Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn is about coloured leaves-- but the best ones aren't necessarily in trees!

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted anything here; it was one of those summers of whims and lack of get-to-it-ness.

Anyways, one frosty morn last week, while walking the dog, I was treated to a frost display that was fantastic. Of course, no camera, and by the time I could have gone back for it the frost would have been gone: sun was about to touch the plants. But this morning conditions aligned just right again, and this time I did take the camera, and so got these photos of Potentilla repens frost-touched and autumn-coloured.

This plant is a weedy thing around here, forming vast carpets by runnering (long ones), by seeding, by producing corms: programmed for survival. Flowers are dainty, mid-yellow, but sparse so it doesn't really make it as a garden groundcover. On a few open patches of the not-so-old logging road behind me where I walk with Gershwin (the dog) are a few large patches of it. The patches which are shaded from morning sun by the trees are nicely coloured in fall, but it takes a touch of the frost-brush to show them at their best. So here, unprocessed except for size reduction, are several pics of a lowly weed in stunning display.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In bloom 21/23 April

Helleborus hybrid, the first one I managed not to kill.

Oh wow, suddenly a hint of yellow where none should have been: Helleborus orientalis/ caucasicus. From wild-collected seed obtained from British Botanist Will McLewin.

And this beauty, also so unexpected. Grown from seed obtained from a seed exchange, I knew it was from a yellow-flowered parent but wasn't really expecting a yellow flower due to the promiscuity of Hellebores. In bud, and for the first day when opened, it was more pale green than yellow; a nice surprise the second morning. Yellow intensifying for a few days now.

Grown from seed from deep red to black parents. Very very dark in bud.

Grown from seed from Apricot/ Peach flowered parents. Three are flowering now, and they are probably not up to their mom's quality. They're all quickly going towards green. Obviously one needs to grow a lot of seedlings of good parentage to get a really special plant in that colour shade.

Daphne mezereum, February Daphne, a very fragrant flowering shrub.

A small seedling of a white form. The fragrance is more lemony than the normal form.

Primula denticulata, the Drumstick Primula.

The crocuses in the sunny sand bed are about done (but some in lawns with a bit of shade are still going strong)

Chionodoxa sardensis, a species of Glory in the Snow. A superb blue (even under the shadow of my head)

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), a very pretty and bright weed. Unfortunately the leafs, which emerge later, a large and smothering.

Hepatica nobilis, a blue strain.

Hepatica acutiloba, a native of eastern Canada. There is some colour variation in this species, into pale pink and pale violet-blue.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Sunny and warm today (an accidental almost summer) (not to worry, the weather is forecast to return to cold and drear by the weekend). An hour of yardwork before lunch, 4 hours on the bike after lunch. Warm enough for bare legs (Yesss!) although my ride to Avonport on the Minas Basin managed to find cold air wafting off the water. Last year it wasn't until the end of May that I tackled a similar distance, and at a slightly slower speed. The only question now is, will I "recover" overnight?

Thanks to some "farmer Joe" near Avonport moving a heap of fresh manure from his barn on one side of the road to his other barn on the other side of the road -- too short a distance to bother with a wagon, so he just pushed it across with the bucket of a front-end loader -- I managed to get a bit shit-faced without the pleasure of a decent bottle of wine. Fortunately it was the top of a hill rather than the bottom of a descent so it was possible to manoevre so as to avoid the lumpy bits... all in all, a bit dodgy. No photos, but Gershwin (the dog) was very interested in the smell of the tires and undersides of the frame when I got home.

Everywhere I rode there was the sound of badly-adjusted derailleurs (chain scraping cogs) but it wasn't me-- it was an army of homeowners raking the winter's gravel off their lawns and back onto the road shoulders where it belonged.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

2008 postings at last: Signs of Spring

Yes folks, despite the stuff the Weather Channel is waffling about, Signs of Spring are in the air. Primarily, I passed an outdoor flea market today while out on the bike...

Crocuses showed up with today's sun.

Helleborus niger, up against the house.

Snowdrops almost ready to open.

Bike and snowshoes together... says a bit about the state of the trails in the woods here.