Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Word-less Wednesday -- A Walk in the Park

 We've switched back to our normal rainy weather here. In fact, if you can believe it, the official Environment Canada weather website has a Rainfall Warning posted. You know you're going to be wet when Vancouverites need to be alerted to incoming liquids.....

But on Sunday, when it was still cold and sunny, I made my way over to Van Dusen Botanic Gardens, where we've bought memberships for the coming year.  I'm hoping this will help me reconcile myself to the loss of the garden I created and maintained over the last 23 years. At the very least, it's a good place to change up the pace of urban living for an hour or two. I'm looking forward to discovering its various seasonal moods. Here it is with a light blanket of snow...
 I did find some colour in the garden -- some rosy hellebores whose photo I posted earlier on Instagram. But honestly, I was just as pleased by the subtler tones and magnificent textures of the many seed heads. These teasels, for example....

 And I'm not sure what this plant is, but I had to stop and admire the honeycomb architecture of what's left of its spent bloom.
 I had to wonder if this wee blue mitt was dropped accidentally and just managed to land, poignantly, on this boulder. . . . or could someone not resist the temptation to place it there where its bright hue is emphasised by the blue streams of lightbulbs running alongside as part of the festive winter illumination...

 I could have played for much longer with these fluffy echoes of the Ligularia flowers....
 They pick up and reflect sunshine and shadow so effectively, especially with that snowy background.
 After all those neutrals, the latent blooms of the Pieris Japonica flame out rather dramatically, especially in that winter sunshine.
 And, of course, Harry Lauder's Walking Stick loves to ply its quirkily elegant shapes across a blue sky. Back in my old garden, the catkins will soon be appearing on a purple-leaved variety that was just beginning to grow into some maturity, still only six or seven years into its spot there, near the fence my husband built with yellow cedar he collected from a friend's home where it had been grown, then felled, then milled. . . All these stories connected with each plant in my old garden, and I'm hoping that as I walk, over the years, through this new, larger, borrowed city garden, I'll be able to recall these stories, graft them to plants over here, perhaps. We'll see. . .
 After that thought, it seems fitting to close with the image of a Japanese Iris, winter-dormant, caught in the transition between cycles.
 Dried-out, apparently finished. . . .
but we know from experience what surprises await. . . .
(and I know, that last sentence is paradoxical. . . I believe it's also true. . . hence the paradox?)


So many other things I could tell you (we found a great place for Pho, not far away; I met a lovely, thoughtful, generous, patient, and fun blog-reader for coffee; Pater and I saw a marvellous, challenging, powerful production of Verdi's Macbeth, adapted brilliantly by a South African troupe Third World Bunfight;  our new leather Sleeper Sofa arrived and we love it (such a relief, given it was custom-ordered, no return possible); we're off for a few days to the big island we used to live near, although not to the little island we lived on -- I'm going to talk a few poor friends' ears off!), but for now, I hope you might have enjoyed this little walk through the park with me.

Halfway through the work-week, and more than halfway through the first month of this year, and I'd love to know how you're doing, what you're thinking.  Comments always welcome.


31 comments:

  1. Oh! That rain! I walked yesterday dressed in my woollen Irish cape and a hat. I stayed dry but my outerwear is still soaked. I did not renew my VD Garden membership but I have always enjoyed visiting the gardens in all seasons. Did you ever read Rêves du Promeneur Solitaire by Rousseau? Mine is in the boxes (still unpacked after 20 years in the apt!!!). What thoughts a walk or in this case a vicarious walk can inspire! Harry Lauder's walking stick reminded me of my Shetland grandfather who lived in Nanaimo before he moved to the Mainland...made me think of the relationship of P. Island to Vancouver Island as being comparable to the relationship of Whalsay to the Mainland of Shetland (which is really an island)...made me go to listen to Roamin in the Gloamin by
    Harry Lauder, made me think of my trip to your little island in the 70's with my friend, Judy K. sister-in-law to Laurel, who died too young, made me think of Tristam Shandy who is also in a box..
    And that's your walk! I know why I don't sleep. Which brought me back to your sleeper sofa and how glad you must be that you love it. Enjoy your visit with friends and family on the big island.

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    1. Mme, this response is a delight! And a reassurance -- so I'm not the only one whose mind can whirl its way along multiple pathways, seemingly at once, coming to rest in the most surprising new spots....
      Laurel and her husband moved off the island last year, btw. These fascinating, tenuous connections. . .

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  2. Nature at its finest is alive in your city, such beautiful images...
    am enjoying your snow scenes Frances.
    I think you are starting to settle into your new neighbourhood and furnishing your condo, making it your own, a cozy place to cocoon when the inclement weather strikes.
    Enjoy your trip!

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    1. Getting there, L. The settling-in has started...
      Thanks!

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  3. Everything looks beautiful against the snow. What a lovely idea; grafting stories from one garden to another. The Japanese iris looks fascinating and I too love a good teasel. In fact I have several with other dried flowers in a vase in my hallway. Hope it's not too wet we are enjoying blue artic weather at the moment. Wonderful. B x

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    1. Must admit it was a good thing I'd left my secateurs safely at home -- I'm going to have to fine a patch of wild that it's okay to snip from 'cause I'd love to keep a vase just like yours.
      Sounds as if we've traded weather -- enjoy the blue skies. Bundle up!

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  4. Today I went for a dental cleaning and I'm also recovering from 2 intense days with the older son who just had all his wisdom teeth out. He was not a good patient, probably because he has had the good fortune to live over 2 decades without any major (or minor really) illness at all; I think it was a shock to his system! He is back downtown and seems to be recovering well so far.

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    1. Sympathy to both you and your patient. One by one, my four had their wisdom teeth extracted while in their teens, and this nurse was very relieved when the last one was done. . .

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  5. I seem to be commenting too often, but something about your comments (yes, repetitive) about the Japanese iris seemed like a description of how I feel about myself these days. Apparently, perhaps only to myself, at the end of my road, but surprises await. I'm not sure what, unlike the iris, but I really love the thought. Thank you!

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    1. No, you're not -- your comments are much appreciated!
      And yes, isn't it good to know that there are surprises yet in store?!

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  6. A.in London here-

    Such a smart idea to have membership at the garden where you can walk and observe and click until you feel full. Truly do think you will begin to develop your own stories/develop histories about what you see there year after year.

    The photo after the one with the blue mitten is stunning. Nature is so striking, isn't it; always grabbing your attention and often playful. Of course those who hate the snow , or are not accustomed to driving in it or shoveling it, make me in the minority, but the snow in your photos gladened this heart So, so miss the snow.

    ****I've got it Frances, your look in the previous post came to mind immediately: Chic Urban Hiker!******

    PS it is snowing in Maine right now as I sit in London. Someday soon we will spend a whole snowy season there. And your photos, along with Leslie's @ HB, have made me want to visit your gorgeous part of the world asap.

    A.

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    1. I have to be honest and say I'm one who prefers the snow stay on the mountains for the skiers, but it is pretty.
      So Chic Urban-Hiking Bluestocking? (thank you so much for the chic! ;-)

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  7. Your post planted(!) a very good idea in my head. I will tell you when it has been put into practice.
    My son used to love gardens when he was a child. Both in Wales and in Scotland we planned our trips with gardens in mind. (And Kew of course, the best of all!)

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    1. Oooooh, now I'm curious -- do be sure to let me know!

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  8. I always put found little kid mittens etc in prominent places in hopes that they will be retrieved on the next pass-by, but this is a very fortuitous color accent!

    Thanks for the introduction to "your" new garden!

    ceci

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    1. It would be hard to miss this little mitten, thanks to its colour, but retrieving it might be a bit of a challenge!
      and you're very welcome... thanks for reading.

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  9. Might that honeycomb plant be a variety of Phlomis ? Mine is a lemony yellow . It looks a lovely natural garden to enjoy , without having to tend , but some of the public gardens here welcome volunteers who miss their own patch .
    Wendy in York

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    1. The seed pods certainly fit the pattern of a phlomis in flower, don't they?
      The garden is actually a cultivated botanic garden, but landscaped to look very natural overall.

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  10. You live in a spectacularly beautiful place. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Linda in Illinois

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    1. You're most welcome, Linda. So glad you enjoy the images.

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  11. I wonder if the mystery plant is a South African Leonotis?
    But I am surprised to see it in so much snow!

    Oh! Will tolerate mild to severe frost.
    http://pza.sanbi.org/leonotis-leonurus

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    1. I suspect I'll be able to find out next visit, when there's no snow to obscure the botanical labels. . . .

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  12. Beautiful photos-emotional and nostalgic stories....
    I am avoiding to go out on icy pavements-but things have to be done! Still about 10 days to go with low temp (around -10°C)-I really couldn't understand people,young and healthy,who don't care to shovel the snow (and it is obligatory) from their pavements-now it is pure ice
    Nevertheless,I love to be at home doing paperwork and reading
    Dottoressa

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    1. I hope you're at least getting bright sunshine with those cold temperatures. And I'm with you on not understanding those who don't shovel their walks -- I wish there was more enforcement of that obligation by the municipality. But you're right -- it does let us get caught up on our reading.

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  13. I just have to come back to say thank you. I looked up "Harry Lauder's Walking Stick" aud found that besides the corkscrew willow (which I knew) there is a corkscrew hazel. Then I looked up Sir Harry Lauder, whose name I had never heard before. Then I listened to "Roamin' in the Gloamin'" on Youtube. (Which took me back to Glasgow Botanical Garden). So much to learn from one single post!

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    1. What fun! You've gone Roamin' and taken us along -- a good match for Mme. Là-Bas in her comment above.

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  14. A.in London:

    Nope, just Chic Urban Hiker. No stockings, blue, or otherwise.
    Walking as much as living in a city requires, daily I see truly chic statements of warm, comfortable outfits that show purpose and style. I note Chic Urban Hikers everywhere and who/what they are interest-wise or intellectually never crosses my mind. Just love to see fierce determination to look put together, with personal flair, despite the harsher weather as they go about their day of work or fun or culture-seeking.
    You fit the bill in the two recent coats you showed, Frances. Great,chic statements, as are so many of the things you choose to wear.
    PS if you still have a cough with the sore throat thing , have just found the only cough syrup that I can tolerate....Olbas Cough Syrup. Eases the sore throat, too, without the nasty stuff that makes you feel like you have taken an amphetamine. No coughing, no sore throat, better sleep. It has gone on with me, this virus for weeks, too, so I wish speedy end to the flu with big hope for you.
    A.

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    1. Aw, thanks so much for the kind words on my Chic Urban Hiker gear -- I rarely feel "chic" but love knowing someone sees that in me.
      I'll have to check out the Olbas -- the cough's left me for now (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood!), but it would be worth finding something effective for next time. Like you, I can't tolerate anything with ephedrine, etc.

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  15. Another vote for Phlomis. I have them in my garden, and bring those striking honeycombs indoors every year for fall. Perhaps you'll spot a witch hazel soon.

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    1. I'll have to watch these as the seasons progress then, and see if I can find the botanical marker in the soil nearby.

      As for the witch hazel, if you peek at my Instagram account, you'll see that I saw a gorgeous specimen yesterday: https://www.instagram.com/p/BPnxyRgDKte/?taken-by=frances_sprout&hl=en

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  16. Really lovely pictures Frances is your 'wordless Wednesday', full of wonderful words!
    I recently revisited Edinburgh's Botanic garden with Linda on our second real life Instameet, and thought I should go back more often.
    Look forward to getting back into a routine of reading my favourite blogs and more consistent blogging although my running is kind of dominating schedules just now.
    Winter lets us see gardens in a different way - I am not a gardener or plantswoman but I love the architectural beauty of gardens in winter.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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