Spring’s arrival on the prairies ~

The first day of spring always makes me happy. Today it seems even more so. After a few days of below-freezing weather, I woke to a beautiful sight. Not only was the sun shining, but the trees were covered in hoarfrost. In late morning, Pinktulips2I sat out in the garden and watched the hoarfrost drift down from the trees. It was a beautiful sight. The sunshine felt wonderful.

Today is also a special day, since it is the birthday of  my friend in Barcelona, Estrella Esteve.  We met on Flickr ~ Estrella takes incredible photos. To view them, just click here. Estrella also writes a wonderful blog, which thankfully she translates into English so I can read it. 
These tulips are for you, Estrella ~ happy weekend to everyone!

~ First ant sighting of the year ~


Ants in my basement usually lead to irritation and a lot of grumbling on my part. Peachyant1It was surprising then, that while taking some pictures, I watched an ant casually saunter the length of a tulip bloom and was filled with excitement. The weather had dramatically improved from the day before and I had a sense that spring was finally arriving on the prairies.

I enjoyed the feeling for a short time before dispatching the ant to an early death. No doubt the ant will be sorely missed by other members of its colony, but I'm trying not to think of that.  Instead I'm on an ant search-and-destroy mission, while silently hoping that I don't find any other ones.

Experience tells me though, that one ant usually means lots of other ants. We shall see ~ 

A tulip for the taking ~

There's something wonderful about having tulips on the dining room table. I love looking at them ~ before I cart them away to be photographed.

For the past few days, the temperature has been slightly above freezing and the scent of spring was in the air. Sadly, a winter storm has moved in. Back to the cold we go again.   Tulip1

In full bloom

What a year it has been for Amaryllis. I haven't done anything differently this year, but maybe I just picked out better bulbs than I have in the past. Each of them had multiple stalks and lots of blooms.Ammauve2

At the moment, the Amaryllis 'Sydney' (pictured above) is in full bloom. I'm trying to get some good photographs of it. This will be the final stalk of the Amaryllis for the season.

While I am sad to see the Amaryllis season drawing to a close, it also means that spring will be arriving soon. (Okay, I'm being optimistic here ~ we haven't had a day above -Oc for weeks. The signs are there though ~ the sun is higher and the days are growing longer. I am holding off starting my seedlings for another few weeks.

Amaryllis12Back to the amaryllis ~ my  favourite  amaryllis this winter was the 'Lemon Star' (above). With three stalks loaded with blooms, it was a glorious vision. I loved photographing it ~ since the colours looked great with so many different backgrounds. I loved this green background and titled this photo, Lemon Lime Popsicle Time

I haven't blogged for awhile and am trying to figure out which picture size works best with a blog post. Should they be smaller? Your opinions welcome! And now I'll get back to visiting my favourite blogs ~ it's been way too long.

What I see

… when I am sitting outside in my favourite chair, bundled up in a down blanket. The weather has warmed up … still way below 0 celsius, but a wonderful break nonetheless.

 Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is? 
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring. 
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away. 

And this is the way of life.


Bulbs are amazing things!


We've had some beautiful weather here.Anemone2 I was relieved to have finally planted the many bulbs impatiently waiting to be covered by soil. I had been worried that I wouldn't be able to get them in because of the cold weather that wouldn't go away.

While planting the bulbs on Thursday and Saturday, I came across this Anemone coronaria 'Ste Brigid'. How it had survived several nights of -15c weather is beyond me. It has buoyed my spirits for the past several days. Three days later and it is still happily blooming. What an incredible sight considering that most everything else is withered and brown. Amar1

Taking advantage of the warm weather, I potted up three new Amaryllis bulbs. I love having Amaryllis growing during winter. I also repotted three that had been dormant since summer.

The pond plants are now put away for winter and the pond ready to freeze yet again.  My dog, Lytton, will be happy when the snow comes and the pond is a thick sheet of ice. There's nothing he loves better than to roll around on the snow covering the pond.

And now that winter is almost here, I'm back to my knitting. New scarf pictures forthcoming!!


All that’s beautiful …

Every autumn, I look forward to seeing the gorgeous seedheads of the Clematis tangutica vineOldmen1. They are a wonderful sight through the winter and into the early spring. Whenever I look at them, I am reminded of a poem by William Butler Yeats entitled, 'The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water'.

Ever since I first came across this poem, these words have stayed with me.

I heard the old, old men say,
'Everything alters,
And one by one we drop away.'

They had hands like claws, and their knees
Were twisted like the old thorn-trees
By the waters.

I heard the old, old men say,
'All that's beautiful drifts away
Like the waters.'

Have a good weekend to everyone who stops by!

The magical life of flowers

What I love so much about growing flowers is the way that they constantly surprise us. I've never had much luck growing annual Sweet Peas, although that hasn't stopped me from trying.Poissenteur3 A few days ago, I wandered out in the back garden to see if anything was still alive after the 17 cm (7 some inches) of snow had melted. 

Imagine my surprise finding splashes of red peeking out from the Clematis vines. I couldn't believe it and ran inside to grab my camera. It was as I needed some concrete proof that my eyes weren't deceiving me. And they weren't — here's a photograph of one of the blooms. Delphy1

I was also amazed to find a Delphinium lying on the ground amid the remnants of the snow. Why both of these flowers wereeven in bloom continues to mystify me- it's not exactly their usual blooming time.

It's magical, I say.  

Where I played …

  It's Canadian Thanksgiving here today, although it feels more like a winter holiday. Snow2 017Yesterday we had a big snowstorm and woke this morning to 17 cm of snow.

My son's papa is here this weekend and so I am staying at my parent's place. I took this photograph of the playhouse we had as children. It now serves as a storage shed, but it still brings back many childhood memories.

It's hard to believe that I was wearing shorts last week and had a sensation that summer was still with us. Today I feel as if we are in the middle of winter. It's a sunny and still day and quite beautiful outside. There is much to be thankful for. My son's sixteenth birthday is today and I am so thankful to have him in my life.

My apologies for not blogging recently and visiting blogs. I am going to spend this coming week catching up …

Some joys of summer

After the wind died down this evening, I sat out in the back garden and found myself thinking about the many wonderful things that have come to pass this summer. The garden has been spectacular all summer long and continues to fill me with happiness. New blooms appear daily, keeping my senses awash in colour and in scent. One of the good things about preparing for a garden tour is that one can spend far more time relaxing in the garden afterwards. All of those niggling garden jobs were done and now it is just maintenance until fall.

When evening comes, the Japanese solar lanterns create such an ambience that it makes it pleasurable to sit for hours and visit or read or, as tonight, just spend some quiet time lost in my thoughts. (I have Robin, of Bumblebee Garden to thank for putting me onto these lanterns. Thanks, Robin!!) I also have Rox,  who we dubbed my garden lighting consultant, to thank for putting up some of the lanterns in places I couldn’t reach. He joked that the only reason I was friends with him was because he owned an eight-foot ladder. Not true – we’ve enjoyed many a glass of wine in the back garden this summer.

Several family visited this summer and I have many good memories of these visits – they often involved sitting in the garden. My friends regularly visited and sat in the back garden on hot sunny days and evenings and there was much laughter and fun.

I’ve also discovered my love of photographing the flowers in the garden. I sometimes wonder if the flowers enjoy all the attention or are they silently thinking, ‘Enough, already’? ‘My blogging has taken a backseat while I take endless photographs, learning more about my camera and becoming familiar with Flickr. I’ve made many new friends at Flickr and have loved getting to know the many generous and thoughtful people there.

This summer, I’ve been especially thrilled as my new daylilies and lilies bloomed.Hemerocaliis 'Purple waters'

If I had a bigger garden, I can see adding many more of each to the garden.I realise how much I’ve gained from reading the blogs of all my blogging friends. Not only have I benefited from all the collective wisdom and advice about growing and tending plants, but also I’ve read many thoughtful and inspiring posts that has given my life an added depth and richness. Nourishment for my soul through all seasons …

This post is for you, Ellen, of the entertaining, thought-provoking and eminently readable blog, Our Friend Ben. Ellen’s blog is well worth visiting. I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did. Thank you, Ellen, for nudging me gently back into the blogging world.