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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Sunny & frosty days …some snow has arrived to transform the garden. And the birds are happy. I think the Faeries have been partying at night!

The weather here in Victoria has been pretty normal, what with the rainy days, the sunny days and the faintest touch of snow once in awhile.  This is why everyone is drawn to this beautiful city.

Yesterday I was in the back yard .. topping up the bird feeders, tipping out the ice from the bird-baths (ok, we have had a few frosty mornings, I can live with that) … and my eyes were drawn to this (still) potted Hellebore .. which I will plant when the weather warms up a bit.  It is a tough little plant and has been enjoying the balmy parts of the day when the sun warms up the yard here and there.P1350675

Yesterday, those darling little Bushtits were hungry and so they didn’t fly away when I approached them.  They love these little ceramic and coiled metal suet holders .. this design is perfect for them and so I’ve placed several in this corner of the yard.

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Here is another chunk of slag .. left over from a glass factory many years ago.  Love how the sun brings out the blue/green colour.

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I’d bought this at a garage sale, many, many, many .. years ago.   It’s nice and chunky, someone’s prized stained glass project.  Here I have placed it upside down … it’s nicely covered with some garden soil and it could serve as a night-time party surface for the wee faeries when they come out at night to party and enjoy the solitude of the garden.  It’s placed far enough from the house so that their music and singing isn’t heard inside.  Tempting to tip toe outside on a hot summer evening to see if I can see them frolic and play.  That would be fun.

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The frosty weather is nature’s opportunity to change things up in the yard .. a chance to show us her creativity.  Here is a lovely display of ice .. so pretty, sparkling in the sun.. but not easy for the birds to drink!   Maybe .. the faeries have donned their winter clothing and skates .. perfect surface for them to practise their skating techniques during the nights when we sleep.  Perhaps the crackles were cause by a few of them, having had one too many little hot toddies as they demonstrated their triple axels??  (or whatever they do when twirling about on the ice in their tiny jewel encrusted skates!)  Can’t you just picture this?  I can!

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So I tipped the ice out and added some water for the little birdies!  To drink and perhaps have a little bath.P1350681

When I’d finished tipping out the ice, I looked at those round circles and decided to play with them and create a little ice path!  For viewing only, for beauty only.  sigh.

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Today was brrrr in the yard … I know that birds who visit our yard are wild and can fend for themselves .. however .. I did invest in a rather fair bit of a variety of bird seed expressly for them .. so out I went .. and added a generous amount to each feeder and made sure there was a healthy chunk of suet in each holder.  Good thing.  As it turned out, this afternoon we had a surprise coating of snow. Pretty to look at.  The yard transformed and magical again.

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I took some photos through the kitchen window .. I knew that if I went outside to take photos, the activity would frighten the birds away and I just wanted them to enjoy some quiet time and a chance to fill up their little bellies for the cold night that approaches.  Here is a beautiful Spotted Towhee …P1350695

Some Junco’s, sparrows .. the yard was full of birds flitting about and doing their little shuffle-shuffle dance to find sunflower seeds hidden in the snow.P1350700

Here’s another photo of that beautiful Hellebore ..looking lovely against the grass of yesterday!

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So very excited .. am I!!!  Recently received my order from Salt Spring Island seeds!!!  This is going to be such a fun summer of growing peas and beans and a few other things.  It won’t be long before there will be tunnels of these in the garden.  A little room in the back where I can sit on my bench, glass of white or mug of Yorkshire Tea (depending on the time of day!!).   A place where I don’t see any buildings .. only the green of the lush vines growing all around!P1350692

And today my order from Annapolis Seeds arrived!   Lots and lots of beans for juicing, munching and freezing!  This year will be abundant.  And I’ll be freezing the beans whole (no blanching required as the beans won’t be touching the ground!)

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My final photos is from Seedy Saturday, last Saturday, at the Victoria Conference Centre.  This is the first year that I haven’t volunteered, since I retired and I really enjoyed my time .. happy to see  garden friends there .. an exciting time wandering the tables and a choice of very informative seminars!  So many knowledgeable speakers!

Normally I take photos every few feet but this year I found myself drawn more into conversations and so ended up taking only one photo and here it is!

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I’ve really missed my daily blogging .. instead have been utilizing my time in a dozen different ways.   Busy all the day long.

This past Friday, I decided to change that.  When the weather is more conducive to being inside, I appreciate this opportunity to do those things that I find challenging when the warm weather calls for me to be outside.

Recently I decided to focus all my energies into starting to learn the theory of music.  It’s something that I had decided was way to hard to me to comprehend.   My fiddle teacher has been very patient in trying to help me understand this.  But the doors in my mind refused to open.   Then, at my 2nd to last singing lesson, my teacher and I were talking about theory and I realized that I must learn this.  No more to use the excuse and stubborness to veer away from learning.

So, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I spent many long hours, at my computer, a stack of index cards to write on.  A pile of beginner fiddle books.  Many online sites.   And the light is dawning.   The doors are opening.  The comprehension has begun.

Music is a language .. I love learning languages … and I love learning more about music!.

Well .. time for supper and I look forward to practising my fiddle and learning more!

🙂


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Sunny .. sort of .. Sunday .. my “winter sowing of summer seeds” is progressing very well.

I started my “winter sowing summer seeds” at the end of January.    Guidelines thanks to Kevin:  http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/

This year I carefully labelled everything, writing the type of seed neatly, with permanent ink, on garden markers.  And I wrote the dates and details of each seed that I sowed into a hard covered notebook.  How veddy veddy mature, wouldn’t you say!   Last year I emptied the full packets of seeds into the containers.  And the seeds grew so well that I had way too many seedlings. So this year, I only sowed partial envelopes.  Except for some wild flower seeds and nodding onions (which my pal D, gave to me).   I can be constrained for so long and then just throw caution to the wind, as it were.  Here are some of my containers.  I ran out of milk jugs and decided to use the clear containers from lettuce and berries .. they worked out just as well.  Many of the seeds that I started at the end of January have sprouted already!!

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Here is a container of glass chunks that I uncovered when I was digging and sifting the ground, a few years ago.  There used to be a glass factory in the neighbourhood and our property sits on a portion of it.  I’ve uncovered a few cement foundations that I was going to use for a garden feature, but decided that it wouldn’t work out well so I covered them up.  The greenish glass is rather pretty and I’ve been thinking how best to show them off to their best advantage.  Still working on that.

301I use a fair bit of coconut coir in the garden, buying blocks of the compressed material and I leave them outside to crumble in the rain.  Far better than using peat moss, which is a non-renewable product, compared to the readiness of coir.  The plant cell flat is just waiting for the seedlings to grow a bit bigger so I can prick them out of the milk jugs and plant them in these cells.

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Ah .. garlic.  This was the year when I was only going to grow garlic in just 2 areas of the yard.  I’d created 2 temporary garlic beds, creating circles with 2 levels of brick.  Wonderful new soil, mixed with glacial rock powder, coir, compost.   I’d placed way too much organic straw on the bulbs and had to remove most of it to allow the greens to welcome the rays of the sun.  So, here are my two garlic beds.

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However, as I still had lots of garlic left, I thought, why not plant a few more cloves?  So I did just that.  I created forms with bits of wood that my DH had in his workshop.  Fastened them together with screws, filled with the above mentioned soil and planted the garlic.  Ok, thus far.

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But, wait, I had a few more garlic cloves, sprouting greens, and I thought, what’s the harm in planting these.  So, this is part of the side of the yard.  Garlic happily growing there.  Lots of seaweed tucked around them.

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Then I noticed more cloves sprouting, so I planted a few more on the other side of the yard.  After this, I planted some more by the garden gate, but haven’t yet taken a photo.  I’m hopelessly in love with garlic.  And dream of growing much more than this.

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Last fall I wasn’t able to “tidy up” the yard and thus there is still lots of things to do.  I found a container into which I had tossed a pile of bulbs and had forgotten about them.  I discovered some interesting things.  One was that this tulip bulb, thrown upside down in the pot, was still determined to grow roots and see how they have grown!

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Another thing I discovered was the magic of bulbs.  Determinedly flowering away despite the lack of soil.  No care whatsoever.  So what’s a gardener to do?

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Well, I potted them up, that is what!  I think these are Muscari bulbs, quite pretty. Grow on, bulbs!

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I took time to walk around the yard.  And I stopped by one of my two dwarf weeping willows.  One is quite strong (this one) and the second is needing a bit more love and care, which I happily supply.

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How sweet are these diminutive little willow buds.

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There are a couple of Flickers who visit the yard.  They really seem to prefer one of the plum trees for some reason.  And at this time, one was hunkered down by a suet block.  He did spend some time wrapped around the suet container, plucking out lots of the suet and now he was taking a break.

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Later on, he perched onto the trunk of the wild and crazy tree.  He stayed there for quite a long time.  Whether resting, or hiding from a raptor .. I didn’t know … I just was happy that he had a place to rest.

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A short time later, I was unloading things from my car when I noticed this eagle flying overhead, so I quickly got out my camera and clicked away.

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And he landed atop a tree way down the road.

317I just stood there for awhile, leaning against my car, clicking away, while this majestic raptor looked around, patiently, for the next meal.

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When the eagle left .. the Coopers Hawk took up residence.

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It’s been an interesting time in the garden again …