Saturday, June 30, 2012

a few hours at the beach

 Yesterday, we picked up a deli lunch from Thrifty's (Grain salad is delicious) and took the Dodge Lodge (now known as the reading room) to a little known lovely beach at William Head Lagoon Regional Park.  There was no one else there, when we arrived, but within minutes there were several more picnicers with children and dogs.  But not enough of us to be a crowd.  It was a lovely few hours. 
 This is a mimic of a turtle.  It seems to be a burned driftwood that sits out in the shallow water. 
This nice arrangement of dead trees is also in the shallow water side.  The other side is the Bay where we could see the Coho, a cruise ship and beyond them some high rises of Esquimalt.  There are huge, picturesque driftwood logs, stressed trees, wild flowers and many photo opportunities.   Reminded me of  Ikebana.
This is a photo of the fern frond.. I have a number of 'leaf' photos that I want to add when and if I get the time.

Today was an overcast day, perfect for gardening.  Yesterday, after getting home from the Park, I went out to the garden for about an hour and a half.  It was just too hot and sunny... I felt as though I had sunstroke and I was only out for 1 1/2 hrs.  Today, was much cooler and no sun beating down.  I transplanted 10 of the little lupines of the 15 that have germinated.  Most of them are in the front strip where I cleaned out the daisies.  They are at the back of the garden bed  that is about 10 feet long and 5 wide.  There is thyme and a blue grass in the front.  I also left the achillea (Yarrow) in this bed.  It is suppose to rain tonite.  If it does not, I will be out watering in the new transplants tomorrow.  I added a bog of compost to the area before transplanting.    After the transplants, I had a bit of time to do more weeding along the stone path.  It is coming along and looks good cleaned up. 
The pinks are in bloom at the back, the roses at the front, the heliotrope on the deck, and so it smells very nice in my garden.  All the decorative thyme, orgegano, lavender and any other herbs add to the fragrance.  The South of France comes to mind when I am out in the garden when it smells so good. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Some June flowers

 this is the magenta transcantia (spiderworte) as promised.  These plants are nearly finished blooming and will be deadheaded with hopes that they will bloom again.
 The first lovely purple water iris is in the tub on the deck.  This bloom is a bit pale.  Not sure why, except the ones in the pond get more shade and are quite crowded in their pot.  Nevertheless, it is still a good looking flower.  The white ones in the pond are finished blooming.
 The St. John's worte is just beginning to bloom.  It looks good this year.  A very photogenic flower.
I have quite a few white foxgloves this year.  I have not seen a peloric one yet.  These lovely flowers self seed all around my garden and are welcome where ever they show up. 

I have finished taking the daisies out of the front garden strip, and have been doing more weeding and deadheading of perennials, roses, and generally clipping things into their allotted space.  I need to finish weeding the stone path and then I should be able to start on the moss garden and the stone paths at the back. 
I was quite distressed to find a dead fish in the pond.  When I bought these fish at Cannor on June 2, they were quite small.  This one seems to be at least twice the size it was, so I think it must have been a healthy fish.  I cannot understand what is killing my fish.  There were 7 of them put into the pond, so I will wait to see how the rest of them fair.  They are definitely not smothered as the pump has been running the waterfall and there is plenty of open area on the surface. 
I got a few things finished on my old web page, and it really does not take as long as I thought it would, or as I have been dreading it would.  So, that went well.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Catching up on pigtail comments, dangling participles, and sleep

 This is the cocoon that I mentioned in a previous post.  I think it may belong to the caterpillar photo of a moth, that I posted earlier.  I think the caterpillar was looking for a home and this is it.  It is on my deck where I can watch it.  Interesting how the cedar has weathered on the deck.  I rather like that.  I made this cocoon square and loaded it to Megashot for the Square format contest of the month. Since it was raining and cool today I spent a lot of time on Megashot commenting, etc. 
 This is one of the photos from last Sunday as we scurried around Saanich on our Model T's for the annual Father Day rally.  I have prepared my photos and sent a few to one of the guys who says he will upload them to the Model T forum.  Haven't heard back from him yet.  The Model T forum was down for maintenance though Pat tells me.  So, since I had the photos finished, I decided to load them to my old web page.  There are a few errors, but no one but me goes there, so it does not matter a lot.  I use photoshop to make the albums and can do corrections in NotePad.  This photo, is one that is going to be put into another album called Scene while riding the Model T.  Each of the photos will have to have part of the model T in it.  This one shows a door of our car. The new album on my old web page.
 Another view of the tradescantia (spiderworte).  I still have not taken the photo of the pink one. 
This is the stand of daisies in the front garden.  I spent a few hours taking out most of these daisies.  I am tired of them and want to see the actual plants I planned for this spot.  The bottom layer is thyme... you can see a bit of the thyme that has survived the invasive daisies and is in bloom on the outer edge of the strip.  On the other end of this strip along the front of the garden, I have cleaned out the invasive plants and have pussy toes (silver foliage and pink flowers), a few irises, lychnis with magenta flowers and silver foliage; a red currant bush, a silver leaved hebe with blue flowers.  It is beginning to look good.  I clip down the lemon balm that is at the foot of the plum tree, before it goes into bloom.  So, here is another pigtail comment... There will be photos of the renovation of this 15 x 5 foot strip soon.  It is a work in progress.  I am looking for a place to put the 15 lupines that germinated. 
I have the thyme circle edged and weeded and the bench reset higher and further back in its cedar nook. I covered beneath it with cardboard to smother the violets that are very invasive and are getting into everything.  This should slow them down a bit.  I have weeded out the area along by our driveway and trimmed back heathers, a small spruce, the grass edges.. digging out violets, daisies and grass.  I think I may be able to fit a couple of lupines in this area on one side of the black bamboo, and another couple on the other side of the bamboo, near the thyme circle.  I moved a black leaf mondo grass, and a black leaved coral bells that were languishing under the bamboo, unseen by anyone, including myself.  The yellow/green variegated grass in the area, on the other hand, is seen and is doing well.  The colors match the golden color of the decorative oregano that is forming a nice clump next to the thyme circle.  These herbs are lovely and actually fairly easy care.  Now that these areas are cleaned up I will be adding compost.  The plants do so much better with a bit of attention and water.
I got a good nights sleep after all the exercise and late nights tweaking photos.  This is as good for me as the maintenance and watering is for the plants. 
Dangling participles?  I really don't know what they are, but suspect I use them all the time.  It is just a phrase that amuses me, and conjures up pictures of long armed monkeys or other gangly critters.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some June Ramblings

 The mermaid, contemplating the blurred foreground, Lebanon Cedar.  This works for me.
 The seahorse, among the ferns.  Think green sea, underwater colors... yeah I know.. its a stretch.
 The bees in my garden really like this plant: Perennial Bachelor Buttons, also known as Blue Cornflower, or Mountain Bluet. This species is low to medium in height and well suited to growing in the sunny border. Plants form a bushy clump of grey-green leaves, setting off a display of clear-blue shaggy flowers in early summer. Removing faded flower heads will encourage repeat blooming. Ruggedly hardy, this plant will grow in most types of soils and climate regions. May self-seed prolifically, so keep an eye out for seedlings appearing where not wanted. Plants may be pruned back hard in mid-summer to maintain a compact habit. Nice for cutting.
 Tradescantia, or Spiderworte.  I also have a bright pink one of this interesting flower.  It does better if I give it sufficient water.
From my search on the internet, this seems to be a banded tussock moth caterpillar.  The moth is a plain light brown color.    It was on an outdoor mat at the time I took this photo.  I think it may have been looking for a place to make its cocoon.  I do have a photo of a cocoon I have often seen... will post it soon.  It is probably this moth's cocoon. 

I have been very busy in the garden this month. There has been much time spent weeding, watering, deadheading perennials, trimming hedges and renovating garden beds.  I have the thyme circle trimmed and looking good, in bloom.  I moved the bench further back in its hedge nook and set it on cement blocks.  So it is now much higher.  The legs that were in the ground have not rusted, I am happy to see.  I laid several layers of cardboard under it to cover the violets and smother them.  I am covering the cardboard with cedar hedge trimmings.  I have lots of this cedar hedge duff.  It turns a light brown color and will look good under the turquoise bench. 
The rhodos are about finished and the roses are full of blooms.  The alpines are all doing very well.  The pinks are in bloom, and the campanulas, too.  It is all looking nice, but there is more weeding and trimming to do.  The garden beds seem to be very dry, so I have been watering a lot.  I have not noticed any publications about water restrictions this year. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

European Wall lizards

I've had these little lizards in my garden for the past few years.  They look like chameleons or the geckos I saw in Hawaii.  The more mature ones are green.  I am happy to have them in my garden and multiplying.  I have very few slugs since they moved in.  Yesterday, I watched one... I thought... attacking another smaller one.  I wondered if they were cannibalistic and so googled this, of course.  I found a good informative site that informed me that I had shared a private second or seven while these lizards mated.  Sure didn't take them long... no time to get the camera.... papparatzi that I am. Further discussion over dinner lead to an informative email about the lizards in our area:  Quote:
DistributionWall Lizards are endemic to continental Europe and western Asia. They have been introduced to several locations in southern England and North America. In the early 1970s, a small group of Wall Lizards was released in west Saanich on Vancouver Island when a private zoo closed. Initially, the lizard population remained small, but once acclimated to our local climate and a breeding population established, the population grew enormously. They now number in the thousands. For the moment, Wall Lizards are restricted to the area of west Saanich, Triangle Mountain in Metchosin, and Victoria on southern Vancouver Island. Recent reports of individuals in the Gorge area of Victoria in 2007, and occasional reports - so far unsubstantiated - of individuals on some islands in the Strait of Georgia, suggest that the species is slowly dispersing. It probably is only a matter of time before Wall Lizards reach the British Columbia mainland or north-western United States, either intentionally or accidentally; southward dispersal is very likely on the mainland.
We have had none of the promised rain so I have been out watering in the garden.  There are a few vegetables sprouted and some of the flowers.  I have 13 lupines germinated in pots (out of 20 seeds, so far).  The watering makes it easier to pull the weeds.  I have weeded the thyme circle and edged it back to its 7 foot circumference edging rocks.  It is in bloom and there are more bees than last year, but still not an abundance as there were in years before.  The golden oregano beside it looks terrific.  I weeded some of the area around the thyme circle.  There is still lots of weeding to do.  
The next day, I cleaned up under the bench.  I liberated 4 flat cement blocks from the veggie garden path and added them under the feet of the bench.  I laid 3 layers of cardboard over this... that ought to keep the violets under control...watered the cardboard and put the bench back on its blocks.  It is a bit high and I hope it settles ... I may have to level it again, too.  But I do like it higher, as it had settled quite a lot over the years.  But it had no blocks under its feet... so we will see how this goes.  I moved the metal egg container thing beside it for a 'tea table'... all very rustic, in its nook in the cedar hedge.  I must get photos. The top of the table is a white plastic cutting board.  I must see if I can paint it turquoise to match the bench.  I think there is paint for plastic.  
Today, I used the hedge trimmer to trim down  the cedar hedge by the veggie garden, along the driveway a bit,  on the inside of the cedar hedge at the front, as well as the little hedge and shrubs around the water garden.  I was using muscles I never knew I had to do this and hope I am not too stiff from this.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Paintshop Pro and Photoshopping frames

 A few years ago I made this frame using photoshop.  The frame is from strips of my own photos and it frames a photo of my own.  This frame was made specifically for this photo and on it, in photoshop layers.
 A couple of days ago I learned how to take a frame and add it to the frames in Paintshop pro.  The thing about taking these frames is that I would need to make the new frame to the size of the photo that I wanted it to enclose, for each individual photo.  So, this one as you see cuts off the chair at the top and the leaves in the bottom left, from a previous photo on this blog.  It does this because I did not set up the right dimensions for the photo.  I wonder how they make the frames expand to fit any dimensions.  ... more learning.

I have tweaked a few of the China grip photos for the Travel Group private gallery in that unmentionable photo upload site, where photos are encouraged to be stolen, not to mention that other place where 'sharing' is considered a free for all, for taking anyone's photos and calling them your own.  The photo group is a private group on the unmentionable, as is the family group on the rampant sharing site.  ... there my GAWD Ahmighty for the day!

We have had coolish weather and about 1/4 inch of rain.  My garden needs weeding.  There are now 9 lupines germinated and I am planning renovations to accommodate them.  There are little things germinating in the vegetable garden.  Amazing!  I must keep them moist.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Shade Garden

 this is a look at the dry stream and the moss growing along its edges.  I will be clipping the variegated shrub and weeding the moss, leaving only the Welsh poppies growing  I am encouraging the ferns and other deep shade plants to grow under the deck. 
 this is a view of under the deck that shows you where the neighbors have destroyed the screening of the cedars, over the years... kids had their hockey net set up in front of this hedge and were forever chasing their balls through the hedge.. and last year they deliberately butchered the cedars even further.  The guy sits out there and smokes, whatever it is he smokes, right next to the property line.  So, I am trying to think of something that will screen this area under the deck and still look good from my side as well.  You see where the chair sits... I would like to make an nice sitting area under my deck, and screened from their view.  Maybe tall evergreen ferns?  Like the one that grows by the back of the garage.  It is at least 4 feet tall.
This is a view of the Japanese lantern, on its new stand, the Japanese Maple the Kalmia, some ferns along the dry stream.
 This is a look at the Lantern from the opposite side as the photo above.  This looks out from under the deck where I want to make my new sitting area, out towards the veggie garden.  I can see that this vista needs to have the white bags of compost moved.  Otherwise it looks quite green and nice.  You can see the moss beneath the Mountain Laurel  in the left bottom corner. 
 A view of the waterfall.
the waterfall, again from under the deck.  I can see that this vista needs to be cleaned up a bit.  May need to remove the white plastic pots that I store on the veggie garden area. Those irises in the foreground will soon be in bloom with lovely purple/gold very showy blooms.

So, the plans go on for the improvement of my space and your perception of my world.  Meanwhile, I have typed my private journal to record my GAWD Ahmighty! venting about what is happening in the news and on our block, even . . . none of which bears repetition here.

James Island is for sale for $75 million... damn.. I only have $54 million      GAWD ahmighty!  You see?  The difference between the rich and the ... moderately comfortable  is incredible.  The difference between the moderately comfortable and the poor is even more incredible.  Do you suppose it has always been so?

Sunday, June 03, 2012


 Tall bearded Iris, Indian Chief
 there will be more varieties of tall bearded iris opening.
 Siberian Iris, Ceasar's Brother... weird name
 Siberian Iris, Perry's Blue
 I planted some new Dutch iris next to the tub in the woodland.  They were mixed colors.  I think there are four of them.  The other two buds look a lot like they might be the same as these two.
 The old Dutch Iris that was in the garden when we bought the place.  They are beside the garage with the Oriental poppies that were also in the garden when we bought the place.  They are a nice combination and bloom at the same time.  Very showy.
This is a yellow iris in the tub in the woodland.  Not an all star.  You can see my weird old neighbor's plastic crappy fence just behind this area of my woodland space.

I did not work in the garden today as I have a very sore shoulder.  Not sure what caused it, but resting it is helping it to go away.  The only thing I can think of that may have caused it was when I was pulling grass out of the  Siberian Iris bed the other day.   I did get out and water the back garden a bit.  The seeds I planted in the vegetable patch are actually coming up.  The radish seeds that I thought were too old have germinated.  So, it takes planting them deep enough and watering them.  The lupines are coming up in their pots on the deck.  I am so pleased with that.  I will have to revive the old cedar trough and put two of them into it so I can keep track of them.  ...  but what am I going to do with 20 of them if they all germinate?  I might have to start planting the wild park (deer pasture) across the street!

I have started my garden journal again.  I was reading over some of my old stuff and found the names of most of my irises.  I feel more grounded with the Journal being kept again.  The last time I had one was in 2005.. the same year I started my web page and did quite a lot of stuff on line.  I think it is time to get back to my own stuff, including the garden, reading, and my web page albums. 

I do wish I had not lost my Adsense account, but I guess there is no getting it back again.  I do not think I would win an appeal.  Dammitt.  My site meter is showing an average of hits in the high 90's per day.  Surprisingly most people are still using Explorer (Windows) as their browser.  Firefox is a close second and Google Chrome a bit behind in third place. 

Yesterday, I got my print called 'Survivor #2 framed and matted.  I took too long on deciding on the frame and matting and made us late for our appointment.  Pat was not impressed to say the least.  He hates being late.  Well, we have gotten over it now.  Sorry, Pat.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


The Welsh poppies do so very well in the shade, and partial shade of the woodland area and under the deck.  They self seed readily and so I let them spread.  They are a delicate and graceful addition to the garden.  The oriental poppies are huge and showy with a great burst of color.  The Oriental ones are almost finished, but the Welsh ones will continue over the summer.  The pots of big pink carnation like poppies germinated too early and in the early spring they seemed to have  died of exposure.  I hope there were some seeds left that did not germinate.  Its always a pleasant surprise when these poppies pop up somewhere in the garden. 

I was over to Cannor Nursery to get 8 fish for the pond... one for the tub in the woodland.  The fish, elvis, lives in the deck tub.  Elvis must be a resident on my deck for 4 years now.  He keeps the mosquitoes under control and so does not need much food otherwise.  The little yellow miniature water lily in the deck tub is going to be really good this year, as it has lots of leaves.  The tub in the woodland has a yellow water iris in bloom.  .. more on irises next post.

We have had some cooler, damp weather, recently.  The rain gauge shows about a half inch of rain.  This is good as the garden certainly seems dry.  I have planted allysum and radishes in a trough by the side of the vegetable garden and they are germinated.  There are some of the other flowers coming up as well.  I also added 8 half price gladiolas to my veggie/cutting garden.  I might see half of them grow. 

The eagles seem to have produced a nestful of 3 young ones this year.  A couple of weeks ago we watched them taking their flight training lessons.  Then, yesterday, we watched the mature pair doing the mating dance and mating... almost.  It was a long stretch for our telescope, so I would never have been able to get a photo with the lenses I use.  It is good to see the eagle population growing.