Thursday, October 31, 2013

A glorious October this year

 The liquid amber tree in the front is turning glorious colors now.  This photo is from about 2 weeks ago. The tree has a long way to go before it is finished.  It shows color for a month or more. 
 The main color in this photo is the smoke bush.  When the light shines through the leaves it is a marvelous color.  This photo is also from about 2 weeks ago.  The stone path is cleaned up.  The leaves are beginning to fall.  I will soon be raking the leaves to piles on the grass path and run over them with the mower to mulch them.  The back bin is full and I will need to stump it down to get the leaves into it.  The area beside the garage looks good with mulched leaves on it, so perhaps these mulched leaves can go directly to the woodland.  In the woodland the pin oak and the sumacs are in marvelous color, too. 
 This is the simplicity rose.  Yesterday I cut a huge boquet of these roses and have them in the house.  Photos today of the boquet.  Will upload them later, when I get time. 
 The white Iceburg rose has had a great flush of bloom also.  I cut it back from where it was flopping over the entry way, and had a huge goquet of it in the house too.  It is still in bloom, now, too.  It is getting quite cool at night.  I hope the roses last until Christmas!
 They are slowly getting the park finished.  The blackberry bushes are growing again.  They have not yet planted any of the trees they have scheduled to go in.  There are lots of bicycles and waling people on the trail.  I guess I never noticed them when they went along the street instead of along this trail that appears to be leading directly to my door.  :-) 
These are the michaelmas daisies that are in front of the bamboo.  These plants are finished blooming.  I have cleaned up and weeded the beds at the front  and am now working on the back.    I have finished weeding the stone path up to the entry to the water garden.  I clean up the adjacent beds when doing the paths.  I will need photos of the back, once I get the moss garden cleaned up.  Most of the leaves at the back are finished falling except the English Oak and the pin oak.  I still have a bed to dig over... I might plant milkweed in there.  My beautiful hydrangea caught some awful wilt or fungus, or virus and died.  I imagine the disease is now in the soil, so I won't get another hydrangea until I figure out what killed it and clean the area.
My light garden is looking so good, after cleaning it up and feeding the plants.  Several orchids in bloom.  Photos later if I get time.  To add to my things to do, I have now joined the CWF photo club.  I did two landscape photos to enter the annual contest, in the landscape category.  Very interesting reading in their magazine.  I have also spend quite a bit of time reading the Saanich web site; especially about the urban forest, endangered species, invasive species, and so much more good information   I would love to establish some of the wild flowers in the park but am not sure what they are going to do with it now.  If they continue ot mow it like they have been doing, the flowers would not stand a chance. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gardening and other things in October

 This is the Verbena bonariensis that has self seeded in the strip along between the hedge and the crocus field in the front.  The plants are in the area where I had let the daisies grow a couple of years ago.  The daisies just took over, so for the past two years I have been digging out daisies all over the garden.  These verbena have a long bloom period.  The skipper butterflies love them and so do the bees.  So, I shall let them grow for another year, or until they become too much.   I have cleaned up this whole area and put down some compost from the community compost guys.  I will probably do one more raking of leaves in this area.  The liquid amber tree is slowly turning glorious colors.  The leaves will be on it for some time yet.   I have given up on a peony that was struggling in the rectangle bed next to the Pee's driveway.  I shall want to get the blue bells out of that bed before I plant anything.  I hope to have space for a milkweed plant or two in there.  Dave is sending me some seeds and plants.  If his package does not make it across the border, I have found a place in Ontario that supplies 3 or 4 kinds of milkweed seeds.  I hope to spend next year getting the plants established and if it works I will see if I can get some monarchs for release from our butterfly gardens people.  The new park area is right across the road.  I was looking at the Saanich website to see if milkweed is a no no and it is good to go.  They even have it marked as a butterfly flower.  So, if some of my milkweed escapes across the street into the park, it will be ok.  There are a few other plants that are 'wild flowers' that might need some help in establishing themselves. The black eyed susans that I now have a nice patch of them growing in this front area, are one of those wild flowers.   The fawn lilies by the blue bridge area off Gerda have been over run by ivy.  If ever I get time, I will ask the Parks people how I could help to eradicate that stuff, and revive the habitat for the fawn lilies.
 This photo of the Virginia creeper was taken some time ago, but it is still red.  I have cut it back off the cement and off the top of the St. John's worte.  We are having the drive way power washed and the cracks filled with a type of fill to match the little stones in the driveway.  All this will add 'curb appeal' to the place should we want to sell it and downsize.  I still enjoy my gardening and Pat does his cars and bikes so the condo is still sometime away, for us.  We are fortunate to have our health.  I put the twiggy parts of the creeper into the green bin and had a bag full of nice compost type dirt from under the leaves that I cut off.  I put this good stuff down over the bleeding heart that is along by the old garage.  The plants in that little bed beside the woodland path are doing good since I have been feeding them compost and keeping them weeded.
 The Autumn Joy Sedum is still looking too too.  It is just up from the Virginia creeper in that bed between Shawna and our place.  I am trying to establish a few new plants of this, but I think I have put them in too much shade.  I just do not have room for one anywhere suitable.  I am slowly getting more 'mounding' plants established and the garden is becoming more low maintenance.  It took a few hours to clean up the front, but it is not too bad.  When the leaves fall there will be lawn mover mulched and either put on the vegetable patch or in the old compost bin... maybe on the woodland area.  So the front is cleaned up and I have started cleaning up the back.  I have the stone path weeded and weeded the bed around it, and edged the lawn.  There are still leaves to fall at the back, too.  My English oak is still green, with the leaves just starting to turn.  We have had some gorgeous color this Fall.  I had cleaned the roses up at the front, and now they have been putting out more blooms.  The burning bush that was cut back to the ground earlier has sprouted a few shoots and is now about 2 feet high.  I have it protected from the Pee's sidewalk by a jerry rigged fence.  Hopefully this will make the shrub grow straight, instead of leaning over the sidewalk.  That little bed had a fine show of Japanese anemones and the purple jackamani clematis. 
 I was looking back at some photos from our 2011 trip to death valley, etc.  I can see where that is going to be a long photo album if ever I get to doing it up for the travel page of my old web page.
 This is another thing I was playing with in photoshop.  It is a photo of the bridge in North Vancouver I think, as we came into the station on the Rocky Mountaineer Train last August.  I though it looked rather impressionistic, so I tried to add a bit more blur and other stuff in photoshop to make it more impressionist like.  I am not sure if it works, though.
And this is another photo from an old trip to Malta in 2003.  I have that album done up since 2006.  Since them I have learned a few more photoshop things, but I won't be redoing the album.  It is good how it is. 
I now have the house thoroughly cleaned, have the front garden cleaned up and have my freezer space full of soups and some prepared vegetables.  This makes getting meals to the table much faster and is especially good when I have been out gardening.  But I am usually ready to come in from the garden in the afternoon, after 2 or 3 hours, with time to get cleaned up and make a good supper, now.  Next week there will be no garden time because of other commitments, and then the prediction is for rain on Thursday night.  Just in time to drench the poor little halloween kids. Perhaps the following week be sunny again.  I took moss off the back patio and put it under the deck.  It is still green and lush looking.  If it takes hold this should double the size of my moss garden.  As soon as the rains start the moss garden comes into its own.  It is going to need the leaves swept off it regularly, now, too. 
The light garden in the house is repaying me handsomely for the cleanup I gave it and the repotting and feeding of some of the plants.  I have 2 cattalyas in bloom, 4 phalenopsis, the hae marie has tall spikes of blooms, and the African Violets are blooming and look good nice and clean too. 
I have not had a lot of time for Megashot, but don't much care, at the moment.  I want to get at least one album done on my old web page before the year is out, so hopefully I can get at it soon.  Life is good on the West Coast. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

September carried over into October

 This is  part of the stone path in the back garden.  The corsican mint has filled in nicely around the stones.  This is how it was in mid September and it is much the same now, in mid October.  If you step on the mint it sends up a huge lovely fragrance.
These are the cyclamens from mid September and are much the same now too.  Over the years they have spread out in this patch by the old garage.  I see the leaves popping up all over the back garden.  I planted a couple more bulbs on the other side of the garage and they are finally making a good show this year.  
 These were the Autumn crocus in mid September.  They do not have a long period of bloom but are a lovely blast of color when they do pop up. 

When we were on the Island Challenge... an antique car event... we put our cars on display at the Fair while we had breakfast and then looked at some of the3 exhibits.  What a lovely chicken!
 I was looking back at our trip on the St. Lawrence River and the Rideau canal and found this photo of the Pierre LaPorte bridge and the Quebec Bridge over the St. Lawrence River, near Quebec City.
Something for the season.  I took this the year I was uploading photos for the Victoria Grid group on Flicker.  I reworked it and added some text, this year. 

We have had a fine week of sunshine so far this week and are promised another week of the same.  I am happy with what I have managed to get done in the garden.  Edged the lawn and put the edging bits onto the front grass under the plum tree.  Hope it takes hold by Springtime.  As we are to have the driveway and all the cement power washed, I had to save the moss that was growing on the cement.  It is suppose to be slippery and a possible cause of accidents.  We never had one yet... but I suppose all this cleaned up cement will add curb appeal should we ever decide to sell it.  I put the moss down under the deck.  It looks like a lovely green carpet.  I sure hope it takes hold too.  This will expand my moss garden to at least double its size.  I am moving ferns all over under the deck too.  The last ferns I moved are surviving very well.  They are in total shade.  I need to be mindful of watering them. 
I have finished weeding the stone path and all of the inner garden.  I only need to do the front rectangles and the strip in front of them and then the front will be good to go into winter.  There will be the raking of the leaves.  Last year, mulching them with the lawn mover worked really good, and will do it again this year.  And will keep the mulch, as Saanich will be starting the garden waste collection next year.  I will lose my compost guys and will no longer be getting a bag of compost per month from them.  I have put some of the weedless compost into the old compost bin to start up my own compost again.  The old bin is still half full, so the leaves should fit in there this Autumn.  Saanich is trying to reduce the amount of stuff we put into the land fill.  Well, with recycling paper and bottles, etc, and my garden waste bin; they have not been getting much from me.  What I put out is mainly plastics and other food packaging.  I have five bags of compost left and will probably save them over to next year. 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

September flew past in a blurr

 The miniature water lily produced a flower at the end of September.  It did not last very long.  It has been blooming all season.  The fish keeps it company.  The water irises were good this year also.  The leaves of this miniature lily have grown quite large for a miniature.  Maybe I can divide it and put another in in the pond.
The black eyed susans hold their blooms over a long period.  I could not believe them last year and thought that I would never see the plant again.  But the clump is growing and still producing the long bloom period.  Its an easy plant to have.  This is at the front garden by the street and near the plum tree.  I am slowly getting that area looking good.  The plum did not produce many plums this year.  Next year should be a good harvest.
 This is one of the tomatoes from the back deck.  The background was so messy and confusing, so I learned how to desaturate it in photoshop.  I need a lot of practice yet, as you can see.  There are a few small green tomatoes and another large one yet to ripen.  The taste of a home grown tomatoe is always superb compared to any store bought one.  I think I will move what was the butterfly/hummingbird planter out to the cutting garden and plant lettuces and more tomatoes, up on the deck, next year.
This is a creation I did for our Halloween month in the community Playtime on Megashot. I have managed to get a few things done on Megashot.  I hope they finish Version 2 soon.

So very many things happened in September.  We were on two very good car meets, both in the Duncan area.  I have many photos to process for my old web page.  I have the lists of the events add to the page, but, of course that is the easy part.  The albums take me ages to do, but am happy to have them done up, when I do get them done.  Part of the halloween photo is my solstice moon and another part is Dracula's castle in Romania, from our 2005 river cruise. 

In the garden I managed to get the front inner garden stone path up to the thyme circle; and its surrounding beds cleaned up.  I have the thyme circle edged half way around it.  It dried out quite a lot in the heat wave we had while we were away in the summer.  I hope it all comes back again, as it looks terrific when cleaned up and in bloom.  The michaelmas daisies, nerines, heathers, verbena, sedum and a few other flowers have been putting on a good show for this time of the year.  So, what I need in flowers is something for the hottest part of summer... end of July and August.  Perhaps annuals will have to fill in for that time. But I would like to keep it all perennials.  Perhaps just foliage plants.  Maybe more pinks and heathers, in keeping with my lower maintenance plan for the garden. 

Pat had the Concrete Solutions guys come and pump cement under the parts of the driveway that had settled lower than other parts.  Its a very interesting process.  They have the driveway level now.  Next we are going to have the Crack man come and fill the cracks with a solution to seal the little holes they drilled to pump in the cement, and seal the cracks.  Someone will power wash the driveway too.  So, it is going to look all new and level when they are finished.  But, in the meantime, I need to rescue the moss off the cement, and put it under the deck, where I hope it grows thickly and luxuriantly.  I also have to find the time to cut the Virginia creeper back off the driveway, until they clean it.  It will grow again!

I am in the process of doing a serious house cleaning.  Windows, wax woodwork and furniture, and dust everything, vacuum thoroughly, of course.  I will have to do the closets and inside cupboards some other time, as this is taking me a long time to do a proper job of it.  It would be nice to have a house keeper, some day.