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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We had a bit of snow and then we had some sun .. but the best part was that my garden had fun!

Victoria was ahead of the game last week when we had some snow.  I wasn’t going to take any photos, but decided, what the heck so I fetched my camera and took a few pics.

Some snow on the Mexican Orange shrub .. this plant is tough as nails!  I can do an extreme pruning and then a few months later, it flowers!  Nov 7 02Below, photo taken this week .. snow has gone (yea!!) and the flowers are still looking great.Nov 7 -09My little garden bench .. where JaneE loves to perch and await her treats!  I liked the way the sun brought out the shadows which always adds interest.  Nov 7 01Leaves decorating the frozen water in the bird bath.  I replenished the water so that the birds could bathe.   Nov 7 - 07Honestly, these sweet little flowers just add so much beauty and carefree energy to the garden .. love them!Nov 7 -98One of the many reasons I love taking photos in the fall .. so I can remember how beautiful nature is.  Took this photo last week.  Nothing like a cheerful sunflower to brighten the atmosphere, n’est-ce pas?Nov 7 -05And this venerable rose bush, another tough as nails plant!  I planted this – maybe 35 years ago?  I swear it lives on love as I rarely water it even during the hot summer.  It does not mind a heavy pruning and just seems to flourish.  The Anna Hummingbirds love this one!Nov 7 -10Alpine strawberries.  I do not plant these in the ground as they are tenacious and would soon cover the yard, as I discovered a few years ago!  Now I just keep one plant in a pot and that is enough.  Yesterday, this caught my eye, I loved the dainty flowers against the broken clay pot.  This .. to me .. is true beauty of the best kind.Nov 7 03A few days ago, I gathered some pumpkin seeds and scrapings, placed them on a Rubbermaid container lid for the birds to feast on.  Our lovely JaneE (nearly 22 years old now) loves pumpkin squash and I caught her eagerly dining on this!  She soon stopped and walked away to her little bench.  The Stellar Jays noticed this food and quickly made this disappear.  I noticed one of the Jays swallow a seed whole, snatched up another and flew away to rest in one of the trees!Nov 7 -06

Last year I only noticed one Stellar Jay in our yard .. this year there are 4 and they are such beautiful birds.  If only their song would match their beauty!  Happy to see them pick out the peanuts I leave for them.  Nov 7 -04

It is the first week of November and I still haven’t planted my garlic.  This week I will definitely plant a small patch just to enjoy their growth.  At one time I really wanted lots of property so that I could grow lots of organic garlic to sell.  Plans change and now I am content to just plant a small amount.

As all gardeners know.. the peace and tranquility of a garden soothes the soul and the joy of watching plants grow, the love of watching the interaction of the birds has an energy unlike anything else.

Sometimes I wander outside, a little overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done.   After giving JaneE her treats, and filling up the bird feeders, checking on the hummingbird feeders to make sure they have enough for the day .. I wander around, with my mug of strong Yorkshire Tea .. looking at the various areas in our garden.

And I truly surprise myself (time after time after time!) at what happens next.

I move a few plant pots, tie up a few wandering berry vines and soon find myself involved in changes that involve a different way of using the yard.

Loving the idea of creating private garden rooms and not wanting a permanent structure anywhere .. I am always thinking of a different way of doing things.  And so happy at the results.

This year I’ve placed two arbors (from Lee Valley .. not the expensive types) in the garden about 5 feet apart … and next year will plant a string bean tunnel!

And I have quite a few planters with bamboo and am playing with them to use as green walls in another garden place.  It’s funny how I’ve been focusing on just one area of the yard, forgetting about others and now I am re-discovering these sort of forgotten areas.

And mulching the seaweed that my pal D and I gathered a few weeks ago with straw from the summer and leaves raked last week.   This will make lovely soil for next year and also provide a place for the birds to peck away, looking for the insects that will live there.

Love being in my garden.

But now, off to practise my fiddle and my singing as I have another voice lesson soon!  Loving this also!

🙂


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Thursday was a gift of a day .. sunny skies .. spent more time working in the garden ..

Friday, January 4, 2013

The sun was shining brightly yesterday and I spent some timeless time in the garden .. really got a lot done.

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Moved more of the Miracle Mulch, placing some as mulch in the side perennial gardens and some around the potted trees.   Almost done.  Plus there are more containers full at the side of the house.  Whew …I’d ordered a lot a few months ago .. moved it all from the driveway to the back … and then just left it all for a while.  The earthworms have already moved in, working away to turn the mulch into beautiful soil.

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More time spent gazing upwards at the changing beauty up there ….would ephemeral describe these wispy clouds?  I think so.

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Some temporary garden art!  I removed the ice from the top of a container of water and placed it in front of one of my garden signs.20

The birds, all of them, from the European starlings to the Chickadees .. have feasted from this apple and still there are lots left for them to nibble on.19

More of that lovely eye candy ..18

Containers of strawberries .. I need to plant them in the ground soon before the frost!  Even then, though, I’m not worried.17I’d been standing in the kitchen earlier, looking out the window at the birds visiting the little feeder.  Notice that one little Fox Sparrow had problems with his left eye.  Don’t know whether he’d been attacked or was ill, but his vision was gone in that eye and there was a raised section of pink around the bottom and side of that eye.  Poor little guy.

Once outside, I’d noticed the same little Sparrow still in the feeder.  Guarding the space for himself.  I was glad he found some refuge for awhile.

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He ate steadily .. keeping his good right eye alert for any intruders.  DH & I watched him for a while.   His feathers were fluffed out and he seemed to be breathing quite heavily, his little chest would puff in and out, like an accordion.  I was sure he was ill and glad he had a place to rest.  Although .. he was back today, glad to see!

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After awhile .. he left the feeder and flew up to the roof … perched there for a while.  Looking around.11

A few times he would look straight down at me .. I wondered what he was thinking … was he aware that I was supplying the food?  10 Back in the feeder .. and I don’t think he really noticed this intruder, pecking away at the seed .. he didn’t seem to mind him being there.

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As usual . there was a waiting line outside the feeder.

15Once again  .. another bird waited, closer ….but when he finally flew towards the feeder .. the little Fox Sparrow quickly spread his left wing out straight to ward him away!  This happened so quickly.  It was definitely a fighting stance.

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And it worked … the other bird was deflected and flew away.   I stood for a while and watched as the Sparrow continued this defensive activity.  At times he would fling out both wings, straight out!  The body language was unmistakable.

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There is still a flat of sage plants (and roses also!) to plant … where does the time go!

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Brrr …. ice still on the surface of the bird’s watering hole (one of those upturned tomato cages with a shallow bowl!)

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Time for a tea break.  I love this … being outside, rain or sun … mug of tea, music … 03

Soaked up all the beautiful skies that I could yesterday .. as the weather reports indicate rain for a few days.   Enjoy.

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At the base of the cherry tree, Calendula plants growing everywhere, fresh mulch applied.   Found one of those lovely glass globes that we used to be able to buy at Capital Iron.  I have a few more scattered somewhere .. green .. gold .. amber

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Another lovely day .. time spent in the yard … and all that is beautiful around it!

🙂


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Watching Turkey Vultures soaring high above ..

Friday, September 28, 2012

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Another beautiful sunny day .. and a busy one!

First thing, I loaded up quite a few, maybe 7 …paper yard bags, full to the brim with branch cuttings and weeds gathered from the past few weeks.  Even had one in the passenger seat .. didn’t want to leave any at home!   And soon I’d arrived at the local municipal yard and emptied their contents into one of the large bins there.   Next step, they will all be shredded and composted.

Back home, felt great that I’d actually accomplished something, early in the morning!  Soon, outside and digging away.  Happy with the way the re-shaping of the back yard is going .. in particular, the veggie garden.

I’ve been digging up a small mountain of mulched material from last fall .. a mix of alpaca manure, spent hops, spoiled hay and oak leaves.   Nearly a year later and this mixture has resulted in the most loveliest of soil!  So I’ve been placing this around the newly created “berry forest”!

I had a good growth of perennials against the back fence and had a wood chip path extending in front of that.   Decided to ditch the path and just add more soil and then create a little jungle .. composed of an intermixing of blueberries, raspberries, some thornless blackberries, some bamboo and a few other plants.

And I just love this.  No point posting pictures yet .. not much to see .. but I can feel the difference and will post pics next summer.

These changes are giving a different feel to this area of the yard.   A richness of plantings.   Really amazing how many plants I’ve dug up and moved around.

And surprised at how the Chickadees have taken notice of the changes.  I’ve seen them flitting about, sitting on the branches of the plants as they are now in their new locations.   Quite nice to see!

After this little jungle .. then .. I am placing the garlic beds!  They will sit in full sun and a perfect place for them.

Looked at my zucchini, squash and tomato plants .. these are still growing in what will soon be  .. the garlic bed!  Almost dug them up tonight, but decided to give them another week and then .. kerpow!

Spent a fair chunk of time looking up at the sky today .. as I happened to notice the Turkey Vultures soaring overhead.   They soared yesterday .. and I know they are getting ready to migrate south.  It’s just a matter of days.  In the meantime, though, I cannot tear myself away from the grandeur that is high above me.  Their majestic soaring compels me to watch.  I was able to take some photos .. they might just look like dots in the sky, but they represent  the power and majesty of nature, which far surpasses what happens down below, on terra firma.

How lucky I am to spend as much time as I like, just gazing upwards, looking through the binoculars at these huge birds.  And then taking the time to create new areas in the garden.

Very lucky, indeed.

🙂


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Watching the birds figure out the upside down bird feeder. The Chickadee soon has it all figured out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

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I wonder where the birds go during the daytime?  I think that they keep to some sort of schedule.   A pre-determined list as to which yard to visit at specific times.

Haven’t seen the Flicker or the Downy Woodpeckers, but that could be because they are out and about in the early hours of the day, before I go outside.

The sparrows seem to be here all day and they have a lookout for fresh birdseed .. whenever I top up the feeders, I hear a series of loud chirps and soon there are quite a number of them feeding away.

The demure little Fox sparrows visit .. but mainly the thistle seed feeders.  There are three, but they favour the two that are hidden away.  One of them is for birds who feed upside down … I’d purchased it on sale and hadn’t noticed this until I was assembling the feeder and thought, well, this is weird!

The Chickadee soon has it figured out.  And I reckon that the Nuthatch has also discovered the proper way to get at the seeds .. except that I haven’t seen them for a few days either.

Our home is on the flight path to the local Nature Sanctuary .. and so I am lucky enough to see a few Canada Geese flying overhead in the early evening, before the sun slips away.

Sometimes they catch me by surprise, flying low overhead .. so low that I can see the light of the sun reflecting off of their underbelly.  Flapping their wings in unison, resulting in that lovely swoosh swoosh sound .. and then their strong calls as they head to their nightly sleeping  place.

And sometimes there is a lone straggler, I don’t hear him till he swoops over, calling out a loud Honk!  ha ha . .you caught me there!

My camera isn’t quick enough to catch them flying so close .. so I content myself with blurry images as they fly over houses in the neighbourhood .. still hoping to snap a pic when they fly low over our yard.

Patience.

Taking time out to watch the antics of the birds is such a rich block of time .. to watch these tiny beings.  Taught how to survive by their parents.  They seem so defenseless .. how will they survive.  But their world is much tougher than ours and they are schooled well .. so they forge out their daily lives very well.

Loving the brilliant splash of colour that the surprise sunflowers bring to the yard.  Tiny or tall .. I love them all!

The mystery flowers that spring up .. they are welcome here anytime.  Perhaps the birds bring them in to decorate .. now that’s a lovely idea!

Yesterday I began the transformation of the veggie bed.  Dug up and potted some of the kale plants that are growing.   Several of the cabbage plants that are growing in the shade and should be in the sun, well, they are being added to the compost.   Yet, there is one little cabbage, it is forming a solid head, so I’m leaving that one to continue growing.

I dig away at this makeshift garden bed that I formed, simply to have a neater mulch pile.  There are bales of spoiled hay, alpaca manure, oak leaves, spent hops .. all combined to create a lovely garden soil.  So instead of leaving this in a mulch pile .. I’ve used it as a place to grow kale, squash and cucumber.

Moved most of this material into the middle of my veggie bed .. to prepare for my next garlic bed.  This year the cloves are larger .. and I’ll plant more, but will ensure that I space them with lots of room to grow.

I worked away for a few hours, then time for a break … feeling quite satisfied at the progress that I’ve made.   And more to be done.

So away .. the start of a new day …. out in the sun!


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Oh my .. the last day of the plant sale . .what’s a gal to do ???

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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So yesterday … I am a little embarrassed to say .. I went back to the supermarket where I’d purchased a lot of plants on sale (two for one) lately.   It was the last day, so .. ahem .. I bought a few more plants.

Back home and I decided to tackle another neglected garden area.   This one is in the front side yard, behind our “first ever Christmas tree” that is now well over 100 feet tall.  I’m guessing, as I don’t have anything to compare it to, size wise.  But its gigantic.   And all the birds love this tree.

Anyway, I dug away at the hard packed soil, amended it with a very generous amount of magic mulch & soon I was settling in my new purchases.    You can’t see it in the photo, but there is a very healthy Jasmine plant, with two vines.  I’ll be training each one up against several fence panels and so soon they should be growing quite nicely.

I was soon in the Zen of digging the soil and deciding the best places for the plants so it was quite a shock when I was finally finished for the day.  Tired and happy at the work done.  Tidied up the area and then brought out the hose and watered everything quite thoroughly.   Followed by a liberal dose of liquid EM.

Have you ever noticed sometimes how quickly the day passes?  You sit and think, now what did I accomplish today?  Much or nothing?

Well, I’ve decided that I always do accomplish quite a lot .. even when I feel that I haven’t made any advancements in my many projects.

And I know this because I take quite a few pictures throughout the day.  At the end of the day, after I’ve uploaded them to my computer, as I look through them .. I think back to where I was and what I was doing as I’d taken them.

I remembered my little breaks from working, looking up at the magnificent skies overhead.  The opportunities to just rest awhile and look at the sweet little birds who visit our yard.  Admiring how the plants are growing.  The advancements made in their growth from one day to another.

Feeling such joy at the way the sunshine transforms the surface of a leaf, the texture of a stem, the decadent blossoms of the cheerful sunflowers that the birds have planted, as they’ve scattered the seeds while they munch away at the feeder.

Remembered how wonderful it felt to just wander around the yard, planning for changes.   Opportunities for me to utilize my creativity in plant placement.

Another wonderful day spent.  And there is still a fair chunk of summer left to enjoy.

Life is great in the garden!

🙂

 

 

 


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I drew the winning ticket! However, it wasn’t for me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

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We went to a car event on the weekend .. many hundreds of classic and stock cars of all kinds.  I took lots of photos, only to find out later that I’d accidentally smudged some sunscreen on the lens … so although I love the photos, they all have that slightly blurry effect!  Sigh.

As we were parking, dh pointed out the Martin Mars water bomber that was flying overhead, so I scrambled to take a picture and was able to take a quick one!  What a magnificent plane this is!  Wonderful to see it flying .. just for fun!

Several times on that day, Sunday, we found ourselves stuck in a long line of traffic … so during the first wait, I looked outside the car window and rested my eyes on the calming greenery of a little wooded area .. it helped me avoid the “argh” feelings of being stuck in traffic.  And eventually … traffic inched along and soon all resumed speed.

Beautiful weekend.   Lots of lovely skies.   Many birds sighted.  People in a holiday mood.

At the end of our day at the car event, we were on our way out and gave in to the volunteers selling 50/50 tickets and bought ourselves a strip of them.  We waited around to see if we would be the lucky winners.  The volunteers were busy tearing up the perforated tickets and mixing them up very well.  One of them called over to me and asked me to draw the winning ticket!  So, facing away from the large ticket container, I swirled my hand around through the tickets .. which one shall I choose?  Finally I plucked one up and handed it over to the gentleman in charge.

Woe, it wasn’t one of our numbers.  However, the money is going to a very good cause, so we are happy about that.

As we left the area, we could hear the announcer telling everyone the lucky number!  And I felt happy that somehow I was able to be a part of the connection in the outcome of the lucky winner!

It was wonderful being away and doing something very different from our everyday lives … on a sunny Sunday!

Today I spent some happy time in the garden . .visiting with my good friend D.  We spent hours and hours talking about creative things.   Good energy.

I happily showed her the changes in my garden since her last visit.  She has grown vegetables for years and so I ask question after question.   And get the answers that I add to my growing veggie gardening information bank.  I’ve really only started growing veggies last year .. so every year I get a little better.  Still haven’t tackled the whole tomato pruning thing yet.  Lots to learn yet.

Here it is, nearly mid-August .. we’ve really only had full hot summer since the beginning of July.  I feel as if I “should” be farther along in my gardening than I am.

There are half-finished projects here and there.  I have been successful in some things and have cleared away hundreds of gardening pots to give away. And washed (in the same water, so as not to waste) plastic bags that once held soil or manure.  Dried them in the sun and they are ready to take to the recycler.

Slowly, slowly, the hundreds of chores that I have listed in my mental “to do” list are getting done, a few at a time.

Recently, I’ve devoted many hours .. a whole day even .. to completing little jobs.  Like, one section of the front yard .. weeding, pruning, mulching.  Another involved one side garden .. that I am so happy with.  There are more to do.   And although I know that gardening will never be finished …I am truly enjoying the journey!

And tomorrow, I plan to get up real early and start again.

It is so tempting to just run outside in the morning, but, there are litters to be cleaned, floors to be swept, little daily household chores.  Better to be done with them first thing in the morning and then I don’t have to think about them till the next day.

It’s been a day!  Another great one, of course!

🙂


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A variety of things, including flying, gardening, mulch .. etc.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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So, August is zipping along.  Lots of gardening.  Lots of flying.  Now that summer is here in full force, it’s so easy to forget those cold rainy days.

Veggies are growing well.  I finally shovelled the last of the 5 yards of the miracle mulch and so the perennials have a nice soft blanket to retain moisture and keep the soil cool.

And yesterday, so lucky .. woke up to the sound of branches being buzzed and then ground up as a few neighbourhood trees were being trimmed.  These included an oak tree.

Quickly grabbed my mug of Yorkshire Tea and dashed out the door … and politely asked the working crew if I may have the chips!  Well, lucky me .. they said yes and I was ecstatic.  These are things that only a fellow gardener can understand!

So at least 1 ½ yards were gently deposited on a tarp in the driveway and I spent a few happy hours shovelling up this lovely mulching material and spreading under our first Christmas tree … the 2 yards that I placed there yesterday has nearly disappeared.

And I noticed that this tree only has a very few cones on it this year .. this means that the tree is not under stress.  Finally, I’m giving it the love and attention that it needs.

Once all this shovelling was done, I decided to clip some roses for drying.  But first, I:

–          Discovered that the branches of an old apple tree in the back were in my way, so went to find the clippers to trim away some of the ones that were at eye-height

–          Then I thought it would be a good time to drag out the soaker hoses for the recently updated side yard .. this took a good chunk of time as I sorted through the two sizes of hoses and too late remembered that I couldn’t attach the 3/8 to the 5/8 .. so undid my work and started again

–          Put aside a tarp to take to the front yard, to help when I weed that area

–          Became enthralled with the sight of the bees buzzing around flowers, so took pictures

–          Again, became enthralled with the skies up above and more time spent there

–          Took a few minutes to search for berries

–          Had a look at the various squash, basil and pea pods growing

–          Then finally I walked to the rose-bush, clippers in hand (after searching for a basket to hold the flowers) and finished what I’d wanted to start over an hour ago, that is, clipping roses

Then, time to go to the front yard and begin pulling out some invasive perennials .. they’ve served the purpose of greening up the yard, but time to remove these, fluff up the soil and then go shopping for some ferns and things to complete the woodland look along the front of our first Christmas tree.

And now I must go outside and continue what I started yesterday.

I forgot to mention that my work was stopped by a thunder & lightning storm …  heavy raindrops, thank you for watering my garden!

🙂