Archive for August 10th, 2011


Yesterday, we had a lovely rainy day. The rain was much needed. While we have had occassional storms roll through, prescipitation has not been enough to offset the steamy hot days of July and the land is dry. Our little backyard stream, which gushes along like a raging river in spring, has been reduced to a series of puddles joined by a trickle of water. Today dawned bright with a scattering of clouds. After lunch, I took a stroll down to see how the river was doing. It was up significantly from its pre-rain level, though still low.


A big plastic box of newspapers had somehow made its way into the river. Hard to guess how it might have got there, here in the middle of an agricultural area. Everywhere people go, it seems, garbage follows.


I sat and watched the river flowing by. It was very quiet. As I approached, a Great Blue Heron retreated, but otherwise the only creature stirring was a single dragonfly. It obligingly landed near me, a Common Whitetail (Libellula subornata), a member of the skimmer family.


The temperature was quite pleasant, and the deerflies and mosquitoes weren’t pestering, so I carried on down to look at our pond. Along the way I passed a Barn Swallow family. This youngster, perched on the electric fence, is newly fledged. His parents took a dim view of me stopping to photograph their baby and made several close passes to discourage me. These youngsters are late, and I was glad to see them doing well, as the Barn Swallow population is in serious decline.


As I approached the pond, this pair of Painted Turtles, comfortably sunning themselves on a log, looked up suspiciously and soon decided to take their leave, slipping into the water and disappearing.


The low water level in the pond has revealed a number of burrows not usually visable. I’m not sure who lives here. A muskrat, maybe.


The mix of sun and cloud was perfect for creating beautiful reflections in the water.


It was pretty quiet down by the pond, too. Although there were a few dragonflies and frogs and waterstriders about, there was surprisingly little activity. I headed back toward the house, saying hello to Diva and Ivory on the way. They were too busy to visit.


As I walked through the garden, I noticed this garter snake keeping a close eye on me.


I admired today’s blooms as I walked back to the house. Here’s a closing photo from the garden, daylily ‘Asiatic Pheasant’.


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My interest in mosaiculture was piqued during a trip out east last year, when I visited the New Brunswick Botanical Garden near Edmundston, NB. When I describe mosaiculture, I sometimes get the response “Oh, you mean topiary!’, but mosaiculture is a completely different art form. In mosaiculture, plants and forms are used to create three-dimensional sculptures. You can watch a little slide show featuring the mosaicultures on display at the New Brunswick garden here.


After I returned home, I did a little research about mosaiculture and found that Parc Marie-Victorin in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, features a number of sculptures. Accordingly, we planned a weekend trip to the Sherbrooke area to visit, amongst other spots, Parc Marie-Victorin. We were not disappointed! This beautiful garden was inaugurated in 1985 to commemorate the birth of Kingsey Falls’ most famous son, botanist Brother Marie-Victorin (born Joseph Louis Conrad Kirouac, April 3, 1885) who is perhaps best known for his contribution to the development of the Montreal Botanical Gardens. He also wrote Flore laurentienne,a botanical record of all southern Quebec indigenous species, the first such record to be compiled. You can learn more about Brother Marie-Victorin here. For more information about Parc Marie-Victorin, visit their website here.


One of the first mosaicultures you encounter as you enter the garden is this sizable representation of Brother Marie-Victorin himself, working in his garden. It even bears a pretty good resemblance to Brother Marie-Victorin. Many of the mosaicultures are of native fauna. Although there is plenty to see in the gardens, I’ll feature the sculptures in this post.


Situated close to Brother Marie-Victorin is this beautiful butterfly. Nearby, hanging in a tree, is a giant cocoon.


I loved these giant cactus, which form a backdrop to an attractive bedding planting.


Here are two magnificent puffins.


A frog can be seen behind this giant goose. When you approach the frog, there is an information board and you can listen to a recording of the frog’s song.


When you walk around to the rear of this snapping turtle, you see that she has just finished laying a clutch of ‘eggs’ in the sand.


This green darner dragonfly is particularly eye-catching.



Here’s a Common Snipe, a shorebird of the region.


This salamander is one of the largest sculptures.


Visitors have nothing to fear from this giant bee. A nest built with bark hangs nearby.



I’ll close with this caterpillar. Visitors can push a button to activate the caterpillar, whose mandibles move as he munches and crunches on his leaf.


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