Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Leaf Season

Outside a distinct bite is in the air.
Autumn is here.
Edged against a waxy gray sky
the foliage in their yellows, reds, browns, and oranges
makes it color-abundantly clear.

The burning bushes can always be relied upon to provide brilliant color.

The garden does not have many perennials that bloom in autumn. 
Asters (above) and mums (below) make the most of the cooler weather.

Autumn glory at the end of October

A little more than a month later and the same scene is leafless, white with snow and the only color available is the reflection of Christmas lights in the window.

 The backyard last Saturday morning. Thank goodness we painted the shed red otherwise the yard would have been devoid of any color but white and gray.

Now it is winter and the gardener and his plants can take a well deserved rest.
Hibernate. I can dig that. (No pun intended.)
I don’t mind the winter’s cold (well sometimes I do),
just as long as the sky stays blue, deep blue,
and the sun shines.

The Year in Gardening

Just the other day spring arrived and then summer flashed by. Autumn burst on the scene in all its normal colorful glory, but it was short lived as usual. The past few weeks winter has arrived and unfortunately it will stay far longer than the other seasons, or so it feels. The year just went by in a flash.

After January’s ice storm I thought I would have major issues, many dead plants, but the garden was the best ever. Last year’s hard work of redesigning the garden layout and transplanting most of the plants worked very well.

This year I spent about 20 % less time in the garden than previous years. That left me with more time to enjoy the scenery instead of working at creating the scenery. The garden is now smaller and more compact. I planted the plants closer to each other, which resulted in a concentrated flower show. With the redesign I grouped flowers and shrubs together that bloom at the same time. The result was waves of flowers throughout the garden at various times of the season.

During the sunny months we removed a long rotten fence that ran all along the one side of the backyard and replaced it with a new 6 feet high fence and painted it. What a job! M did a lot of the scraping and painting while I with a little help from my son did the heavy work of securing the fence pieces to the cross beams and posts. I also cleared and extended the path through the ‘woodlands’ to the entrance to the park at the back of my property.

A springtime collage of how the island on the left of the background image, planted with Asian lilies changed from deep green foilage to a bouquet of flowers.

The end result during late June 2009. A 'cacophony' of colors in an explosion of white, burgundy, apricot, pink, and yellow against the Viburnun background, screaming at one to take a closer look. 

In a bed on the sunny side of the backyard more Asian lilies, mainly in yellow and burgundy red, created a wave of color.

By mid-summer, once the lilies ended their show the Shasta daisies, hardy hibuscus and purple cone flowers towered over the lamb's ears.

A bug on the yellow top flowers of the golden-rods.

In a quiet corner the daylilies, hydrangeas and annabells provide a colorful alternative to barren ground. This area gets only limited filtered sunlight and many plants have struggled here in the past. These 1 year olds seem to like it here though.

The Black-eyed Susans have naturalized and are surrounding the bird feeder.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Invictus Contributes To Mandela's Legacy

It was always going to be a difficult movie to make for international audiences if rugby is one of the major focal points of the movie and to show the role that rugby play in the Afrikaner culture. The other stuff is easy.

I’m not in the movie rating business, but Invictus blows hot and cold, resulting in only an average movie on the whole. It is a nice inside look into a tiny slice of history at the rebirth of a nation. Freeman’s acting was quite good and he did a great job getting the accent right. Matt Damon went along for a payday. Not convincing. And surprisingly, a lot of on-field action that contribute only somewhat to the plot and making the movie a bit long without a spellbinding script.

But I could be bias. After all, I was there. I lived it. I was one of the millions that sat in their sitting rooms glued to the TV, totally absorbed in the occasion. And when the Springboks won…for South African rugby fans this was a moon landing, a moment of national pride and a major boost for patriotism. And although many didn’t know then about Mr. Mandela’s behind-the-scenes involvement in the game, many did change their view of Mr. Mandela because of his great support for the Springboks at the final.

The movie is certainly contributing to Mr. Mandela's already glorious legacy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Angry Chic Music

Friday Night LIVE!
& some excellent guitar work

Lucinda Williams - Joy

[What more can I say!]