30 September 2015

Keep Your Garden Fresh with Autumn Blooms

It's something we, as gardeners, sometimes forget.  We are so excited to see spring and summer blooming flowers that we can overlook autumn bloomers.  Is it that we are then tired, just as those annuals that linger but look distraught after a hot summer?  Do we forget our love of gardening as life gets busy, school is back in and vacation is over?  I know some days I look at my planters, the annuals drooping and withered, blooms spent; and I want to yank out the spent annuals and just be done with it.  That is until I go to the garden centre again or visit a botanical garden.   Then the yearn for gardening is renewed.  I've got something up my sleeve for winter.  Just wait and see! ;)

Well, in case this describes you too, here's some inspiration to remind you gardening season doesn't have to be over.    

Clockwise from upper left:  Echinacea, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia possibly "Goldsturm' variety (perennial brown-eyed Susan), annual garden mum, a mixed bed of Rudbeckia, possibly Goldsturm and Autumn Colours.  Some of the above photos were taken on the grounds of the Muttart Conservatory, others at a local greenhouse and my garden.

Perennials from left to right:  Stonecrop/sedum Autumn Joy, Aconitum (Monkshood), Toad Lily

Left to right above:  Sunflowers, Shasta Daisy, and container of succulents.

And don't forget the flowering kales:

What do you do in the garden at the end of summer?  Do you plant fall blooming annuals?  Change out your pots with kale and mums?  Please share.  I could use some more inspiration.

29 September 2015

Answering the Enticement of Nature

During the last days of summer, I had the distinct urge to be out in nature.  Sure I work outside all day, but I couldn't ask for a better day to remain outdoors.  It was one of those late September evenings where it had warmed up to 20 Celsius and the warmth lingered in the air, though the crispness of an impending fall tinged the atmosphere.  The sun was warm still, a few clouds lingered in the skies and nary a breeze could be felt.  

On my way home, I diverted to Rundle Park, a lovely park featuring wide expanses of nature, fountains, lakes, boat launches, mini-golf, tennis courts, day camping areas, playgrounds, frisbee golf course. There's even a swimming pool in the valley here.  First I visited the recreation area which houses the boat launch and mini-golf course. Circling the pond, I meandered on, breathing the cool air, feeling the crunch of leaves underfoot (though not many).  Still wide expanses of green grass, towering spruce, pine, birch and aspen spread before me.  The evidence of this year's drought was highly visible in the birches and some aspen. Even the spruce had browning.  

It's been a very dry spring and summer here. I'm sure we've set or at least matched records for lack of rainfall.  The city crews have been around painting the pink line of doom for severely stressed and dead trees.  It's sad to see so many but that is the way of nature. Autumn is proving to be wetter than all of summer.  Vancouver, does this sound familiar?

After photographing the fountains and ponds, I drove up the hill to the river where I then walked the Ainsworth Dyer Bridge which spans the Fort Saskatchewan River, connecting Rundle Park with Gold Bar Park on the south side.  I took several photos from this raised vantage point, relishing the quiet as the warmth slowly receded.  What a glorious vantage point!

I'm so glad I took that detour.  It was an incredible little bit of a last hurrah for summer.

Oh, glorious colour!! Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere

At 2:22 am, September 23/15 Autumn Equinox arrived here. Oddly, our first day of autumn was warmer than our last day of summer.  

glorious colour
crunching of leaves
under foot
cozy blankets
soft sweaters
hot chocolate
pumpkin everything
crisp cool air
bluest of skies.  
~SMartin 2015

21 September 2015

Now you can see why I love the Rocky Mountains!

Trekkie Terrarium

Terrarium gardening can be done in traditional fashion or you can add your personal touch as this class participant did.  She took Kim's workshop at the greenhouse and fashioned this tribute to an episode of Star Trek.  She plans to paint the gourd once she finds out how to preserve it so it doesn't rot.  Later it will grace her office and will definitely be a conversation piece.

Does anyone recognize the episode she portrays here?  BTW, excellent figurines!  Spock is very authentic looking.
*I found some info on drying gourds here:  

14 September 2015

Find Serenity at the Nitobe Memoirial Garden

The Nitobe Memorial Garden is located in the forest at the edge of Vancouver, British Columbia. A spectacular portion of the UBC landscape, the Nitobe Memorial Garden was designed as a memorial to Inazo Nitobe, a Japanese diplomat and politician also known for his written work and teachings.  Nitobe's goal was to "become a bridge across the Pacific."  The garden lies on two and a half acres of land.  Its landscape was designed and constructed by landscape architects and gardeners with recommendation from the Japanese government.  Each component is in harmony, placed with deliberation and maintained with the utmost attention to detail.  Several of the plants including some maples, cherry trees, azaleas and irises were imported from Japan. Waterfalls, streams, the gazing pond, the plants and every stone are representative of nature. Several lanterns accent the property, including a Nitobe lantern that was erected by friends of Inazo Nitobe.  

As you enter the garden, to your left is Ichibō-an, the tea house  which is surrounded by a roji tea garden and an inner garden.  To your right is a path that encircles the gazing pond  which is the central focus of the garden.  There are tours that are highly recommended to take, specifically during spring cherry blossom, summer for the irises, and autumn for the splendour of the colouring of the maples.  I went in August and it was just as luxurious but I'd love to come back in spring and again in the autumn.

The garden is designed to suggest a passing of time: hours, days, seasons, years.  One could easily spend hours here at a time.  It is the perfect place for personal reflection and meditation.  It is serenity, peace, and breathless beauty all in one location.  

I hope you enjoy the photos here.  May they entice you to plan a visit to the garden soon.

We saw Edgar Muenala perform at Granville Island while we were there in August.  His music perfectly complements the beauty and serenity found in a Japanese garden.  I hope you enjoy this number.

Love and Harmony - Respect Mother Nature.  Performing Far East Theme.

The Sound of Silence

So often in this hectic world of traffic, work, schedules and the noise; I crave this.... the sound of silence.  My husband and I saw Edgar Muenala perform at Granville Island in Vancouver last month. How I wish I had purchased a CD there! I will absolutely have to get one that has The Sound of Silence on it for the car. There's something about a pan flute in the hands of a most talented musician that calms the heart.  Here it is.  Enjoy.

08 September 2015

Could This be the Best Japanese Garden?

Last month I visited the Nitobe Memorial Garden at the UBC in Vancouver.  It has long been on my bucket list and I wasn't disappointed.  It is so serene that I could stay here for hours.  The accompanying video isn't mine, I found it on YouTube.  It will give you an idea of why I say this is the best Japanese garden I've ever been to.

06 September 2015

September Days Are Here

By all these lovely tokens

September days are here,

With summer's best of weather

And autumn's best of cheer.
~ Helen Hunt Jackson

04 September 2015

The Chill in the Air and What's New

Across the province a cold front has come to rest.  This morning we were 6 Celsius at 6 am. That's mighty chilly for plants and humans alike. The annuals are certainly looking worse for wear and trees are turning colour all around. Autumn is beautiful but why must you come so soon?

In the greenhouse hundreds of poinsettias are growing beautifully, preparing for the next busy season.  Autumn and Halloween decor accent the niches of the gift department and I can imagine the smell of fresh pumpkin pie.  Are you ready for this?  It's coming with or without you or me.  Frankly, I'm hoping for a very long Indian summer.  Temperate days and cool evenings, radiant vibrant foliage all around, walks in nature with the crunch of leaves underfoot, a mug of hot chocolate on the ready and a good book on the side table.  Yes, Autumn, I'll gladly enjoy your offerings.  

01 September 2015

Bucket List and Facing Fear at the Greenheart Canopy Walkway at the UBC.

photo taken by my husband
For a lot of people, this is nothing.  Kids run across the thing for real! But for me, it was a matter of facing a fear.  A fear of losing some of my control, a fear of heights, but mostly a fear of falling down should this network of walkways fail me.

Since I was a young adult watching The Canadian Gardener starring David Tarrant, I wanted to visit the UBC Gardens.  As an adult I put it on my bucket list and earlier this month my husband, a friend and I went while vacationing in Vancouver, visiting our son and his partner.

The gardens were, of course, spectacular but what I will never forget is the experience of walking the Greenway Canopy Walkway.  I'd first learned of it from the UBC Botanical Garden website and then it became a must do, another bucket list item.

I'm the kind of person who likes to live safe.  I don't take risks.  I must feel in control of myself. So this experience was a real stretch for me.  I had excellent cheerleaders.  My husband coaxed me along and Van kept calling out to me "think flowers, think trees, think (Pappa Roti) buns" (which are the most fabulous thing ever!) It all helped and I accomplished the several stretches of walkways that bridged the distance between the canopies of the forest around us.  When I dared to look around me, it was breathtaking. Honestly, though, I spent a lot of time just focusing on a point straight ahead of me.  Every step caused the bridge to sway, but I found the faster I went, the easier it was. Most of my moments of appreciation were on the platforms around the trees where one bridge met the next.  Would I recommend it?  Wholeheartedly!!

The Greenheart Canopy Walkway at the UBC Gardens was awarded "New Garden Experience of the Year," a Canadian Garden Tourism Award this spring; sponsored by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. Organizations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the creation and promotion of gardens as a tourism attraction are the criteria from which winners are chosen for Garden Tourism Awards. 

The walkway is named for the Greenheart International Development Corporation which has placed several of these walkways through parks and protected areas in an effort to create awareness and to educate people of the necessity of conservation.   greenheart.ca

New Garden Experience of the Year
UBC Botanical Garden Greenheart Canopy Walk, BC 
Sponsored by: Canadian Nursery Landscape Association - See more at: http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/blog/2015/greenheart-experience-award#sthash.rxiXwgav.dpuf

At these intersecting points plaques were placed encouraging the visitor to further appreciate the beauty of the forest and to learn what they can do to help prevent devastating deforestation.  

About the UBC Botanical Garden:

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; The UBC Botanical Garden is known to be Canada's oldest university botanic garden to have operated continuously since establishment in 1916. Under the directorship of BC's first provincial botanist, the garden was established with the mission to research the native flora of British Columbia (BC).  It has since broadened its spectrum to include research and conservation through teaching and public displays of temperate plants from around the world.  Topics of research include:  plant adaptation, evolution, genomics, plant physiology and biotic interactions, phytochemistry, plant biotechnology, and plant breeding.  The University of British Columbia has an international reputation as one of North Americas's leading research institutions.  


*since a reader decided to Google Pappa Roti, I decided to add a couple photos here for reference:

The next time you're in Vancouver, you simply must look up 
Pappa Roti on Robson Street and have their sweet coffee buns!  Crusty on the outside, fluffy on the inside - lather with your choice of a selection of toppings. 
(I love Nutella with bananas and cream cheese with strawberry.)  
"An indulgent treat."  (www.papparoti.caThey're to die for!!!


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