This favourite orchid (actually all of them are favourites) bloomed all summer long and is now gradually dropping its blossoms. Aren’t they beautiful even as they fade and wither?

almost autumn


a colourful sign of the coming change of season



Colchicum autumnale or fall crocus now blooming in my garden

A massive windstorm at the end of August seemed like a signal that summer is over. Powerful winds all over southwest BC created havoc with trees blown over and power outages to over 500,OOO homes. We nervously watched our two very tall evergreens shaking wildly but, other than a lot of dry needles, small branches and shredded green bits blown everywhere, they and our house survived. Our own neighbourhood got off lightly except for the internet being down for a day or so. Greatest damage seemed to have been in areas with predominantly very tall leafy trees. The tops acted like giant sails to catch the powerful wind and with dry roots from our summer’s drought, were ripped right out of the ground and onto houses, cars and powerlines. The Hydro workers were out there for several days and nights cleaning up and restoring power – they deserve our deepest thanks.

Lots of rain followed – a blessing! And it’s back to summery weather, with some days like Indian summer. We’ve enjoyed having our almost 15-year-old granddaughter visiting. I continue to be a lazy blogger, and am now also down with a bit of flu, so I continue to enjoy reading books and ignoring housework and studio! Used to be, at the beginning of September I would be going back to the print studio at our nearby university – I still miss that. Fall gardening now beckons as soon as I’m better.



a withered and crisply dried phalaenopsis orchid flower, still so beautiful

Can you believe it is almost the end of August? The days are noticeably shorter. Our record breaking hot and smoky summer is finally cooling a bit especially at night and with rain forecast for the coming weekend, we all hope our gardens will get a much-needed deep drink. Last fall’s new plantings did not survive this drought which means replacing them later on.

It’s been a summer of celebrations too: a nephew’s marriage in a beautiful wedding in a lovely setting, and a dear friend’s 75th birthday garden party on lovely Bowen Island with many artist friends present…both heartwarming occasions of reunions with family and friends.

waving a feather


still here, still hot, though we recently enjoyed three days of some rain
have had one family member visit
will have our daughters and granddaughters here soon
to attend the wedding of my nephew, their cousin
what a summer!

smoky and hot


the northeast sky at 4:22 am today

this record breaking hot dry summer continues into its third month
with only a few wee drops of rain, how we need more!
a week of dirty brown skies like a fog sat over the city
from numerous forest fires around our province

I water the parched garden, read, watch movies on DVDs
’tis hard to do much work such as cleaning the house for visitors coming soon
or to find motivation to go into the studio in these dog days of summer
should we migrate to the far north like some birds?

Added July 20th, as of tomorrow, watering restrictions have been tightened even further: Watering vegetable gardens, established flowers, trees and shrubs is still allowed, but only by hand using a spring-loaded shut-off nozzle.

We have not watered our lawns at all this summer and our car remains filthy. Time to put buckets in our showers, short as they are. While waiting for the hot water to come, I fill the indoor watering can in the kitchen sink. And save the dishwater! Pray or do a rain dance!

magnolia seedpods


Numerous seedpods like this appear under the magnolia trees every year after the gorgeous flowers finish. I’m used to seeing them underfoot on the lawn but haven’t looked at them REALLY closely, until the other day when we were sitting under the backyard tree, seeking some shade from the hot sun. I picked up a few of these underfoot and felt curious and inspired to scan them, as I often do with intriguing things I pick up.



What a wondrous surprise – the furry bases, the pattern of circles and the scale-like shapes that remind me of some ancient classical architectural features!


I am sorry to have been so silent on these pages for so long; I can’t believe I wrote only one post in June. This long-lasting heat wave has made me very sluggish, it takes all my energy keeping our garden watered. Thoughts of California-like droughts and forest fires are on our minds here in BC after our mild snowless winter and exceptionally warm and dry spring. We had something like 3 mm. rain in May and about the same in June and the long range forecast continues the same.

I have missed posting about the summer solstice as I usually do and now, today is Canada Day! Happy 148th Birthday, Canada!

this June


capturing the end of these roses cut from my garden
spring came very early after a mild winter
the garden has never been more beautiful
a record drought in May and now the first heat wave of summer
local berries are also early and now in the stores

how does your garden grow?

artsy ants


Behold – a discovery of artistic works by ants in our very own yard!


Note the way the sand has been dug up from between the pavers into circular shapes.


Note in this detail all the big and tiny eggs and even tinier ants.

The story? We use some garbage cans for prunings that are unsuitable for the compost but are to be picked up by municipal trucks on their weekly rounds. For a few days two of these had been sitting on these pavers closer to the street. This afternoon our daughter Erika, who was visiting and helping me put out the various bins to the curb, noticed these upon picking the cans up. Wow, art by ants.

Looking closer we noted the sand patterns followed the patterns of the grooves on the underside of the cans, then noticed all the eggs, big and little and the tiny black pavement ants scurrying about in alarm, frantically carrying the eggs back down to their colonies under the bricks. Luckily and thankfully Erika had her iPhone to snap photos for me. Amazing and hard-working insects, are they not, though sometimes quite annoying in our gardens.

Yue Minjun: A-maze-ing Laughter







Recently and finally I have seen in person one of the most popular sculptural installations in Vancouver, situated near English Bay for the Vancouver Biennale of 2009-2011. A-maze-ing Laughter, made by Yue Minjun of China, is a group of 14 giant painted bronze figures, all laughing merrily. Eventually it was purchased and gifted to the city by a prominent businessman.

My photos do not do the stunning work justice. Here is a the best I have seen of the entire group, and here is a review. After so many years of seeing and reading about it, I’m so happy to have at long last visited it and noted the happy the crowds around it. In a way, it reminds me of another more recent Biennale installation I saw and wrote about last year.