Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Wonderland - Finally

Alas I did not have my camera today, and my cell-phone is far from smart - rather dumb in fact! We awoke this morning to a winter wonderland, and it finally looks festive, although the temperature is dropping as I write, and will be very cold by the time I leave the office: minus 8 Celsius or 17F. Brr!
When it gets dark - it will look like this.
I just LOVE this image! Jesse Barnes of course.


Anyway, it is the last day of work - this is the view from my office which has glass walls. Every year, I put up this little tree - much admired by all who drop in I must say, but today, so far, and the day is almost over, no one has come by.
But I am keeping merry with Christmas music and Christmas goodies.
Those Baileys candies sure hit the spot! :)

And here is a festive vintage image of yours truly, very much from the long ago taken with one of those old-fangled cameras - I like that slightly fuzzy effect!
(And I thought I was fat! I wish I was fat like that now!)
Sigh.
How the years fly by.



I close with a cheerful image and with Christmas Greetings to all -
and best wishes for the new year!!
This was the featured kitty today on the lovely site:
"Cat of the Day".

Merry Christmas!!
And a Happy, Healthy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Silence Deep and White

The snow had begun to fall in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

James Russell Lowell

Featured today is one of my very favourite vintage Christmas cards. I do not recall where it came from - maybe a garage sale, or a flea market. Or maybe it was tucked away in a donated book - in my line of work, that can happen often. People pass away, their stuff donated or sold - away and onward. I have no idea who the Tibbs or Johnstons were, and although I have had this card for many years, it is the first time I have noticed that Mrs. Johnston writes: "This is not just the book I wanted, but may appeal to the gardener in us all."  I wonder what book she may have been referring to? From the look of her handwriting, perhaps she was already advanced in years when she penned these few words. For me personally, the card itself is evocative of Christmases long ago - riding in the countryside with my father and sister - going to ski or snowshoe - feet aching with cold at the end of it all. Then, warming by the wood-stove at a friend's farm - the smell of wet woolen mittens - the welcoming warmth as toes unfroze. A simple sketch accompanied by a few brief lines, and yet draws out such deep and distant memories - tinged with melancholy and sadness of times gone by. Maybe one day someone else will find this card and treasure it as I have. I do hope so. In the meantime, while it lives here, may it stir another soul in need of some "memory and desire" and warmth. I am not so sure of April being the cruellest month...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Not a Christmas Tree


I took this photograph in late fall, and since then I have marvelled (yes, marvelled :) how much the tip of the plant, Amaranthus Autumn Palette, looks like a wee Christmas tree - a golden tree at that. It even seems that lights are affixed on the tips of the "branches". The plant itself grew to an amazing height of almost 7 feet and produced many such blooms, but this one was the most impressive, and most like a real contender for the festive season. Pretty isn't it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"HO HO HO - I Love the Snow"

Any lover of the movie Dr. Zhivago will recall little Katia exclaiming those words as she, Yuri and Lara arrive at Varykino. In this clip, Chaiyka wakes up from his nap to experience his first snow of the season:
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But - this guy is not so impressed:
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I am home - back problems that are slowly resolving - but it's been horribly painful - getting out of bed is still the worst. Off work for a week. On top of it all, I am alone with the zoo - Cat Wrangler had to go out west for a couple of weeks to. Yes indeed, bending is quite tricky when feeding cats, cleaning litter etc - but I discovered a few tricks to get the very necessary jobs done. And on this first of the season's snow days, Rascal, Reverend and Ping Pong (not mine) have taken refuge in some comfy spots. I am glad I was at home to let them in!!

Last, but never least, the floofalicious Manitou displays his winter coat:
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On Waiting


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Waiting for the tiny and very late-blooming Toad Lily (Tricyrtis) to flower, proved not to be in vain. Usually, I only have one lonely bloom, and then the frost swoops in and kills the remaining buds. This year, many buds have been spared. They are so lovely - tiny, intricate, and and as any October flower - most welcome, and treasured.


Waiting is a common theme in life.

"In those days, we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment came, our lives – and time itself – would speed up. How were we to know that our lives had in any case begun, that some advantage had already been gained, some damage already inflicted? Also, that our release would only be into a larger holding pen, whose boundaries would be at first indiscernible. (From recent Booker Prize winner, The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes). I have read the first chapter offered free online, as I have now become rather engaged with the whole ebook phenomenon. As a young girl, most of my hours were filled with reading. There was nothing more exciting than that weekly visit to the school library to chose some books, and the feeling of opening those first few pages was like none other - it all lay ahead, like a great adventure waiting to begin. As I grew older, I graduated to Lord of the Rings and such, and of course, completing a degree in English and History required a lot more reading, and my favourites were the Victorians - Dickens and his contemporaries - novels and poetry. But then work came, and a certain amount of laziness I suppose. I stopped reading, not that I didn't try, again and again, only to lay the book aside, abandoned after only a few pages, a chapter at the most. So much easier to turn the telly on, or flip aimlessly through a magazine...

She works in a library and doesn't read? I love, LOVE, the internet, browsing gardening and cat sites, checking on favourite blogs, etc, and having a small device which I can carry with me everywhere to do all that very much appealed to me. A laptop, even a small netbook, is just too heavy and cumbersome. But wait - there is something I can read with as well? Real books? And so, I have found myself reading again - during any spare minutes I have, usually while waiting for buses, or while riding on buses. Sometimes I just like to listen to music while I wait, but reading seems more productive somehow, and certainly takes me "away" from whatever is grinding me down at any given time. As I begin to read, I sometimes think, yes, I remember this feeling - embarking on a new adventure. And in a funny way, the Kobo or Kindle bookstore holds the same promise my little school library once did. By the way, my first ebook is, appropriately, The Archivist by Martha Cooley :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Harrumph!

"Yes - it is definitely autumn", ponders Mr. Poole, surrounded by the evidence - "and we all know what is soon to follow - I don't want to think about it!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

As Autumn Sets In


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Photo of Dahlia taken with cheap cell-phone camera creates an unexpectedly beautiful watercolor effect.




Oh dear. It has been awhile. Various issues amongst those close to me have caused some melancholy and stressful times lately. Health issues on my end are rattling what little peace I ever have; I feel I am too young for this, that and the other. But tests don't lie, and while nothing is imminently life-threatening - it is clear the "infrastructure" is not solid, and that is very disturbing - and depressing. As all gardeners of a certain age can attest, freedom of movement is so important, and now it seems a good dose of pain-killers will be required before any major garden "work-out" is attempted.
Osteo Bi-flex is my next hope for some relief.
Promises, promises.

Now, how boring was all that, eh? Happily, we have had only 2 frost warnings so far, and neither of them materialized. My Dahlias are happy about that!


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Dahlia - Purplicious

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Flowering Maple I grew from seed several years ago, blooms yellow in the summer, and in the fall the flowers are tinged with pink - so lovely.

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Fresh rain on Acidanthera leaves....

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also known as Peacock Orchid...

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I grow these (bulbs) every year just for this time of the season - they smell heavenly!

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Sweet Dahlia duet - grown from seed, which always means happy surprises.

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Dahlia White Perfection survived the coming night's frost warning,
the little bee was taking no chances, as he tucked tightly in.
He survived too.

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Huge dinner-plate variety - it glowed at dusk like a moon.

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Another Dahlia from seed - a beautiful colour with variations.


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Dinner-plate Dahlia Peach Brandy was enormous, and glowed like the sun from a distance.

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Rudbeckia triloba - the star of the late summer/autumn garden.

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Amaryllis Dancing Queen produced 2 very out-of-season blooms on a very short scape, only 2 inches.

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She looked divine in the afternoon sun.

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Dahlia Fire and Ice - a striking contrast.


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Last but not least - and still in bloom - Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis). Sweet-smelling, they open at my place more around 6 or so, and in the cooler weather stay open well past morning. I save the carrot-like tubers every year, and also grow new plants form the easily collected seeds - that look like tiny grenades.
(Hmm - I suspect I said all this last year at the same time :)

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This variety is called "Marbles" featuring what is known as
"broken colours".



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Visitor? Resident? Stray?
Who knows for sure!
But Rascal sure likes to lounge in the sun-porch!

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Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An Overdue August Update

No - I did not go down to the sea, disappear, never to be seen again. Have been busy at work - with a new boss just arrived - always a scary thing! And of course busy with the garden - I always start too much from seed, buy too much from local sources and online, and then panic where to put everything. I never learn!


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A view of the back porch - blooms everywhere!

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A gift from a friend: an old aquarium which will become my winter project: a terrarium!

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Mr. Poole suspects a groundhog is living under the garden shed.
He was right!

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A couple of lilies that survived the annual onslaught of the dreaded red lily beetle.

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Dahlia: Hawaii

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I love love love Daylies: another addiction!

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I must have Elephant Ears every year - I love their tropical look.

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Another annual must have: Oxalis Iron Cross.
What started with 5 little bulbs many years ago, now multiplies happily every year, overwintering and resting in the basement of course.


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Collarette dahlia: Fantastico.
Fantastic indeed!

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Daylily grown from seed several years ago.

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Lots of these this year - and as much I hate the damage they do, I equally hate stepping on them - I feel sorry.

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The fabulous and fiery Frans Hals - which has grown into a fertile and floriferous clump.

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Seedlings trio, I have named Burgundy Peach.


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I even had a few Amaryllis bloom this summer.
This is Dancing Queen beginning to unfurl.

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The Rev is still snacking al fresco, whilst neighbor cat
Noomi hopes for leftovers.

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Million Bells (Callibrachoa) with Flowering Maple in the background. It was a bare twig to be thrown out in the spring which magically sprang to life in the summer sun and heat.


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Mouthwatering Daylily Strawberry Candy.

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Longfellow lounges.

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Cedar Cup - same family as Malva (Hollyhock and Flowering Maple)
Isn't that center penta-star lovely?

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Every year I grow Four O'Clocks from seed and then save the tubers much like dahlias.

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This variety is the vibrant Limelight. Regular FOC's have darker foliage and with this type, makes for a lovely combination.

More to come!