Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lavender Harvest

I had the wonderful pleasure of harvesting some of my lavender today, with the bees buzzing about the flowers as I cut them.  I believe the variety growing beside my granite bench is Lavendula "Grosso", since it forms long and sturdy stems, and makes wonderful floral arrangements.  I have other forms of English lavender at the front of my house, which are great for harvesting the flower heads (for potpourri or in various recipes, such as lavender jelly), but don't have nearly as impressive stems or flowers.
Lavender stems and flowers

I also had the wonderful pleasure today of sharing some of my lavender stems and flower heads with my current massage therapist, Maguin, and my former massage therapist, Gael, who I consider a good friend, even if we don't see each other more than once or twice every year.  I often think of Gael when I pass the lavender in my garden, so was happy for the excuse to phone her, and since I was surprisingly "single" tonight (my husband is away on a business trip, and the kids went to stay with their grandma for a few days), we were able to enjoy an evening together of dinner and good conversation.  I hope to see my mom soon, so I can share some lavender with her.  After all, one of the pleasures of having a garden is being able to share the abundance with friends and friends.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sony NEX5N Garden Photos

Recently we bought a Sony NEX5N camera which is an ultra-small digital SLR camera with some full-size camera capabilities.  Other than its resistance to taking super closeup macro photos (which my little Nikon Coolpix L21 was surprisingly good at), I have been impressed all around with this Sony camera.  The feature which really sold us was the low light capabilities - up to ISO 12800, so it practically takes images in the dark!

This weekend I had my first opportunity to play with the camera, and took a number of photos of my mother-in-law's garden.  I've compiled the results into a few mosaics.  First, just in "normal" modes:
Good camera speed, good focus, good colour.
Then I discovered an effect called "Posterize", which was pretty cool for an in-camera feature, something you would expect to find instead in digital post-processing :
My favourite, though, was a feature by which you could select to see only green, blue, red, or yellow, and the remainder of the photo was in black and white :
Since you actually see the result through the digital display (which also swivels, to handle some extreme camera angles), I wonder if you could use this to help finding lost keys, if you marked your keys with a dot of one of these colours?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC

In May, my husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary with a cruise from San Diego, CA back to our home in Vancouver, BC.  We had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day in Victoria BC (which may sound funny but this is a rare occurrence for us, since the trip otherwise involves a lengthy and expensive ferry ride from Vancouver).  We decided to spend part of the day at the world famous Butchart Gardens - my first visit.  Even though it was early in the year, it seemed the entire garden was already in bloom.  Here are a few photos I compiled into mosaics.
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
As you see from the next set, even the garbage bins were in bloom:
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
We spent 3 hours in the garden, and that was barely enough time to make it through all the areas, with me taking photos (I had told myself I would just enjoy it, but it was so photogenic I couldn't help myself).  Another time I would plan for 4 hours.  But as it was, after a stop downtown to visit our two favourite stores, we made it back to the ship just in time to reboard.

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
If you ever have a chance to visit Victoria, this is a visit I would recommend.  As I would a Pacific coastal or Alaska cruise.

As for my recent absence of garden posts, I have actually been quite busy in the garden this, doing some major cleanup and projects.  Most of the time, I have been too busy to stop and take photos.

Then 4 weeks ago, I sprained my ankle while walking through moist grass in our sloped front yard.  I am finally walking almost normally, but I am still slow navigating stairs, and can feel pain or discomfort in my ankle any time the ground is uneven or sloped in any direction.  I'm now back in the garden, but need to be careful not to forget myself, and aggravate it again.
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