Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Agassiz BC Tulip Festival and Bison

My husband's parents recently moved out to Agassiz, BC, so we went to visit them on the weekend, and to check out the 2nd Annual Tulip Festival on Seabird Island, instead of venturing down to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The unseasonably cold weather meant that only half the tulips were in bloom yet, but still there was much colour to enjoy, as the following pictures will indicate (click any photo for a larger image).

Mount Cheam makes a majestic backdrop to the spring colour:

But in some unexpected way, so do these power transmission lines:

We also checked out a nearby herd of bison (buffalo), again with Mount Cheam as a scenic backdrop:

Their faces look like something out of a Star Trek movie, except these are the girls! There seemed to be one male, and seven females.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Garden Glimpses : Late April 2008

It's about time for some more photos of the garden, which is starting to emerge very nicely in spite of the very cold spring. First of all, our surprise snowfall in April (seriously now, this is Vancouver, BC!!) (Click any of the photos for a much larger image):
Snow in April in Vancouver
I'd have to say, though, it adds a nice touch to our million dollar view of Burnaby Lake and the North Shore mountains (and yes, we have been very blessed to have such a wonderful house in such a lovely neighbourhood):
View to mountains from the front window
I love the colours - and textures - of this Pulsatilla:
Pulsatilla in bloom
This Epimedium is so delicate and graceful, I wish I had it in better focus...:
Pink epimedium
This is my Rainier cherry about a week ago, just starting to bloom... I need to snap another photo, it is fully covered in white blossoms now:
Rainier cherry starting to blossom
To end on a light note, I'm really enjoying these mushroom folk which I picked up at a dollar store:
Mushroom people in the garden

Friday, April 18, 2008

Aiko Dragon Rider

Aiko's back, and this time she's riding a fiercesome dragon (click photo for larger image):
Aiko riding daredevil on back of dragon
Okay, for all you non-believers, who think she should be sitting and holding the reigns:
Aiko riding on fiercesome dragon

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Aiko Rediscovered

First chance in a long time to go to sleep early, and here I am playing with Aiko 3. I wanted to try on some new hair I had for her, and give her some boots. I think she will need to find some better boots one day, but the hair really suits her. What do you think?
Aiko with long flowing hair

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Three More Fruit Trees Makes it a Dozen

Work and life may be pretty crazy lately, but this week has been a very hopeful one for me. Last weekend I convinced my husband to buy me three more fruit trees. I have been so delighted by my multi-graft espalier trees, that last year I decided to put in another post, and prepare for a third one. Here is my espalier apple (three varieties) (Click any photo for a larger image - but please don't look too carefully at my weeds ;-) ):
Multigraft espalier apple tree
...and my espalier asian pear (three varieties):
Multigraft espalier asian pear tree
..and my latest, a multigraft (3 varieties) European pear tree (Rescue pear, Red Bartlett, and Anjou):
Multigraft espalier pear tree
I searched all around town this year, and couldn't find any garden centres which carried the pear in horizontal espalier form. Most of them carried a multigraft pear, but in the basic tree form. I ended up finding it at Triple Tree Nurseryland in Maple Ridge, BC, where my other espaliers came from also. Before we went, I prepared my husband that I was entertaining the thought of up to 3 more other fruit trees, and showed him the spots where we could plant them.

I already knew that I wanted a Morello sour cherry, and a Frost peach. For the peach, I don't have any expectation about getting any fruit, but I have heard that the blossoms rival those of a flowering cherry, so it would be worth it even for the blossoms. The fun part was loading the three trees into the minivan, along with 4 bags of 30L soil, and 2 bags of manure.

Happily, the weather, which has been schizophrenically alternating between sunny & pouring rain & hail, co-operated a couple of nights this week, for my husband to dig in the espalier pear, and prepare the hole for the Morello cherry (at the center of the photo. See the Frost peach waiting patiently to the right):
Morello cherry waiting for soil, and Frost peach nearby
He did such a thorough job of preparing for the espalier pear, removing 2 full wheelbarrows of clay, that we used up 4 of the 6 bags already, and it was still a bit low. So we will need to make an outing to get more soil. He removed 4 wheelbarrows of soil for the Morello cherry. Under the couple of inches of topsoil which the landscapers laid down for the lawn, it is hard clay and rocks. He used a combination of pick axe and shovel to dig it out.

In these first few years, I can really see the fruit trees taking form, and getting stronger. My husband remarked about our italian plum (which has yet to set any fruit), "Where did that tree come from?". When we got it, it was so skinny, it was hardly noticeable. I used to laugh when I pointed to the back yard, telling people "We have 9 fruit trees up there, you just can't see them yet". Wait and see. Patience and pre-planning is the key to growing fruit trees.

I am so happy now. I have 12 fruit trees, with 18 varieties of fruit. Not counting the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and various other edibles. I can hardly wait. Maybe the birds will even leave a bit for us this year.
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