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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Wispy skies, Eagle in a tree, garlic is growing and happy is me!

Is there anything as wonderful as having a good friend to talk things over with?   Someone you’ve known for yonks and have shared information with and trust with your life?

Count yourself fortunate, lucky, wealthy beyond measure if you have a friend like this who will listen and not judge but just .. listen.

I was out walking with my long time pal a few weeks ago and enroute, we were totally discussing some very important life details when a lady  passing by us stopped us to point out the eagle in a tree beside the water.

Normally my eyes gravitate to these birds of prey but our conversation had taken precedence … so my friend and I stopped and looked out at the eagle.  I think this is the female and we saw her partner soaring the skies beyond.

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It was a wonderful day, an amazing walk and a very therapeutic talk and we then parted our ways … happy that we had solved any worries or concerns that each of us had.  Ready to start the day.  Me .. home to my garden to see what is happening and time to feed the little birdies.

Here is a photo of one of my (20?!!) containers of garlic.  A thick layer of oak leaves nestled around the green shoots.   Dreaming of the next batch of garlic scapes.  I’m a bit nervous as this is the first year that I’ve planted my garlic only in containers, not in the ground.  Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that there will be lots of garlic to share and to enjoy.

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Oh, little Squirrley!  I get so upset with you when you invade the new wooden bird feeder.   Then I scatter peanuts in the shell around the yard for you to discover.  All creatures have to eat especially in this cold weather.   And you do look cute, nestled in the wild and crazy tree!

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Yesterday I stood outside  in the cold, looking up at the blue skies … saw a few seagulls soaring a little thermal that wafted upwards.  Dreaming that soon I’d be up there too … flying amongst them.  With DH at the controls of the  PW-6 sailplane and me settled in all cosy in the back!

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With the New Year of 2017, I realized that I hadn’t made any “Resolutions” .. and then I remembered that I’d stopped all that years ago!   The pressure was off.  I long ago decided to just live my life as best as I can and then seize the opportunities when they arose.

Of course, we have control of our lives and make our own opportunities as best we can.  I promise to try to go through each day as effortlessly as these delicate wisps of clouds appear to be.   To enjoy every day and to fill each day with things that bring me joy!

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I have many interests so that is not a problem!!!

Seedy Saturday is fast approaching, just 6 more weeks!!!!!

My fiddle music is improving as I practise every day.  Feeling the enthusiasm and joy of capturing a tiny touch of the flow of the rhythm.    Happy that I am honouring my younger self by continuing to work hard and to enjoy this music.

Working on my study of the German language!  Until my lessons start, I am working with Duolingo which is an amazing way to study any language, I can guarantee you!

Playing around with my beads and creating bracelets, garden bling.

All sorts of creative endeavours in my lovely craft room.

Life is good.

I look up at the skies before returning to the warmth of the kitchen and see the faint outline of the moon up above …how ethereal and dreamy it looks …

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And as I am posting these pictures, I come across this photo I’d taken of some cider .. it was flavoured with honey – I loved the story behind the company  Ernest and it was appropriate to sip this in a glass decorated with bees.

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On with this day .. time to feed my little winged friends and that squirrel too!

🙂


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More on Seedy Saturday ….that wonderful sunny day!

Continuing on with more photos from last Saturday’s Seedy Saturday.  Here are some honey bees …buzzing away, safely inside their container!
33Some racks for the beeswax and there is a smoker on the top left .. used to calm down the bees I believe, when the screens are removed so that they can be whirled and twirled to release the honey.  I know that isn’t the terminology but it seems to fit the activity!

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More bee paraphernalia .. I don’t know much about beekeeping but this all looked so interesting.  There is a little Mason Bee house beside the combs.

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I just love his artwork .. very happy and carefree.

32A local company .. and good to see the permaculture aspect of landscaping.

30I like the name of this company …. sweeeeeeet ….

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Olive trees for sale!  Oh,  I was tempted … how lovely it would be to have an olive tree.

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Hugelkulture .. the word caught my eye so I had to stop and look at this display.  Is this the best type of gardening ever?  I think so.

23My oh my .. someone has been very busy!

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21I’ve purchased seeds from this company … they have a diverse variety.  And of course, all organic!

24Now, this booth was quite interesting.

25Their packaging was quite unique and I liked the mix of fonts.

27But this is what quickly caught my attention.  I love wood and was curious about these screens.  Well, as it turns out, they are used in the process of seed winnowing!  I participated in a hands-on session and will post photos tomorrow.

26This is the winnowing machine.  The hand crank (lower right) is turned at a steady, slow pace and this gets the internal parts going so the seeds can be sorted and they exit the machine via the two openings down below.28Seeds of Diversity .. a seed bank.

36Important.

37And quite an interesting article about planting over 3,000 cloves of garlic.

 

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It was a very interesting day and I so loving being there!

So many new ideas of how to grow plants and new (to me) plants.  I’ll  also be looking at my wooden items at home, wondering how they can be repurposed to hold seeds or plants or maybe just paint them for display.

The atmosphere at Seedy Saturday is very nurturing .. a great place for all of us gardeners to be!

🙂


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It was another Seedy Saturday on a lovely sunny day

Last Saturday was Seedy Saturday in Victoria, BC.  This amazing event takes place at the Convention Centre, downtown.  It is a growing event, organized by the James Bay Market Society:  http://jamesbaymarket.com/

Like all great ventures, this one started off small years ago and with the proper drive behind it, has grown over the years.  We are so very lucky.  I’ve volunteered for 3 years and always look forward to be there.

Now here is a great idea to mark plants in the garden, utilizing plant pot pieces.  Everyone has them!  The pots used here are glazed, so they may be re-used over and over, with different labels.

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This table had lovely items used for showcasing their products.  Here is a type of wooden spoon, used as a bowl.

19This is a carved wooden cup from Finland.  I wasn’t able to get the background story, as the creative person behind the use of this and other items at the table .. was away for a bit.  She’d worked hard so deserved 5 minutes away!

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The table had a lovely earthy feel about it …

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Healthy looking artichokes ..

14I tasted a sample of this Japanese artichoke delicious.  One corm produces 7 lbs., I believe.

17And I love the idea of using this folding sewing box for holding seeds, etc.

20I always buy Brother Nature seeds .. last year my Kentucky Wonder Beans were marvellous!

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Oh lovely lovely greens .. tasty too.  I bought a packet of the Salad Mix.  Omega Blue arms, Heritage Food Conservation.  I like the packaging and will post a photo when I take one.

13And the wonderful seed exchange!

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The night before the event, I carefully packaged all of my surplus seeds!  Using my nifty new scalloped punch (from a thrift store!!) I made inserts of yellow lined paper.  There went all my saved squash, Kentucky Wonder beans, sage and lupin seeds.  Time to share them at the Seed exchange tables.  I didn’t take any seeds as I have enough, goodness knows!!

11There are quite a number of community gardens in Victoria .. this one is quite a big one I believe.

09Important.

08Beautiful looking mushrooms.  I’m just not brave enough to grow them.   I could have stopped to talk with the grower to ask some questions but I was just swirling along with the crowd.  If he is there next year, I will stop and ask away.

05Many years ago, I volunteered here .. when the “Friends” began.

07And they had these lovely Hellebores on the table!

06They always have the most interesting seeds.  Quite exotic.  I’d bought some a few years ago .. some were successful, some weren’t.  I think I was too impatient or something.

04I’ve bought seeds from Full Circle before and I recently met someone who works there and have been invited to visit.  Here is their website ..quite a very interesting place to visit:  http://www.fullcircleseeds.com/

03I bought a pound of Russian Banana heritage potatoes.  They are rooting already so I will be planting them soon.  As most of the yard is given up to garlic, I plan to grow them in burlap bags.  I’ve been reading up on potatoes and they really don’t need much water.  Every year I’m learning more.

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Ok .. I saw this section of seeds on sale and I had to make myself walk away.  I have way too many seeds.  Cannors Nursery had a sale on seeds, 5 for $2 .. and they are all non-gmo (I checked them online), so I chose a variety of flowers and gourds. And I already have a stash of seeds from Annapolis Seeds and Salt Spring Seeds, quite a variety of heritage peas and beans.  I seriously need more property.

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I have lots more photos to share but time is fleeting and I need to do some housework and then run outside.

On Saturday I quite enjoyed wandering around the booths, seeing the results of a years worth of hard work by industrious people.  All were proud of their products and were happy to share their knowledge to others.  That made for such a wonderful atmosphere.

And Christina Nikolic of the Organic Gardener’s Pantry was there!!!  http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/  Christina is my source for all things organic in the garden.  In particular, EM ..effective microorganisms .. yogurt for the soil.  Magic for the garden.

There were many interesting speakers .. and I particularly enjoyed the Seed Preparation seminar.  Photos on that tomorrow!

🙂


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A visit to a Japanese Garden …

I belong to an exercise group and we meet 3 times a week.  We go to the most amazing places around Victoria … hidden treasures that are so beautiful.

So I’d like to share one of these treasures .. which has been here for many years and I had no idea!  It is the Japanese Gardens located in the Esquimalt/Gorge park area and here is a link for more information

.http://www.esquimalt.ca/parksrecreation/donations/esquimaltgorgepark.aspx

710There were a number of meandering paths and beautiful stone structures to see.

711There is such a feeling of calmness, peace and tranquility here.

 

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712Lovely bamboo fencing, gentle and not intrusive to the surrounding nature.

708The sight and sound of this delicate water feature was again, very calming.

707Tranquil setting .. a place to stop and reflect or just enjoy the beauty.

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705A bridge over the stream .. a place to pause, watch the water gently swirling by.

704A solid stone bench to rest awhile … again .. to enjoy the surrounding beauty.

703More photos of the water feature .. and the bridge ..

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713Finally .. back at home .. a sleepy little bird dozing in the sunshine.

714What a lovely treat this was, to see the beauty of this Japanese Garden, which has been in existence for many years and I was so happy to have visited this most beautiful place.

There are so many beautiful places everywhere .. we just need to explore our surroundings and discover them.  It is so much fun to have mini-adventures in our days.

Time to go out exploring and find them.

I’m so excited, tomorrow is Seedy Saturday and I’m so looking to volunteering there!  I’ll bring my camera along to share this event.

Time to prepare my organic, non-GMO seeds that I will share at the seed swapping table and gather up some gardening books to donate.  I have so very many amazing books and each year I go through them, choosing which ones don’t belong in my collection any more, time to share them.

Some books are terribly challenging to part with .. like my Bob Flowerdew book which I picked up at a library book sale.  I was looking through that one last night and decided it needs to stay with me for a bit longer.

One of my dreams is for DH & I to have property and this will have some extra buildings there .. one of which I shall claim for my gardening house.  Shelves for my books. Table for working on.  Music to listen to.  Windows to look out of.  So on a rainy day I can be there, a mountain of gardening books spread out on the able.. me looking through them, making copious notes of what to grow where. Sigh.  Oh and many mugs of Yorkshire Tea!

Well, time to get on with this lovely Friday!

🙂


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Relaxing times and some things that bring me great joy .. throughout the year and every day, as a matter of fact!

Oh, doesn’t the time fly by sometimes, though!  I was taking a “few days” away from my blogging and how I have missed it.  This is my chance to write my daily thoughts, my dreams, my joy … and I love looking backwards throughout the year to see how my daily life unfolded.  My photos help me out a lot.  Sometimes life is so busy and so it is nice to look back and see what was happening.

Still having fun learning how to take photos with my Panasonic 30x camera … bringing little worlds up closer to look at:16And even closer … such tiny little flowers growing away ..

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While in the back yard …I think this is little Squirrely’s daughter …hungrily munching on a peanut …they have to survive.  Little Squirrely was a frequent visitor to our yard last year – we haven’t seen her for a long time.   This little one has lovely white markings .

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The new eco-friendly (aka bamboo) bird feeder is a welcome addition to the yard …  below is one of my impromptu “raised beds” planted with lots of garlic.  I was going to be more moderate in my plantings of Elephant (sigh, yes, a member of the leek family) and Kazakhstan garlic.  However, I ended up just going a little crazy and began planting like mad.  More photos in the next few months showing their progress.  Also, I’d learned in a garlic class that we shouldn’t plant sprouted garlic.  I was abiding by this wisdom until I saw the many sprouting garlic cloves.  And I remembered that last year I’d planted sprouted cloves in December that grew quite well so I succumbed and planted many more garlic cloves.13More eye candy .. a fallen oak leaf .. splendid in its natural beauty and natural surroundings.  I have a billion such leaves covering my garlic beds at home …..treasures, each and every one!

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And then .. DH & I went flying … thank goodness for digital cameras .. I click away as the beauty unfolds ..

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This was on Christmas Day … lovely skies …

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We flew over the old racetrack .. soon to be partial development, part common gardens, I believe .07

Low clouds, fluffy and soft …

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Sky art … lovely and fresh ..

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Such beauty …

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Time to land …after a number of circuits …

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Well .. that is where some of my time has gone over the past few days.

Time to get on with the day.  Things to do .. one of which is quite important and that is to make a listing of the oh so many Heritage seeds that I’ve purchased from Annapolis Seeds, Salt Spring Island Seeds and .. drum roll…. Richters Herbs.

I actually visited Richters Herbs in Ontario, during November.  Having ordered various seeds from them over the past 30 years, I was thrilled to actually visit this venerable seed company.   And …. yes .. I did take lots of photos.  That is for another day.

Speaking of another day .. another Seedy Saturday is coming up in February.  I am so looking forward to volunteering in this annual event.  This year I shall purchase more Heritage potatoes … i grew fingerlings last year in large pots and they did grow well.  I took photos of each pot’s harvest as I unearthed them.   That is for another day.

Today is here and I’m up up and away!!!

🙂


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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How time doth fly on winged feet!  Even though this is the quiet time of the year, I find so many things to do.  One of them, and the highlight of them all .. was to participate in Seedy Saturday, held at the Convention Centre, downtown Victoria, B.C.

This is my second year at volunteering in this huge event and what a wonderful garden-y atmosphere it is.  So this year I went in early and took some photos before the crowds filled the room.  And fill the room they did .. there was barely space to go from one wonderful booth to another.

Here is a beautiful poster for the Victoria Natural History Society, www.naturevictoria.ca

I picked up a few issues and they are full, cover to cover, of the most amazing natural events and I will be subscribing to this association.   Absolutely everyone contributes selflessly to the furtherance of nature .. how can I not join.

60There was a prize of this most incredible raised bed .. from one gardening business.  I entered and .. sob .. didn’t win!

71And this same business had a small model of a garden shed that they could build .. oh, how sweet this is ..

72Here is the front view ..

69Honestly, you could not get near this table once the crowds came into the area.

70And another very important table … http://www.seeds.ca/en.php

 

68The Seed Exchange tables were busy (later on) and it was good to see families with young children involved.

67And this was a truly very important table .. http://farmlandprotection.ca/I am sure that many countries are involved in the same fight to protect agricultural lands from being fracked and abused.   There were a few bumper stickers left and I was able to get one.  This is so very important in every way.

66Another seed company .. all of these organic seed business are very crucial to help us all to grow organic, non GMO seeds … and also to share them with friends.

65Again .. this empty space was only seen early on the morning .. and soon it was crowded .. enjoy the empty looking area …

64Fruit trees …lots of information ..

63There is a tremendous amount of preparation that goes into the setting up of the tables early in the morning .. before the crowds arrive ..

62And one more table …well set up

61This was a handy sheet of information of when to plant ..

IMGP9666And, although I really didn’t “need” more seeds …

IMGP9665These are local native seeds … I’ll plant these in pots …

IMGP9664sigh .. I am surely a happy consumer, busily buying up more seeds, supporting local seeds companies (who work very hard)

IMGP9663And I had quite a conversation with this grower .. he was very knowledgeable and obviously a very serious gardener!

IMGP9662I am definitely growing more greens this year ..

IMGP9661And these were the seeds that I’d ordered in November, from Annapolis Seeds in Nova Scotia .. all heritage seeds .. and I’m sharing them with friends …

 

IMGP9660There was a contest from local schools, the children had created scarecrows for judging .. to earn money for their school gardens  .. aren’t they sweet.

75And this was a talk by Dr. Richard Hebda on the Crop-Climate Project

https://www.facebook.com/RoyalBCMuseum/posts/511883918853926

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73Dr. Hebda also spoke about heritage potatoes ( and I bought a selection from 3 organic companies, quite a variety and I plan to grow them in large pots!!)

Here is a list of the speakers from the last Seedy Saturday:

http://jamesbaymarket.com/seedy-saturday-speakers-2014/\

Twas a most lovely Saturday, despite the rain!  I indulged in paid parking for the whole day, so that I could relax and wander the aisles freely without time restrictions .   My gift to myself.

Happy Gardening everyone!