Soggy Garden Day in Fall

It was supposed to be a sunny day…but I`ll enjoy the colors anyway!

This week we started cutting back perennials…but I usually leave the grasses until spring.


This Clematis Freckles blooms very late in the year, so it does not get cut back either.


     These Astrantia blooms are lasting way beyond what I expected!


Chocolate Eupatorium blooms especially late.

Aster “The Prince” is blooming at last. I love this!


We have potted up many pots of Spring bulbs.


This small Ginkgo tree is finally turning yellow.


The young Enkianthus shrub has turned a bright red.


Woodland Cyclamen are showing their beautiful leaves.



The holding bed is full of color. :)


Planted a new bed with shade loving plants. This is Rodgersia.



This fungus is so pretty on a tree stump that my granddaughter wanted it photographed.



Raindrops look like diamonds sparkling!


The moss is happy with the moisture.


Love to you all!



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Reconnecting With Sam After 40 Years

In 1965 & 1966 I spent two years teachng in a rural school outside Umuahia in what was then known as Eastern Nigeria.  Crusaders Secondary School was a boarding school for highschool students, some of them very young. They came from miles around, and some of them did not speak the same languages as others. Basically they spoke Igbo, but classes were mainly conducted in English.

A school in Nigeria, 1965.

001b-Nigerian-school-1965-6We were a very new school and I was there to teach English and French. Basically I was the French Department. I also worked with the Young Farmer’s Club, set up a small school library, inspected dormitories, and all the duties required of a teacher. I helped paint science labs at a neighboring school, judged poetry recitations at a competition, helped the start-up blood donor program in town and taught adults French in town once a week.

There were many new schools in the area. These schools were required to pass school inspections so that students could sit for exams to pass the West African School Certicate program.  My students did not sit for the French Exams because they had not received enough background in French yet. But they did sit for exams in English, Igbo, Geography, Sciences, Math, Bible Knowledge and so forth. And so, prior to inspection, a young man from  the nearby college came to assist in the science program to teach chemistry. His name was Sam and he was the nephew of our school principal. Sam was a very handsome guy, tall and polite, with a wonderful smile. I didn’t get to know him very well, but he did attended my send-off party I believe.

Ric and David visit my house on the school compound.


Years later, many many years later, I was back in North America, living in Canada. I was married to a professor of computer science (that guy above on the left!) I was in the lab one day, waiting for him to come home. I saw an enthusiastic student printing out a Snoopy Calendar. Now this man was definitely from Nigeria, but I was cautious about approaching him. Eventually  I decided to be brave and simply ask him if he was from Africa.  (That could have been a dicey question if he was not!) An so when he said “yes” I became braver and asked if he was from Nigeria. I expected this game to continue down to which province, which city, which school, but he was ahead of me and said “Are you Miss Marie?” And sure enough, we were both amazed that we had travelled so far and yet met once more! Sam was starting his PhD in Chemistry, but he was such an outgoing person that he seemed to make many friends.  And so he worked hard, graduated and found solid employment in the USA. And that is where his wife came for their wedding.  When their first daughter was born they came to visit us. I was so happy to meet her!

Much later we tried very hard for him to become a resident of the USA or Canada, but without success. This was a real shame because he had so much to offer. We were saddened by it all. Eventually he returned to Nigeria and we were able to keep in touch a few times, but it was not easy.

Eventually I tried very hard to locate him on the web and at the University where he taught…to no avail. To my horror, I learned that he had been kidnapped. I was so agitated. In a few very long weeks I was able to discover that he was set free. He contacted me once, but of course his life was a shambles for a while afterwards.  His email address must have changed and I no longer heard from him.

And so fast forward to October 2015, and my husband attempted to locate Sam with me on the web. Through some miracle, we discovered a film of his brother’s niece, then her father’s email address, and then this man sent us Sam’s number in Nigeria! The very next morning we were talking on the phone. He is 70 years young now, but sounds like a 25 year old to my ear.  To me, this is one of life’s miracles. I have had similar encounters with friends from long ago, but somehow, this one which crosses continents as well as many decades, with the terrible Biafran war in the middle, truly warms my heart. In a photo he sent, his university aged son resembles him so much!!! Life is good.


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Mid October in BC

Today is election day. I love this map!

12118731_1498284797164888_4907879372722115258_nInstead of biting my nails over the outcome of a tight and dirty race,  I thought I’d share some family updates.

I guess I’ll first admit that I am officially old, having celebrated my 73 birthday. Fortunately there was only one candle on my cake! But the exciting things no longer seem to be wrapped gifts.

Close to home, are the grandchildren. They frequently have sleepovers at our place. This is the angel Leo (5) who turns into a demon sometimes when awake. It is hard being a middle child!

Oct9-2015 003

Forrest, three, is dying for a sleepover. He’s not quite ready for it though, but he enjoys walks with his grandfather and having a hot chocolate together afterwards.

The oldest, Ivy, has lost 3 teeth and is delighted by the tooth fairy. She works at home on projects and other activities and attends school three  days per week. And so, she was especially delighted that her tooth, which had been dangling for a long time, finally came out at school so that she could celebrate the event with her friends. Here they are, Ivy is wearing green.

IMG_20151009_120439bIvy has been working on a project on mushrooms these days. She also recently went horse back riding and LOVED it.


Non edibles from Nana’s back yard.


Sarah has begun baking and selling bread at a small booth up at the road in front of their house. It’s quite the success! Ric and I enjoy the cinnamon buns warm from the oven. I enjoy her cheddar/jalpeno bread too. This week she began offering olive bread as well as the regular choices:

-Parmesan herb ( large small)
-whole wheat (large)
-Multigrain with sunflower (large)
-Multigrain (small)

Wayne made the super sign for her. :)
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Their barn and their mini-house both have new roofs. Lots of work, but a huge improvement.


From far away, Adam has been working in Haiti once again, a very quick surprise trip to help an orphanage. As usual, a difficult trip. After his return, he traveled to Toronto for a workshop and enjoyed celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving there. It is a treat to receive photos from him, especially these beauties showing him ‘relaxing’  with three friends! These were taken in New Hampshire at Mt Garfield.

aIEbhf2sfHu8HBjumWw91F8AUcZ__-Of43Oo6YRurEE0BiJ0s3gl=w1531-h862-noIMG_20151018_232611bFeeding a bird. I don’t know what kind.

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They only climbed about 900 meters, but note the summer-to-arctic transformation!

As for the old folks, Ric has been practicing for his group’s Christmas concert. He sings bass for the first time. They are really short of male voices.

As for me, I’m always making changes in the garden. The bulbs are all planted now. I always wish I’d planted more come spring.


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The Best Month of the Year in the Garden

How I love a garden in the Fall! I love the grasses and asters, the light, the colors. Here are some shots on the first day of October.

I think this is my favorite ornamental grass… Panicum Cheyenne Sky

Molinia Caerulea variegataOct1-2015-029b

Love Gentians. Can’t beat their color!Oct1-2015-027b

Salvia Black and Blue blends with everything. I am hoping it lasts through winter outdoors in this climate. We’ll see.Oct1-2015-026b

This orange Wallflower has been blooming since early spring. Truly a non-stop plant!Oct1-2015-025b

Witch Hazels turn a lovely yellow at this time of year. If you look carefully, they have buds already.Oct1-2015-024b

Astrantia is giving us a second bloom.Oct1-2015-023b

In the holding bed are many part shade plants waiting for their permanent homes. Here are Pulmonaria, Tiarella, Ligularia…Oct1-2015-022b

We are still deciding what bulbs will be planted near the new bench.Oct1-2015-021b

Some of the ferns may go…or not. Decisions, decisions…Oct1-2015-020.b

Enjoying the Forest Pansy showing off its colors.Oct1-2015-016b

Fun color, but not yet Christmas!Oct1-2015-014b

Next year I will prune this aster way back at the end of June.Oct1-2015-012b

I love this Miscanthus…whichever one it is!Oct1-2015-009.b

This young Loropetalum is blooming again. It has done well, better than I expected!Oct1-2015-006bThere is still garden work to be done before a winter rest.


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Rainy Day in the Garden….

Fall is just the best time of year in a garden! I just love it!

The grasses….


The asters..


Goodies growing in pots…


Even Clematis with surprises to the very end of the season. This is C. Romantika.


Long may it last!

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Today we went to town to run errands, but also to visit the Fish Hatchery at Quinsam River. After the errands, the weather improved and it was partly sunny, a good time for our visit. There were plenty of seagulls and today there were two bears catching fish at the open gates of the dam.


The bear on the left is eating a salmon catch in the above shot. I tried to get a close-up.003b004b

The bear on the right is an old bear I am told. He moved over to an open gate to catch more fish. He was very patient.007b

He stood in the cold water waiting for his meal to jump up the waterfall.011b

Again I got a close-up.042b

Birds came up quite close .041b

The second bear wandered closer.027b026b

The old bear caught another fish, but did not share it.039b*****

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Enjoying Fall Foliage

A photo walk-about in the garden on a drizzly day.

Carex testacea

Aster lateriflorus ‘Prince’ beginning to bloom.Sept17-2015-037b

Unknown AsterSept17-2015-036b

Panicum virgatum Cheyenne Sky Sept17-2015-034b

A baby EnkianthusSept17-2015-033b

Ferns Sept17-2015-031b

Oakleaf HydrangeaSept17-2015-029b

Katsura ‘Red Fox Sept17-2015-028b

The seeds on the tree above our parking spot collect along the base only. Sept17-2015-025b

The holly berries are now red.Sept17-2015-024b

Cercis Forest PansySept17-2015-023b

Black Stemmed BambooSept17-2015-021b

Callicarpa, a young plantSept17-2015-020b

A bronze coloured Japanese MapleSept17-2015-019b

Loropetalum has wonderful fall colourSept17-2015-003b

Cercis Canadensis stands out against rhododendrons.Sept17-2015-001b*****

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