Friday, July 10, 2020

More from the Garden

We've got a lot of flowers in the garden beyond yesterday's Crocosmia.  In fact when I look around at other gardens I end up concluding that we have more interesting types of plants than anyone else.  That's not to say that there aren't other very nice gardens, but Mrs. F.G.'s knowledge of plants has brought us a lot of interesting flowers and a very diverse, eclectic garden!

Our Nasturtiums are finally in bloom, and this one, right beside my morning coffee spot, just glows in the morning sun.  I sit in the shade of the house though; I don't need to glow in the sun!

We have a nice pot of Lavender which I love.  While in England once we came over a hill in the Cotswolds and there in front of us was an entire field of Lavender in full bloom!  One of my favourite photographic memories,

Valerian was one of the best flowers for flies, bees and butterflies in our previous garden, and it's also beautifully fragrant.  Every summer I could count on some good pictures when the Valerian was in bloom.
An example from five years ago, one of the Hairstreak butterflies.

Even our tiny Lemon Thyme is currently in bloom.

The unusual flowers of one of our succulents.

Two of our tall Allium flowerheads are still standing, drying out and forming seeds.

This last series of the three photos below is courtesy of the budding photographer, Mrs. F.G.  She claims it was just the camera, my iphone, but I think these are spectacular.

Which of the three do you prefer?

The sun is shining brightly outside the window now, but we've had two brief thunderstorms in the past couple of hours.  These are just pop-up storms arising out if our excessive heat over the past week.  The rain is VERY welcome!

Hope those of you who go south to avoid our refreshing winters are enjoying this heat!!

Thursday, July 9, 2020


I think my favourite flower of the summer is Crocosmia.  Brilliant red usually, though there's also an orange variety, they are members of the Iris family and native to South Africa.  They grow from corms, which are like bulbs, so they're easy to plant and care for.  If they're winter-hardy here, they'll be fine wherever you are!

We got our first bloom a few days ago, right beside the front door.
They really are striking, and provide a dramatic highlight for the garden, particularly if there are no Day Lilies competing for attention nearby.

 Very quickly the other stems of buds were opening up.  Did you notice the other two stems of buds in the background?

The individual flowers open from the base of each inflorescence of 20 or more blooms.

When the buds are just beginning to form, the inflorescence looks entirely green and very small.  There are actually three here.

They soon spread out, swell and turn partly red.

So next time you feel the need for some summer highlights in your garden, or the next time you want to try something new and different, try some Crocosmia.  They're very easy to grow and brilliant when in bloom.

The stifling hot weather is continuing here, forcing me to change my routine and go for rides in the morning.  It's all so different 'cause those patches of shade are on the other side of the street!  For farmers it's becoming a serious drought.  Hope you're getting more reasonable weather where you are, and I hope that climate change doesn't just mean weather will get more extreme in all directions! 

Did you see that hail storm in Calgary in mid-June that turned into the 4th deadliest disaster in Canadian history?  Makes you wonder what's coming next.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Riding Around - Noble Street

My second route for a ride follows Noble Street for about 7 blocks and back, a little shorter than Nelson West which is the equivalent of about 9 blocks and back.  But the roads along Noble Street are in much better condition; there's even a stretch of sidewalk that is smooth enough to ride! 

Noble Street comes to a dead end corner at each end so it's definitely not a through street and it has very little traffic,

 This beautiful bluish/purple Clematis was in full bloom two weeks ago.

And for any of you botanists in the crowd here's a picture of the Linear-leaved Plantain showing the rosette of linear leaves at the base of the plant.

I stopped at this house last year to see the Milkweed, but then I noticed that they have a Tulip Tree!  Or rather a multi-stemmed Tulip shrub.

The Milkweed have certainly come into bloom with all our warm sunny weather.  They were just buzzing with bees and I'll be going back to get lots more pictures.

True to form the Monarchs have shown up, just as the Milkweed are blooming.  Yesterday two of them visited our own Milkweed plants, even though the blooms haven't opened uet.  As you can see I wasn't quite fast enough with my camera!  How do they know and how do they find an isolated five plants in our garden?

As I cross Nelson Street I get a glimpse of Georgian Bay far below.  This is the first sailboat I've seen this year.

A couple of houses have some interesting exterior decorations.  Nice I think, if you don't overdo it.

And at the farthest end of the street where my friends live are the first Day Lilies I've seen other than the orange 'Ditch' Lilies.   Some nice yellow ones here.

As I mentioned yesterday, I stop in the shade of each big Maple for a brief cool-down.  Amazing how well that works.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Riding Around - Nelson Street West

Since I ride the same two roads all the time I'm always looking for photos to take.  My photographs are nothing like they once were, but I still enjoy it.  Recently I've been trying hard to open my photograpic eye more deliberately and seek out those little things to share.

I usually head down into the cul-de-sac first, and check out the progress on the last few houses.  This is a small company, so they're usually only building one home at a time.  This certainly isn't roofing as I remember it, when you had to carry the shingles up while climbing a ladder.  Here they've got a boom truck!  Too easy.

Beside that house the big digger arrived one day and scooped out the soil where the driveway will go on the next lot.  That's the very first step toward construction.

Nelson Street West has a few spots that aren't manicured where the weeds and grasses are allowed to grow - the most interesting spots along the entire street if you ask me.  I'm waiting for this big thistle to bloom.  Perhaps the most common weed of all is the Linear-leaved Plantain, mostly not noticed because it's all green.  It even comes up in lawns that aren't mown too often, sometimes quite thickly.  But for a week or tow a tall stem shoots up with infinitely small white flowers.  Those are not the leaves of the plant; I'll try to find a good picture that shows them.

I also pass the home I call the decorated house, decorated with all manner of things.  The lady was out in the front yard and I said hello and we had a nice chat.  She's been sewing during the lockdown and now has a variety of masks for sale.

This is just one of the many decorations in their yard.  Cute, don't you think.

I've been so desperate for things to photograph I've started to try and identify grasses!  If I'm correct the one on the left is Smooth Bromegrass and that on the right is Orchard Grass.

This is Timothy, popular with the cattle in the pasture or in hay.  I'm crediting 'Pasture Grasses Identified', a publication of the Ontario Ministry or Agricultue and Food for what I've learned, and hope I've interpreted the diagrams correctly.  I found it impossible to get a really clear picture of this one.

This patch of purple Vetch struck my eye.  But it's been mowed down since.

I thought I might write a post just about trees and the shade they provide, for on the hot days I've been riding quickly from one patch of shade to the next, and stopping to enjoy the breeze.  Yes, the breeze.  Not only do big deciduous trees create shade, there actually seems to be a bit of a breeze under the trees, definitely cooler than the long stretches of hot sun.

On the way home I ride around this corner.  The Bird's-foot Trefoil is growing well, and starting to spill over the edge of the curb.  Almost all the roads on this route have no sidewalks, so I'm riding on the side of the road.  Mind you, they don't have much traffic either.

Monday, July 6, 2020

An Unknown Fragrant Shrub and First Beans

After checking out the new patios yesterday, I moved over to the drug store to pick up a couple of prescriptions and some sunscreen.  Do you know where you get a sunburn while in a wheelchair - on your knees!  Then I headed back toward the long bumpy hill.

I was really surprised to see this purple shrub in a front yard, that is it has purple leaves, not purple flowers.  Looking it up I think this must be a Black Elderberry, a shrub I don`t remember seeing before.

I see these white, sometimes tinged with pink Bindwwed flowers many places just now, spreading through the grass.  A bit of garbage washed down the hill too.  It`s a vine and it often climbs up other plants like tall grasses.  But it`s VERY difficult to get rid of in youir garden as it has such a hardy and widespread root system.

Just up from the downtown street is this sign sitting on a vacant lot and now looking very overgrown.  It`s been there as long as I can remember.  This illustrates one of the challenges of small towns, keeping a level of economic activity to support the community.

And right beside this sign is this very fragrant shrub, the kind of fragrance where you can`t help but notice and stop to check it out.  But this is the unknown shrub for me.  It smells like Lilacs, and the small blooms are somewhat similar.  However the small leaves are not at all similar.  Any suggestions welcome.  [Thanks to a comment from Rose, below, I think this is a Tea Olive, one of the many species of Osmanthus]

This front door and flag struck me as a good colour combination.

I`ve never seen a blue Canadian flag before though.

 After I struggled up the bumpy sidewalk on the hill I come to this interesting house.  The shrubs looks very overgrown but it`s the architecture that interests me.  I wrote a post on Gothic Revival Cottages a month ago, and this house has many of the same features.   Notice the dormer in the attic, the decorative finial at the top of the roof, and the gingerboard under the eaves and at the top of the porch posts.  If you look closely you`ll see the small door opening onto a small upper porch with a tiny triangular window above.  These features are repeated on thousands of homes across southern Ontario built in the late 19th century.

This little fellow sits around the first corner when I go on my rides.

And here at home we`ve just picked our first few yellow beans.  With a few more in a couple of days this will make a great first feed of our own beans!  Lots more to come.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Ride Downtown!

I got out for my first ride downtown this morning, since early March when we stopped our coffee group and stopped going to church.  It's a big adjustment starting this after the lockdown!  I went in the morning when it was still relatively cool. 

I was delighted to see the first Chicory blooms as I rode down the big hill on Nelson Street.  Chicory only looks like this with bright blue wide-open blooms for a few hours in the morning, but I'm usually out in the afternoon.

There are six old churches downtown.  This one has the easily recognizable architecture of churches in the late 19th century.  It was built as a Presbyterian church, but purchased in 1938 and became a Pentacostal Tabernacle.

Across the street is the former Knox Presbyterian Church, now recreated into apartments.  This is the church we attend but in a new totally accessible building at the edge of town.

Since restaurants here can only open outdoor patios, I had heard that part of the parking in this block had been blocked off to enable that.  This patio looks very nice, fenced off from the traffic beside you and with a wheelchair accessible ramp! 

My favourite coffee shop has a nice looking patio, but it's not accessible!  You can see the concrete barriers behind the railing.

Across the street is Meaford Hall, also shown in the photo above.  Usually the popular site of local concerts, it's been quiet now for 3 months.

But the big red chair is still there.  I was glad to finally get downtown again, the first time I've ridden downtown myself since last October.  It was like a new adventure!