Thursday, June 26, 2008

Squishing Aphids

This is H.R. Mount Fuji-Toad (don't ask)
He(?) is the latest addition to the aphid/mosquito eating gold fish

I 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 Rescue
I 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 Brae

This 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 sundeck
the 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.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Mighty Saskatoon - Notorious & Nutritious

Kwakwaka’wakw Pole Carvings
Carver: Tony Hunt

Native Plant Wisdom
The 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 reinforcements

Saskatoon Berry in flower at the Garden Brae
Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia)
AKA: Serviceberry, Juneberry, Amelanchier (French) and Shadbush

Resembles 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 them

It 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 Museum

I took these pics at Thunderbird Park

Thunderbird is traditionally carved
with outstretched wings, curved horns and a face in its chest.

Totem Poles

The figures on totem poles are crests that proclaim
ancestry, 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 house
Frontal Poles stand against the front of the house and usually contain the house’s doorway
Memorial 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 remains
Welcome Figures greet visitors to a chief’s territory and traditionally stood on the beach facing out to sea so they could welcome people
who arrived by canoe

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shiver Me Timbers

Sunny but windy - very windy

then 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 Hands

Quotes 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 Timbers

praying for nice weather

Sea Planes and Little Harbour Ferries not bothered by the gusty breezes

Cruise ships coming and going as quickly as the clouds

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's A Question of Beauty

Slug - My Garden

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

Calypso Orchid - Mill Hill

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

Trillium - Mill Hill

Apple Blossom - Glendale Gardens

Beauty is not caused. It is.

- Emily Dickinson

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Good, The Bad And the Novelty

The Good, The Bad And the Novelty

Some may think frilly tulips are gilding the lily at best
or in bad taste at worst

These frilly tulips conjure up images of toasted coconut on sickly sweet coconut cream pies

bringing a little kid-like joy and playful fun into the garden

Here 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.

elty is an essential attribute of the beautiful
- Benjamin Disraeli

Novelty 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.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beauty Is The Beast

Beauty Is The Beast At The Ugly Garden Feast

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

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."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gossamer and a Llama in the Larkspur


Weeding got too warm today so we wandered up the hill just beyond our little Garden Brae

Oberon lay down in the meadow in an area flattened by deer

The crazy ultra blue of the larkspur (delphiniums) was almost unnatural

I lay down inside a moss covered crevice under a canopy thick with the gossamer of webs

and lazily watched a spider

When 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 palace

Lo and behold I hadn't gone bonkers
There it was - a very real Llama coming down the hill

No, 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