I have not cleaned it for a couple of years, so there is lots of leaves and mud in it.  All the fish died... they may have smothered when I had the duck weed covering the top of the pond... not sure how it happened, but I thought the covering of duckweed looked really nice, and was not running the pump.  I thought the duckweed would supply the oxygen for the fish.  The water oxygen must have been out of balance.  I should test the water but will finish cleaning it up and start over with new fish.  It is always a bother to try to catch the fish, anyway.   The daisies at the front are coming into bloom to do their show, just behind where the crocus field.  

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Polyanthus - primrose

 the polyanthus (primrose) are doing quite well.  There are some along in front of the rhodos by the steps up to the deck, some beside the pond, and some along the edge of the old sidewalk behind the garage, which is the edge of the 'woodland' area.  I could move one or two to the front, maybe.
this is another photo taken from the boat as we went along the Ynngtze.  The heavy industrial has given way to a bit more rural  look as we get closer to the Three Gorges.   As I look at my photos I realize how much I learned on this trip, despite my whining about not wanting to go, and being ill from flying, as usual.  I wait for my next phlobotomy and hope the headaches desist.  Stress is not good and neither is higher altitudes... c'est la vie!

Yesterday, I managed to get the grass mowed... I do not have much to do, and I have a very nice rechargeable mower.  I cleaned up beside the house.. that is, moved the planters along there, to the back and to the garden.  These are the plant boxes that Andy and Tara left behind.  So, I am not sure what I will do with them, as I have plenty of pots.  I could use a couple of them turned upside down as bases for a couple of my willows that are in pots and are hanging down over the sides.  ... perhaps beside the pond and I could use a really tall one at the front by the roses to set up the Japanese Quince which looks like it will be doing just fine. Hope it blooms next year.  I see the one that is along the chip trail, where an old home was taken out, is in bloom now... so I hope mine blooms next year.

Today, I trimmed one side of the boxwood hedge and the trimmer's battery died.  Its a very good machine.  I would hate to be doing this manually, now.  The trimmer works very well, but does not hold a charge for very long.  I think I used it for about 1 1/2 hours today before it died.  I have it plugged in now and the light is still red.  Its been about 5 hours since I plugged it in.  Oh well.. this is its first run of the season.  It was unplugged and charged so, I do not know how much of its charge it lost while sitting unplugged over winter.

While waiting for it to charge I got a bit more weeding done at the front and a bit at the back.  As I get the grass and hedges trimmed, I see that there is not too much to do.  I could spray the rock paths with weed killer to make the weeding easier.  The bluebells in the woodland need attention.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Woodland area in April

 this is a view of the back corner of the woodland.  You see the trunks of the colony of sumacs.   Under the trees are the dames rocket (hesperis), the fawn lilies.  There is a little black bamboo in the back corner.  There is a well established Japanese anemone, a huge herb with leaves and stems that can be used as a sweetener, there are several little shrubs that had to be moved and this seemed like the space for them.  There are columbines (one very nice red one and the blue ones that self seed everywhere)  I let a couple of thistles grow as the butterflies seem to like them, and finches like the seeds. These are the  ones with the big purple flowers.  I have to keep after these too as they spread everywhere.  There are a couple more large leaved perennials, the names of which I have forgotten, but they add a lush, forest floor in the summer when it is so dry.  There is lemon balm and numerous other surprises in this area over the year.  The worst thing about it is the bluebells which are very aggressive and crowd out everything. They do did down but are too thick to make a good show.  I must pull them out this year and try to get them under control if not entirely eradicated.
 A close up of the yellow fawn lily
 some of both kinds of the fawn lilies.  They are slowly spreading but are very well behaved.
 This is the Saskatoon berry trees above the half barrel water feature.  The Saskatoons were covered in blooms this year, so perhaps I will get a pie from them about mid July!  From the water feature back to corner, plus the area across the chip trail and behind as well as beside the garage is the area I think of as the woodland area.  The tall tree next the Saskatoons is a Japanese cedar that is a bronze green in summer and quite a colorful bronze orange in winter.  It needs to be cleaned up, higher up the tree than I can reach, but at the bottom it is looking quite 'Japanese-ish' in the way it grows with sweeping, graceful boughs. Across the chip trail there is a rhodo, a lily of the valley shrub, huge ferns, daylilies, a gorgeous hydrangea.  As you can see I have planted a few bulbs also.  There are white and purple water iris in the tub, as well as the required goldfish to keep the mosquitoes under control.
 This is a couple of the woodland plants at the side of the garage.  Along this 15 foot area, there is a cedar hedge with the trail and then the plants next to the garage.  The dames rocket also self seeds in this area along with honesty.  The bleeding heart, below, is at the end of the woodland area where I keep the large green bin for my compost service.  I also have my old black compost bin behind the garage, under the lily of the valley shrub.  I took a few bags of compost out of it last Fall and put them on the vegetable garden.  It still has some well done compost in it, but is hard to dig it out.
We have had a bit of rain today, and it has been cooler out, so I have not been out mush.  It won't take long once I get out there, I am sure.

We have had a rufous sided towhee attacking its reflection in the window next to the front door.  We taped a piece of cardboard on the window and that seems to have stopped this birds behavior.  It makes the entrance to our house look a bit shabby!

All of the photos were taken in April.  We had a warm winter with a few good wind storms.  Now we are still having cool, rainy weather. 

Front Garden in April

 This is a view of the fern leafted peony, the corsican hellebore, the west coast planter and some of the other alpines that are thriving in this little rockery under a deciduous tree in clay soil with a covering of flat field rocks.
 The mountain avens are spreading quite nicely.  I need to keep them clipped into the space there is for them.
 This little rhododendron like shrub is doing very well and is surrounding the little sundial in the little circle.  The alpine daisies are doing well in this little circle, but I cannot seem to get thrifts to survive here.  One other plant would be good to have in the circle. 
 This sedum with the pinkish hue is spreading under the smoke bush that has plum colored leaves.  Its a good combination and allows a flat area.  There are self seeding alliums in front of it as well as a few other taller perennials.  The front part looks a bit messy and I should clean it up more.
 This bridal veil sprirea bush is good every year.  I clip it.  If I did not clip it the branches would be long and hang down like a veil, in white.  I prefer the  clipped look.  It looks good against the dark hedge.  The new line of blue muscari make a nice layer of detail to this area of the garden that is between the street and the hedge.  I need to get that little hedge trimmed up this year.  I cut it back quite a bit last year and it was looking quite scraggly.  It is filling out now and needs careful pruning back.  All part of the fun.
 This shows the sundial circle and the sedum just across the rock border of the sundial bed.
This is a shot of the canola along the Yangtze river.  You can see how industrial the area is from all the smog in the air.