Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tell tale signs

Finally the snowdrops are appearing.  After having the coldest March on record for 100 years I think the worst is over.  I removed the layer of leaves that covered the garden so I could appreciate the snowdrops all the better.
The winter was beautiful with a layer of white snow covering the garden debris and making everything look sparkly and new. But once we reach the brown stage of spring I can't hlep being impatient for the flowers of Spring. I even made an urn with artificial flowers.

Now is a good time to rake the garden.  The ground is still frozen and you don't damage the tender plants.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Canada Blooms

These flower creations look like real cakes!
Sometimes the stars align and things just fall into place.  Imagine our joy when we arrived at Canada Blooms show and found out today was free parking.  It doesn't take much to make our hearts glad.
There were some very unusual displays this year.
My favourite exhibit was the Garfield Thompson Landscape Limited. His use of natural settings and water features are incredibly original.
Such detail!
Water comes out of the stone fountain, across the table, and falls into a recirculating pool. 
Incredible flower dresses.

Loved the use of natural stone.

My favourite exhibit had a fountain which tracks across a table slab. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trumpeter Swans

La Salle Park in Burlington has a program to reestablish Trumpeter Swans. There is a colony of about 200 swans in the basin at LaSalle Park.  They are all tagged and hand fed in the winter by volunteers.  You can see how big they are compared to the Canada Geese.  They are pretty noisy, honking, bobbing their long necks and flapping their wings.

Compared to the mute swans they are much taller.  They are easily distinguished by their black beaks.  Mute swans have orange beaks. Trumpeter swans are the largest species of native waterfowl in North America.  They were nearing extinction in North America. In 1933, Overhunting by early European settlers had reduced the numbers of trumpeters to just 77 breeding adults in Canada.
Harry Lumsden, retired from the Ministry of Natural Resources, with the help of dozens of volunteers has brought the swans back to Ontario. He started the program in 1982. There are over 1,000 trumpeters in the south-central part of the province now.  For more information go to: http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2009/03/29/trumpeter_swans_making_a_comeback_in_ontario.html

Looking across Hamilton Harbour from LaSalle Park. this spot is a haven for ducks, Canada geese, Trumpeter swans and mute swans.

Bobbing, dancing and weaving to their loud trumpeting.

Ice storm

The ice storm was really hard on people.  Many people lost hydro power and some sewers backed up.  But if was beautiful.  The trees and bushes sparkled in the sun and it looked like a wonderland.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Urns 2013

Balcony before

Balcony after
A group of retired teacher met to do a workshop on Christmas urns with me. What a crew upbeat, eager and open to ideas. In spite of the same materials each urn is as individualistic as the owner.
 RWTO Garden club 2

Example from Sheridan.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hong Kong

A busy exciting shopping city. Everything is expensive!

The islands of Hong Kong. Why the Chinese could hide from the British so easily during the Opium Wars.

The low building in the front is where the sign over from British to Chinese rule took place in  1998 (?) 
Can you believe we stayed in a Scouting Hotel? This is the Lobby.

More evidence...

A perfect example of the old and the new. The old colonial headquarters and the new skyline of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a vibrant,  exciting city.  Is is visually beautiful with its tall buildings and quiet Bays and beaches. We hit the night markets, went to the Peak lookout and ate good food.  I was struck by the difference between Hong Kong and Saigon.  Saigon was full of vitality and seemed dynamic and changing. Hong Kong felt like a buisness city. There were tons of children in Saigon,  bursting out of the schools, driving by on their parents scooters . The city felt young, hopeful and happy. We didn't see many children in Hong Kong - a result of China's one child policy?  We are at the Hong Kong airport. It is another engineering marvel occupying a totally reclaimed island. It is time to board the airplane and begin the long flight home. Brrr, cold and snow.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Touring the Village and Local Life

Our trip to 'James Bon' Beach was cancelled due to the high winds and rain, so we decided to do a tour of local life.  It was great fun. The Handyman had the impression that the guide and driver just wanted to play hookey for the day and drove us to all their favourite places on the island. They told us they had never seen the wind so high and that all the tours everywhere were cancelled.  Yob and Loa laughed and talked as we jostled along in the tuk tuk with no windshild wipers. There was just the 2 of us on the tour. They took us to a rubber plantation Thai style. Small family plots of rubber trees had their own individual workers. The workers are from Burma, apparently they consider the money good. No one was working
Neither wind or rain, or lack of windshield wipers could deter us...
 because of the weather. but Loa,  the driver, said he could do the demo for us, ha,ha.
The tourist tree - the only one they do demo's on. Workers make a small slice in the tree and it drips for about 3 hours into the small cup.
The tsunami, certainly affected them and they talked about it constantly, showing us the high water mark and telling us stories of those who survived.
So when they kept talking  about the high wind and wave height they made me nervous, but they would just laugh and say 'it's okay'. The waves were only about 2 feet high and seemed like normal action to us, but the Bay is very calm here I guess so they were finding it very unusual. The wind was not a good Ontario blow, but it did knock down rubber and mango trees and we saw evidence on the road as we drove around in our glorified golf cart.
Next the Lobster Farm.  After all their talk about high waves, they put us in a small 'long tail' boat and took us off shore to a floating farm. They were all laughing and carrying on. They probably thought the 'Farangs' were crazy for going out in this weather, but they still wanted to earn money. Once there, the owner was keen to show us all the fish in his nets and kept pulling up fish and putting them on the planks for us to see. We saw stuff closer up than we do diving sometimes.  We didn't see even one shark diving and he had about 6 in his nets. I asked why he had sharks and Yob said, they are like dogs for him. He sleeps on the floating farm and he uses the sharks as a warning of poachers at night.  They make a lot of splashing if anyone approaches and wake him up, so no one can steal his valuable catch.

The lobster farm, the owner sleeps aboard at night.

The owner and his one of his pet sharks.

Checking the catch in the bays at the farm.

The long tail boat ready to take us to the lobster farm in the distance,

the wind came up and the rain just poured in a solid curtain while we were at the Lobster Farm and they had us shelter in the fisherman's hut. He stayed out in the rain and allowed us to huddle from the worst of the storm.  Such gallentry!
we had a fun day, great way to spend the rainest day ever!