Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer Garden Stories

a theme for summer reading
This summer, I have been working to create small gardens around the parking lots in our apartment complex. Our complex is comprised of several acres with many large fir trees, rhododendrons, and hydrangea bushes. The landscapers are busy cutting lawns, trimming bushes and replacing retaining walls so much of the smaller areas have been neglected.

early garden picture
I am trying to create different garden vignettes in my areas using mostly perennials and
inexpensive annuals. Our complex used to win prizes for the gardens but so many of older people 
are unable to carry on gardening and structural repairs to the buildings have curtailed the budget for the gardeners. I have been buying my own plants and hope to be able to divide them in the spring. We have a green house on the property so seeds are another possibility.

It is amazing how the simple activity of gardening has created a greater sense of community in the
complex. Strangers stop to speak to me as I work. After the disappearance of some plants that I had purchased, an anonymous neighbour left some money under my door. He/she wanted to help to replace the missing plants.

When I worked as a teacher-librarian, my favourite story was Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. I even did a presentation on "the library as a garden" for one of my Library Education classes. Think of the library as a place where there is a book to be "picked" by everyone or a quiet place to be enjoyed by all.

The days are getting noticeably shorter now and the hollyhock flowers have mostly dropped but the sedums are turning red and I planted some hardy chrysanthemums to welcome the cooler weather.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On the Road with Husband and Hound

Tilde and trophies in the doggy yard
At least once a year, my husband and I travel to the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. For the last two years, we have travelled with our mini-dachshund Tilde. We have taken Tilde to Dachshunds on Parade in Ellensburg, Washington.

Dachshunds on Parade is a  sports day for dogs. Not a serious dog show but a chance to meet other dachshunds and their owners. There are costume parades, dog trick contests and fun races. Tilde loves to play soccer and she is a very fast runner. This year, she won a first place trophy for soccer and a second in the running race.
The Paws a While Pet Suites
I have been researching dog-friendly travel. I found Paws a While Pet Suites on a website called bringfido.com. The suites include a unit with a doggie door and a fenced yard, dog treats, a dog wash and a special dog sofa.

wild flowers
We like to stop every hour and a half when we travel with Tilde. Monsieur plays ball and I wander about looking at the various wild flowers blooming at these high altitudes.
taking time
It seems important to take time on a road trip. To notice the flowers, to play with the dog....
Often when Monsieur and I are together, we are busy with our separate interests but our little dog seems to be an interest that we share.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ageless Pursuits, Pollinators and a Visit

a sunny day on campus
For the last few years, in the month of June, Monsieur and I go back to school. For me, I really have hardly left because I was a student, a parent, a teacher and then a retired student of French, Spanish...
The University of British Columbia, which we both attended many years ago, offers a programme called Ageless Pursuits.

The programme is comprised of short non-credit courses on many different topics. The instructors
are members of different faculties and the offerings are diverse. This week, Monsieur and I learned
about the history of rock music and about tyranny, Trump and Plato's Republic. 

The Department of Continuing Studies is facing financial cutbacks this year. I hope that these programmes are not affected. Adults over 65 can often audit university courses at no cost throughout the year but these classes are especially designed to be of interest to older adults.

salvia with bees
I really enjoy the live photo function of my iPhone. You're not able to see all the buzzing bees in this
salvia but it is alive with pollinators. I've been taking bee pictures because Monsieur and I have now
adopted three parking lot gardens in the hope of creating perennial gardens to attract bees and butterflies. Many of the residents of our complex are too old to dig gardens so M. has become the 
"go to man" for that and I like to play with colour so planting and tending are my preferences. 
The gardens at the University are being left more wild so I had plenty of opportunities to see bees and butterflies.
a musical visit
My husband and his friend of many years sing for the residents of the Purdy Extended Care facility at the University. My father lived here for the last year of his life. Dad enjoyed the Friday pub afternoon when Brian (Monsieur) and his friend entertained. Yesterday, I dropped in. The residents have changed but the songs and the smiles are the same. Some of the staff remembered my dad. It is near
Father's Day and his early July birthday that I miss him the most.

my dad
Going back to university, visiting Purdy Pavilion, gardening plans...There are other fun things to do during our Ageless Pursuit time:eating lunch in restaurants and browsing my favourite 10th Avenue shops. That's for another blog!