Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fish and Fruit on September 6

 The apple tree is loaded with fruit this year.  Pat did a severe pruning a couple of years ago. There will be applesauce to be made, soon. And there will be fresh ones saved in the garage for over the winter.
 The fig tree had a couple of first crop figs and the second crop is abundant.  This photo of Sept. 6 shows them big but still green.  Some of them are starting to brown up.  I hope there is enough sun to have this second crop ripen.  Pat did some severe pruning on the fig tree also.
 The grape vine has produced lots of grapes this year, too.  Very good right now, and at their ripest.
We had a lot of yellow plums, as usual.  Trevor and family got to enjoy some of them.  I still have many pureed, frozen jars of them, so only ate fresh ones off the tree, this year.  The purple plum has had an abundant crop.  I have 14 or 16 packages of processed, frozen fruit, and we have enjoyed 5 or 6 dozen of them fresh from the tree.
 An overview of the pond.  I drained the pond and saved out 4 fish.  The frog was back the next day.  I do not know where it hid, but I could not catch it when the pond was drained.  Of course I refilled the pond and let it sit over night before putting the fish back.  I thought I only had one shubunkin, but it seems there are 2 of them.  The next day I purchased more fish, including a big sarossa.  I got some new fish food that is suppose to enhance the colors of the fish.  AND, it really works.  The shubunkins are very colorful.   The frog has been back, but it is not eating the fish, not even the smaller goldfish.  I have 8 fish now, 4 of them that are big, and the 2 shubunkins that are growing like crazy, and 2 smaller gold fish.  There is a shubunkin in the deck tub and a gold fish in the woodland tub.   The other day I thought I saw a black fish, which would be a gold fish of less than 2 years old, before it started to change color.  It was quite big. There has been some sort of critter or bird mining the moss on the waterfall for bugs, I presume, and messing up the water fall.  Not sure what to do about it.
 The 8 fish in the pond, feeding on the new fish food.
The deck pond also got cleaned up.  Somehow the Shubunkin survived.  They seem to be able to survive the chlorinated water that I use to fill the tub and the pond.  Amazing.

We have had about a week of Autumn weather and got about an inch of rain.  And then we have been back to summer weather again.  Everything is very dry.  I have been watering the pots by hand.  I added new topsoil and some mushroom manure to the deck and patio pot, including the orange trees. The orange trees also got some citrus fertilizer.  We will see if this helps them to bloom, if ever they will bloom.  The light garden is looking ok with a few of the orchids forming buds and in bloom.  The African violets have been very nice after their repotting some time ago.

My milkweed project is not going too great.  I have one speciosia (showy) milkweed that the caterpillars need for food.  This from a plant that Dave sent me.  I have 3 seedlings that I grew from seed he sent me.  They are in pots also and bloomed with the orange blossoms, and have slender green leaves.  The silver/hairy leaved showy one bloomed with pink blossoms.I have a tuberosa milkweed (orange blossoms) growing in the cutting garden.  A few weeks ago I got 2 swamp milkweed (pink blossoms) and have potted them both up.  The leaves appear to be green slender ones, so am not sure if the caterpillars will like them.  I have a source for more showy milkweed seeds and will order them and plant them up, for growing over winter.  In a year or two, I hope to have enough showy milkweed to feed some monarchs.  I expect to keep the showy in pots, so that I can bring them indoors when and if I get any eggs laid on them.  I have a source for Monarch releases and hope they contain female and male butterflies.  I hope to try them out next summer.  Perhaps for a date in early August or late July.

I have 5 pots of lupine seed that I brought from Tahsis potted up and hope they sprout soon.  My Manitobe campula-looking plant from Sandy is doing pretty good in the front center garden.  I have put the pussy toes looking plant that I collected from Battleford near it in the front garden.  It, too is surviving.  I have a found a source. -- Russell Nursery, in North Saanich, -- for native plants and hope to get a couple of shrubs for the woodland.  My primula bed in the back garden looks to be thriving.

This has been a year for renovations.. taking out a too big bird's nest spruce, a juniper, and the improvement of the deck/patio pots, cut back the firethorn in the spring and now it is covered with berries.  The robins arrive in flocks to feed in late December.  The holly tree is also full of berries for them.  

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A walk on the trail

 For a week in early August there was repair done to the walking bridge over the Colquitz River at Gerda road.  It is now finished, of course.  The repair to the bridge at Wilkinson and Mann is taking a lot longer.  Of course, this is a traffic bridge. There will be an increase to the height of the roadbed and the bridge.  Also, there will be some work done on the trail along the River in this area.
 This is a spirea, blooming in mid August along the trail.
 A queen anne's lace flower, also along the trail.
 A Russian thistle.  I believe these flowers are attractive to butterflies.  The queen anne's lace makes a lovely garden perennial.  I need a few more of them in my garden.  Today, I found a local plant nursery that carries native plants.  There are a couple of shrubs they have that are on my wish list: http://russellnursery.com/natives/
 Last week end we had a meeting of one of the old car clubs.  This meet was organized by Barbara and Steve.  Barbara has an extensive and gorgeous garden.  This is just one of the many features of her garden.
This is one of Barbara;s Dahlias.  She has a huge collection of them.

We have finally had a bit of rain.  The last few days have been perfect for gardening; so, I have been able to get a few things done out in the garden.  Our purple plums gave us a huge crop.  We have some frozen for fruit and pies and have been eating them fresh for the last couple of weeks.  The apple tree, also, is loaded with fruit, but not yet ripe.  The fig tree has a very big second crop.  I do hope they are ready soon.  They are big, but still green.  The grape has produced an abundant crop, also.