Blooms, Blooms and A Fern (That I Couldn’t Resist)

Blooms, blooms everywhere today out in the garden. And I haven’t even put them all up today on this post. I thought I’ll save some for another day. But I had to add the fern.  Oh I know, it’s not a bloom but it has the movement and dance today.












Hot Colors, Cool Colors and Vine Covered Castle?


This week has been so busy, doing all sorts of things to prepare for the show this Sunday at Royal Roads and Hatley Castle. It’s the Mother’s Day Paint In. We participated last year too. And there is so much to do, like get the display panels ready, get the printing done, make sure all the sculpture is ready and the mosaics… all the little details that make a good show, a good booth.

But, in all this rush, I realized that I have these hot, hot photos of tulips to share,



and I’ve got this lovely cool photo of lilac blossoms after the rain

and a Tree Peony in cool cool white to share too.

Ok back to getting ready, back to organization and lists of things to cross off. Hopefully, if you live in Victoria, you’ll be able to see the show. It really is fun and the artists are great, plus there’ll be plants for sale and music and lovely gourmet goodies. Oh, can’t wait.


Blossoms, Blossoms and the Accidental Gift


Realizing that I’ve been stuck in front of the computer for far too long, I pushed my chair away yesterday and grabbed my little camera and set out for a walk. I was looking for photos for a photo essay I’m working on, but that is for another day. I didn’t go far. Just a block or two from my home. But there was much to see and savour. Blossoms, blossoms everywhere. The gorgeous ones above were on some trees on the boulevard by the Medical Clinic.

In a front garden, a heather’s fuchsia color  was set off so well by the bright green of the leaves of the bush next to it.


A magnolia in full bloom outside an apartment building.


Grape hyacinths in another front yard, periwinkle-purple color so saturated and full.


And as I wandered by, my eye was caught by a little vignette not planted lovingly by anyone at all, just a lucky scattering of seeds that grew where they were cast, maybe by the birds or a breeze. Clustered around a hydro meter, of all places. A little gift of accidental color, complimentary on the color wheel. Orange and purple, calendula and bluebells.


Then turning back, these cheery pale yellow tulips in my own flower bed welcomed me home.



First Day of Spring Resolutions


It occurred to me today, as I went out to do some garden clean up, that in some ways, the first day of spring can be much like New Years Day. Both days can be full of resolutions. Granted, for some, there is still snow on the first day of spring, so for those who still waiting, replace first day of Spring with First-day-of-Real-gardening-after-the-snow-is-gone.

So what are the similarities? Well,on New Years Day, I sometimes think I really must change my ways, have a fresh start. I decide I must get more exercise,  really must get into shape, must stop eating all those lovely chocolate goodies. Or I decide I really should try to have a really tidy house, all the time, not just before company comes. Or I decide that this year I will be calm, contemplative, meditative and stress free. Of course, more exercise just becomes more walks and I don’t stop eating goodies but do try to eat less of them. Having a tidy house all the time lasts for about a week. But I have stuck with trying to meditate more. So, what about my first day of Spring resolutions?

Well, come the first day of Spring, I tell myself that this year when it comes to gardening, I will not over do it and will instead pace myself, take lots of breaks and for once, avoid giving myself a nasty case of muscle spasms. I even thought maybe this year I would only allow myself one hour of weeding per day.  I always hope to have a much nicer garden, maintained, weeded, not such a hodge podge. But instead of trying to do it all right away, I will remind myself that I have all spring and summer and I can take my time.

Of course, all that goes out the window on the first day of Spring. Gone is the plan to go slow, not spend the whole day bent over, not to try to do too much. Of course, more than one bed got weeded, more than one area got cleaned up. The little green wagon filled with weeds and also 2 big garbage buckets filled with garden waste to take to the garden recycle. We just couldn’t STOP!


But on a positive note, I did take care of my knees. You may laugh at my little stool with the old pillow wrapped in plastic bags but me “sitting and weeding my way around the garden”,  instead of kneeling my way around the garden really saved my knees.


But oddly enough, I was reminded of one of my New Year’s resolutions to try to be calm and more contemplative while I was slowly and methodically weeding the paths in the herb garden. It came to me as I worked that I needed to think about the mood I’m in when I garden. Am I combative, ready to wage war with the weeds, a control freak who needs everything in its place, every bed edged? Or am I calm and accepting, ready to just enjoy the day and the feeling of accomplishment as I slowly get something done, ready to accept the little surprises that grow where I didn’t plant them? One way is stressful, full of anger sometimes, and often disappointment. The other contemplative, meditative, generally happier and stressfree. I think this will be one thought and perhaps a new resolution,  that I will try to carry with me from now on, when I venture out to tend to the garden.

An in the end, resolutions kept or not, as Will put it, after a day out in the garden you always do feel great mentally,  although the physical part, the sore muscles, the aching back don’t always feel quite so good as we pop an anti-inflammatory and finally relax by vegging on the couch for the evening.


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day March 2010


Well, imagine my surprise when, this morning as I was checking into Blotanical, I realized that everyone was posting what was blooming in their gardens today. What followed was a flurry of getting out of my housecoat, getting dressed and running around the garden, camera in hand, looking for blooms. And I was not disappointed. In fact, I found some new blooms on my Mystery plant. It’s never bloomed before. I got it from a very good gardener at a garage sale a couple of summers ago and yes, it did have a tag, but I’ve lost it. If you know, please tell me. It’s the one at the top of the post.

I have just joined Blotanical, inspired by Karen at An Artist’s Garden and it’s been fun.  And I must add that Karen has done a wonderful job of her photos as usual, and also it’s worth it to check out her last years photos too. Trust me on this. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is hosted by May Dreams Garden and as soon as I’ve got this posted I’ll be zooming over there to add my blog to the day. And then, I suppose, spend more time checking out everyone else’s garden blooms for March. So here they are, with names,(just hover over with your mouse) if I know them, my blooms for March.  Now, I must admit the magnolia is in my garden, but not yet planted.  She is a gift from my sister Shirl, for my recent birthday.  I am spoiled you know.








Something Silly and Fun – Weather Rocks


Oh I know it’s an old joke. Weather rocks to tell you the weather, if they’re wet, it’s raining, If they’re dry and hot, well then, it’s sunny. Today the rocks are very very wet. Luckily, since I live on the Wet Coast, I happen to like rain.

And I also like rocks, collect them sometimes. So for fun, here are my “Weather Rocks” in context, with part of the rain-washed garden in the background.



My Morning Walk

I find I rarely leave the house for a walk without my camera. And today, although suddenly the weather has turned colder, I was determined to get some photos of the trees. This is, after all one of the reasons I moved here… trees in bloom in February and March.

My artist eyes like to see abstract compositions and this juxtaposition of the red new leaves in the hedge against the fine pink blossoms just caught me.


Only a few houses away I couldn’t resist the twisting black branches of this tree full of blossoms.


The one thing about Victoria is that we are a garden city and even the traffic circles have landscaping! Don’t you just love it?


I know that when I decide to turn to the right on my walk, I’m going to end up visiting the chickens. There is just no way I’ll miss them. The people here have such a collection of pretty chickens and I’m sure they have pretty eggs too.


The park next door on the way home presented a chance to get a close up of the blossoms, which I couldn’t resist.


And finally, home again, to be reminded of my flea market find of last weekend. OK consider this the “before” photo. Eric thinks it’s ugly, but Bill and I sat on it in the church parking lot, where the sale was held. The swing has a great swinging movement and hey, it didn’t break. I’ve always wanted a garden swing. Plus the price was right…$8! Now I just have to decide what color to paint it. Oh decisions, decisions.



A Few Hearts, A Few Flowers and Suddenly – Happy Valentines Day!


Anytime that I’ve grouted a mosiac and had a bit of grout left over, I’d just shape it up into a heart and let it set. Somehow I’ve gotten quite a little collection of cement hearts to put in the garden. In summer they’re often lost in the strawberries and the flowers.

Then of course, being Valentines day, we need a few flowers too. These lovely Bergenias blooming this week in our front garden fill the bill.


Quite a while ago, I took one of those little cement hearts and pasted it down to a little board. Then I had some fun creating a Rosie Valentine with a few broken dishes.



if you’d like even more hearts and valentines today, have a look at an old post of mine about my collection of heart boxes, “A clutter of hearts”, that I posted last July.

Happy Valentines Day!


What an Artist Notices in the Garden

While I was out and about in the garden looking for spring in yesterday’s post, I was noticing more than just plants coming up.
Like the colors of the wheelbarrows, leaning against each other as they wait to be used again.


The stacks of pots I’d been collecting last fall and forgot about in the path, now acting as little reflecting pools.


My sculpture, a class project from years ago in art college, now happily growing moss surrounded by carnations. I think some mud wasps have been filling her ear and her mouth. I never did like that model.


And the gate, also growing moss caught my eye. That little wood-stove grate is to remind Will that someday, hopefully, this summer, I’d like a new gate with that grate acting as a window into the garden.

We never seem to rush into these things though.  Will claims it’s weathering in.


Getting Lucky with Amaryllis Bulbs – Second Time Blooms

Last year I treated myself to a few Amaryllis bulbs, little prezzies for Christmas. You can’t beat an Amaryllis bloom for making you feel like the world is a beautiful place and cheering you up on a gray winter day. The flowers are like beacons, facing out in sometimes four directions, like trumpets shouting “Look at me, Look at me, am I not the most gorgeous flower you’ve ever seen??” And of course, you have to agree with the “girls” (they’re always girls to me). They are the Most Beautiful of flowers. The “girls” have treated to me to a bonus this year. Both of these bulbs came back with flowers. This deep pink bloom is just at the papery stage, almost done, but still beautiful. I do love that backlit look, which shows off the veins in petals.


And this deep bright red amaryllis is just bursting with vigor, four blooms and another stem coming up. It’s a bulb originally from South Africa.
Of three bulbs that I restarted, only one produced only leaves and I must admit that bulb was a bit shriveled when I repotted it.


I remember the first time I got an amaryllis to re-bloom many many years ago. All really quite by accident, not knowing what I was doing at all. In fact, why it worked with all the neglect and just plain lack of knowledge was a miracle of sorts. I’d gotten a bulb before Christmas and it had bloomed and I’d lopped off the stem when the flower was done and let the leaves grow. I must have know that much at least.

One day, in the late spring I just put it out on the deck and more or less forgot about it except for watering until fall. Then it died back and I brought it in for winter. I noticed a bud starting out from the bulb and started to water it again and it rewarded me with another set of wonderful blooms. Dumb luck that time.


Now I’m a little better at it. I try to remember to let them dry up in early fall. This year I set empty flower pots over the bulbs to make them think it was dark. Then in late November I brought them out and repotted them with fresh dirt, put them in a warm place and watered and waited. The “girls” came up very well. Now, I wonder, can I do this for another year? It’s always a surprise and well appreciated when it works.