Wool in my soup

I am a 67 year-old grandmother living on Vancouver Island. I have crocheted, cross-stitched and rug hooked, but I always had yarn on needles. Recently knitting has become my primary hobby!

Location: Canada

Friday, December 08, 2006

Let's Find Some Colour In The Garden!

I went out between showers today to see what colour was in our garden after 'most' of the snow had melted. I have been visiting Cornflower's blog and she had on a beautiful picture of a pot of hyacinths beside her computer. I could not resist and my DH brought me home a beautiful pot yesterday of pink hyacinths. However, Cornflower and I had talked about winter pansies and so here is a photo of my winter pansies, after they shed a good foot of snow. What brave little flowers! Now for those of you who are not gardeners, there is no real difference in winter pansies or those in your garden at other times of year. The only difference is the time the seeds are planted. The seeds for winter pansies are planted in summer/early fall! They can be almost frozen, heads down and almost whimpering, but let the temp come up above freezing and they hold their little heads up high and smile! Oh yes, the other day I mentioned that we were melting at 10F - not possible - but we were at 10C - now melting is possible. We used to measure temperature in Fahrenheit, but now we are changed - well almost - and it is measured in Celsius.

I had a good poke about the garden and found these little cyclamen buds. Now I know they look rather sad and ye of little faith will wonder why these made my heart leap, but given a week or so of no snow cover and some mild temps, and these little buds will become beautiful pink 'butterflies'. Gardeners have a lot of faith! Anyone who would plant an ugly anemone corm and expect beautiful purple, red, white or pink flowers has to have faith! In the centre of the photo is one little bud and the other is in the lower left. Please excuse all the fir needles, but when Mother Nature gave us the snow and winds, she also pruned our fir trees and she does not believe in raking - nor do I! Especially when the ground is sodden and it would only destroy the little buds!

We lost the top of a cedar shrub - in fact, I just might remove the entire thing from the garden - so I decided that it could be put to good use for a bit of Christmas cheer on the front steps. I also added a bit of colour beside the mailbox. I want to encourage our postman to leave lots of cards and parcels of yarn and magazines for knitting! I gave him his tin of ginger cookies today, so I hope that is enough encouragement for a month or two. The little red holly berries are from a holly shrub that loses its leaves and then you are left with the berries. I wish they were a bit more of a Christmas red, but with the green cedar they look nice, I think. I would like to put out some lights on the shrubs this weekend, so maybe it will happen if the rains let up for an hour or so! I looked at the forecast for the next five days - it was awash with raindrops. That is fine by me - it will wash away the dirty snow!

Where I was born, in NS, Canada, these holly bushes grow wild along the side of the road - usually in hard to get to spots, but people harvest them for Christmas decorating. They do not grow wild here, in fact, this little shrub cost me nearly $50.00 Oh yes, it is one that you need a male plant and then a separate female plant. The male can be pruned hard - only need a few blossoms for the bees to be able to cross polinate the female shrub's flowers. What we won't do for a bit of memory of our home province!

These beautiful white flowers were covered with about 18 inches of snow last week and now look at them!! These are known as Hellaborus Niger, but I like the common name better - Christmas Rose. They are apparently difficult to move, but when my neighbour gave me a piece to add to my garden, I did not know this and they settled in happily. Gardening, in that way, can be something like a knitting pattern. If someone tells you it is difficult, you will have a dreadful time figuring it out and give up easily. If no one tells you it is difficult, you will move along, perhaps slowly, but eventually you will figure it out - well maybe not too!!

Now I am going to leave you with a question. What is the animal that is making this little footprint? It is about 2.5 inches long and 1.5 inches across. We do have raccoons, but their footprint is usually longer and slimmer. This little critter walked from the driveway, across the snow, had a good look at the crabapple tree and then walked onto the walkway and left. The dogs go by this footprint, but do not appear interested. We do have bear in these parts, but this would be a very small bear - I saw it first at 5:30 this morning, so I proceeded quickly to the car and got in and shut the door! No point messing about with the critter that made this footprint.


Blogger Karen said...

Lovely colour! We think this is a drab time of year in the garden, but it's not really if you look.Pansies are brave little things and hellebores are so long-flowering that they give good value, too. I've no idea what sort of person has left his footprints behind, though!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Marianne said...

Do you have raccoons? That's what it looks like to me...I love pansies, tough, sturdy, endearingly pretty, and they smell really good to me..all your flowers are beautiful....
We still have plenty of snow in the yard...and btw, loved the book list in your reply.
Have a good knitting weekend!

4:32 PM  
Blogger LaurieM said...

Your front steps look very pretty and you are very lucky to get those flowers after the snow. Ontario doesn't get such mid-winter treats.

I thought your animal foot prints were of a raccoon, but since you tell me they aren't could you please describe the critter some more? I'm wondering if it was a groundhog or skunk. Though I think you would have noticed a skunk!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Marianne said...

I'm sticking with raccoon...perhaps a really large one? heh. Plus it might have really splayed his 'hands' out due to the snow...and unless they're 'coon hunters' a sensible dog wouldn't want to mess with a raccoon.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

Definitely that "creature" has nails!!. Perhaps a Bobcat? albeit a small one?? hard to know the size from that vantage point.
Loved the "tour" of your garden and the front step looks great!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Charity said...

One of my favourite things about visiting the Island is the beautiful gardens! I don't know a lot about gardening, but I learn a little more every year, and am so envious of the wonderful plants that you can have thriving there. :0) I can't imagine seeing wild holly, what a sight that must be!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Peg said...

I think most of you are right with 'raccoon'. We do not have skunks on the Island, but as my DH says a footprint is very different in snow than it is in 'mud'. Fortunately the little critter did not scratch on the trunk of the crabapple.
Made about 10 dozen more ginger cookies today and another ginger cake. The house smells so nice just now. I will get back to my charity knitting and a hot cup of tea!

2:44 PM  
Blogger Jan said...


2:52 PM  
Blogger Rain said...

I'm intrigued by the footprint.

It's amazing what still grows and shows up in the garden through the winter, we have all sorts flowering that shouldn't be

3:31 AM  
Blogger Jan said...

Looks like possum to me but what do I know? It's lovely to see all your color in the garden, makes me long for spring. My aunt always had winter pansies around her porch when we were growing up and I loved seeing them in the snow. That really brought back some good memories!

8:09 AM  
Blogger Nan said...

I looked in my track finder book, and there is a grouping that have the same look as yours. The size is given in cm, and I'm not very good in metrics, so I'll post what they listed. Muskrat, 8 cm; Raccoon, 10.5 cm; Beaver, 13 cm. The Opossom had a different look. The part down near the "wrist" wasn't rounded and kind of veered off.
I found your blog through a comment you made on Cornflower's. This is a lovely place to stop in and visit.

11:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting