Posts Tagged ‘B.C.’


“The autumn wind blows through

Little Pines-a lovely name-

Bush clover and pampas, too.”

–Basho, 1644-1694

The weather of autumn and winter 2016/17 has been more like it used to be in the old days here in Vancouver. Before climate change brought warmer winters, we had more snow and ice, and more pronounced seasons than we’ve been experiencing for the past few decades.

Here on the south coast of B.C., this past autumn and winter have been different, starting with a cold snap in early November of 2016. We’ve had three notable snowfalls during this exceptional winter. It seems that “climate change” does not necessarily signify warmer weather all the time, but it does mean unpredictability and changes in climatic conditions. It was unseasonably cold from November right through until early February, and our heating bills can attest to that fact! We’re back to milder weather now, and spring is on the way.

Here’s a retrospective of photos taken from October 2016 to early February 2017.


Blue Pumpkin with Spanish Chestnut & Hazelnut…Cotoneaster berries in vase…Canadian Thanksgiving, October 2016


Japanese Maple tree, Autumn colour, 2016


“Every leaf a miracle”…

–Walt Whitman


Schizostylis (Crimson flag), Autumn 2016

“To create a little flower

is the labour of ages.”

–William Blake


Super Moon & Clouds over Vancouver, November 14, 2016…the closest the moon has been to the Earth in 68 years. Photo taken from Trimble Park, W. 8th Ave. & Discovery St.


Winter sun & shadows…

“Beauty lies not in objects, but in the interaction between the shadow and light created by objects.”

–Junichiro Tanizaki, in his essay “In Praise of Shadows”. (1933)


Blue sky, white clouds & Blue Atlas Cedar tree…December, 2016


And then it snowed. Three little trees at the edge of Pacific Spirit Park on West 16th Ave.


Hollyburn mountain, West Vancouver housing developments, freighters visible in Burrard Inlet, all seen over the rooftop of West Point Grey Academy, next to Trimble Park, (aka West Point Grey Park).


Grouse & Seymour mountains at sunset. Stanley Park is visible, stretching out into Burrard Inlet.


Snowy West Point Grey sidewalk, December 2016

“Snow had fallen, snow on snow,

Snow on snow,

In the bleak mid-winter,

Long ago.”

–Christina Rossetti









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Bee on Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia….English Lavender)

Grown in slow-motion by Nana (moi), the boulevards at our daughter’s family home are being transformed. Be gone, foul grass! And welcome, herbs and perennials!


Work in progress…a perennial bed in the making…

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

—Lao Tzu


Oregano, Mint & Marjoram (very attractive to bees, and organically grown!)

Bees have been experiencing a rough time worldwide, due to a variety of human-caused problems. Pesticides, herbicides, loss of habitat, climate change, lack of flowering plants which are loved by bees, mite infestations in hives, (caused in part by lowered immunity, as a result of stress, perhaps?), and on it goes.

Planting flowering herbs and perennials which bees love for their nectar is one way that we can help the bee population to become stronger. Without the bees and their ability to pollinate plants, much of the food we eat would not be able to grow.


Sedum “Autumn Joy” & Michaelmas Daisy (Aster)

My garden has a mind of its own, and I love it! Just when I think that my garden ideas are working out as planned, up pops a surprise. For example, this little Aster plant hitched a ride (unbeknownst to me) from the previous garden to its new home, hidden in amongst the Sedum leaves. Instead of trying to control everything, I’ve decided to let it be, and just enjoy the mingling of the flowers and leaves, and their attractive colours.


Michaelmas Daisy (Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’) and English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.

Alfred Austin

When I’m down on my knees, digging out the grass to create new flower beds, I certainly feel humbled! As you can see, there is plenty of grass to dig out, still. It all goes into the city’s “green bin”, to be composted along with Vancouver’s food scraps and whatever garden trimmings don’t get put into our own garden compost bins.


There’s so much work to be done! A little at a time is my approach….this is going to be a short stretch of shade garden. I plan to add ferns, hostas, and plenty of home-made compost. The soil is depleted and dry, just crying out for some organic matter to be added!


And finally, serendipity! I’d always meant to grow some of these in other gardens:

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) & Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)

And up they popped, all on their own, self-seeded in the long grass under a phone pole, planted there by the previous owners. This week I’m going to plant more poppy and cornflower seeds, as Autumn is a great time to do it. But first, out with the dratted grass!







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When our daughter and her family moved to a new home last year, the front lawn had to be dug up in order to install an improved drainage system. They decided to replace the grass with a vegetable garden, and Nonno (Grandpa) dug right in!

Today’s quotation:  “Lawns, it seems to me, are against nature, barren and often threadbare–the enemy of a good garden. For the same trouble as mowing, you could have a year’s vegetables: runner beans, cauliflowers and cabbages, mixed with pinks and peonies, Shirley poppies and delphiniums; wouldn’t that beautify the land and save us from the garden terrorism that prevails?”

–Derek Jarman

from: Derek Jarman’s Garden


“Before” photo of the lawn…

We are a (mostly) vegetarian family, and prefer organically-grown vegetables and fruits. No pesticides, no herbicides, no GMO’s, no chemical fertilizers, just lots of home-made compost and sea soil, and lots of tender loving care from Nonno.


Where’s the lawn? Remay cloth covering Swiss chard and kale to protect from aphids.

Being totally hand-watered with an old-fashioned watering can and a “wand” attachment on the hose allows the gardener to get up-close and personal with each plant. It also saves water. Although Vancouver is on the edge of a rain forest, we still have watering restrictions for the entire summer, due to a lack of rainfall from spring to fall.


A forest of kale! Pea-supports in background. Squashes to right.

Kale, Swiss chard, pole beans, radishes, peas,lettuce, parsley, basil, arugula, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, winter squash, carrots, beets, cucumbers, hot peppers, green onions, leeks, garlic…so good!


Most seeds were sown in pots, then transplanted into the garden. Feverfew plants helped to keep the aphids at bay, as did some nasturtiums and the remay cloth.


Beautiful Swiss chard, sharing a bed with carrots and beets.

As an added bonus to working in the garden every day, the gardeners get to socialize with passers-by, creating a sense of neighbourliness and community. So many people who would usually just walk past a house will stop to chat, talking about everything from plant varieties to the weather.


Easy Kale Recipe: (serve with rice or pasta)

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in large heavy pan on medium heat

Add 1 medium onion, sliced, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, 1/4 cup water and saute gently, lid on, until onion is limp.

Wash and tear off leaves of large bunch kale. Chop or tear into smaller pieces and add to pan. Mix it in. With lid on, cook gently 5 minutes or longer.

Add 1 medium tomato, chopped, and cook a few more minutes, lid on.

Tamari sauce with the rice, or parmesan cheese with the pasta….(unless you’re vegan, of course!)


Pole beans beside the raised vegetable boxes.

We enjoyed lovely, healthy veggies all summer long, and also saved a lot of money!

This is “sustainable” gardening….and now that Autumn has arrived, it’s time to plant the crops for over-wintering, but that’s another story!

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Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate.

–J.R.R. Tolkien

Gates mark both an entrance and an exit, a coming and a going, an invitation to enter and a signal to stay out.

Keeping some things out, other things in, opening and closing, gates can be both practical and beautiful. Some gates are imposing, others whimsical, while some are simply utilitarian.

A “gateway” is an opening or structure framing a gate, also called an entrance or an exit. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

A “gate” is a hinged moveable barrier in a wall or fence etc. (Oxford Mini Dictionary)

And from the Highroad Dictionary: “gate” is an opening with a road through; that which closes the opening.

Once I started to notice gates and take photos of them, I was hooked, and began to really look carefully at their structure and beauty. Even ramshackle gates interest me. “Who built this gate, and when, and how is it constructed?” I wonder. The sheer number of varying gate designs is wonderful. No two seem to be identical! Only one problem: now whenever I go for walks in and around Vancouver, I am constantly stopping to admire yet another lovely gate!

First in a series of “Gates of Vancouver”, here are a dozen which I’ve discovered on the west side of our fair city.













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Third and final (for now) in my series of “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver”, this is an eclectic selection from my ramblings about town. As a person who walks a fair bit, and slowly, at that, I tend to stop and really look at things. And having a camera in hand is all the better!

Magical Green "Tunnel" on Wall Street. (Photo by PEB)

Magical Green “Tunnel” on Wall Street. (Photo by PEB)

Dunbar Street Village, at West 18th Avenue

Dunbar Street Village, at West 18th Avenue

Pocket Garden, near Granville Island

Pocket Garden, near Granville Island

Love these concrete containers!

Love these concrete containers!

One of my long-time favourite spots: Banyen Books, now on W. 4th Ave. at Dunbar St.

One of my long-time favourite spots: Banyen Books, now on W. 4th Ave. at Dunbar St.

Banyen's beautiful front entrance.

Banyen’s beautiful front entrance.

Banyen Bookstore's secret side garden, on Dunbar St.

Banyen Bookstore’s secret side garden, on Dunbar St.

Another of Vancouver's saved secret treasures: Jericho Lands. This almost got paved over!

Another of Vancouver’s saved secret treasures: Jericho Lands. This almost got paved over!

"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree."  -Joyce Kilmer

“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”
-Joyce Kilmer

At the Jericho Lands pond...Mallard Ducks.

At the Jericho Lands pond…Mallard Ducks.

Today’s Quotation:

Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.

-Elizabeth Lawrence

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Second in the series “Hidden Treasures of Vancouver”, is a lovely but not too well-known spot called the Jericho Sailing Centre. Situated between Locarno Beach on the west and Jericho Beach on the east, this delightful centre offers memberships to owners of non-motorized boats. Not only does it have proper launching ramps and safe storage, but also an enclosed space to work on your boat. The caretaker’s cottage is a gem, and can be seen in the first two photos here. But best of all, there’s great beer on tap in the Jericho Galley Cafe, not to mention the delicious sweet potato fries and salmon burgers. And the view! Fantastic sunsets, and a great way to end a day of sailing, paddling or rowing. Hard to believe this is right in Vancouver. It’s a great escape!

Jericho Sailing Centre Caretaker's Cottage

Jericho Sailing Centre Caretaker’s Cottage

One-of-a-kind garden decor!

One-of-a-kind garden decor!


View from the boat shed


“Skip”, a work in progress


Sailboats at Jericho and Vancouver skyline


Brisk Westerly blowing the B.C. flag. “Sleeping Beauty” mountains in background.


Looking West, toward the Strait of Georgia, also known as the Salish Sea.

Ready to set sail!

Today’s quotation:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely seas and the sky.

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.

-from: “Sea Fever”, by John Masefield

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