Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November in the neighbourhood and July on my web page

 This is a tall agave like plant that blooms in the late summer.  Last year it had two tall spikes of these lovely creamy bells.  It seeems to bloom every second year.  The one in the back garden has finally started blooming.  It was a tiny plant when I first got it years ago.  I am working on getting the 'July' album done for my old web page.  Like the June album, July is going to have 160 photos on 16 pages. 
 This is a catananche caerulea, or cupid's dart for the July album.  These plants are short lived perennials, but they self seed.  I seem to have lost this plant in my garden and shall put it on my list of new ones to get next spring.  The butterflies like these flowers.
 This little bush has been left in the park.  It has some gorgeous Autumn color, so I am glad it is still there.  I see there are still lots of blackberry bushes.  The blackberries are considered an invasive species in the parks, and they surely are!  There were always people to enjoy the pickings, though. 
 This is one of the circles they have added to the park.  There is now, also a sign about the park trail and a small bicycle stand.  We get a lot of traffic on this trail.  I never noticed them before they put the trail through to our street.  The people still have one block to walk on before they connect to the trail that continues through the Coply Park.    I am still waiting to see what trees they will be planting, as per the plan.
 This is the view from the trail towards our house with the Liquid Amber tree dressed for the Autumn season.  Its an attractive curvy trail.  Last Spring I had our cedar hedge topped at about 12 feet.  From our dining room window we get a view of the traffic on the trail, now.  I really must find the time to get out and use the trail more.  It is wonderfully wild park.   I haven't seen the deer for a couple of years.  There has been a cougar in the park.  We have eagles nesting somewhere in the park too.  Every year I see the new baby eagles out for flight training.  I think there were 3 of them this year. I don't know where the nest is though. 
This is a close up of some of the drift wood on the beach at Waterton Lake, from our trip through that Peace Park list July.  That is a wonderful park.  They have fields of wild flowers that are native to the area.  I hope I can get a few of our natural flowers re-established in the park across the street..  They have planted grass, but the rest of the Colquitz Park has grass too.  There is a lot of information about the urban forest plan and the park in Saanich on their web site.  I need to study it more to see if I can help mother nature to re-establish some of the natural ones.  I must be very mindful of keeping my ivy or holly trees from running over to the park.  I see we already have some ivy that has taken over along the river where there were fawn lilies.  Its not my variety of ivy, though.  There is also quite a lot of broom in our park.  There was a fish count in the river, a month or so ago, and we have some salmon and cutthroat trout.  I haven't seen the river otter for years, but I imagine they still live in the river.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Some of the trees in Autumn

The English oak has some spectacular color this year.  This is a photo from today.
 This is a the English Oak on Nov. 3, ten days ago.. just starting to turn.  In some years these leaves hang on well into winter and just turn brown.  Hope this years colors last equally as long as the brown ones.
 This is the arbus unedo or strawberry tree.  The bees love the those little bell blossoms.  The humming birds feed on them too.  Its good to see that there is some food for them this late in the season.  The red berries are edible, apparently.  There are numerous opinions on that on the internet.  The birds should like them, too, but I have not seen the birds eating them.  The tree has a long period of bloom in the autumn, in my garden.
 This is the holly with lots of berries on it this year.  Nice variegated leaves on this one.  Many years ago, I rescued it from a plant nursery where it was not looking very good.  In the last few years it has been putting on a good show. 
 This is the pin oak and the Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), in the woodland garden.  You see the tops of the trees over the garage roof.  The Japanese cedar stays this reddish bronze color all winter and in the spring turns green again.  It is a big tree that is aging gracefully.  Its too bad that the needles sometimes dry out and hang onto the tree.  I brush them off on the lower branches, but the higher ones will have to take care of themselves.  I must do a photo study of this tree.  It likes acid soil, so perhaps I could under plant it with blue or white azaleas.  At the moment there is a shrub with white blossoms that have the fragrance of orange blossoms.  This little shrub is everygreen and looks good under the sweeping boughs of the cryptomeria.  I believe the lovely little shrub is a choisya.  In the spring and summer, this area has quite a lot of self seeded dames rocket, in purple and white. 
 This is a closer view of the pin oak leaves.  Very rich red color.  I moved a rhodo, in the same space as this tree.  I do not get back here often enough to water.   These two trees with their underplantings are across the woodland path from each other. 
This is a photo of the liquid amber tree in the front garden from November 3.  It has more color, now and has dropped some of the leaves.  It is the main show in the front garden, now.
Yesterday, I was out in the garden for a couple of hours and raked leaves off of the rock plants, thyme circle and other perennials.  I put the leaves on the grass path and mulch them with the mover.  I don't know where the leaves went, but I did not have much mulch in the mower bag.  There will be more leaves to fall, of course and more leaf mulch to make. 

With the clean up of the deer pasture across the street from us by the Saanich Parks department I have been haunting the Parks website to learn about the Urban Forest Stategy.    It is all very interesting and I enjoy following links to all kinds of good information.  One of the links led me to a place that sells wild flower seeds.  It is in Ontario.  The company has 3 or 4 kinds of Milkweed seed for sale.  I have some seed for milkweed that I hope to grow into enough food for monarch butterfly larvae.  Thanks for the seed, Dave.  My first ones have sprouted.  Planted them on November 3.  They are in plastic containers next to the light garden.  I have a few being stratified in the fridge, but I have the majority of them planted in pots that sit out on the garden.  I hope to see them in the spring in the natural order of growth.  I am happy to see that these plants are not banned in Canada.  I found no mention of them on such list in Saanich, particularly.  So, when my plants get leaves, I hope I can get some monarchs, and then hope that the monarchs are enticed to stay and lay eggs.  Well, that is next year's project. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

November in the rain

 I have had this huge boquet of roses in the house for 2 weeks.  The bush outside still has blooms on it.  The white rose is still blooming also.
 We had Art and Marlene over for a Duck dinner awhile ago.  She left the autumn colors boquet.  There is a bit of this boquet left, but the roses lost all of their petals so today was the end of them.  It is raining and coolish.  I had intended to go out and rake leaves, but it started raining lightly and that put an end to the gardening.
 This is a survivor on the deck.  I like the contrast in the dark deck colors and the shining white little daisies.  This would work as one of my series of 'survivors' that I print and hang.  I will need to reprint one of the two I have up, so far, and get it new matting.
 I found this Turk's Cap Lily at a roadside stop along the Yellowhead Highway, in the Blue River area.  There are quite a few of these wild lilies growing there.  Its great to see that they survive.  I have joined the Canadian Wildlife Federation Photo Club.  I entered this one in the November Flora contest.  The winners are chosen by popular vote.  So, come vote for me:     You need to register and qualify to add your own photos.  Since I am a support of CWF and have been for years, I get their calendars.  There is some excellent photography on them. 
This is another HDR - merged 3 bracketed photos in photoshop -- of the Athabasca Falls, from our Rocky Mountaineer train trip.  Was a grand trip! 

Last week I received milkweed seeds from Dave Dube in Oregon.  He grew the milkweed seeds because he was interested in restoring habitat for Monarch butterfllies.  This is something I am interested in doing as well.  I have pots out on the garden - 6 with the Davis, showy milkweed and 8 with the other kind he sent.  In the house, next to my light garden, I have 12 pots with seeds that should germinate soon.  I have 12 more of the Davis seeds being stratified in the fridge.  If my plants grow and I get enough of them to support a few monarchs I will get some monarchs for release.  I do hope I can sp0ecify the gender.  I will look into it through butterfly gardens in Sidney.  Hopefully, they will be able to supply the butterflies to me.  I am quite excited about this project.  We have some information and links to Dave's you tube videos in our Community called Butterflies are Free, on  Come join us.  Registration on the site is free.  We have contests, communities, critiques, and more.  There will be a Version 2 of the site, that will be just as user friendly, with all of the proposed features completed plus some new ones.  Here is the Butterfies are Free Monarchs discussion:

November in the rain is all about planning for next year.  Along with the Milkweed project, I hope to find some more of the Canadian wild flowers for my garden.  While reading the Saanich website, I have found so much information about endangered species, where to find the wildflowers, how to protect any tree you have in your 'urban forest'.  Here is a start to explore:

I just noticed that our Mayor has declared November 3 as tree planting day.  Well... I missed it, drat!