Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hello Again

Didn't mean to be gone for so long.  We had company,  our dear #2 daughter, son-in-law and their two children, a son 8 years old, and a daughter, 4.  We had a wonderful week plus two days with them.  They are very easy to have around, and the children are very well behaved and mannerly.  Time went by just too fast, and they had to return to their home.   That's our "feast" for this year.

Then I was busy cleaning up and doing some "summer work", weeding the garden and painting some house trim.

Now we just said goodbye to a couple who are dear friends of ours.  They arrived on Friday evening, on time for dinner.  Saturday our fellows had errands to attend to, and my friend and I went to "Country Creations" biannual outdoor quilt show, south of Strathmore.  It was an excellent show and a good sale, although neither of us bought anything.  The weather cooperated and everyone had a great time.  Here's just a sample of the displays:

 Lunch was available from a "Lunch Wagon," and complimentary cake and coffee were given in celebration of "Country Creations" 20th year in existence.  The owner, Lorraine Stangness, is a quilter of note and designer.  Check out her work and shop at

Back home that evening we all took a tour through our landscape gardens.  Have a seat and relax for
 a while:
This is a little bench near the Young's Weeping Birch.  There are two beautiful "Miss Kim" tree lilacs, one on either side of the birch.  They just don't show up well on this photo.

                                                        Opposite where you are sitting is our fountain.  Not meant to be a birdbath, it is a prime attraction for the birds, both for drinking and bathing, and for us provides the refreshing sound of water splashing on a hot summer day.

Behind you as you sit on the bench is a huge garden area that includes a small pond near the road.  None of this bounty was here when we bought our place.  Jim has planted every tree, shrub and perennial with the help of S.  He also hauled truckloads of rock from the field on the other side of the railroad to use as defining borders to planting areas and the pond. 

On the north side of the yard there is a windbreak consisting of three rows of spruce and four rows of saskatoon bushes.  This was all planted by the previous owner.
Just south of the windbreak we planted several trees and shrubs. Here you are looking away from the road.  The first green shrub on your left is an Amur Maple, which turns brilliant red in the fall.  One of our few sources of fall color.  We have several in our landscape.  The light colored, feathery-leaved tree is a magnificent Russian Olive.  There's a small blue spruce to the right of it, and then a Medora Juniper.  Behind the spruce is a feathery Larch, which is the most beautiful new green in spring, and in the fall turns a beautiful yellow.  And to the right of the larch is one of our three Burr Oak trees.  They grow rather slowly (as do many trees in this area), but our three are looking great.

One reason Jim has planted such a variety, other than his love of trees and shrubs, is to illustrate for the garden centre clients what trees, shrubs and perennials will do well in our growing area (zone 3B).  We encourage visitors to stroll through the landscape and experience the wide variety of flora that do well in our zone without a lot of special attention.  Jim also teaches classes on "xeriscaping" (or gardening without a lot of water.)

Our neighbor who keeps track of rainfall here told me this morning that so far this growing season we've had a total of 2".  Yes, just two inches!  It's a marvel that the countryside right here is a green as it is.

One final picture:  This shows the slope up to the house.
In the center of the photo is a lovely Mountain Ash tree at the corner of the garage.  You can see a bit of the foliage of the elm tree on the slope to the right.  Just in front of the garage wall are some Cologreen Spruce.  Lining the path are "snow in summer" and next to them are "Cranesbill", a perennial geranium.   

Hope you have enjoyed this little tour through our front yard.  There's actually lots more to see, and maybe another day we can look at some more of the plantings.  The area around our house contains in 5 acres our three greenhouses, sales building, cold storage, a quonsett and a workshop/storage building.  There's a parking lot also, but the rest of the area is covered with gardens.

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