Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July in the garden

 this is a leaf study of the tibouchina bush.  It is a tender plant and has to be taken in to the greenhouse or house in the winter in our part of the world.  What we see here is a dead leaf and the new little leaves forming.  It likes heat and so it has been recovering very slowly from being put out in cooler weather.  It did not do well in the house over winter, either.  I think I might consign its space to some other plant as it is too much trouble for me.  When it blooms it is covered with lovely purple blossoms.  I should have pruned out the light parts before shooting. 
 The lace cap hydrangea is coming into to bloom.  This one has gorgeous big fuzzy leaves.  I did not have the right light for shooting this one's leaves. 
 This is the end of the montebretia that sits on the deck.  These plants are really humming bird magnets.  They are finished blooming all over the garden, except where they are in dappled shade for part of the day,  They seem to last longer in that spot.  I might move the ones that flop over the stone path, as I have a good bunch of them farther over in this dappled shade, and they cannot flop over on the path in that spot.  For some reason, I really like this photo.  The rusted head of an old railroad spike and the aging cedar on the deck railing seem to set the stage for the dying star in red.  The backdrop of bokeh in green works well for me.
 This is the miniature yellow water lily in bud in the tub on the deck.  This lily has some tiny leaves showing, in contrast to the size of the mature leaves.  I think I will be able to divide this lovely little lily and put the extra one into the pond, where I have the old lily pots stacked up.  This should bring it close enough to the surface.  I will need to cut back more of the plum tree that overhangs the pond.  It is not producing many plums.  A few years ago an arborist told me that it has a disease, and had about 7 years left to live.  I think it must have been about 10 years ago, now, but yes, I think the tree is dying.  The purple plum tree at the front has quite a few plums this year.  I have been trying to keep it watered this year.
 This is a lupine that I bought and transplanted to a pot that sits on the vegetable garden walkway.  Its a nice color.  I had 15 of the 20 seeds I planted germinate.  One did not do well as it was too close to the side of its pot.  One of the ones I planted out has been ripped out of the ground by some creature.  So, I have 13 of them growing quite nicely.. some in pots, but most of them along the front, next to the grass strip along the front.  I had let the daisies grow there for a couple of years, but got tired of them and dug them all out this year.  I needed some where to put the lupines.  Watering them is a pain,  They mostly look well rooted into their new spots now.  They look very good with foxgloves and bloom at the same time.  The white veronica that is just behind the new lupines is in bloom now too, and the hollyhocks.  So this rectangle bed should be a good show in July, next year.  On the other side of the front rectangle areas the lychnis, pussytoes and lavender are in bloom and looking good.  They are in front of the actual rectangle area that is full of canpanulas and malvas in bloom, and the magenta geranium.  This front area should all be good in July next year, too.  The campanulas and malvas are looking good at the back also. Also the lily of the nile is good this time of year.  The yucca in the back is blooming this year.  The one at the front has 3 large stems all in bloom.  Now I need to find some plants that will bloom in August, September (besides michaelmas daisies)  Gladiola, dahlias?  Both of these plants need quite a lot of care.  More planning needed about this.
This is the jasmine that is at the back corner of the old garage.  It is perfuming the whole back garden.  Very nice.   
I have been watering at the back and it looks pretty good.  The vegetable patch is not good... not enough sun, and under the deck needs more work.  The moss garden is coming along very nicely.  I put four stepping stones across the best moss that just happens to be where I need to step to get under the deck.  The moss is spreading more under the deck and so are the ferns.  I am encouraging other plants that seem to like it in the shade.  Watering under there helps, of course. 
The figs, apples, red currants and the purple plum will be good this year. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Water Iris in July

 This is the gorgeous water Iris.  I spent a few hours playing in photoshop to learn how to make black backgrounds.  Using the layer mask method produced the best one.  It took time to get the edges nicely finished. 
 Here is the same iris before I messed with it in photoshop. 
 This is the white water iris.  It photographed it with the dark background.  I only darkened the background a bit and tried to make the white pop more by using a selection and inverse selection with adjustments ... all on layers.
These water irises do not have a very long bloom period, but they are lovely.  After blooming the leaves add a nice vertical aspect to the pond.
This photo is taken while sitting on my newly positioned bench and shooting towards the top of the garden over the cleaned up thyme circle.  oops.. left a few bamboo leaves on the thyme.  Its kinda strange that I am not seeing many bees on the thyme right now.  There were quite a few earlier.  That golden oregano is more yellow than the picture shows.  I should have adjusted that spot in photoshop.

I have the front garden weeded and watered.  The lupines are mostly planted out in the front garden, this year.  I must be diligent in keeping the daisies, grass and violets out of everything.  I love my black bamboo but its getting to be a bully with its shoots popping up everywhere.  I cut them off, now, as digging them up creates havoc in the garden beds.  Dead heading is an ongoing process, too, of course.  The lupines are all doing nicely and have grown considerably after getting out of their training pots.  The blue grass that I moved is surviving nicely too.  I used up a bag of the compost on these transplants, around the front.  I put a lupine in the clay pot Tara left behind.  This pot has a white achillea growing in it.  I added compost and top soil to the pot and put this out in the front garden by the boxwood hedge.  I also moved the little blue hosta back by the bench.  I managed to get a transplant for each side of the bench.  This transplant seems to be doing well, too.  I did a bit of rock work to make a couple of stepping stones to get to the bench from the sundial circle rock surround.  The thyme really does not like to be walked upon very much, so this will be another way to get to the bench.
I have chopped down the big plants in the woodland area and cleaned it up, watered it.  There were thistles, bindweed, and that huge herb (angelica - maybe--it has lovely ferny leaves and smells rather like licorice).  I transplanted Andy's Dougie tree out of its pot back there in the woodland.  I took out a sumac tree that was hanging over the fence.  I may not keep that Douglas Fir tree... although I could cut off the lower branches as it grows and just let it grow.   So, I have a start on cleaning up the woodland.  I refilled the pot that Dougie was in and transplanted an annual, Leptospernum.  The plant is quite big and was a bargain at the Mr. Grocer store a few days ago.  I moved this pot beside the door of the suite, so will have to be careful of watering it in this out of the way spot.  The other big plastic pot has a borage in bloom and I have added a lupine to it.  It lives on the back patio by the garage door.  My big green compost bin is heaping full.  They will come to empty it next week.

We had thunder and lightning storms the last couple of nights, but very little rain.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kinsol Trestle

Some information I grab off of a few sites about the Kinsol Trestle:

In 1911, the Canadian National Pacific Railway dedicated a line on Vancouver Island to connect Victoria to Nootka Sound.  By 1918, only 6 km of track had been laid. The Federal government took over the line as part of the CNR and work continued. The steel was finally laid in April 1920. The completed trestle, at 187.6 m long and 38 m high, is the largest Howe truss, bent pile wooden trestle left in the world. The old CN line passes through some of the smaller communities on Vancouver Island and, for many years, provided a transportion link for the local logging industry. The line never reached Nootka Sound.
The last train crossed the trestle on June 20, 1979. The rails were removed in 1983. In the early 1980’s, advocates of the trestle tried to have it restored and/or designated as a heritage structure.
Fires, vandalism and neglect took its toll on the structure. Eventually, the north and south accesses were removed for safety reasons.
The CN line and the trestle are part of the Trans-Canada Trail. Finally, after years of campaigns to save the trestle, rehabilitation work began in 2010. The official reopening of the trestle was July 28, 2011.

The Kinsol Trestle is a significant wooden railway bridge that crosses the Koksilah River on the decommissioned CNR Cowichan line. The Kinsol is the highest wooden trestle remaining in the Commonwealth and with over 1.2 million board feet of timber, it is one of the largest wooden bridges in the world.

The Kinsol Rehabilitation Project has given new life to the historic Kinsol Trestle, Canada’s tallest wooden rail trestle, completing a key part of the Trans Canada Trail on Southern Vancouver Island.

The rehabilitation included the replacement of unsound timbers, minor refurbishment of a Howe Truss substructure and rebuilding of 17 structural piers to support a new 614-foot walkway atop the structure for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians. The Cowichan Valley Regional District undertook the project with joint Provincial and Federal funding.

Bev and Carol were in town to see Tara.   On the 3rd.  we were invited to join them for lunch at the Merridale Orchard and Bistro in the Shawnigan Lake area.  After a nice drive, while keeping a lookout for the roads to follow to find it, we made it there at the same time they arrived.  The food is scrumptious, and the atmosphere is abundant atmosphere.  After lunch we decided to go see the Kinsol Trestle.  We walked ... must have been at least a mile until we got to the trestle, and then walked it end to end, and back to the parking lot.  There are picnic tables and trails under the bridge, but we did not go down there,  Was a fine day!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Butterflies and things

 this is the Lorquin's Admiral Butterfly that was puddling in my garden, as I watered.  This butterfly must be desperate for a place to drink in our recent warm weather.  So, I am watering more often, especially in the spot where it was puddling.  It was by today, as I watered.  But it just did a fly by; at least, I did not see it stop.  There were also two whites flying around too.  I loaded this to Megashot for our Butterflies are Free Community.  We are getting quite a collection.
 This is a photo from our China trip.  I played with it in photoshop to give it that infrared look.  What do you think?  Does it look IR?  I loaded it to my JB account on Megashot.  JB is Just Bearly, one of my teddy bears.  Have a look at it on Megashot.  This is my referral code.  If you use it I will see when you join Megashot.  Its free at the moment, and will be very competitive rates if we ever get our fee schedule and Version 2 on line.  ..  communities, contests, critiques, comments, ratings, and much more... all settings at your own discretion.  Oh yeah, customization of your own page where you upload to your photos and create galleries to sort them. Oh, and megamail for keeping in touch with your contacts, friends and family.    See you there.
This is rim lighting, with the newest teddy bear, the fruit bowl and the rum pot.  The teddy bear was at the museum shop, calling my name, when I bought the Butterfly Book.  I had to go back and get the bear.  The rum pot?  yes, I have started one, this year.  I have 500 g of strawberries, a cup of sugar and about the same for brandy, covered and waiting for the next addition of fruit, sugar and brandy.  I think I will want to use cherries.  Our B.C. cherries are now in the stores and I should get some, and pit them and add to the pot. 

Exploring leaf forms and shapes

 I liked how mother nature arranged these 3 little leaves on the bark of the Liquid Amber tree.  This tree gets some spectacular color in its leaves in the Autumn.  More on these leaves, then.

 This is one of my hostas.  The broad leaves of the hosta and the thin leaves of the ferns make a nice combination in the shade garden. 
 This swiss chard is rather pathetic, but it has its own built in contrasts.
New oak leaves on the pin oak.  This tree has good color in the autumn also, so more on it later.
Today was a fine day.  In the morning, from about 10 to 2 I did more weeding and watering.  I have 11 of the 15 germinated lupines transplanted out to the front garden, so far.  I should have room for the other 4 in the front too.  I have a few more hours of weeding to get the front finished and looking good.  The tilth of the soil is getting quite good, with this care and attention.  Some people actually screen their garden soil.  What a great fuss!  But their gardens are show places!  My clay soil is getting fairly nice, at last.  And once plants get established in it, they really grow well, despite my neglect.    There were a couple of butterflies in the garden when I was watering, but no pictures as they did not seem to settle.