29 November 2010

December To Do List

•Pot up geranium cuttings in perlite or soil-less mixture and place under artificial light; keep evenly moist.

•Regularly check stored tubers and corms for mold and to be sure they don’t become completely dry.

•Clean houseplant foliage with a soft damp cloth; use an old clean toothbrush on fuzzy leaves.

•Buy gardening-related gifts for Christmas.

•Study the bones of your garden for form and balance. Do you have winter interest?  Do you have trees and shrubs that attract birds or have berries or seeds to add colour in the winter landscape?

•Make plans for next year’s garden projects.

•Send for seed and plant catalogues.

•Now is the time to catch up on reading all those gardening books and magazines you don’t have time for in summer.

•Visit garden centres; check out their Christmas displays, amarylis bulbs, poinsettias and garden related items.

•Visit Muttart Conservatory and enjoy the greenery and Christmas displays.
•Keep bird feeders clean and filled.

•Shovel snow onto garden beds and pile against basement walls.

•Keep paths ice-free with sand, small amounts of fertilizer, or commercial compounds that are plant safe.

•Plant your retired Christmas tree in a drift for winter interest and shelter for birds.  Use some branches to cover evergreen perennials such as dianthus, saxifrages, coral bells and bellflower.

•By the end of January, begin pruning deciduous trees (but not birch, maple, or shrubs that flower on last year’s growth).

27 November 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

I quite like the shadowy effect within the linear spaces of the fencing.   Notice how it is quite fine but as you look beyond those shadows to that of the tree, the shadow is broader and not so fine.  You do not see every detail of every leaf and branch.

Thanks to Hey Harriet at http://heyharriet.blogspot.com/ for hosting this meme of Shadow Shot Sunday.  To see more or to join and post your own shadowy selections, visit the link.

26 November 2010

Weekend Reflections

If I could I would have fresh flowers on my table every day.  This photo, from my archives, was taken this spring during peony flowering season, end of May or beginning of June.  This is one of my favourite peonies, Festiva Maxima.  It blooms a bit later than Karl Rosenfeld or Bowl of Beauty but not by much and its flowers last well into June.  They are pleasantly fragrant white blooms with a splash of red on a few petals near the center of the blossom, giving the appearance of an artist's splash from a paintbrush. 

In some areas of the world, (though not here in Edmonton, perhaps in zone 5 and up) you may still be able to purchase your peony roots for immediate planting to get spring blooms.  Click here for more photos of some of my favourite peonies in my garden.

Reflections come in many forms.  Visit Weekend Reflections for more.

Storms of 2009 - Sky Watch Friday

Many an eye was cast heavenward during the summer of 2009 here in Edmonton.  I recall watching with a combination of fascination and a bit of fear lest the dreaded tornado should actually descend upon us.  There were tornadoes in nearby areas, mostly to the west of us, but we did not see any here.  We saw funnel clouds, experienced hail and windstorms, and heavy rainfall.
 I don't recall seeing skies so ominous with low dark clouds threatening overhead.
We were fortunate that summer.  We did have one really bad storm one evening with high winds during which we succumbed to the seclusion and safety of the basement and watched, of all things, "Final Destination"!  My husband called that evening.  He'd been driving home when a flash of lightning lit up the road right in front of his van, temporarily blinding him.  He couldn't see a thing, barely escaped an oncoming vehicle, and was quite shaken.  He arrived home safe after midnight, when the storm had let up some but not until he had pulled off to the side of the road to collect himself. 
We went out the next day to survey the damages.  Many homeowners had large limbs and sometimes trees downed on their property, littering the roads and occasionally collapsing roofs.  It was a bad storm but we were all so fortunate it was not a repeat of the tornado which went through here the summer of 1987. 

Thankfully the summer of 2010 was free from events like this, though it was horribly cold and wet for us.  I think I shall just count my blessings.

What is in the skies?  See http://skyley.blogspot.com/ . 

25 November 2010

Garlic Mustard, Not the Condiment on Your Table

It sounds like something you'd slather on your roast beef but it is a hot topic of conversation with provincial weed control specialists.  Garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata) is an invasive weed indigenous to Europe which has found its way to North America and likes it.  A fairly prolific seeder with about a hundred seeds produced annually, it is one of the first green plants to show itself early in the spring.  When you crush the foliage a strong garlic smell is emitted.  It is a biennial weed, meaning the second year of its life cycle is when it produces seed.

photo from the internet
 In its first year it forms a rosette of leaves and then the second year it grows rapidly, flowers and sets seed by early summer.

photo from the internet

  • Garlic mustard is a member of the mustard family.  It has a long thin white tap root with a bit of a crook just below the soil level.  It can be self-pollinating or pollinated by insects.  It has accustomed itself to North America quite well, grows as an understory plant in forested areas and out in the open.  Becoming more common in the eastern United States.  It is a competitive weed, producing a toxin which prohibits the development of mycorrhizal fungi, a fungus which aids in the growth and development of plants and trees.  
  • Garlic mustard seed is viable for five years!  It is shade tolerant but has been found growing in full sun as well.  It prefers a rich and moist soil that is more alkaline than acidic.
  • Intense tillage has shown to be somewhat effective in curtailing its growth.  A thick mulch of wood chips has been known for effectiveness.  Hand pulling is effective providing the majority of the root, if not all, is removed intact. Mowing can help prevent seed production if mowed low to the ground and repeated regularly throughout the season.

  • Some chemicals have proven effective in eradicating garlic mustard including spot applications of glyphosate and triclopyr when used on young plants.  Contact a local Certified Pesticide Applicator or an Agricultural Fieldman for chemical control and more information. 

photo from the internet

I've written of other prohibited and noxious weeds.  See Giant Hogweed , Toadflax and Himalayan Balsam

For more information visit the province's site listed below.


23 November 2010

Watery Wednesday

Droplets of water gather on the window as I gaze outside at the snow which has been falling here off and on since Tuesday, November 16.  This photo was taken November 18 in the afternoon during a brief respite from the snow.  At moments the sun tries to break through and even a sundog appeared earlier while I was outside shovelling.  Tales say a sundog means a change of weather.  Does that mean colder or warmer, I wonder.  The forecast says colder.  I hope they are wrong.  Our lows are going down to -20 C and our highs are forecasted to be -11 C or so.  Normal high for this time of year in Edmonton is -3 C.  I think we are in for a cold snap.  An "Alberta Chiller" says the weatherman as he refers to the system which hit parts of our province.  "Chiller" indeed! 

What is everyone else contributing to Watery Wednesday?  Check here: http://waterywednesday.blogspot.com/

Winter Lights Up at Legislature

These photos are from my archives.  This is the Alberta Legislature lit for the holiday season 2008.  It is rumoured to be lit up for this season now so I must make a trip there soon.  Typically we go as a family sometime close to Christmas and stroll the grounds.  Here you can see the ice sculptures and some of the lights.  All the trees are lit, ice sculptures take a prominent position directly across from the entrance, and Christmas music is piped throughout the grounds.  There's an ice rink on site available to the public too, though we have not taken advantage of it.  This could be an ideal date night.  Just food for thought.
Another shot of the grounds lit up for the holiday season.


21 November 2010

Crazy with Colour Effects

I took this photo this summer in the ravine near our place.  I really like the effect of the crossing broken branches.  Once I got into the editing program, I experimented with the colour effects and found different effects really changed the feel of the photo.  I quite like all of them so I had to make a mosaic.  Yes, again.  I warned you that when I find something new I just have to experiment with it again and again.  Don't you?

Joining Mary at The Little Red House for Mosaic Monday http://dearlittleredhouse.blogspot.com/search/label/Mosaic%20Monday

Thank you....

This past week I opened the mailbox to find a little package from Scotland containing the  most wonderful art on a greeting card!  I am a happy and lucky recipient of two Keli Clark greeting cards courtesy of Scotland for the Senses Keli Clark Giveaway

The two Keli Clark cards, Gifford and The Clock, Aberdour

Thanks to Sophia of  Scotland for the Senses who made available 10 of Keli's greeting cards which were divided between five winners. I just had to take a photo to share these lovely items with you.  If you'd like to order some for yourself see Keli Clark Designs to see her extraordinary work.   I am sending one to my mom as I know she will treasure it as much as I.  Our ancestors came from England and Scotland to Canada some 100+ years ago and the love of the old country lingers still.

This is just one of the blessings of blogging! Have a great day!

20 November 2010

Shadows Around the Firepit

Ahh yes, I remember it well.  Green grass, warm sunshine, lounging in the yard. A distant memory of leisure in the garden.  Well, a bit of work too but much enjoyed labour and leisure and entertaining.  I am already looking forward to the spring.  Luckily we have enjoyed a lingering fall this year.  A sharp contrast to last autumn when the snow came early and with it biting cold winds.  The leaves froze on the trees then and didn't even have time to change colour nor drop.  This year has been so pleasant.  I was out raking leaves mid-November!  That is almost unheard of here in Edmonton.

 for more Shadow Shot Sunday submissions or to contribute your own.


Also joining the meme Straight Out of the Camera: 

18 November 2010

Skywatch Friday - Dawn Breaks on a Wintery Morning

The sun is just rising Sunday morning.  The weather is noticeably changing.  There is a nip in the air.  Yet the day was still pleasant.
The colours change as the sky lightens with the sun's rays.  That was then.

Then Tuesday morning, the s... word.  Yes, here it is again.  I wonder if it, the snow ("s" word), will stick around now.  The forecast for all of Alberta for this week has been rather bleak.  Southern Alberta had winter storm advisories, a main highway had zero visibility Tuesday morning due to blowing snow, and here, in Edmonton, negative double digits for highs!  Alas, winter has announced its arrival.

What is the weather like around the world?  Are you needing a bit of sunshine in an otherwise grey day?  You'll be sure to get a lift when you visit http://skyley.blogspot.com/

17 November 2010

Quit Singing "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"...

The pond is now frozen, at least 2 inches deep.  I know because I had to enlist my son's help on Friday to remove the pump which was encased in ice.  It wasn't running so that's good, but it took some doing to break through so we could extricate it.  Glad that's done because Wednesday it started snowing!

All day off and on and into the night.  This is the pond early Wednesday night.  Were it not for the difference in terrain, you wouldn't be able to tell where the surface of the pond is.  I'm not ready for this.  I strongly dislike (I use this phrase because "hate" is such a strong word) driving in it, or walking with the biting chill of the wind in my face (today -20 C with the wind chill).  So whoever is out there singing this "Let it Snow"  please stop.  You know who you are!

16 November 2010

Views Of a Golden Land....

Who could deny the beauty of this San Fransciso?  (The only exception is the ferris wheel photo which was taken at Muscle Beach). Ocean views, the most glorious romantic bridge (some might argue), sandy beaches, Victorian row houses, sailing, long steep streets, streetcars...  My son, S, spent a few days here about a year ago while on a driving vacation with a friend.  He captured some extraordinary views.

Can't wait to soak up some more watery beauty?  Visit http://waterywednesday.blogspot.com/

With Chagrin, I See the Snow and the Forecast.....

As I sit at the computer this morning I cringe knowing we have experienced possibly the last of our mild autumn weather.  Winter seems to be encroaching upon us.  Calgary has already had snow overnight and the highway south of Edmonton (QEII) headed to Calgary is treacherous with ice.  Southern Alberta will receive about 15 cm of snow today with more in the forecast. 

I do a mental check of projects I had in mind to prepare just for this.  Yes, the pumps from the pond and fountain have been removed but I need to bring them in now that they are dry.  I've mulched my magnolia and hydrangea, raked the lawn, removed the cushions from the lawn furniture but have yet to bring in the new Adirondack chairs as they are not yet painted or varnished.  I have to do that today!!  I still have not put up the burlap barriers for the cedars and the Alberta spruce.  (I wonder if that'll get done this year...)

Oh...well... the snow has begun falling, my son advises me (pout).  I am never quite ready for this.  The consummate cold, ice and snow, the bitter winds.  But I know the garden needs a rest just as we, the caretakers, do.  So I just have to go with the flow. (Do I have a choice, no)

Wouldn't it be nice to be cozy inside with good books and a fire while winter ensues to clothe the world in white rather than having to brave the elements to accomplish our tasks like making a living? Unless you're retired or married to someone of means or independently wealthy or work from home, life isn't often like that.  So we bundle up and trudge outdoors and have a greater appreciation for those lovely days of spring, summer and autumn because we've experienced the other less cheery weather days.

There are wonderful things that come with winter like snowmen, skiing, the glow of Christmas lights on a cold winter night, the sparkle of fresh snow when the sun or street lamps cast a glow upon it, the large soft flakes of snow as they cascade from the heavens. (Yes, I am psyching myself up for what seems like six months + of winter). I was in Costco yesterday enjoying all the Christmas decor.  (beautiful, original nutcrackers - I am a huge nutcracker aficionado)  Yes, Shirley, there is beauty in all seasons.  Does anyone else feel like I do?  Am I alone, here?

14 November 2010

Take a Stroll through UBC Native Garden

Take a stroll with Alivia Prattas, a UBC Botanical Garden workstudy student, through the UBC Native Garden.  These photos were taken and posted on Flickr in November 2010 by Alivia. The Native Garden is comprised mostly of plants that are native to the Maritime southwest of BC. 

Though I've never personally visited the UBC Botanical Garden, it is on my Bucket List of gardens I must visit someday. 

56 photos are in this photostream.

photo by Daniel Mosquin

13 November 2010

Before the snow...

Before the snow and the cold I captured the shadow of Tolleson's Weeping Juniper against the house.  I like the detail in the foliage.  We have had a few very nice days since I took this photo but today, being Saturday, it is cool and raining.

Thanks to http://heyharriet.blogspot.com/ for the Shadow Shot Sunday meme!

12 November 2010

Sunset by Ocean

My son took this photo as they were driving down a highway in Mississippi.  To the left you can vaguely see the ocean and up ahead the setting sun reflecting off the pavement.  So beautiful!
There are always fantastic photos at http://newtowndailyphoto.blogspot.com/ taken by photographers from all over the world.

11 November 2010

Skywatch Friday

My daughter, an amateur photographer (ok, she's taking photography in high school) took this great photo of the sunset!  Good on you, A!

Want to see what other photographers, amateur and professional alike, are capturing in the skies?  Visit http://skyley.blogspot.com/

Putting Your Endless Summer Hydrangea to Bed for Winter - Cold Climates

This is a great short video on YouTube put out by Endless Summer to help the gardeners in the north prepare their hydrangea for winter.  It is a must-see!!

10 November 2010

Remembrance Day In Flanders Fields

(poppies in a Southern Alberta garden)
In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieut.-Col. John McCrae MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

This poem was written in a moment of anguish and frustration by Major John McCrae. He had just performed the burial service, in the chaplain's absence, for a young friend and student who had been killed by a shell burst in March 1915. As he sat there in the back of the ambulance the next day after the service, looking out at the scene of poppies growing amongst the headstones, he vented his anger and frustration in this poem. Today it is one of the most well-known poems written during war time, a legacy of the battle of Ypres salient, spring 1915.

November 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada (Veteran's Day in the USA).  The day we commemorate in solemn remembrance to those soldiers who fought for this country, who died for our freedom, and we remember those who continue to do so. 
May God be with you.

09 November 2010

Watery Wednesday - Alligator Feeding Time

My son, T, saw more alligators in captivity, like these ones here at Gators With Friends Park in Louisiana, than he did in the wild.  (be still my heart).  What is the fascination with something that looks at you and thinks food?  I shake my head in wonder. 

Gators With Friends has many animals other than gators but for the gator fanatic, you can, if you dare, hold a baby gator.  I don't know that I am brave enough for that! 

A little unsual for Watery Wednesday, this is my submission for the meme found here:  http://waterywednesday.blogspot.com/

08 November 2010

Autumn is Losing Her Rich Golden Store

"The flowers are fading, the trees getting bare,
And thin frosty vapours are chilling the air,
For nature is losing her mantle of green,
And now in a rusty-brown robe may be seen.
The beauties of summer are faded and past,
And the sweet, balmy breeze is exchanged for the blast,
And Autumn is losing her rich golden store,
And Winter, grim Winter, is coming once more..."

~ S. Moore

07 November 2010

Autumn's Glory

Thank you to Mary at The Little Red House for providing instructions on mosaic making.  When I start something new, well everything, almost, gets the treatment!  Once I've done a few... or more.... I'll likely limit to once a week to join Mary's meme on her site: http://dearlittleredhouse.blogspot.com/ .  Click on the Mosaic Monday title (tab) to see the current posts for the meme. 


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