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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Oh joy .. green beans can be juiced!!

We  have had a fair bit of sun and rain this year.  Long hot spells finally cooled down lately and for that I am grateful!   The days are getting shorter  .. no longer does the sun shine till 9 pm but starts setting around 7:45 … what we’ve taken for granted as long hot summer days are slowly preparing us for fall weather.  But.  It is still officially summer until Autumn comes knocking at the door.  So I will continue to revel at the sight of the most cheerful of all flowers … the sunny Sunflower!

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For a change of pace .. here is a b/w of yet another sunchoke!  I’ve read that you cannot gert rid of this plant and I believe it.  Over the past few years I’ve dug up the knobby root and listed it for free with lots of happy people who love this.   This plant resembles a sunflower but is much taller, with smaller flowers.   Argh.  Not that I dislike this plant but I would rather have more sunflowers.  (and in some part of Victoria, someone is thinking the exact opposite!)tuesday-2

This is the largest of my squash that is actually fruiting.   It is a close up photo and the squash is actually only about 3″ in diameter.    Frosts are in the distant future and there is still about 7 weeks of growing.    Exciting to wait and see what will happen.tuesday-3And alongside this plant .. there are a few other hopefuls growing away.  I added some lovely llama manure to all the plants yesterday so hopefully this will give them a boost.tuesday-4And the beans grow steadily onwards.  These are some Scarlett Red Runner beans … growing from the apple tree branches.  The flowers are so pretty and the bees and Annas love them.tuesday-5A quick glance at these two plants and it appeared as if the squash flower was devouring the bean leaf.tuesday-6I’ve been trying to train this squash plant around the garden screen ..sort of a success .. it will be interesting when the squash start growing .. to see if they will hang properly from the frame.  Yet more beans in the background .. growing along the stakes in the ground.  More Scarlet Red Runners to the left. They are everywhere.   If you want instant privacy in the yard, grow pole beans!!tuesday-8I had placed a variety of (saved) squash seeds throughout the yard and they all grew .. along with any seeds that were in the compost.  Even if I don’t get any squash from these plants, the flowers add so much beauty and nectar for the bees.tuesday-7And yet more beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears, Spanish Musica, Blue Lake Bush beans, Annie Jackson Pole Beans) this morning I picked a basket of beans .. went inside and thought .. omg .. the freezer and fridge freezer are both full.  I cannot cram another  batch of apples or beans…. what can I do!

Then .. I wondered .. can green beans be juiced?   Yes .. the internet resounded loudly.  Not only can they be juiced .. they are full of vitamins and minerals.  So good for you.

I almost broke down and cried I was so happy!!   A bountiful year for beans and now I can juice them!!!   So I did just that!   And the nice thing was that there was very little pulp left in the juicer!

Not being someone who follows a recipe, I threw in some carrots, celery, lots of beans, a few apples .. and soon DH & I were sipping on the delicious juice!  Forgot the ginger, but will add that tomorrow.

So happy!  JaneE Kat wanted to go back outside a few hours later.  She, being a cat, envisioned more treats and so that was her motivation to meow at me to get on outside.  So I did.  After giving her about 3 to 4 sets of treats, I set about picking more beans so I could juice them tomorrow.

Despite having meticulously picked through all the plants for beans this morning, I still found even more this afternoon.  Oh I am so very happy that I won’t have to freeze them any more .. but will just enjoy them in a juice format!   DH is very happy also as I won’t be overstocking the freezer.

Despite the perfect storm for growing food this year (hot weather, lots of rain) … I know that it is the combination of the lovely Llama manure (no medicines used!) and the EM (effective microorganism mixture that I mix up) that create such happy healthy soil for everything to grow in.    Also, seaweed that I have gathered.  If I run out of seaweed, I just use liquid seaweed.  Same stuff without the bother.  🙂  Over 60 minerals adding richness to the soil.

There is nothing like the magic of a garden to focus in on the beauty of life.

🙂


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Mature trees in a park …. birds in my yard .. a blue-eyed Emu and it’s the end of a gardener’s day!

My exercise group travels all around the city and Central Saanich.  On this particular day, we’d travelled to Dominion Park on East Saanich Road.  Beautiful park .. I especially loved the beauty and grace of the mature trees that live there.  This venerable tree seems to be smiling, don’t you think?

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And there were many more like that!  Here are some .. growing in a happy little group.  The Blue Spruce is very diminutive and appears to be protected by the larger trees on either side.  That is my story, anyway!

 

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And this Spruce is leaning a little to the left, maybe it likes the Leaning Tower of Pisa and is emulating that?  🙂  Very arty, I think.

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Another happy grouping .. and I can see that the deer have been nibbling away on one of them.

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As we walked along, a set of stone stairs appeared .. it was a slightly foggy day out there and it did feel as if we were stepping back in time.

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More stonework and a cascading little waterfall added to the ambience.

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Further along, the water was guided along by the stone-banked walls.

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Meanwhile .. back at home… I was finally able to take a photo of a Junco!  There are quite a few of them and I usually see them when my camera is somewhere else.  Murphy!

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Oh, sweet little Chickadee!  Curious about the Hummingbird’s attraction to this feeder, he just has to take a try.  So cute.  He keeps trying, but no luck.

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Ah ha!  This is much better!  Sunflower seeds in this little feeder.  That is more like it

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This was from a week ago .. but the skies were like this today also!

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Tiny little Bush-tits … so very darling and cheerful.

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So happy to have the Bewick Wrens visit.  Very handsome birds they are.
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Time for some suet …511A few weeks ago, I went out to buy some Llama manure and there were Emus there also.  The owner has had 2 of them for many years, 15, I think.  Anyway, this female has one blue eye and thus was not able to lay eggs.   Every time she turned and I could see her blue eye, she would move away!

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Here you can see her blue eye …

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So today I was able to escape to my yard and, mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand .. I began to look at the chores I would need to do.  More about that next time.  But this photo is quite familiar to all gardeners, right?   Nothing speaks volumes like a shovel, dirty garden gloves and a wheelbarrow!    Of course, when I read what I have written, I’m thinking, if this was a mystery story, then this could be a nasty story!  But I’m not like that, so this is a nice story.  🙂

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This past week has really been a hodge-podge of weather.  From rain to sun, throw in a bit of snow, bring back a bit of sun and then revert back to rain.

I’ve been searching for alternatives to cow and horse manure, deciding to try Llama manure. And searched Used Victoria .. there were three choices.  The first choice was a very interesting place.  The owners had a lovely farm, many llamas, most of which were mini-Llamas.  And so I purchased a number of bags of manure from them.

The second place I went to on Saturday and what a delight this was!  A young family live here and the atmosphere was very reminiscent of a property in France, and what do you know, this family was from Quebec, and thus the French atmosphere.

What do I mean by that?  Well, for one thing, the property was naturally beautiful.  There were flagstone pathways, natural looking gardens.   And this lovely pond.  The owner turned on the lights and the water feature motor so that I could see how it looked.

1Then he invited me to the back of the property, and I passed through a vine-covered archway, a cloche-covered raised bed and then ….

2I couldn’t help it .. I just started laughing at such an unexpected tableau!  I was expecting to see a few Llamas, but instead, was treated to the sight of these darling little goats!  How very sweet.

There was this magnificent rooster, who strode up to the front and puffed out his feathers … yes, you are handsome, I said.

9Just then (coincidentally???) a female turkey (ok, I don’t know the terminology) flew over the fenced area and, waving her wings .. walked away from where I was standing.  In Turkey language, I think this must translate to “oh, for heaven’s sake” or something like that.

8Then I took a closer look at the goat … who seemed to be thinking .. well, they are at it again .. .so, look at me, aren’t I the clever one!

3Then I noticed some movement at the back of the paddock, and it seemed that the Llamas had noticed my presence.   The owner explained that they were a mix of Llama and Alpaca, same father, different mothers.  I missed the rest of his explanation as I was totally drawn into watching them, watching me, watching them, etc.

4Llamas are naturally curious and they started sauntering over to where I was standing ..’ello, ‘ello, ‘ello … . they seemed to say …

5Ok, by this time I was laughing so hard at their antics that I really didn’t focus the camera that well .. look at their expressions .. so curious, so friendly , so  .. well .. goofy!  How could you not laugh!  If only Llamas didn’t have such a reputation for spitting .. they would be the ultimate therapeutic animal to bring laughter to anyone!  Such a mood elevator they are!

6Then I tried to pet one of them, I was still laughing so hard and wondering if they would bite, that is why I was so hesitant .. I really love these guys, they are so sweet.  So the owner took a picture of me so that I would have a good souvenir, isn’t that great!!

7The owner had built this little shed for holding various items for the care of the animals.  He was also teaching their sons how to build things and I think they had been involved in this structure.   I just loved the look of this building, and would love a larger version for a garden shed.   A gal can dream, eh?

10Oh, by the way, I purchased 5 bags of Llama manure, they each weighed about 50 lbs., quite heavy and they fit quite nicely in my Echo car, on a tarp, neat and tidy.  He assured me that they do not used medications or pastes so that I can use this manure in my food garden.   He also told me that the manure is magic for the garden.  So now, armed with the power of EM and the beneficial Llama Manure .. I will have the best garden yet.

When I arrived back home, parked the car and started to get ready to unload the Llama manure.. my attention was caught by the emergence of the Lupines at the front of the house .. they start off small with accordion-pleated leaves and in just a short while, they grow into plants that are at least 3′ high, with many blossoms for the bees.

11Grow on Lupines!!!  They self-seed and are a lovely addition to the flower garden.

🙂


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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today the weather was sunny and a bit of overcast ..but last Sunday, there was snow!  My garlic is all covered … but it is very resilient.

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My winter sown summer seeds are safe in their individual greenhouses

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Monday .. more snow and some rain .. here is my wonderful garden cart … I really should have put it away from the elements .. but it is a tough little cart.12

My little crop of lettuce, spinach and Mizuna and other greens were doing well, during the snow/thaw/snow/thaw routine.   And a few days ago I removed all of these containers from the old hot tub cover and took down below to my potting area.   There was lots of cilantro .. I potted some of that up .. will show later.

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These stair photos are from last Friday .. here is a view at the top looking down (and thank goodness we only made one trip down and one trip up!)

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This is the view from the bottom (at the beach part) .. lots of stairs..

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Last Wednesday, as we walked briskly along .. I happened to notice this beautiful formal pond and statuary down below .. can you imagine having such a garden?  So peaceful.

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We continued on to the most wonderful Finnerty Gardens at UVic

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Ok, this was a bit funny to me .. this is obviously an oak stump .. talk about excess signage .. still, rather sweet..

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I believe this is a deer tongue fern ..2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the city of Rhodo’s .. here is yet another …There is another park, Playfair, in Victoria, which has a forest of rhodo’s .. the park is also a doggy park and I spent many many hours there with my lovely dogs.

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Back at home, I noticed many daffodils, snowdrops, tulips and other bulbs that were preparing to show their flowery wonderfulness .. here are some daffs …

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Our neighbourhood squirrel was trying to get a drink of water out of this bucket .. however, I had emptied it .. so she was a little surprised.   There are lots of water sources in the yard for the birds and squirrels.

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Here she is, attempting to hide her cache of peanuts .. oops .. she sees me ..

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Yesterday’s glorious skies …

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Lovely …. sky art ..20So, some snow, some rain, some sun, some rain.  Typical Victoria weather .. aren’t we lucky!

And today I went to get some lovely Llama manure .. more about that tomorrow.   Today also I attacked my triple compost bins .. emptying, sifting, mixing, spring is definitely on its way!
🙂