My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


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Getting Lost is Fun!

A few weeks ago, I was driving through Colwood, realized that I needed to change direction so I pulled into a little strip mall that I’d bypassed for many years.   Instead of just driving away, I decided that it was time for me to visit here.  There are a number of businesses there, and two of them caught my attention.  Hmm .. there is an Afrikan Market .. must check this out!

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There is an abundance of beautiful and brightly coloured fabrics there!May 5, 06

Delightful head wraps ..May 5, 04

Lovely displays …Maya 5, 15

It was so much fun to discover the fabrics that were displayed .. happy and cheerful colours.May 5, 08

And some different foods that I hadn’t known about .. it is exciting to learn about other foods!May 5, 12

Shea butter is always good for the skin!May 5, 13

I emptied my coin purse to purchase one of these beautiful scarves (I chose the purple one).   Excellent quality and I love the sparkly glitter!May 5, 19

 

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Information on African designs ….May 5, 07

This book looks interesting …May 5, 10

Oh .. la la …suis-je en la France????

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There is glamour for those who love to dress up in bejewelled shoes!May 5, 18

There is quite a choice of fun clothing to choose from ..

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A diversity of colourful baskets and the prices were quite reasonable, worth a visit to this friendly shop!1

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The day was lovely and sunny with magnificent skies!!May 5, 20

Before I left this little plaza, I ventured into the second-hand shop and laughed when I saw these.  They might be considered antiques, but I remember them.  Am I an antique?  If so, then I am a most happy antique!!  🙂

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I really had a lot of fun shopping at these two shops.  Enjoyed friendly conversation and was grateful that I had to make a turnaround in this mall.

On with this most sunny day!  Time to plant potatoes in chicken wire towers filled with straw!

🙂


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Last Week I had “One of Those Days” & It Was Quite Fun!!!

In a yard in the spring, there is no lack of beauty everywhere you look!  The beautiful blossoms from the fruit trees have tumbled to the ground.  Such graceful beauty there.  This is an apple blossom.  Something so precious in nature wantonly decorating even the wood chip mulch!  Pretty on so many levels.

003They were so lovely, that  my camera just clicked away …to capture this momentary deliciousness for me to savour later on.001

Ok, so I’m really enthralled with these dainty blossoms ..  here resting on a Salmonberry leaf.002

So, anyway, one day last week, I think it was Thursday, I was having one of those little busy types of days.  Where I go hither and yon and in between I have some little adventures.   My first stop of the day was at Royal Roads, where I visited the most wonderful Camosun College Horticulture greenhouses.   I was given a little tour and on the way, was captivated by the sight of some Leylandi cyprus trees in the midst of a trim.  I quite liked the look of this one .. smooth on the sides and wild and crazy at the top.  It will be lovely when the trimming is finished .. however .. I do prefer this look! 004

This espaliered pear tree is well over a hundred years of age!   And … the ancient walls of this garden are slowly (and lovingly) being resurfaced.  See how the walls look so lovely and bright behind the branches ..005

Here is a section of the wall that has not been resurfaced yet.  I randomly took this photo and now, looking at it, I have a few questions … what type of tree is this?  Where does the path go to?  Is there a gate there?  What is the purpose of the building to the left?  sigh.006

Here is a larger section of the walled garden.  This is a very huge undertaking, the resurfacing of the walls.   It will look so beautiful when done.  Homage to the past.  I’ll visit again to see how the work is progressing.

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I love hypertufa .. here is an example of a hypertufa planting in middle of a bench.  This year the Camosun Horticulture plant sale had quite a variety of the most beautiful and lovingly crafted hypertufa planters.  A few of them now grace our yard.  Many years ago I purchased all the materials to make one and it didn’t happen.  I’m now inspired to try to make one (or 50, who knows, I do get carried away with creative projects!)  🙂

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Here is another one:

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On our tour we met a duck .. a handsome little Mallard.  Due to the vast acreage of this area Hatley Park  there are many old growth trees which provide habitat and protection for a diversity of raptors, birds of all types.  In fact. there is an old Magnolia tree near the greenhouse that attracts quite a number of Cedar Waxwings during July so I plan to go back there to see them.009

Oh darn, I meant to take a closer look at the name tag of this beauty ..008

Is this not a thing of beauty …

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So, at the beginning of this day, my intent was just to visit and purchase a hypertufa planter.  What happened after were unexpected gifts.

A surprise and welcomed little tour of the students gardens.   I met the person who is the head of the whole Royal Roads Gardens .. I cannot fathom the immensity of this position. She is a very knowledgeable and interesting person .. and it would be lovely to sit with her and find out a bit of the history of Hatley Gardens.

I came away from my visit with 2 lovely hypertufa planters, one for us and one for a friend.  A sturdy Bay tree and some horsetail sections.  The horsetail I will keep in pots as they have a tendancy to travel the world and it’s challenging to keep them in control.  Many years ago I had planned to make a soak for my nails, as the horsetail contains silica and  I thought that it might make my nails stronger.  Haven’t done that thus far, but plan to do so with some of the pieces that I obtained.

I learned that eveyone is welcome there, to wander around the gardens so I plan to do just that in the future.  What a restful and creative place to be.

Anyway, on the way out, I saw a young woman jogging to beat the band!  (that means, running all out!).   While I was busy being impressed with her 100% focus on running .. .she waved to me so I stopped.  And learned that she had become lost and was trying to get somewhere in a hurry so I gave her a lift.  Turns out that she is a script writer for a national radio station and oh wow I would have loved to have long talks with her about that.  But no time for that today.

After this .. I found myself stopping in at a little strip of stores along the highway.

And that was kind of interesting too .. so I’ll say more and post photos tomorrow (or the day after!)

🙂

On with this day.   Lunch with friends and my second singing lesson .. I am so excited!!!!1


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Surprises and Magic in the garden .. what a fun place to be – all beneath beautiful blue skies ..happy is me!

Tis the season of blue skies and rainy days here.  Like .. yesterday!  The sun was shining brilliantly  in the morning.  I dutifully practiced my singing exercises, followed by my fiddle session.  These are easy to set aside for a later time in the day but I find that, when I do that, procrastination takes over, big time.  So .. I just focus on these 2 lovely sessions.

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When I did finally go outside, a slight rain had occurred and again .. there were blue skies overhead!

So my darling little Lady JaneE came outside with me.  She is my gardening cat.   Born in ’96, the year of the “big snow” here in Victoria, she literally rules the roost in our house.  We love her so much.  Anyway, she is waiting for some treats which I place on the steps beside her.  One of our gardening rituals.april 18, 08 (2)Sipping my mug of Yorkshire tea, I wander around the yard a bit .. this also is a ritual that I follow.  To see all the changes that Spring has brought to the garden.   And enjoy the sweet little songbirds.  Here is a little Golden Crowned Sparrow.. I love their songs and find them very comforting. april 18, 09

The Spotted Towhee .. another lovely bird, very shy but bold in colour.  They have a wide range of sound and sometimes they sound (to me) like the Bewick Wren!   april 18, 05

Sweet little Red-breasted Nuthatch … zooming in for some suet!   The trees in our yard are tall and provide nesting areas for many of the birds that visit our yard.   april 18, 04

The tall Oregon grape is flowering nicely .. cheerful yellow flowers brighten up a bit of the yard.   The leaves on the fruit trees are starting to grow and fill out.   Soon they will be accepted as a normal part of the trees but during this growth period after the winter, they are marvellous bits of magic manifesting in the yard.  I like that.

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Tiny little pink flowers on this perennial which I am pretty sure is an Escallonia …  april 18, 08

Flowers of a fruit tree.  I potted this up last summer, and am not sure if it is plum or cherry.   Guess I’ll find out this year!  More of the magic & a surprise to unfold.  Love the mystery.april 18, 06

I discovered this idea, to cut up (organic) seed potatoes, from a great youtube video of allotment gardening   This guy is just amazing!  Anyway, I have potted these up now and am waiting to see if they will grow and then I’ll plant them.  I have a few ideas as to how I will do that and will post when that is done!    A nice surprise for me last week .. was discovering 2 sprouting garlics!  Last summer I had tied up bunches of garlic to dry beneath the sundeck and these 2 must have fallen down! april 18, 01

I’ll pot these up in containers and look forward to harvesting them at the end of summer!  They are hardnecks, so more scapes for pesto!  Yumm april 18, 02

Last week I visited Russel Nursery in North Saanich, what a wonderful place for a gardener to be!  I was there at least 3 hours, which seemed like 5 minutes.  Everyone there is so knowledgeable and helpful.  This is one of a few wooden structures there that I totally fell in love with.  So much character and beauty.  A portal to the plant world.

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Another sky photo.  Such beauty for us to see.  april 18, 11

Hey, hey, hey!  Have I found the perfect gardening tea mug?????  Yes!   And yesterday I filled it with lovely Yorkshire tea and sat on the front steps to drink it and enjoy the greenery around me.   This lovely hypertufa mini-garden is the perfect place for it to be.

Many, many, years ago, I purchased all the ingredients to make one of these and life just became too hectic for me to accomplish this!   So I bought this one ready-made and love it so much.  Perhaps I will try again, this motivates me to think about that.

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This day is starting out in a gentle fashion.   Cloudy skies, sporadic rain showers.  Birds singing in the yard.

Time to get on with things,  Practicing my two passions.   The fiddle and the singing.  And then on to other things .. like the garden which is calling out to me.

🙂


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Fiddle Music, Duck Tape and Silver Bugle Beads – They All Go Together!

This is what my violin case looked like … resting on a cupboard shelf for so many years when I finally moved it to my desk ..my fingers started the removal of the dust …

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And a microfiber cloth removed the rest .. now it is looking a bit more respectable.  I had purchased this violin from a friend, about 1996.  Started taking lessons from a variety of people .. always seeking instruction in French.  Finally found one teacher and we would speak French during the session while learning how to play some classical pieces.

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Finally .. I realized that I wasn’t understand the language of the violin so I gave up and put it on a shelf where I lived at the time.   When I moved I took it with me.    At various times I considered selling it ..  it had a few faults but was still playable.  Anyway, again, it rested on a shelf until DH suggested that I take up the fiddle again.   He knows how much time I was spending on my beads (let’s just say that I am a little obsessive about my beads!) and making garden jewellery and knew that if I spent as much time on the fiddle, I would be playing well!

He was right, of course.  And so I found the perfect teacher, who is a true teacher … one who knows how to translate the language of music  and make it understandable to all levels of students .. and my journey began last July.   It’s a rocky path but I’m not quitting.

Actually, my teacher is quite similar to my DH, who is uber-patient in explaining the theory of flight to make it more understandable.

Here’s a saying I found, many, many years ago – in my dad’s accounting book … the book was tucked away in a cupboard.  I needed to learn a poem for school, so was happy to find this jewel .. which I am applying to my learning how to play the fiddle:

“A diamond is only a piece of coal that stuck to its job, you see.  If it wasn’t for that piece of coal, where would the diamond be?”

So right now I’m a piece of coal, working my way to shine, in my best fashion, to be a diamond!  I’ll be the best piece of coal that there ever could be!

Anyway .. here is my fiddle case now!!  I used duck tape and look how beautiful it is!  Hey, my fiddle case is a diamond !!

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And here is the fabric that I wrap around my fiddle when I put it back into the case.  Notice the Paris theme?  sigh.

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And on the left, voila, my music dictation book from 1996!  I occasionally wrote lesson notes to myself on what I’d learned.  Then I saw this book in Michael’s .. it had a beige cover, however, I quickly changed that, with the help of coloured Sharpies, it is now transformed to a livelier status.  I even made a treble bookmark to keep with the musical theme.  Now I keep a daily diary of when and what I practice.   And the highs and lows so I will remember, later on, when I’ve improved little by little!

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And .. I can’t believe my luck sometimes, really!  I was shopping at Sears last week and found silver bugle bead sharp notes!!  Well, they are # signs from the Debbie Travis Christmas ornament collection, but to someone who is learning how to read music, they are sharps!   I bought a few, then raced back the next day, hoping the rest of them would still be there.  They were and so I bought them all up.  (not obsessive behaviour, right? )

G on the left (one sharp) and D on the right!  P1320092

A sharp!!!P1320093E Sharp!P1320094

And .. Yes … I have that many sharps .. plus a few more than that.   I’ll hang them outside in the sun, to sparkle and add brilliance to my garden.   Music and beads, they go together!  I also bought some “&” which I view as treble notes!

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Sun is shining, perfect day to work outside in the garden and plant some peas continue tidying up!

Oh, wait, first I will practice my fiddle and make another addition to my daily musical diary!

on y va!

🙂


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Oh I Wonder Where the Bewick Wrens Will Build Their New Nest? And .. Loving the Spring Flowers in the Garden!! Also, Speaking With a Friend is Very Helpful At Times, Don’t You Think???

The darling little Bewick Wrens .. their beautiful nest has been blown out of the hangglider bag twice already … so now they are building another nest somewhere in the yard.

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Last week I walked down to the Compost Center for a workshop .. loved the long walk and enjoyed the blossoms along the way .. here they are on Blanshard Street.  Spring is definitely here.

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And I’d just finished crossing at the lights, passed this and had to walk back and take a photo ..love these graphics!

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Back at home .. wandering around the yard, re-discovering some beautiful plants that I’d purchased last fall .. I’d always wanted a Hellebore and had forgotten this one!   Darling little plant .. I will put this one in a colourful pottery container!

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Muscari flowers .. tiny little bulbs that I’d placed in some pots last year .. flowering away like mad.  Diminutive but powerful in their graceful beauty.

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And the Salmonberry plants are bursting forth in bud and flower!

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Another of the many things that I love in this life .. is imagining that tiny little beings, faeries, dwell in the garden.  If this were so, then these Salmonberry flowers would be perfect for them to use as tiny hats, don’t you think?  Imagination is a fun thing.

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Lovely blue skies with dreamy white clouds gently painted over.  We’ve had some massive skies recently .. gigantic cloud streets of enormous white cumulus entities soaring overhead.  This photo isn’t from one of those days.   I could only look at those skies .. my camera lens isn’t big enough to do justice to those skies.    These I can handle!  🙂P1320071

Tenacity of growing things!  These little plants rested all winter and now are growing up through the burlap-lined pathways in the veggie patch!  The burlap will disintegrate and I have more to place on top of them for this year.

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The rose bush at the side of the house is sporting new growth .. this is a tenacious and lovely rose!

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I’ve been a bit reluctant to get back into my gardening – spending time on practicing my fiddle – it has become my new focus, temporarily replacing my love of gardening, beading, sewing, drumming!   After all .. there are only so many hours in the day.

Time passes so quickly .. I looked at my little music notebook recently .. I’d begun taking lessons in 1996!    Then my violin stayed hidden in its case for many years until I dusted it off last July and began again with a new teacher!

And I’ve been changing a few things about my violin accoutrements.. but more on that tomorrow.

Today I am happy because:

  • procrastination overcome and I’ve blogged again!
  • I’ve just spent a huge chunk of time talking with a friend about priorities so have set some for myself.  It’s a good exercise and I feel energized already.   Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, when things are weighing a bit on your mind and you could really use a friend to talk it over .. that friend appears in your life?
  • Because of this I’ve decided to “step back” a bit and spend more time on what really fills me with joy.  And tomorrow I will blog about that!
  • It is still Saturday morning and I’ve realized that Camosun College is hosting a plant sale at Royal Rhodes so why am I still in my jammies and not in my jeans, in the car, racing to the plant sale?  Just give me 5 minutes and I’m on my happy little way!
  • and finally .. I am happy .. just because  (cause ya don’t really need a reason!)

🙂


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The Darling Little Bewick Wrens are setting up house again ….

The amazing Beaufort mountain range just outside of Port Alberni …We were up there recently and I took a lot of photos and decided this one was the fluffiest for posting!   So beautiful!

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Back at home, wandering around the yard with some sunflower seeds and suet for the birdfeeders (I only put out a little at each feeder) .. I noticed that there appeared to be a little nest being constructed in the old hang glider bag.  Some Bewick Wrens had built a nest there a few years ago, but abandoned it in favour of another location.   So here they go again.  I don’t know if these are the same pair or whether the young ones have found mates and are starting a little family.

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I’d noticed two of them perching in the dwarf weeping willow a few days ago  here is one and the other wasn’t far away.

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They are so very tiny and they were intently looking at something.  I found out today what had caught their attention!

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Our cat, JaneE, insisted on going outside ..when all I wanted to do was practice my fiddle for today’s lesson!   Guess who won out .. cause ya can’t argue with a cat.  In particular, a deaf, 22 year old princess who rules our household.   I noticed what looked like a straw bowl, resting bottom up on the lawn … curious .. I turned it over and see what I found!  A Bewick Wren nest .. and notice the yellow flowers from the dwarf weeping willow!!!

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All that very fine weaving in the construction of the nest!  I noticed a small piece of plastic film at the bottom of the nest … funny .. there was also a thin piece of plastic in the nest that I found a few years ago.  I wonder how long it took them to build this nest?  I carefully replaced it into the hangglider bag, tucking it in firmly, unsure as to whether they will return to this next or perhaps build another one?    This is so very precious, I feel honoured to hold something so fine, true nature.

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And this is from a few days ago, perhaps the little Bewick was continuing to search for fine items to build the nest!

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In another corner of the yard, the Downy Woodpecker is looking for food in the bark of the old apple tree.  Hard to believe that the tree can be termed old, when it just seems a few years ago that I planted it .. but it was over 30 years ago.

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Here is our little princess .. the ruler of our household!   Little JaneE Kat!! 🙂

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And little Squirrely came by.. searching for peanuts .. I threw a handfull of them around the yard.  And I chased them out of 2 of the bird feeders!!  The yin and the yang of it all.  Glad to see that this one is eating the peanut and not hiding them!

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A few days ago I went for a walk that lasted for at least two hours, it included a visit to Lifestyles Market where I filled two bags with healthy groceries .. they seemed to get a bit heavier as I walked along!   Anyway, I’d never paid attention to this street sign before and it would have been perfect for March 17!!

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It is now officially Spring!    And typical weather in Victoria is:  Sun, followed by rain, followed by sun … etc.,   Personally I adore the rainy days and find them to be comfy and relaxing.

There is a tremendous amount of tidying up to be done in the yard … I had the flue a few times and lost months of being able to do anything .. so now is the time to start at point A and work my way around the yard.  Accompanied with JaneE Kat, a few mugs of strong Yorkshire Tea and my music!   I love world music especially when in the yard .. and have lots of Nae Plans, with  Hamish Napier and Adam Sutherland to listen to .. over and over and over .. and also some new (to me) music by Kiran Ahluwalia …..

I look forward to spending a lot of time outside and have decided that I need to get up early so I can practice my fiddle for an hour at a time and then outside and then inside and then outside!  Whew, am getting tired already.

Well .. it’s Friday night and time to relax a little bit so that is what I will do!

🙂