Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roses Galore

June is rose season at Butchart Gardens. In spite of the rain, they were gorgeous. Above is Princess of Wales, white with tiny pink flecks.

Cherry Parfait - pink stained petals.

Abraham Darby - this one might be my favorite.

English Miss - prim and proper but with a subtle elegance that makes me think of Jane Austen.

Scentimental - gorgeously striped.

Only in the rose garden are there plant labels. Elsewhere, a complimentary printed guide helps visitors identify the plants.  This Secret rose is one I have in my garden and it smells heavenly.

I took this photo at the end of April. Less than two months later, beautiful blooms and lush green foliage transformed the garden. Creation is amazing.

The name of this rose is Sexy Rexy - kind of an odd name for a rose - but the roses themselves vied with Abraham Darby in their appeal to me. I love the pale color.

Pondside and I stopped to smell many of the roses; some were scented, others not. I always prefer a scented rose. How about you? Does it matter if roses have scent or not?

I had fun playing with various features in Picasa to edit this mosaic - all the same shot of Abraham Darby. 

Raindrops on roses....

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary of the Little Red House.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Walking through a Garden with a Friend

Yesterday afternoon I met the talented writer from Pondside at Butchart Gardens. The day was cloudy and drizzly, but while we walked, the rain held off. Still, when I got home and looked into the mirror, the damp had definitely done a number on my hair. But who cares about hair when this garden, lush and colorful, beckons?

 We wandered, we talked, we stopped and filled our eyes and hearts with the beauty here. All the rain has made the greens greener and the bright spots of color brighter. 

 Delphinums tied in great stands resembled stooks of richly colored wheat and towered well over our heads. 

Sweet peas wafted their fragrance along the path. They were also tied and supported on bamboo pole teepees.

Begonias large and small filled beds and nestled against lush ferns. I'm not a begonia fan, but these blossoms, full and layered, are almost as nice as roses. Almost. The rose garden was spectacular, even in the rain, but I'll save them for a later post.

A cup of tea and a sweet ended our visit. As Pondside commented in an email, "It was such a pleasure to walk through the roses with someone as inclined as I to stop to appreciate the perfume." Likewise, Pondside!


Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Doorways

We've been doing a little work on our side yard. By we, I mean Tim - I help by holding boards once in awhile, or offer design advice. It's not finished yet - there's lattice to install, and a finish to decide on, but I'm liking the look so far.

Here's the innovative gate pull - a rusty washer. I kind of like it. Just pull and the gate opens beautifully.

You probably all know that Google Reader is disappearing on July 1. It will be interesting to see what actually happens. Will it all go poof? If you don't want your favorite blogs to never again show up in your reader, you'll have to find another one. I've signed up for Feedly and find it very satisfactory. Others are using Bloglovin. Either way, there are just a couple of days left. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When the Showers Stop

It's rainy and cool. Not good weather for puttering in the garden. But today, the rain stopped, the sun shone and I ventured out to survey the estate. As soon as we have a dry day I'll be harvesting lavender. Some plants I'll leave for decorative effect.

The blueberry bushes are loaded with fruit this year, and are just beginning to ripen. 

There's lots to anticipate. I was surprised to see this big clump of tomatoes. I'd been looking down at the plants and was a little disheartened, but when I squatted and looked up, there they were! I guess looking up is always best :)

Here's one of my hydrangea bushes, blooming with both pink and blue flowers. Now why is that? It's a starter from another bush that has always bloomed blue. I know that the soil has something to do with the color, but I'm puzzled by this. I'm not so worried that I don't just enjoy the blossoms. 

How is your garden? Blooming? Producing? Showing signs of progress?

Monday, June 24, 2013

A recipe, simple flowers, and a Pinterest win

Summer begins with strawberry season. They are so juicy and so sweet. I freeze lots of them, but wanted to make a sauce as well - something to use in the winter over ice cream, cheese cake or pancakes. This sauce uses both strawberries and rhubarb, with a hint of vanilla, and I thought it turned out well. Click on the link, here, to go to my recipe site.

Feverfew is a plant that seeds itself all over my garden, sometimes in inconvenient spots. I pull it out in some spots and let it grow in others. I like using the flowers to fill in bouquets. But it's simple and pretty on its own, tucked into a dark green brandy bottle for a vase. 

Pinterest is a great place. I like pinning all sorts of ideas and do try them out. Some are failures, but this idea was a winner today while I played with Little Miss A. My version is not as elaborate as the pin, but was a hit nonetheless. We placed houses on the roads, drove cars, made a park, and had a wonderful time together.

Are you on Pinterest? Do you use the ideas or just enjoy pinning? 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day Tripping

My husband had a business meeting in Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon and he invited me to tag along for the ride. I planned to do the self-guided historic walk of the downtown area that I'd read about. 

 Regrettably, the day was very rainy so I mostly dashed from shop to shop, poking into vintage stores, unique fashion boutiques, and a wonderful store called The Flying Fish, which has every imaginable kitchen gadget. 

I wandered through a couple of used book stores and picked up the books in the above photo. The Nature Diary is published by the same company that published The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady. This volume is filled with lovely sketches and the writings of a more modern country lady. Still Glides the Stream is written by the same author as Lark Rise to Candleford, which I have not read nor seen the television drama, but I've heard about. I'm looking forward to diving into both of these books. 

Underneath them is a Vogue Fitting Book - sewing technique for my fashion designer daughter. 

Nanaimo is a small city with a lot of character. I had a wonderful afternoon in spite of the rain. Have you done any recent day trips?

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Evening Stroll with Clippers - Favorite Things

After cleaning up dinner dishes, I was planning to carry on with folding the laundry and such. But the evening light called me. I went outside to wander around my garden, but soon returned for my clippers. The makings of a bouquet of many colors bloomed.

Roses, hydrangeas, two broken stems of delphiniums and some feverfew make up this lush bouquet. I photographed outside in the lovely light of this longest day of the year.

Inside, the flowers add life to the entrance hall. After I took the photo, I looked at the items there, and each one holds special meaning. The vase holding the flowers was given to me by a piano student in Ecuador. The black iron candle holder by a friend, also from Ecuador. The coral in the cloche reminds me of our vacation to Mexico a few years ago. And the doily was crocheted by my daughter's mother-in-law for me as a Christmas gift. These are a few of my favorite things. 

Linking to A Favorite Thing - hosted by Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage. 

Before and Mid-way

I've been looking for new dining room chairs. The ones we've had for many years were made in Ecuador and are not very comfortable. They catch me in just the wrong place in the back and I've noticed others wriggling in them from time to time. In March I found a set of 5 of the above chairs plus one captain's chair in a secondhand store. I like the lines. The price was right so they came home with us. 

They've been obviously and incompetently recovered. The edges were uneven, the foam didn't extend to the edges of the frame and while sitting, the frame caught oddly behind the knee. When I started taking them apart, the incompetence was revealed. Foam cut nilly-willy, pieced in places. No batting between foam and fabric. 

I pulled out nails and staples and took the chair seats down to the solid wood frame and burlap-covered springs. The seats are at a foam shop and I'll pick them up later today. 

 Meanwhile, every morning this week (save today) I've put on my painting clothes and spent 2- 3 hours painting the chairs. This photo was taken after the second coat. Four have been done (including the primer) and I think I'll do one more. Couldn't face it this morning, though. Can we say drips? Chairs are fiddly things to paint.

The original tags are still on the chairs and I looked up the company. Anthes-Baetz Furniture built solid wood furniture in Kitchener, Ontario from about 1915 to 1970 or so. These chairs were built in 1962. 

The next step will be covering the seats. My penchant for blue and white is well known. But I balance it with lots of greenery, colorful flowers, and warm wood tones.

Little Miss A takes her naps on the bed in my sewing room. The other day when I went in to get her, she said, "Nana, everything is blue in here - that's blue, that's blue, that's blue" as she pointed at the walls, the quilt, the picture and some books. Yes, blue's my favorite color. No doubt about it when a two-year old notices.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poetic Peonies

It's once again time for Vee's Note Card Party. This month I chose peonies - mostly from last year when I bought armfuls of them for Little Miss S's baby shower. I've included parts of a poem by Mary Oliver underneath each photo.

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
   to break my heart
     as the sun rises,
        as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers


and they open--
   pools of lace,
      white and pink--


the flowers bend their bright bodies,
   and tip their fragrance to the air,
     and rise,
       their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
    gladly and lightly,
      and there it is again--
        beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.


Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?

Vee's Note Card Party is always a fun event, and a great way to get to know some new bloggers. Thanks, Vee, for hosting. 

A Bit of This and That

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