06 October 2015

My Most Adored Maples

I'm certain autumn has arrived early this year as indicated by the early change of leaf colour in the local landscape.  Ash, poplar, maples all began turning colour the end of August, early September.  Now, it is early October and the maples along 97th street, which were in full astounding pigmentations of reds and oranges just two weeks ago, are now almost barren of foliage.  To blame is the weather.  This summer was a season of drought, thus plants in the region are stressed.  Then we had a storm last Friday and Saturday which brought wind and rain to continue the defoliation process.  Luckily, my daughter and I visited the famous stretch of maples a couple weeks ago.  Here are some of my most adored.

Is there a season more colourful, more crisp, more invigorating?  I doubt it. Cheers to fall!

30 September 2015

Keep Your Garden Fresh with Autumn Blooms

It's something we, as gardeners, sometimes forget.  We are so excited to see spring and summer blooming flowers that we can overlook autumn bloomers.  Is it that we are then tired, just as those annuals that linger but look distraught after a hot summer?  Do we forget our love of gardening as life gets busy, school is back in and vacation is over?  I know some days I look at my planters, the annuals drooping and withered, blooms spent; and I want to yank out the spent annuals and just be done with it.  That is until I go to the garden centre again or visit a botanical garden.   Then the yearn for gardening is renewed.  I've got something up my sleeve for winter.  Just wait and see! ;)

Well, in case this describes you too, here's some inspiration to remind you gardening season doesn't have to be over.    

Clockwise from upper left:  Echinacea, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia possibly "Goldsturm' variety (perennial brown-eyed Susan), annual garden mum, a mixed bed of Rudbeckia, possibly Goldsturm and Autumn Colours.  Some of the above photos were taken on the grounds of the Muttart Conservatory, others at a local greenhouse and my garden.

Perennials from left to right:  Stonecrop/sedum Autumn Joy, Aconitum (Monkshood), Toad Lily

Left to right above:  Sunflowers, Shasta Daisy, and container of succulents.

And don't forget the flowering kales:

What do you do in the garden at the end of summer?  Do you plant fall blooming annuals?  Change out your pots with kale and mums?  Please share.  I could use some more inspiration.

29 September 2015

Answering the Enticement of Nature

During the last days of summer, I had the distinct urge to be out in nature.  Sure I work outside all day, but I couldn't ask for a better day to remain outdoors.  It was one of those late September evenings where it had warmed up to 20 Celsius and the warmth lingered in the air, though the crispness of an impending fall tinged the atmosphere.  The sun was warm still, a few clouds lingered in the skies and nary a breeze could be felt.  

On my way home, I diverted to Rundle Park, a lovely park featuring wide expanses of nature, fountains, lakes, boat launches, mini-golf, tennis courts, day camping areas, playgrounds, frisbee golf course. There's even a swimming pool in the valley here.  First I visited the recreation area which houses the boat launch and mini-golf course. Circling the pond, I meandered on, breathing the cool air, feeling the crunch of leaves underfoot (though not many).  Still wide expanses of green grass, towering spruce, pine, birch and aspen spread before me.  The evidence of this year's drought was highly visible in the birches and some aspen. Even the spruce had browning.  

It's been a very dry spring and summer here. I'm sure we've set or at least matched records for lack of rainfall.  The city crews have been around painting the pink line of doom for severely stressed and dead trees.  It's sad to see so many but that is the way of nature. Autumn is proving to be wetter than all of summer.  Vancouver, does this sound familiar?

After photographing the fountains and ponds, I drove up the hill to the river where I then walked the Ainsworth Dyer Bridge which spans the Fort Saskatchewan River, connecting Rundle Park with Gold Bar Park on the south side.  I took several photos from this raised vantage point, relishing the quiet as the warmth slowly receded.  What a glorious vantage point!

I'm so glad I took that detour.  It was an incredible little bit of a last hurrah for summer.

Oh, glorious colour!! Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere

At 2:22 am, September 23/15 Autumn Equinox arrived here. Oddly, our first day of autumn was warmer than our last day of summer.  

glorious colour
crunching of leaves
under foot
cozy blankets
soft sweaters
hot chocolate
pumpkin everything
crisp cool air
bluest of skies.  
~SMartin 2015


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