Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Few Late Summer Flowers

 A lovely soft round seed head on a wild prickly lettuce.

 I know goldenrod is just a weed, but it is such a lovely rich yellow.  I always enjoy it at the end of the summer.
I have a few phlox but I particularly like this one in bright bubblegum pink.  I was disappointed that some nice ones I had in my planting near the road got, I think, hit with herbicide which may have come off a tractor that went by repeatedly on a hot, windy day.  Perhaps some herbicide was on the wheels and, in the heat, it was vaporizing and then settling on the plants.  Anyway, I lost several plants.  The hostas and daylilies were OK, but some astilbes, bellflower, aster, beebalm, and a few others also died.  Oh well, gardening is always about change.

 A pale pink physostegia. 

 A rudbeckia laciniata.  I was very happy to see this guy back. A couple of years ago a rabbit ate most of it and, for some reason, last year it didn't bloom either.  I like it because it is very tall and doesn't get outsized by the surrounding asters. It's also a vibrant yellow.  According to pictures on the internet, it could potentially turn into a good sized clump.
 I'm a big fan of coleus and my shady property is great in terms of the right light requirements for it to thrive, but it is susceptible to viruses and/or blights.  This year, though, because it has been so dry, the coleus has grown really well.  Something early in the season ate a circle around a couple of the stems but  I just broke off the stems above the chew and stuck them in the soil.  I watered them in, and soon they had rooted and grew as if nothing had happened to them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Voyageur Provincial Park

 We decided to have a picnic at a nearby provincial park on the shore of the Ottawa River.  It was quite windy and the waves lapping the shore made a pleasant beachy sound. There is a sandy beach in another part of the park with some roped off swimming areas. But it was quite chilly when we were there so we didn't go into the water.
 The park is on the Ontario side.  The blue hills in the distance are in Quebec.
In the early 1960's, a hydroelectric dam was built downstream which widened this part of the river and formed some shallower inlets of water.  The park is situated on one of the inlets where the current isn't as strong as in the middle of the river.

 We started on a nature trail through the forested part of the park.  The remains of an old stone fence mark the beginning of the trail.
We hadn't gone too far though when we were stopped by a large puddle with no easy way around it.  We had a very dry spring and summer, but during the last two weeks we have had about 7" of rain . Oh well, we can come back on a drier day and do the walk in the woods.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fair Day

 We recently went to the Williamstown Fair and, as always, there was lots to see.  This handsome fellow is a Royal Palm turkey.  He was very full of himself and spent the whole time strutting around crowing. 
 A couple of sweet ponies wait to give rides to the wee-ones.  Perhaps that's a rider to the right of the photo.
A woman weaves a beautiful fine piece of cloth.
 Ponies lined up for the final judging of their class.
 I was pleased to see that our township is equipped to handle just about any emergency.  This off-road vehicle has a stretcher, a chainsaw, rope, a generator, and who knows what else.
 It was a beautiful sunny day, just right for people of all ages.
This team of oxen comes from Upper Canada Village, a  historical recreation of a town from the 1800's. Someone always wants to chat with the friendly driver.
A Clydesdale watching the people go by. 
 The dog agility class is always lots of fun to watch especially when the puppies are giving it a go.  This young dog is doing well going through the tire but...
then he saw a grasshopper, and it was game over.
The fair had lots more to see and do: a variety of food vendors, cow show, petting zoo, Western horse show, craft and baking exhibits, art and photography exhibits, chili bake-off, vegetable and flowers classes, music, beach volley-ball, old steam machinery.  The list just goes on and on.  A fabulous feat of organizing by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Clouds

 Some interesting clouds I saw the other day.

 My husband saw a ghost with his arms in the air  in the shape on the left side, and I saw a little dog just to the right of centre.

For everybody who is finding it hot these days, here is a cloud picture that looks like snow.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Orange Lilies

The wild ditch lilies are blooming. Technically, they aren't wild.  They were brought over from Europe , but now they have naturalized.  

 Many people have a patch of them as a garden flower, though, as they are really very attractive and virtually indestructible.  They just glow in the sun.

This is a  native Black-eyed Susan.  Although it looks like the Rudbeckia hirta, it is a different plant with fuzzy leaves and a flatter center to the flower. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Microwave Flower Press

 I have been drying some flowers with my microwave flower press that I bought from Lee Valley a number of years ago.  It is a fantastic way to dry flowers. The pansies dry in 3 minutes at 30% power.   The flowers retain their colours really well with this method, and you don't have to wait for weeks for the flowers to dry in an old book.
The press is made of two clay tiles ( mine are 6" square), two half-inch thick felt pads and two pieces of white cotton fabric that the flowers go on. The moisture from the flowers is wicked away by the felt and comes out through the holes in the clay.  The clay tiles also moderate the temperature so that the flowers dry evenly.
It takes a bit of experimenting to get the times right for different flowers and leaves (plants with oil in them burn easily), but the microwave press is a great way to dry plants.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Big Rock

Near my mother's home in Morin Heights is a big rocky outcropping that, as kids, we aptly named The Big Rock. It made a great place for a picnic.
 It is possible to climb the face of it as it has little ledges that act as steps.

Lichens and mosses grow on the rough rock.

This moss, which grows 1-2 inches high, looks like miniature fir trees.

At the top of the outcropping, two big humps of rock stick out, with a flat mossy section in the middle.  It's a good place to have a sit down and enjoy the setting. Sitting on a great hunk of stone is always good for the soul.

 A wooded trail that gradually ascends from the back to the top of the rock provides an easier way to access the view. This photo makes the rock look quite short, but the first photo looking down gives a better perspective of the height of it.