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The Garden Brae

Seeking the Elusive Genius Loci - Spirit of Place - In Garden Design

Updated: 2017-07-24T22:19:27.112-07:00


Ferns unfurled


Totem Poles


Frogs Of July


Pacific Treefrog can change colour rapidly from light to dark, possibly in response to changes in temperature and humidity

The distinctive call of the Pacific Treefrog (especially the mating choruses) is widely used in films for a "tropical" background. Cartoon frogs are often given a Pacific Treefrog voice as well!
Pacific Treefrogs can throw their voices to some extent, making it quite difficult to close in on a frog by following its call

Mucking About With Isabella Rossellini


As if the guilt at piercing a lively, fat worm on to my fishing hook wasn't bad enough.Now I'm gonna see Isabella's beautiful face staring up from every wiggler I impale!Worms Pooping Is Gold For The GardenThe amazing, wondrous worm pooping out gold for the garden. Intrigued by vermiculture but worried about alien invasion (I mean the non-native worms not the little green men) and, to be honest, being a lazy bones about it, prevented me setting up a little worm composting bin.Canada's worms were killed off by glaciers during the ice age. The introduced worm species are very beneficial, but they may also have a negative impact in old growth forest areas. As a noble environmentally minded person, I nixed the vermiculture idea. Okay, okay, so I'm just plain lazy and procrastinated.Who Can Resist A Sexy Little Wriggle...Not Even The ScientistsBUT it is the New Year and time for resolutions and momma needs worms for fishing... time to regurgitate the worm compost idea. So did a little digging (research-wise; not in-the-garden-for-worms-wise) and found out this:" has now been shown that native species of earthworms are present in Canada, in British Columbia; these are species that survived glaciation in unglaciated regufias on the west coast of the continent--on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Vancouver Island..." Vancouver Island, hey, that's where I live! Oh, and I also found this..." L. terrestris [earthworm] has been seen copulating while bathed with melt water"How sensually evocative is that!How many of us has copulated while bathed with melt water? No, don't answer that. But it does sound like a fab pagan winter solstice ritual. Well, no fears of seeing the neighbours indulging in melt water rituals around here as it has been very mild and there has been no snow to melt.Canada does indeed have indigenous worms! So no more excuses to delay the worm casting composting. Canada's worms are referred to as ancient worms by the way - like the sounds of that. Well, it's a brand new year so here I am back at the blog (new year's resolution) and with a worm compost bin to build (new year's resolution).Happy New Year all the best in 2010 to all you bloggy gardeners![...]

A Little Behind


(image) The Tail End, originally uploaded by gardenbrae.

A little behind with the blog

First Snow Of The Season


Snow Oberon2, originally uploaded by gardenbrae.
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REMEMBRANCE DAYPoppies, the symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers, were very rare in Flanders prior to World War I.However the anguished earth of Flanders flowed suddenly red with the blood coloured poppy ‘popaver rhoeas’ among the bodies of slain soldiers of World War I .During the tremendous bombardments of the war the chalk soils of Flanders became very rich in lime from rubble, allowing ‘popaver rhoeas’ to thrive.Then, when the fields lay quiet and the death and destruction was over, the earth stopped bleeding its red poppies for the dead. The disturbed lime had been quickly absorbed, and so the poppies had disappeared again.In Flanders Fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved, and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch, be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fieldsThis poem was written by a Canadian - John McCrae, a doctor and teacher, who served in WW1.One of McCrae's closest friends was killed in the fighting and buried in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross. Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves. Unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, John McCrae gave them a voice through his poem. It was the second last poem he was to write.One of the things I find endearing about McCrae is that he sent his young nieces and nephews letters supposedly written by his horse Bonfire that he took to war and he signed those letters with a hoof print. In part because of the poem's popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.The Poppy Pin Designed forThe Royal Canadian LegionDate: November, 1921According to the Royal Canadian Legion, “The centre of the Lapel Poppy was originally black but was changed to green more than twenty years ago to represent the green fields of France. In 2002, the centre was changed back to black to reflect the actual colours of the Poppies in Flanders a red flower with a black centre. It is intended that the black centre will remain as the standard for the production of all future Poppy material.”LEST WE FORGET"Each November, millions of poppies blossom in Canada. They blossom on the jackets, dresses and hats of nearly half the Canadian population and they have blossomed over 80 years, since 1921. The poppy is the symbol that individuals use to show that they remember those who were killed in the wars and peacekeeping operations that Canada has been involved" -The Royal Canadian Legion[...]

Obama To Be President of Canada


Barack Obama wants to be President of Canada?Barack Obama wants to be President of Canada or Canada wants Barack Obama for its own President and forget the Prime Minister? Or Canada wants Barack Obama for President of the USA (very presumptious of us)? Or Barack Obama wants Vancouver Island to be part of America? I have no idea why we have this billboard in Victoria - maybe someone is just all very excited about the election - I know I am. Obama & Madonna & ShaunaI know our island dips its toe south of the 49th parallel and I am bully for Obama (I bought the T-Shirt) but what is with the Obama for President Billboard on our town's Canadian highway?The Annexation Movement of November (but it was in 1864)We have strict anti billboard signs and there is only one small area where billboards are permitted. And for over 8 months there has been the Obama for President billboard, in fact there were actually 2 Obama billboards up in that limited piece of billboard real estate.Not since 1864 has Victoria considered a US President for its leader. That was when US Consul Allen Francis, hmmm spied is perhaps too strong a word for it, but he secretively took notes in Victoria and reported back to President Ulyses S. Grant we (Victorians) were ripe for annexation to America. In November 1869 he gathered a petition signed by ..."...40 prominent businessmen"...The petition is very strongly worded, setting forth with much force and cognency of reason, the isolated and helpless condition of the colony." It seemed a folly to remain united to distant England, when British Columbia is sandwiched between Washington Territory and Alaska (purchased from Russia 2 years earlier). Annexation of Victoria British Columbia to the USA?Needless to say Allen Frances miss-read the mood of the Vancouver Island folks and no action was taken by Grant who said that he had "considered the petition with great interest." I think President Grant was just being polite about giving dullsville pretty little Victoria any thought , because after the dizzy Gold Rush days, Victoria had settled back into being the fuddy duddy dull place that it pretty much has always been - hence its nickname "the town of newly wed and the nearly dead".My Beautiful Neice -The Future President Maizy with President ClintonWe do get a lot of American visitors and a lot of Canadians love Obama (not like the "Bush Is A Moron" blurted out by Canadian politicians years ago) so maybe the billboards are to remind US visitors to elect Obama? I do know it is all very exciting and I look forward to watching the election November 4th. America always seems so much more exciting like Marsha Brady to the Jan Brady of Canada. I mean please let me know, America, if you have any Stephen Dion for Prime Minister billboards in your home town. * * *PS. Laurel thanks for your kind comment and interest in seeing the peektures of pumpkin.nefaeria of crow pumpkin turned out NICE! It would be awesome if you posted some peektures of it ;)Laurel - October 30, 2008 4:59 AM Here they are...[...]

Pumpkin Portrait Carving


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Michael and Susan Free Sexy Tree - The Bodice Ripper


The Bodice RipperIf you see your name, the words "sex" or "free" you are compelled to stay and read a blog. This is according to a study about Internet readers' eye movements I read in a magazine at the Dentist's office. I guess it worked because it caught my eye (but only after the "Eat Chocolate To Lose 20lbs by Christmas" headline).Scorched BeautyI don't know about you, BUT, if I saw my name with the words free sex printed anywhere I would be alarmed; change my name to Mary; RUN not walk to hide at the nearest nunnery (which is actually within convenient running distance from The Garden Brae). However, it got me to thinking about the adage 'sex sells" and if that concept is applied to the garden business?Early Garden Brae Header PrototypeTo that end I created a titillating innuendo banner for The Garden Brae, but it made me uncomfortable ...Right, said Fred, "My [banner 's] too sexy for my [blog] too sexy for my [blog] So sexy it hurts "... So, instead, I went with the I'm- a -fairy -in -my -garden tongue in cheek thing instead, which I am still not completely comfortable with. I really wanted a banner of sophisticated, minimalist chic - but the frou-frou kept creeping back in to it. Just couldn't make the sleek and chic happen for some reason.Arbutus are beautiful, sensual, trees. Inflamed, fiery red curves jutting out of smooth pale skinFlowing, abundant auburn curls that coil away to reveal beautiful, cool skin begging to be touchedOberon in the Arbutus GroveMysterious bulges and crevices. Contours covered in rough and ragged bark that peels to reveal a softly curved limb (Diana Gabaldon eat your heart out)Arbutus shed their leaves in summer and their bark in autumnSome people don't like having to rake up after the Arbutus. Too bad for them because in many districts the trees and saplings are protected by law from being cut down. Arbutus is the only native broadleaved evergreen tree in Canada. It is restricted to a narrow band along the south coast near the ocean. They are often found on exposed rocky bluffs overlooking the ocean. The Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), is a species of arbutus found on the west coast of North America and primarily in British Columbia on Vancouver Island.Arbutus menziesiiOh yeah who are Michael and Susan? Maybe they are you right now because they are amongst the most popular baby-boomer names in North America and you saw your names and read this post? Then, hey, that magazine article was right after all! If so, where did my husband hide the Halloween chocolate ... I am on my way to losing 20lbs by Christmas.ETA (Edited To Add) 22OCT2008: Bred from the bosom of a demure mamma I posted this blog with a blush and a hesitant finger. It is reassuringly wonderous fine to receive such great comments of smarts, fun and wit including that of Kanak Hagjer of Assam India aka Terra Farmer who wrote... "Ooo...the Bodice Ripper--the Stripper!Methinks that I shall never see,An image as sexy as your bodilicious tree!Loved the various stages of undress--shedding, peeling, revealing...What a naughty, delightful post!"October 21, 2008 4:39 AM [...]

Roamin' In The Gloamin'


Oberon is a Roamin' in the Gloamin'Roamin' in the gloamin' wi' ma lassie by ma side,When the sun has gone to rest, that's the time that I like best,O, it's lovely roamin' in the gloamin'!—Lauder, Sir Harry (Hugh MacLennan) "...The stillness and freshness of the air the mysterious blackness of the hills the startling white flashes of the little pools looking as though they had absorbed light from somewhere and were loath to part with it.."..."faded Gradually was darkness spreading over everything and as the darkness spread the stillness and sweetness of the gloaming made itself felt. Auld Lang Syne: Selections from the Papers of the "Pen and Pencil Club."By Pen and Pencil Club, Pen and Pencil Club, Auld lang synePublished by printed for private circulation, 1877Original from Oxford UniversityDigitized 25 Jun 2007176 pages Oh, to be out roamin' in the gloamin'Happy Thanksgiving Canada!Amongst the hundredfold things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving is that my lassie Oberon is on the mend and in 3 more months, after being on limited off-leash exercise, she will be finally back to her full activity metal plates, pins, screws and all. [...]

The Under Sea Worldness of Chihuly-like Pumpkinery


Cucurbita Female Pumpkin FlowerThe strange, fluid, other-worldliness of the pumpkin patch looks far more like it belongs under the sea than under my kitchen windowSea Anemone or Landlubber Flower?The flowing openess of the flowers. The languid look of the large petals. The coiling tendrils. It is all very, very fluid.Ready to Swirl and Sway In the Ocean?These are more like plants I would see on a scuba dive - ready to swirl and sway in an ocean current - than plants exposed on a dry, rocky outcrop.No Elvis Here, Just RingoSome people see Elvis; others see fractals; I see sea anemones. The garden sets off free association imagery like dominoes knocking one image down against another image of experiences and pop culture, (and now add to it blogs,) in my head. In the days of hodden grey, the church and nature provided imagery stimulus so folks saw the Madonna in the tree bark. Nowadays of mass media culture people see Elvis in a gherkin or an Octopus's garden in a pumpkin patch....Or , how about Chihuly...Picture of Chihuly's Persians - Photo credit unknownDale Chihuly is an artist whose glass sculptures - the Persians series - drift through the other-world of my pumpkin crevasse. No, I haven't eaten Datura, but I have blown glass .Pumpkin Visions Come From My Blowing Glass...Not From My Eating DaturaEvery time I look at the pumpkins I am stunned with images of Chihuly's Persians I have seen in Victoria, Seattle, Las Vegas, galleries and museums. See fer yerself - thar ain't no denyin' it...Picture Credit: PERSIAN POND"CHIHULY IN THE PARK: A GARDEN OF GLASS" NOVEMBER 23, 2001 - NOVEMBER 4, 2002GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY, CHICAGOwww.chihuly.comGodly Gourd - The Good Pumpkin - Served At The First ThanksgivingCanada we have Thanksgiving in October Whilst Our American Neighbours in NovemberThe Garden Brae pumpkin patch is actually more of a pumpkin crevasse. Pumpkins need a sunny, well-drained site. I planted mine in a crevasse on a hot, rocky outcrop and left them to fend for themselves. Nope, I didn't get involved in their sex life either. I left the male and female flowers to co-mingle with whatever bee - go- betweens that happened upon them.And yet, with this neglect, they still graciously rewarded me with the beauty of their special world! Because of their location up on the rock and the sun shining through them I had a wonderful vantage of being below them looking up into their pumpkin realm, almost like I was floating through them. I feel kinda guilty though ....Terry and Lisa (my sisters) Portraits in PumpkinThe pumpkin abuse isn't over a couple of weeks they will go under the knife for pies and for my pumpkin art!* * *Genius Loci thought: Pumpkins are kin to the spirit of the place. They thrived against the odds and settled in to the natural beauty of the landscape. Next year they get care, attention, and a wee bit of coaxing in their sex life.[...]

Infamous Datura: The Plant of Zombies and Angels


Solanaceae Datura metelFragrant, beautiful and deadly the Datura sits in a pot on my porch. I don't trust it. I am suspicious about a plant known as Devil's Trumpet or Zombie Cucumber. Then again, would garden nurseries sell it if it really is the magic potion of evil it is trumpeted to be?Datura sits in a pot on my porch. I don't trust it.Datura also known as Angels TrumpetA waft of my Datura's fragrance is both beautiful and disgusting. Sometimes I like its heavy, mysterious scent hanging in the air. Other times I find the scent cloying, smothering and nauseating. Datura also known as Thorn AppleTrue, the Datura is beautiful with its unusual "thorn apple" fruits and its trumpet flowers of swirls and ruffles. But, frankly, I am often repulsed by its morbid weirdness and avoid looking at it.The Sinister History of The DaturaThe history of the Datura asdeadly narcotic,aphrodisiac, zombie food, shaman's potion, witches brew,are well documented.One of its many common names,Jimson weedis because of its recorded crazy effecton British soldiers in Jamestown, Virginia in 1676.A plant that can both compel and repel me - very interesting - gotta love it. But I still don't trust it. So the Datura sits on the porch in a pot guarded by a gargoyle where I can keep my eye on it.Solanaceae Datura metel - BEWARE[...]

Ghostly Ménage à Trois


Ghost Plant Monotropa uniflora

Ghosts! White, translucent, fleshy, and covered with scales nodding in a spooky little group under a tree. It has been 15 years since I saw my last apparition of these plants. What a surprise and rare delight to find these haunting the Garden Brae. Who knows when I will get a chance to write about them again?

What I learned from a Ménage à trois with Ghost Plants :

Forest trees depend on a symbiotic relationship with the fungi at their feet
  • Forest trees are like a sugar daddy to fungus by providing carbohydrates to the fungus
  • Fungus in turn give a little TLC to trees in the form of N-P-K and H2O by providing nutrients and water to the trees
Enter in to this happy relationship the usurping pretty little Monotropa uniflora
  • Monotropa uniflora insinuates itself into the intimate relationship of the forest tree and fungus
  • The ghostly little flower sneaks sugar from the tree intended for the fungus and filches nutrients and water from the fungus intended for the tree.

Current belief is that Monotropa uniflora is a selfish partner and gives nothing in return to tree or fungus in this relationship - that is what makes Monotropa a parasitic plant.

Whereas, it was once thought that Monotropa was saprophytic which fed on dead or decaying vegetation. (Is there a test at the end of this, or what?)

What is the relationship of the tree and fungus you ask?
- Why, it is a mutualistic symbiotic association, ofcourse! - because both tree and fungus gain mutual benefit from each other.

This fascinating plant is the subject of intense study lately to discover its potent hormonal system that sucks sugars away from fungus for its own successful survival.

* * *
Genius Loci thought: Is my relationship to my garden parasitic, saprophytic or mutualistic?

Photographing Ghosts In The Garden


Monotropa uniflora

Photographing Ghosts in the Garden is creepy if you consider the subject in the lens is found only in dark woodlands and is known by such morbid names as:
Convulsion Root
Corpse plant
Death plant
Fairy smoke
Ghost flower
Here, on the Island, we mostly call it Indian Pipe (in reference to its pipe-like shape). And far from creepy, I find it a fascinating and cheeky little plant whose ménage à trois existence between trees, fungus and itself is more than a a little beguiling. A botanist's description of the plant as "a waxy white saprophyte of deep forest shade" is ooooh so hauntingly lovely! It evokes a film noir femme fatale as spoken by a hard boiled detective like Bogie or Mitchum as Marlowe...
"... she 'was a waxy white saprophyte of deep forest shade' that haunted the mind of every man in the room. She was a flower alright, a ghost flower, and that spelled corpse plant to the man who did her wrong. And that ain't no fairy smoke to a tough gumshoe like me."

Seduction of Summer


The Seduction of Summer and silly pastimes is almost over. Dawdling dalliances with frogs must end. Time to dust off the ol' laptop and get back to the blog, and work, and school and all those things responsible people should do.

Clinging On To Summer

Then again, maybe I can cling on to the lingering days of summer a bit longer...
and ponder...
If I had kept up with my yoga through summer I could reach that frog with my lips and give it a kiss and voila! I have a prince!

"One Day My Prince Will Come" .. Down Off The Roof tra la la

My prince is actually on the roof checking the flashing on the skylights and getting ready to clean the gutters all in preparation for winter.
And, no doubt, wondering where the heck I am and why haven't I tidied up the deck yet.
Oh, bother! I guess I got to hop to it and shrug off the last vestiges of lazy summer daze - er, I mean days.

Hope You All Had A Wonderful Summer & Stopped to Smell The Roses
...then laughed when tickled by aphids that stuck in your nose




Yipes! Frogs In My Head!


Spending more time on the sundeck while Oberon recovers. I will use the time to tidy up the deck. Hmm the terra cotta head is topsy-turvy. I'll begin with that-Yikes!I almost drop the head with a start!Out pops a long, pale, green muscular leg, dangling its shapely form like Claudette Colbert stopping a passing car.In a split second my mind flashes multiple images - Oberon's shaved post-operation leg, a human leg - nah too small and green - aha leprechaun!Then it jumped and so did I!And it scurried under Oberon. Obers cuddled up with it as if to protect it. How long have they been chummin' together I wonder? How dare she keep secrets from me- after all the slippers I have sacrificed to her puppy teeth!I was already planning my 3 wishes while parting Ober's furry hind to find my leprechaun ... lo and behold thar it was ---Aahhw the sweetest little Pacific Tree Frog chillin' with Obers as casual as you please.The frog and Oberon are so gentle and at ease - like they've known each other for agesPacific Tree Frogs in their Topsy Turvy Terra Cotta Head Home My Terra Cotta Head Remains Topsy Turvy[...]

Squishing Aphids


This is H.R. Mount Fuji-Toad (don't ask)He(?) is the latest addition to the aphid/mosquito eating gold fishI squish aphids or shake 'em into the fish pond A magic concoction of dish soap, chili pepper and a sprinkling of aphids in the blender was made into a spray for my plants with aphids. This was always followed by blending up a strawberry daiquiri for myself - I figured the alcohol in the strawberry daiquiris would disinfect the blender - hiccup.Hmm I wonder if Saskatoon berries would make a tasty daiquiri stay tuned for that one when the berries are ready for picking.Ladybugs To The RescueI am proud to say the Town of Langford (where I live) is attacking aphids with Ladybugs and not pesticides - Hurray! "Hughes expects the initial ladybug batch to last a few weeks, depending on predation from birds and wasps. It’s a relatively cheap method of pest control, with 35,000 ladybugs going for $87."I would like to try the ladybug/ladybird (depending where you hail from) solution, too.Daiquiri sipping deck view from the Garden BraeThis year I have not been watering the garden so as to study what grows well without using up water. Even here, on the West Coast, we have watering restrictions. Less water has created more stressed plants with aphids. Which equated alot more blender potions and therefore a lot more daiquiris...View of Douglas-fir above said daiquiri sipping head on sundeckthe hyphen is because the Douglas-fir is not a truly a fir tree... A lot more daiquiris resulted in an episode of stumbling boisterous tree hugging inspired by reading Beverly Nichols' Merry Hall whereby he states the interesting contradiction that dead wood feels warm while live wood feels cold. This experiment must be carried out on warm evening. Hence, dear, gentle neighbours who may have witnessed/heard my groping and stroking of trees in the night, be not alarmed. I am not crazy - but merely a tipsy gardener.The moral of this story is: Squishing aphids with my fingers and feeding them to the gold fish is now my weapon of choice - sans-blender concoctions pour moi.[...]

The Mighty Saskatoon - Notorious & Nutritious


Kwakwaka’wakw Pole CarvingsCarver: Tony HuntNative Plant WisdomThe Saskatoon Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)First Nations People identified 9 varieties based on taste, growth times, seediness, size and colour.The varieties were dried like raisins for winter eating, cooked to the consistency of jam, made into juices for marinade to sweeten roots and foods like black tree lichen, and, ofcourse, eaten fresh.Saskatoon Berry Bush was used as medicine by steeping the twigs and stems to be given to women after childbirth and as a healing bath. Tonics were made to cure stomach ailments. Juice used to settle upset stomachs and used as ear drops.The Saskatoon berry was the most used berry of the First Nations coastal and interior peoples. It was often used as a trade item. The hardwood was used to make combs, firedrills, arrows, tool handles, salmon spreaders, and fishnet reinforcementsSaskatoon Berry in flower at the Garden BraeSaskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia)AKA: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Amelanchier (French) and ShadbushResembles a wild blueberry(I don't have photo of the berry in my garden-yet)Tastes like a blueberry and cherry with a hint of almond - Yummy!Super Food! Super Healthy! The Super Saskatoon!Better than blueberries for nutrients and antioxidants!!!The Notorious & Nutritious - The Saskatoon The Scandalous Saskatoon! Notorious International Scandal In June 2004, Britain banned Saskatoon berry products off its shelves over concerns about the safety of the berries since there was no history of people in Europe eating themIt has been all dog and no blog for a while...Oberon broke her leg and had metal plate/pin orthopaedic surgery and is doing very well. Full speedy recovery expected.(Her people parents are recovering from the shock of seeing her hurt, too, but not as speedy!)To make up for lack of posts, here are some of the fascinating Totem Poles which we are privileged to live with as one of the many special and unique qualities of living in the Pacific Northwest.Royal British Columbia MuseumI took these pics at Thunderbird ParkThunderbird is traditionally carved with outstretched wings, curved horns and a face in its chest.Totem PolesThe figures on totem poles are crests that proclaimancestry, history, rights and privileges, names,lands and responsibilities of the families that own them.Types of Totem Poles include:House Post hold up the main roof beams of the big houseFrontal Poles stand against the front of the house and usually contain the house’s doorwayMemorial Poles are raised in honour of the deceased and are usually commissioned by the person who inherited the dead person's name/privileges.Mortuary Poles incorporated boxes of the person's remainsWelcome Figures greet visitors to a chief’s territory and traditionally stood on the beach facing out to sea so they could welcome peoplewho arrived by canoeThunderbird Park[...]

Shiver Me Timbers


Sunny but windy - very windythen cloudy, rainy and windy So we left the weed pile behind......and put on our winter woollies and took a walk in the Inner Harbour.It was just too windy up our way to work in the garden. (Yes that is some fine looking Pampas grass in the weeds - eager hubby pruned back the pampas grass and put it on the pile before you could say - Edward Scissor HandsQuotes about our Victoria weather..."Some summers you don't tan - you rust""If you don't like the weather - wait 3o minutes"" Pacific West Coast"Shiver Me Timberspraying for nice weatherSea Planes and Little Harbour Ferries not bothered by the gusty breezesCruise ships coming and going as quickly as the clouds[...]

It's A Question of Beauty


(image) Slug - My Garden

If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere- Vincent Van Gogh

(image) Calypso Orchid - Mill Hill

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.
- Francis Bacon

(image) Trillium - Mill Hill

(image) Apple Blossom - Glendale Gardens

Beauty is not caused. It is.

- Emily Dickinson

The Good, The Bad And the Novelty


The Good, The Bad And the NoveltySome may think frilly tulips are gilding the lily at bestor in bad taste at worstThese frilly tulips conjure up images of toasted coconut on sickly sweet coconut cream piesbringing a little kid-like joy and playful fun into the gardenHere is a gaping maw tulip that would scare me away if I was a bee!It immediately reminded me of Star Trek (original series [of course]) the Doomsday Machine Episode. What do you think- can you see it? There is beauty in flowers that are blown; past their prime; on the verge of finished. But in this case, aside from the brilliant colour combinations, it was again how it brought a smile about scaring bees, and Star Trek episodes that made it beautiful.Novelty is an essential attribute of the beautiful- Benjamin DisraeliNovelty is beautiful? Or is Ben saying the beautiful are novel and as the novelty wears off so does their beauty? Would impulse planting of these tulips soon result in regret as the novelty wore off? They arrive in early spring when we are in need of some cheer from the winter gloom. Tulips are gone soon having stood up cheerily to stormy spring gusts. So I think the smiles they bring won't wear off over the years, but would be enjoyed like a friend who often tells the same joke you know its coming and that expectation is what tickles you.[...]

Beauty Is The Beast


Beauty Is The Beast At The Ugly Garden Feast

(image) What makes something beautiful and desirable in the garden and other things not beautiful? The interesting textures and shapes found in decayed, dried, or diseased plants are attractive. I find them strangely compelling. The visual intrigue of the colours and patterns are beautiful. But, is it desirable to have a garden of such things? It would be interesting to have a bed of plants in decay purposely planted for colour, form and design.
Actually such gardens do exist. It is the garden in winter. I wonder if the genious loci is telling me to pay special attention to the structure of plants in winter as I do my garden design.

Beauty is the beast at the ugly garden feast

(image) I read some poetry about garden beauty for this blog and felt the tug of the muse myself. Beauty is the beast at the ugly garden feast - I liked the sound of it and the feel of the consonants. I was thinking of the cult classic 1932 film "Freaks". As the saying goes "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."


Gossamer and a Llama in the Larkspur


GOSSAMERWeeding got too warm today so we wandered up the hill just beyond our little Garden BraeOberon lay down in the meadow in an area flattened by deerThe crazy ultra blue of the larkspur (delphiniums) was almost unnaturalI lay down inside a moss covered crevice under a canopy thick with the gossamer of websand lazily watched a spiderWhen out of the corner of my eye I spied the half of a "Push-Me-Pull-You"!I jumped up carefully so as not to get a face full of spider webs and disrupt that little insect palaceLo and behold I hadn't gone bonkersThere it was - a very real Llama coming down the hillNo, it wasn't a double headed pushmi-pullyu with the very British Dr. Dolittle in tow.Instead, it was a sweet Llama from the Millstream Llama Farm Bed & Breakfast with the very charming British proprietress in tow.You just never know what's around the corner[...]