Monday, May 23, 2016

May 2-4 Weekend

It was a lovely weekend, thank god, so we managed to get a lot of gardening done.  We went to our favourite Greenhouse, Belgian Nursery, on Saturday and bought our plants and seeds (we had bought some vegetable plants at the local farmer's market earlier in the day). It was busy with fellow enthusiastic gardeners, but the check-out wasn't too bad, all things considered.

So much to choose from
Ready to go!

A very special Primula
Of course, Belgian Nursery always has a great selection of cacti and succulents, so I can never resist getting a couple of new plants for the house!

Crassula muscosa

Rhipsalis cereuscula

A friend very kindly offered a small corner of her family vegetable plot, so that we could grow some food.  We have a backyard full of Walnut trees, so it's impossible to do it on our own property. They are an Italian family who have been growing their own for many years, so the soil was beautiful to work with.  On the Saturday, we planted tomato, basil, hot pepper and kale plants, and beet (two kinds), radish and daikon seeds. Fingers crossed with the crops.

The trunk is filled with our supplies
Watered in
Come Sunday, we were ready to tackle our own garden.  We only bought a few perennials, as our garden is quite packed out , as it is. We found a very interesting Primula (see above) and a Japanese painted fern plus a couple of succulents for the rockery and boulevard (Corsican Stonecrop or Sedum dasyphyllum 'Major' and Blue Spruce Stonecrop or Sedum rupestre).

Sedum dasyphyllum
Sedum rupestre
In addition, and most importantly in terms of summer colour, we did our planters. We didn't have to go as crazy as other years because we kept a lot of plants and cuttings in the greenhouse over the winter. We did buy a large hanging basket for the front deck, large and small Marigolds, Portulaca, Browalia, and Geraniums with very colourful leaves. It was a beautiful, sunny day to do it, but we were both wiped out by the end of it - it's been a while since we've had to do that much bending!

Morning planting
Afternoon planting (note the hat!)
Upper deck

Friday, May 20, 2016

May 2-4 Weekend approaches...

About a month ago, the back garden looked like this. Most of the colour came from bulbs, and some early spring plants.


Mini Daffodils


Crocus macro
A few weeks later, the garden was much greener, and some other favourites had made themselves known.



Forget-me-nots and Epimedium

Cut Tulips in front of painting

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


Sometimes I get very frustrated with technology. When it works, it's a dream, but when it doesn't, it can be a nightmare. This was no nightmare, just an irritatingly bad dream. My "cloud" wasn't properly transferring images between devices, so I missed posting the following...

Was walking home from the gym one early evening, when it started to snow. This little shortcut looked inviting. The accumulation on the bench reminded me of pillows and I was mesmerized by the falling snow under the lamplight.

Closer to downtown, I passed under the train bridge, by the market building. The plows had dealt with the roads, but the sidewalks were still covered. Two other trudgers were ahead, on the other side. The light, again, made it almost cozy.

Underbridge noir
The same shot as above, but black and white, which gave it a somewhat more sinister tone.

Hidden courtyard
When I went exploring downtown stores this past Sunday, I checked out an upstairs vintage store that I had not yet visited. I came out into an interior courtyard that I had forgotten even existed. It looked like something out of the eighties, which was probably the last time I had been here. Lots of lines to entertain my eyes.


The Old City Hall building reflected in the window of Acker's furniture store on Carden Street. I like the superimposition of the CLEARANCE sign on the stone building, and the car reflections interspersed with the store interior. The red bowls are amusingly reflected onto the pedestrian entering from the right.

Our Glorious Dead

This war memorial is just beside the train station. Black and white makes it more sombre. I like how the cross in the foreground is repeated, on a smaller scale, in the background.

Avian shelter

The wing-like top of one of the bus shelters, with a security camera-head!

Colourful Commerce
Always liked the barn-like look of the distant red brick building. Pumped up the colour of it and the plastic bins in the foreground.


Graffiti on the back of a red brick building that overlooks the Speed River pedestrian trail. I was always an admirer of the blue Che, but  LOVESiCK is a great new contrast and addition, especially with Valentine's Day approaching.

North on Bay

Taken from the 19th floor of the PGCRL, looking north. The sun had just risen, so there's some early morning golden light in there amongst the cold, shiny blue.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Recent activity

Hot and Cold 
This photo was taken one cold but sunny morning from the 19th floor of the building I work in. It's looking south and east at sunrise. The cold created a lot of steam from the roofs of the surrounding buildings, which lit up nicely in the morning's first light.

A Place for everything...
Another Toronto shot from up on high, but this time looking north. Am always intrigued by the changing of everyday objects that we don't always notice until they start to disappear.

Reflections over Bay
It was morning, but still dark outside. A fresh dusting of snow on the city streets helped illuminate the scene. I was having my ritual tea and oatmeal before starting work and looking out over the cityscape. I liked how the window directly in front of me reflected the table and chairs behind me, while the exterior of the building reflected the structures facing it. The dark vertical line is a window washer's rope.

Monochromatic texture
Taken today, in the backyard, when we had some sunshine on this unusually mild winter's day. It's now raining! The neighbour's fence cast a long shadow across the snow and part-way up the bark of the Black Walnut. The foreground, slender bark creates a nice contrast.

The Second Coming
Actually, the second flowering of my yellow Christmas Cactus. This is a favourite because the yellow ones are harder to find. I also have orange, purple, white and red ones but this is the only one in flower right now. Love the contrasting pink pistil.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell 2015!

We have had something of a quiet Christmas break, but have both enjoyed the peace and relaxation. We were starting to crawl the walls though, as we had been spending a lot of time watching Netflix and iTunes shows and movies, and invitations to friends' were few and far between.  So, today we headed out in the car down to the RBG in Burlington/Hamilton.  It was a grey day and we thought the proximity of plants would be uplifting. We toured the Mediterranean gardens and the following are a few pictures that I thought would be worth sharing. Happy New Year!

Red Berries

White flowers ready to bloom

Koi pond

Bird of Paradise

Aloe flowers

Ready to bloom

Fuzzy Succulent

Barbed stem

Orchid macro1

Orchid macro2

Friday, October 09, 2015

Ottawa Visit

Antique store window
Last weekend, we took a four day break to go to Ottawa.  We were going to visit my dad, just outside of Ottawa, on the Friday, but he had the flu unfortunately.  We decided to go ahead with our mini-vacation as we both needed the time away. The weather was mostly pleasant, although there was quite a cold wind coming off the Ottawa River - we counteracted that with eating out and going for long walks.  We had some memorable meals ,especially at Beckta and Town, both on Elgin Street.  We also checked out the Antique area on lower Bank Street and the Glebe, just further north from there.  No Museums this time around, as we wanted to be outside as much as possible. Here are some of the better pictures from that trip...

War Memorial
Rideau Canal Still Life
Chateau Laurier Reflection on the Rideau
Above and Below
Elgin Street at night
Architectural spine
National Gallery
Rideau Canal colours
Rideau Canal in action
Backlit Parliament building
Oh Canada!
Under construction
Pagoda detail
Sun lamp
Heading home
Sun and clouds through my sunglasses