Monday, May 30, 2022

The Garden

Mrs. F.G. has been out in the garden hour after hour, day after day.  She grew what seem like thousands of plants from seed and bought more from nurseries.  It's been a LOT of work!  But the garden is looking great!  And things are all growing fast now.  I so enjoy getting out there on our deck and patio and inspecting all the plants put in over the past two years.  

There always seem to be a poppy, or two, or three, in bloom.

And the patch of bright yellow Leopard's Bane is the brightest spot in the garden just now.

We have several beautiful plants of Solomon's Seal.

And of course the veggies are growing, some of the smaller and faster growers are ready to eat already  We're having this lettuce in salads, and I had two nice radishes for lunch today.

The veggies planted in the new circular raised beds, fenced to keep the rabbits at bay, are doing well.  These are peas and bok choy.

There are of course a few weeds.  This is one of the prettier ones which even Mrs. F.G. tolerates, with its tiny pink bloom.  This is Herb Robert, a wild member of the geranium family, and commonly found all along the Niagara Escarpment here.

But my favourite at the moment is this one plant we know as Manitoulin Daisy.  We bought it in a nursery, but it's actually a fairly rare flower that grows on the limestone barrens of Manitoulin Island, where we've spent time in the past.  The flower reminds me of those wonderful years.

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Lilac Trail

 On Monday the sun was out and we decided to make our almost annual visit to the Lilac Trail running east of Craigleith.  This is a stretch of the Georgian Trail, formerly the Northern Railway, which brought skiers to the foot of the Blue Mountain in years gone by.  Today it's bordered by lovely Lilacs for 300 yards and many people come to view them every spring at this time.

But it's the fragrnace that provides the most punch.  Sorry it's impossible to reproduce in a blog post!

There are a raft of both white and light mauve bushes.

This is the trail, bordered by Lilacs and plenty wide enough for both wheelchairs and cyclists, of which there were many.  By the way, did you know that bells are required by law in Ontario, and they must be sounded to warn pedestrians and others (including wheelchair users!)?  This is one of those laws that very few people seem to be aware of, let alone adhere to!

The trail is right beside Georgian Bay, with only a short beach and the highway between you and the water.  There's one short gap where you can get a view.

Sadly Garlic Mustard is spreading down the ditch.  I remember spotting just a few plants of it on a past visit; now it extends down 100 yards of the ditch.

It's hard to get close enough to get close-up shots, but the Lilacs look great against the blue sky.

There just one spot on the narrow trail out to the parking where I could get close.

And just to celebrate the occasion, here you are with a picture of me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Driving to Clarksburg

On the way to see all those apple blossoms I posted pictures of the other day, we noticed a few other things of interest, so here they are.

Maybe our timing has just been off in the past, but for the first time we saw beehives at the edge of the big Red Prince orchard.  There were several of them, spaced out along the side of the huge high density planting.

Just as you enter Clarksburg there is a small park at the river's edge.  I suspect it's mainly a fishing access, but we pulled in and tried a few shots of the Beaver 'river through the trees.

I grabbed a shot as we crossed the bridge and then we pulled in to get another almost identical shot, right beside two plaques which I've never particularly noticed before.  I learned a little history!

This is the historic Black Bridge.  I didn't even know it had a name.  Built in 1923, it's called a bowstring or rainbow arch bridge, and was a common design after 1900.  The overhead arch supports are relatively rare.  Such bridges are increasingly rare, in part because traffic has increased wear and tear.  Starting in 2017 this bridge was rehabilitated and a sidewalk on one side was added.  I'm glad they repaired it rather than replacing it.

I have been unable to find any information on the name, but all the worthy local councilors who were in office at the time of the original construction, the 1990 repair and the recent rehabilitation are listed. There is no plaque giving any history. 

And I'll leave you with this beautiful field of bright yellow Dandelions.  The bees must be happy!


Sunday, May 22, 2022


Seven years ago now we learned that our son William had been killed on this day while flying his water bomber fighting a forest fire in northern Alberta.  It never gets any easier.  But the famous poem 'High Flight' which I first read a few days after he died is how I remember Will.  He followed his dreams, and "slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings"

'High Flight'
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high unsurpassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee

Friday, May 20, 2022

It's Apple Blossom Time!

As you know there are a lot of apple orchards around Meaford and Clarksburg.  This is the top apple growing area in Ontario.  Well, it's time for those trees to bloom, and when you are there at the right time, the blossoms are wonderful!  Warning - too many pictures!

Apple blossoms emerge on different varieties of trees at different times, so it takes some time to find a tree like this in full bloom.  It's actually difficult to find a tree that you can drive up beside for pictures like this.  This one was beside the parking lot at Grandma Lambe's.

We were headed to Clarksburg to order some mulch, and we knew we'd be going past the big high density plantings of Red Prince apples.  But we spotted this older orchard with beautiful blooms as we were coming down Frogs Hollow Road,  It was exceptional.

In fact we were a little disappointed in the high density Red Prince orchards, and it's a different pattern of blossoms on all the small trees.

But on the way back to Meaford we pulled into Grandma Lambe's and were able to pull right up to this tree, obviously a very old tree that's been pruned heavily over the years.

The blossoms are certainly beautiful.

The bark on an old tree like this one is very scaly, and as you can see it's a big branch.

Then on the way home from physio by the back roads a day later, Mrs. F.G. spotted this patch of white on a distant hillside.  We had to go and check it out.

We drove down Grey Road 12 past the 'Canada' barn (you can even pick it out on Google Maps), and turned onto Sideroad 7.  We have been here before.

The sight of the blooming apple trees in the distance is tantalizing.

These again are older trees, all in full bloom.  We have concluded that the older trees in their widely-spaced style of orchard, actually provide a better blossom show - if you're there at the right time.

Unfortunately this orchard looked like it had not been pruned recently, with all the new stems growing straight up.  Perhaps a farm family is getting older and unable to do the work, with no successor, and unable to afford the enormous investment it takes to plant a high density orchard.  We hope we won't lose this spot to see apples blossoming.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Garden Update

Sorry for the slow posting recently, but our lives have been very busy!  We've had an upheaval in caregiving, for the better in the long run we hope!  In the nice weather of last week I was out every day, and I'm way behind on posting my photos.  In the meantime our garden has been exploding into growth, so here's an update.

The first of our small poppies bloomed bright yellow.

We have a magnificent white Bleeding-heart right at the front door,

And three dwarf Yellow Iris absolutely filled with blooms along the front sidewalk.

The hostas have been coming up fast, leaves still mostly curled up, and just beyond this one a pink Bleeding-heart.  Compare this one, growing in the shade, with the white one abovew, growing in full sun and both planted 4 years ago.

One of the treasures of the garden is the Fernleaf Peony, brought from our last home.  Here its beautiful dark red blooms sit behind a couple of the remaining Daffodils in bloom.

Among my personal favourites are the ferns, here the fresh fronds of the Christmas Fern unfolding.

Finally we are very pleased to see our Redbud in bloom!  Redbud is a small tree common much further south; we saw many of them on our trip to the Great Smokies a few years ago.  This was a tiny seedling 12" tall three years ago.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Spring Wildflowers, Part 2

It's the Trilliums we all look forward to here in Ontario, but they're actually among the last of the spring wildflowers to bloom here.  I doubt they'll be putting on their best display yet, but the way the weather is looking they may well be very soon.  Go out in a week or two and you'll see lots of them, as long as you know the right place to go!

Let me speak to that first.  The single best spot for finding a wide variety of spring wildflowers in the Beaver Valley is the Mac Kirk Side Trail  up on Old Baldy, the rocky cliff overlooking the village of Kimberley.  This is a wildflower walk I led there a few years back.
I should say before I forget, there are lots of less conspicuous spring wildflowers that I'm not covering here, including numerous different tiny wild violets like this white one.

The Wild Ginger is a flower many would miss, because it lies flat on the ground underneath these large green furry leaves, and it's reddish-brown so it doesn't stand out.

The Bellwort has a soft yellow flower that dangles below the leaves.

And there's the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, the unusual flower followed later by a cluster of bright red berries.

The Red Trillium emerges a little before the White Trillium here, and if you can get a picture backlit by the sun the colour is spectacular!

But it's the White Trillium we all wait for, Ontario's official flower, and a large showy bloom to boot.

In the woods behind the Old Baldy cliff is the best display of White Trillium that I know of; there are hundreds of flowers in among the trees and it's just beautiful to see!  Enjoy your walk in the woods!