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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Fall is approaching but there is still a lot of summer beauty in the garden ..

A lovely big dragonfly was zooming around the yard a few days ago so I thought that I would provide a drinking dish for it.  Pretty marbles in a dish with a bit of water.  I waited around for the return of the dragonfly but alas wasn’t able to see it.  Hoping it returned and, liking the colourful display, rested there for awhile.  There is a lot of activity  in the garden when I’m not there!w01Sweet little JaneE Kat patiently awaiting her treats!

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A fresh new birdfeeder is welcomed quickly by the birds.  Here is a little sparrow  – he has ventured inside and is now perched in the opening, checking to see if other birds are nearby.   He owns the feeder for now.w03

Give us this day our daily beans.  Non stop growing of all the beans.  I’m juicing these like mad as there is no more room in the freezer.   Maybe I could set up a road-side stand in front of our house??  🙂w04Fall really is approaching.  The daily dance of the wild and crazy tree (pear tree stock that has grown like mad over the years) results in a potpourri of the leaves being scattered throughout the yard.   The pear trellis rust is nearly gone.  Thanks to all the healthy foods I’m feeding the tree with.  EM, llama manure, seaweed, nothing but the best for my garden.w05Lots of self-sown tomatoes.    So dainty. w07More sunflowers ready to burst into bloom.  w09Lots of flowers everywhere for the bees.  w10Lovely to see the flowers of the Scarlet Red Runner Beans.  Prolific beans and tasty.

w11More of my “favourite” beans .. pole vines that grow up high, into the trees.  Nice crunchy beans & delicious cooked or juiced.  There will be lots of these seeds for sharing so others can enjoy them  next summer.

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Just a handful of beans picked – Spanish Musica, Blue Lake Bush, Scarlet Red Runner and my “favourite” beans.  I like using these round baskets as my “picking” containers, have had them for years and have no idea where I got them.    Anyway, some days I go outside and pick 2 full containers of beans.  Morning and afternoon.   I’m honestly so surprised at the bountiful growth of these beans.   And I swear they hide on me sometimes.  I feel like the great “bean hunter” as I carefully search for them in the bean forest.   There will be a great supply of the Spanish Musica beans also, for sharing.  There must be at least 30 pods (with many seeds in each one) hanging way above my head, too far to reach so I’ll just let them stay on the vine and let the pods dry .

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Eye candy for me to enjoy during the cold winter months – inspiration to start planting as soon as the spring starts.  Next year I’ll plant the squash and beans a little earlier than I did this year (mid-July) so that the squash plants will have a chance to grow more fully.

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More aerial looping by the beans.  Now why on earth is this bean doing the twisty thing?  No obstacles in its way.  Just being silly I think.

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ta da!  Very strong tomato plants that grew from the compost that I put here.   A very sturdy plant with lots of tomatoes.  I’ve been clipping away surplus leave so all the energy will go towards the tomatoes themselves.  Last year I grew those tiny patty pan squash in this oak container and they grew very well.  This year tomatoes  are growing here.  Next year .. potatoes?  tomatoes?  who knows.

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I know that the season is nearly over and I won’t get tomatoes from these flowers, but the bees will savour the nectar.w17

This is the time of the year for gardeners to tidy up the yards and get ready for the cold weather.  So I’m doing all of that also.

And I am also spending a lot of time just wandering around the yard, admiring the growth of the plants.   Thinking about where to move this and that.  Mixing up the rich compost with poorer soil.   Gathering up all the plant saucers that were so needed during the hot weather, so that all potted plants watered would retain some moisture for the roots.  With the fall rains coming these are no longer necessary.

Watching the bird activity – welcoming the fall visitors, like the Gold Crowned Sparrows back to our yard so I can enjoy their beauty.  Placing some seed in the feeders .. not too much as there is a lot of food available to them naturally.  Enjoying the Nuthatches as they dig out insects from the trees.  Listening to the Bewick Wrens as they sing their unique songs from hidden areas in the trees.  Loving that.   I still have their abandoned nest from a few years ago ..and know that they are nesting somewhere in the yard.    https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Bewicks_Wren/id

Such an interesting place is my garden!   So many things to see and enjoy.

Magical, energizing and fun!

🙂


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Calm and serenity in my back garden ..

Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day … it started out with our exercise group hiking around the hilly areas of Oak Bay, climbing some very steep stairways to a lookout and then around a variety of streets and back to the start.

At one point I saw a very noisy Blue Jay perched on a branch, screeching away at something while trying to hide a treasure.  No camera with me yesterday, of course!

Finally .. back at home .. in my lovely little garden.  I’ve been driving a lot lately .. traffic has been heavy and I’ve just longed for the peace and quiet of my garden.  I badly needed a “fix” of just being surrounded by all the greenery that is growing lushly there.

So, mug of Yorkshire Tea, IPod playing gentle music, camera at the ready .. I just slowly wandered around .. having a good tour of what is happening.

First .. there were the lovely skies overhead:

01Followed by more lovely skies overhead .. ever-changing artistic paintings ..

02Then I spent some time looking at the House Sparrow and male Downy Woodpecker .. each eyeing the suet .. each waiting for the other to move in first ..

03Two ways to view this – either the woodpecker was a gentleman and let the sparrow feed first or the sparrow was pushy and claimed the prize .. either way it was  a sweet scene of patience and gentility.

04sigh ….. I’m torn between looking up at the sky, watching the birds or looking through my bean plants to see if any are ripe enough for picking.  And there is also the work factor – this comes after my play time is done (it never is really done, though!)

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I’d recently fallen off the wagon ( of my firm decision to not buy more plants!)and bought a few more plants … these Burgundy Baby Weigela plants attract hummingbirds, so of course I must have a few of these.

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Another year of self-sowed Sun-chokes .. there are at least 4 of them in the yard, each are at least 10 feet tall … I’m going to cut them down soon, the stalks are quite sturdy and I’m curious as to whether they will dry in a firm state and I can use them to stake up plants.  Here is a good site with lots of information:   http://www.canadiangardening.com/gardens/fruit-and-vegetable-gardening/you-say-jerusalem-artichoke-i-say-sunchoke/a/35286  Although I didn’t plant these, I suspect the birds did!   And they are now in a variety of places .. even though I dug them all up & gave them away last year .. some of them had hidden themselves away to grow this year!  And this year I will try them to see what they taste like.  Just a little bit, to try.

07I’d been rinsing out my seaweed gathering sacks and some water made its way to the sunflowers .. adding a sparkling look to this cheerful flower

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Besides the sparrows and woodpeckers that I saw in the garden, I also saw the Bewick Wren (the juvenile) these birds are evasive and swift, so I counted myself lucky to have seen it.  The darling Bush-tits were around a few times.   I can only imagine what other birds visit the yard when I’m not out there (hawks, crows, eagles up high).  What lovely gifts these are .. to see these birds up close.

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The Cherokee Trail of Tears beans are just treasures .. I will always grow them.  Prolific, with sturdy vines .. each growing an abundance of beans.  They are growing into the trees so I will harvest the dried pods at the end of the season and plan to share them with friends.

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Here is a young bean and you can see the round beans growing inside .. the mature dried beans are blue!  I’ll take some pics when these are harvested.

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Looking up (important in the garden!) I noticed a group of at least 9 hoverflies!   I was able to get a little photo of one and the group kept moving about so I wasn’t able to take a pic.  However, I found this clear video on Youtube, it’s just marvelous:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xh9BlbUaAU

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This sky was like a summer sky … lots of gentle ripples ..

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My dear Lady JaneE .. sleeping soundly in the sunshine ..

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Sleepily waking up ..

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And back to sleep again …

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The overhead beauty continued …

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And the teasel plant is flowering.   Quite pretty with the delicate lavender flowers.18So I did actually get to work. Washing out bags of plastic gardening items for recycling.  Raking up the debris of the pear trellis leaves . infested with rust from some juniper tree in the neighbourhood.  This rust is an annual issue and I had it under control 2 years ago (multiple spraying of EM got rid of most of it then) and last year I wasn’t so diligent and about half of the leaves have the rust.  Next year I will be more vigilant, spraying with EM and then with liquid seaweed .. just as the leaves emerge!  And then after the flowers are finished.   I’ve read that the  rust settles in by August so I’ll make sure that I take care of this tree.

The leaves are not compostable (so I’ve read) so I’m bagging them up for disposal.  It breaks my heart to do this but it is for the best.  I don’t have a hot enough compost to ensure that everything breaks down.  The rust is ugly .. seen up close.  I won’t post pics, it’s bad enough looking at them up close, yuck.

Finally, calling a halt to the work day .. I exited my garden and back to the house.  Totally tired but happy from nearly a full day in the garden.

So .. going back out there today … what a treat!

 


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Saturday, February 8, 2014

We actually had a smattering of snow yesterday!  I was going to cancel out of going to the Friday workout and actually called my pal D… who convinced me to go and R would drop by and pick me up.  So despite myself I went exercising with the others and it was so very beautiful.  I took lots of photos and will post them tomorrow.

Anyway .. look at this beautiful sky!! I went outside this morning to re-fill the hummingbird feeders (otherwise they freeze) and replenished the bird feed.  Looking up .. what sky eye-candy!

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more….

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and more .. and then I really had to get going … although the sun was a little warm, the air temperature was not!

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A chubby little Robin flew past me and settled onto this little gate post.  This is one of my new raised beds full of garlic .. see the lovely green leaves.  And this funky gate is so lovely and I plan to use it as a little feature all throughout the garden.  Then you can see the pvc loop (I put green plastic mesh for climbing plants) and then there are those wonderful garden trellis planter things .. I have 3 and they are very portable to put throughout the yard.   I’ve just left them here for the winter.

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Here is a longer view of that same photo of the Robin.   All those pots you can see in the background have garlic growing.  Even those little buds from the bottom of the Elephant garlic are planted in shallow pots.07

Then I caught a glimpse of the little grey squirrel, racing up the sidewalk and heading for the stairs … excited to fetch two more peanuts from the sundeck above.   They have to eat .. theirs is  a precarious life and so I am happy to provide them with food during this freezing weather.  Can you imagine if humans had to travel so far for so little and survive on these few peanuts?  I thought about that last night as I grabbed a handful of peanuts from the large bag that I bought (for them!) and thought how easily I can provide them for myself, compared with the little squirrels, who value these treasures and travel far and wide to gather them, cache them and save for future meals.

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I was still watching the little Robin when I caught sight of the squirrel racing away with his treasures.  I clicked the camera and hadn’t expected to actually get a good photo!  He’s racing like mad.

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Oh, I must share these photos.  Dh & I had this ficus for many years.   It flourished well .. except for a time last fall .. when all but a few leaves survived on a sad looking dried branched tree.   It had developed soil mites .. they were little little fruit flies.    I searched for remedies and tried them .. like putting a layer of sand on the surface of the soil so the eggs wouldn’t hatch.  That didn’t work.   I put the plant outside for weeks .. .the mites were still there.  Drastic measures called for a new pot, new soil.  I removed the figus from the old pot, washed the rhizomous roots in a light solution of Ecos laundry soap and then rinsed thoroughly with clear water.  Into the new pot, with new soil. And .. a good application of EM .  I didn’t bother to even trim away the dry branches, as I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  Well .. a few months later and we are astounded at the tiny little new growths and now these have become leaves and stems!   I believe it was the EM that saved it and encouraged the tree to grow.  Isn’t it lovely!  I’ll trim away any dried stems in a month or so.  We are so happy .. DH, myself .. and the ficus, all three!

11Then there is another success story.  This plant below, was purchased from a “big box store that I will not name” over 10 years ago.  I don’t know the name of the plant.  If anyone could identify it .. I would be most grateful.  This plant is tough.  It has survived on no care, no water and has been moved about a lot.  For the past 4 years, it has sat in the back room of the basement.   I moved it outside for the summer and back inside for the winter.  Then, a few weeks ago, I felt so bad for this living plant that just wanted to keep on growing and wouldn’t die.  So I added a bit of soil to the top surface.  Gave it a liberal dose of EM and some sunlight.  And look!  It is so very happy and is growing so well.   The power of a tough plant and the magic of EM!  I love you little plant.

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Just can’t get enough of this beauty ..

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Thank you .. lovely skies up above for this glorious display!  I could look at you all day!03

And finally … a friend told me about a little bird that was drawn into a Buffalo (airplane!) which was flying low and slow .. the little bird perched on the Captain’s finger .. I found this to be such a fabulous photo & story and I’m sure you will agree:

http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/news-template-standard.page?doc=search-and-rescue-crews-take-unusual-passenger-on-board/hkdonpzz

The tiny bird sitting so confidently  .. while flying inside the mighty Buffalo!

I sent the photo to Ann Nightingale, a birder extraordinaire, based in Victoria, BC.  !  I haven’t met her in person yet, but whenever I have a photo of a bird that has issues or a bird that is unusual, I always e-mail her and she always has the right answer for me.  I look forward to meeting her someday.

Anyway, here is Ann’s information on this little bird:

“It’s a Kinglet … perhaps (because the photo is from July) a baby Golden-crowned Kinglet .”  How magical!!!

Sigh .. what a wonderful world!  And such amazingly wonderful people!

🙂