Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Embarrassed Sunflower and Veggie Faces

Remember the handsome sunflower I posted about earlier? Well, he may be a bit embarrassed by all the attention, and ever since has been hanging his head:
embarassed sunflower
On the veggie side, I have been blessed with a great crop of Purple Peacock and Scarlet Runner beans, even though I have only 4 poles of the former and 1 of the latter this year, with 5 of the poles not fully utilized (cut down by slugs or pulled off the poles by my snap peas). Even with only 5 poles, I have been picking a large handful of beans every 2nd day. In the last week, my cucumbers have started bearing also, with a fresh crisp cucumber for me every 2 or 3 days.

I was hoping to post a few photos, but realizing that it will look very much like my Purple Peacock bean photos from last year, and wanting to keep up my reputation for creativity, having recently been awarded the Creative Blogger Award by Crafty Gardener (thanks so much - what an honour!), I decided to post some veggie faces.... Mine:
my veggie face
My daughter's:
my daughter's veggie face
...and my son's:
my son's veggie face
By the way, "cool" moms encourage their kids to play with their food. :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stargazer Puzzle - Improved!

I've been having lots of fun with my Stargazer Puzzle, and lots of visitors enjoying it also. So I decided I'd better fix the proportion issue which resulted in the grey edges. So here is the improved version of the puzzle, it should be more of a challenge now (click the "Play" symbol to solve it):

Click to Mix and Solve

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stargazer Puzzle

Hi, I discovered a make-your-own-puzzle site the other night, made a puzzle from my stargazer lily photo:

After you play once, you can "Play Again", and see previous scores. See if you can beat my score. :-) Try also the "bird" cut, it's much more difficult, I found!

To make your own puzzles, go to www.jigzone.com.

21Aug07 Note: I now have a "fixed" version of the puzzle, with the gray sidebars removed. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What Turns a Sunflower's Head?

I have one very tall and handsome sunflower growing against my East fence. His face is wide and cheery and bright yellow. But to my dismay, he has decided to turn his head to face toward the neighbours below, instead of gazing into our yard of delightful flowers.

Tall handsome sunflower
It got me to thinking the other day, what turns a sunflower's head? What causes them to gaze in a certain direction? Surely it is not the sun, since he is neither looking into or away from the sun's rays.

Next door, there is not much to look at:

View of neighbour's yard and beyond
Or is there? On closer look into the yard of the neighbour two houses down... There is this row of giggling, pretty sunflowers. Ahah!
Object of sunflower attention

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hummingbird Pics

I am determined to get a few photos of the hummingbirds which are constantly zipping about our garden this year. Since it was overcast today, I took the opportunity to try again. The quality is not good, but here goes anyhow:

The hummingbirds are most often near the Buddleia (butterfly bush) and Monarda in the top corner of the garden, but are also visiting many of the flowers in the garden, including the Crocosmia, Phlox, Lilies, and Fuschia. They chase each other around the yard, and up into the alder trees beyond our fence. They are so fun to watch.

I am really pleased with the Helianthus Giganteus this year, I wish I had a few more. Grows like a weed, as does the other sprout in the photo. :-)

Speaking of our sprout, after talking about wanting a pet every day for I don't know how long, we finally gave in to her request, and got her a hamster 4 days ago. "Hammy" seems to be settling in to the household fairly well. We have started taking him outside in the early evenings, while we clean his cage (I'm sure this daily ritual won't last long!). It is interesting that if we put his cage out, he will stay near it.

But that seems to be true of any large object; we had the same result with an overturned flower pot tonight. If he's in the open, he makes a quick dash for the wall, and runs along it. I am reminded of the time my son and I witnessed a small mouse running out into the street, and a crow swooping out of nowhere, to snatch it up. It is no wonder the hamster is not comfortable out in the open.

Hammy also enjoys my snap peas (just the peas, not the pods), so it gives me an excuse to get out picking them regularly. I had fallen behind in checking on them, since I had a large bag of store-bought snap peas in the fridge for the last week or so to enjoy. I just noticed that my Purple Peacock beans are ready to start picking, and I brought in my first handful last night. It seems only days ago that I had checked, and they were barely in flower. This summer is going by much too quickly for my liking.

To end on a positive note, the dahlias I received from my father-in-law are looking gorgeous again this year. My favourite is these tall (6') pink and white ones. They start out a vibrant pink, and fade almost to white with age. This year again, I didn't stake them early in the season, and it is too awkward to try now (without breaking too many branches), so the plants are flopping forward too much, especially when it rains. But the flowers, I think, are stunning.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Garden Glimpses : Early August 2007

We took advantage of the great weather on the weekend, to visit Bunsen Lake. We were very impressed by our kids, 8 and 6, who very cheerfully walked the trails for 1 hr 15 min to get to the other side of the lake. Then, the 2 hr 15 min of the more gruelling (or perhaps it just felt more challenging since we were already tired on the return journey) longer trail on the other side of the lake. Afterwards, they even had enough energy to go wading in the cold lake!

The barn swallows had several nests on the outside of the building which contains the washrooms. It was fun to see the little heads and open beaks pop up each time a parent approached the nest. One nest contained 4 chicks which looked nearly ready to leave the nest (click any of the photos for a slightly closer view):
barn swallow nestlings
I waited for quite a while, trying to snap a shot of them with their mouths open, but the mom (or dad, I guess) darted in and out so quickly, I missed a number of times. Finally, I got the shot I wanted:
barn swallow chicks with mouths wide open
On a similar note, almost every time I look, there are 2 or 3, sometimes even 4, hummingbirds darting around our garden, and up into the maple and alder trees beside our property (in the ravine). I have been trying to catch them on camera, but this is the best I've done so far:
humming bird
Not National Geographic, but any means! I've done a bit better, with the video camera, because that at least picks up the motion, and I got a good close-up of one sitting on the top of my small cherry tree.

Here is a nice shot of the globe thistle with bees in it:
globe thistle with bees
I find it interesting, that each flower has its own following of bees. The globe thistle attracts the smaller honey bees. Many of the others are a magnet for the big fuzzy bumblebees. The lamb's ear was a favourite of what I believe was mason bees, as well as bumblebees.
stargazer lily
Can you smell the fragrance of this stargazer? They are so sweet-smelling. I am pleased to have a number of them blooming in the garden at the moment, and catch a whiff of them as I walk through the yard. I have a fond association with the stargazer, since it was my wedding flower. This is a good time of year to buy them in the grocery stores, enjoy the fragrance indoors, then when they are finished flowering, plant them out to enjoy next year. It is about the same price as buying the bulb at the garden center, so this seems a better way to go.
beautiful lilies
I don't remember if these lilies are fragrant, but I love the rich orange colour, and the freckles on them. My friend Lily gave them to me, the bulbs are apparently a Taiwanese delicacy. But I think they are much too beautiful to consider eating.

I learned something interesting the other day. A few weeks ago, I had deadheaded a number of my hardy geraniums, mainly since I already have enough seedlings to deal with, and the seedheads can look quite messy. On one geranium, I trimmed most of the plant, but was interrupted before I finished completely. Now, weeks later, the part I had trimmed (front), looks green and refreshed, and has even started to flower again, whereas the part I had left in seed (at back), appears yellow and faded (Yes, those are really two parts of the same plant!!):
dramatic effect of deadheading on a geranium
Finally, it is only the first week of August, which feels like only half way through the summer. But the Virginia Creeper is telling a different story, it has already started to turn red. (It turns a brilliant red in the Fall before losing its leaves for the Winter.)
Virginia creeper
Could we be so close to Fall? I guess it is only 4 weeks left before the start of school! Much too soon!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin