Wednesday, May 31, 2023

There's a Lot Going On!


My head is spinning these days, juggling so many things. Meanwhile, the garden continues its regular parade of blooms. I cut a bouquet of peony buds that opened within a day or two and have lasted for a week. 

Our warm spring (so unlike last year's) has made the fig trees pop with fruit. Raspberry bushes are loaded and I look forward to an abundant harvest in a few weeks. I planted potatoes this year and they have begun to flower. It seems that there is always something new to see when I visit my garden. 

John Cabot (David Austin) is a climbing rosebush that produces hundreds of flowers throughout the summer. It's in a bed just beneath our patio and long branches often creep through the railing. They have vicious thorns and I am constantly training them to grow elsewhere, with little success. When we have guests coming (including the little grands), I simply cut them off to avoid scratches. 

Behind the roses you can see a portion of the outside painting I did on the house. The colour here is not accurate because the evening sun is shining strongly. As well as renovating the kitchen we've been upgrading the windows and adding seismic upgrades to the outside of the house. Everything has to happen in sequence and I'm glad that I'm not the one figuring that out. I'm thankful that Tim can do that. The vertical portions of the outside of the house are painted dark grey/blue and the horizontal siding is cream-coloured. It's a job that will happen over a couple of seasons. 

Here's a single John Cabot rose with more accurate colour in the background. 

I think we must be on about Phase 34 of the renovation. Now it's all about the flooring. Tim is installing a floating engineered oak hardwood floor in the kitchen, dining room, living room, and entrance hall. You know what that means! Lots of moving parts - especially the furniture. Currently, the dining room table is in front of the fireplace in the living room holding stacks of plates, serving dishes, teacups, and assorted dishes from the china cabinet which sits in another corner. 

But there is definite progress! Here is one section of the kitchen. To the left is the space for the fridge which had to be moved out for the flooring installation. We chose a dusty blue for the cabinets with brass hardware, and white marbled quartz for the countertops. I'm very happy with the decisions we made. It's difficult to actually envision what things will look like when done, so it's a great relief to feel that we made the correct choices. After the flooring we'll think about the tile backsplash. It will be mostly white, I think.

To add a little more to my day I'm going to be teaching Spanish for the next three weeks, until the end of school. Our eldest daughter is the regular teacher and she is going to be off for surgery. And we're having house guests this weekend. As I said, lots of balls to juggle these days, but taking things moment by moment is the way to manage. 

Evening garden visits help, too. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Friday Favourites: Garden Flowers here and there


Hello there! Life snowballed for a bit and blogging was left behind. I've been painting the house (inside and out), gardening, and went to Butchart Gardens twice. The tulips are likely finished by now, but I hope you will enjoy these photos. 

The two little girls who accompanied me on one of the visits (along with their other grandmother) love the flowers. I noticed two-year-old Cora touching the flowers and then her lips. When I asked what she was doing, she told me, "I'm eating the morning dew." 

Tim and I also went boating one weekend. It was lovely to be on the water, and the weather was perfect, sunny and warm. 

Himalayan Blue Poppies bloom in Butchart Gardens. I bought seeds once, but they are notoriously difficult to start, and I had no success. 
Have you heard of the musical Come From Away? Tim and I attended a live performance and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the story of the 38 airplanes and their passengers who landed in Gander, Newfoundland during 9/11. The townspeople took them in, fed them, and treated them like family for five days until US air space opened. The musical brought back a lot of memories. 

We also went to Spokane for five days, meeting up with friends we worked with in the past. What a lot of fun we had together, reminiscing and laughing. 

In my own garden, the forget-me-nots and violets are fading, but the peonies and roses are taking center stage. I hope to get out and take some photos of them. May is such a wonderful month, lush and green with a parade of blooms. 

I hope to visit your blogs soon and find out what you've all be up to. 

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Telling Time by Flowers


If the lilacs are in bloom, it must be early May. A couple of days of warmer temperatures followed by a day of softly drenching rain has caused the garden to explode. 

Everything seems to be in a great hurry now, strawberry flowers will soon turn to berries and the forget-me-nots under the rosebushes surround the pot in a blue cloud of charm. Such uplifting sights in the garden. I look out of my kitchen window and the profusion of pinks, blues, and greens sets my heart to dancing. 

Violets appeared in one small garden bed a couple of years ago, and although I know they can be quite aggressive, I've managed to control them enough to appreciate their tiny faces. They also grow under a couple of rosebushes. One year I candied the flowers and used them on a cake. Pretty and delicious. 

Birds come to splash in the weathered birdbath and are not bothered at all by this still fellow. Behind him is a profusion of pink rhododendron blooms. Rhodos are showy and very suited to our area, but they are not among my favourites. I read a mystery novel years ago, before I really knew what a rhodo was, and the murderer hid among the rhodos. Funny what puts one off. 

Wisteria drapes carelessly from the roof of the garden shed. My sense of smell continues to be diminished, but if I stick my nose right into the flowers I get a faint sweet scent. 

When I was in elementary school our new home was built on former agricultural land. Farms and fields surrounded the subdivision and along the road where I walked to school, a row of apple trees remained. I loved climbing trees and in May I would climb into the fragrance of a blossoming tree to cut branches for vases. They never lasted long, but the scent was intoxicating. 

The beauty of this month fills me with an ache. Beauty awakens deep longings within the human soul. I want to look and look and fill my eyes and heart and brain with the wonders I see. Do you feel the same ache?

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

A Sunny Start to May


This evening, I am thinking of very little. I'm staying at our youngest daughter's home, caring for our two youngest granddaughters while their parents are away for a few days. How busy life with little ones is, with little time for thought. How joyful it is to be with an almost-four-year-old, and a two-and-a-quarter-year-old (she informed me of her age herself). 

In my own garden, blueberry bushes are in bloom with promises of sweet blueberries in a couple of months. The blooms foretell the shape of the round berries that we will soon enjoy.

After I put the little girls to bed this evening I wandered outside. The yard is large with all sorts of plants, trees, and bushes. I'm not certain what the above is - this is the first season our children have lived here and it's been fun to observe the changing garden. 

Bluebells (the Spanish variety) are in bloom, and although they lack the fragrance of English bluebells, I love seeing the blue swaths of flowers among the long grass on this mostly wild property.

My days with the two little girls are very different from my usual routine. There are lots of stories read and supervising play and other activities. Their other grandmother is sharing the care and took them to Butterfly Gardens today while I ran errands. How quickly one forgets the full-time aspect of caring for young children. 

The girls love being outside. Young Cora would love to catch one of the half-dozen or so bunnies that come out in the evening to nibble on grass and other plants, but so far the bunnies have eluded her. Iris bounces on the trampoline for long stretches of time, her ponytail or braid flying with each jump. 

May is full of beauty, and reminds me of the words of photographer Ansel Adams, "I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful; an endless prospect of magic and wonder." 

And now it's time for this Nana to get to bed so she can be fully present and energetic for the little ones tomorrow morning. 

Days at Home

  Last night after dinner the sunshine illuminating the bouquet of peonies prompted me to grab my camera. I love the frilly elegance of the ...