Archive for August, 2014

Tay River Afternoon

Summer Afternoon, Tay River

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Here’s Splash, the latest addition to our feline population. We first spotted him last winter. He seemed to be living in the hay barn. I put food out for him when I saw him, but he was fiercely wild. If he noticed me looking out the window at him, he’d be gone in a flash of black and white. Stray cats are a common phenomenon in the country, and some remain feral.

But by spring, the concept of easy meals began to win Splash over. He approached closer and closer to the house, and then the porch, until one fine day he let us pet him as he accepted out handout. As the summer matured, I began to think it was time to see about a trip to the vet for neutering. Last weekend, when Splash showed up one morning with a limp, I knew it was time to get him checked out. RailGuy was able to round him up into a cat carrier, and off Splash went for his first vet visit.

We were worried about how he would handle this sudden assault by we humans. Would he attack the vet? But all was well. Splash was surprisingly well-behaved. It turned out something had bitten him on his shoulder and the wound had abscessed. While Splash was sedated so that the wound could be cleaned up, the vet also operated on his other end, and he also had his vaccinations.

Now he’s back home, with instructions that he be constrained in a quiet place for a few days. He’s doing fine, but doesn’t understand why he is under house arrest. Pookie is keeping him company. Pookie mostly ignores all the cats, but the food dish in Splash’s space is magnetically attractive to the ever-hungry corgi. So tantalizingly close, and yet so out of reach!


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On June 19th, I wrote about several garden plants that were very late in emerging from their winter hiatus. The post, Lost—and Found, is linked here. One of those plants was Roscoea purpurea, which I added to the garden last August. That’s R. purpurea above, as its new shoots began to grow in June.


Now, a couple of months on, R. purpurea is flowering, and I thought I would share these photos of its interesting, iris-like blooms, or perhaps they’re more like little orchids. The following is information about R. purpurea from that earlier post, and a few flower shots.

Roscoeas are members of the Zingiberales, the order to which the gingers belong. Species of Roscoea are divided into two groups, a Himalayan clade and a Chinese clade. Roscoea purpurea is native to the Himalayas, and in particular Nepal. Roscoea purpurea was named by the English botanist James Edward Smith in 1806, in honour of his friend William Roscoe, the founder of the Liverpool Botanic Garden.





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Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida)

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It’s been a cool and rainy week. It feels like an early taste of fall weather. Wait! It’s only the middle of August! Consequently, I haven’t spent much time in the garden lately, but I did notice a touch of colour peeking through the leaves of the tomato plants. When I checked on the tomatoes today, it was clear that these sunlovers are missing bright days. However, when I gave a few of the purple-topped tomatoes a gentle squeeze, they yielded more than most grocery store tomatoes do nowadays.


I picked a couple of the most promising and brought them in to try. I sliced them up, gave them a little sprinkle of salt and sampled the first tomato of the season. Mmmmm, delicious! So the first past the post in the ripe tomato sweepstake this year is…Blue Beauty!


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Wild Child

Wild Child (Salter 2002)

The daylily season is gradually winding down. Many of the early bloomers are finished for the year and late bloomers are now flowering, along with a selection of excellent plants that bloom over a long period. One of my favorite daylilies is a late bloomer, Wild Child, shown above. This hemerocallis is aptly named. With its large, spidery shape, brilliant colour, spotted sepals and fancy petal edges, it does look wild. I smile every time I walk past this rambunctious flower. The curly edging on the petals, by the way, is sometimes called ‘chicken fat’, not a very flattering name. Some daylily growers dislike the effect, but I quite like it, at least on a few flowers.

Pink Super Spider

Pink Super Spider (Carpenter 1982)

I noticed this flower on Pink Super Spider a few days ago. While Pink Super Spider usually has the usual 6 sepals and petals of the standard daylily flower, on this day it turned out a giant flower with extra petals and a touch of doubling at its centre. Pink Super Spider is wrapping up the season with a florish!


Vesuvian (Benz 1992)

Vesuvian is an excellent daylily. It begins blooming well into the season and produces many flowers on strong, sturdy scapes that stand about three feet tall. I have a large clump situated in front of the Tiger Eye sumacs, where the rich, velvety red of Vesuvian shows off brilliantly against a lime green background.

Stephane Grappelli

Stephane Grappelli (Hanson 99)

Stephane Grappelli was new this year. It takes several years for a daylily to really fill out and hit its stride. Some people pick any buds off first year plants so that the plant will concentrate its energy on growing roots and settling in. I usually just let mine bloom and enjoy a little taste of what the future holds. I purchased Stephane Grappelli because this namesake of the famous jazz musician reminds me of my violin-playing daughter.

suddenly blue

Suddenly Blue (Lambertson 03)

Suddenly Blue was also new this spring. I liked this attractive flower. There are no blue daylilies, and the quest to breed a blue flower continues with hybridizers. Most daylilies with the word blue in their name require an act of imagination to really see the blue.

Northern Fancy

Northern Fancy (Stamile 02)

This is the third summer for Northern Fancy and I have been pleased with how it is coming along. It bloomed pretty well, and it has gorgeous flowers. I think it will be a future star.

Blue Voodoo

Blue Voodoo (Rice 2005)

Blue Voodoo was also purchased two years ago, so this is its third summer too. It performed well and I have enjoyed its lovely flowers.

Flaming Wildfire

Flaming Wildfire (Rasmussen 1996)

Another late bloomer is Flaming Wildfire. The brilliant flowers bloom on 36 inch scapes and it is among the most vivid flowers in the garden.

Here is a sampling of other daylilies that have been flowering over the past week.

Still Night

Still Night (Stamile 1992)

The Goldilocks Effect

The Goldilocks Effect (Hanson 05)

Laura Harwood

Laura Harwood (Harwood 1997)

Autumn Wood

Autumn Wood (Dougherty 1991)

Borderline Crazy

Borderline Crazy (Mason 2004)

Golden Tycoon

Golden Tycoon (Klehm 1988)

Jean Ivelle

Jean Ivelle (Branch 1989)


Tigerling (Stamile 89)

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August! Wow. Already. The days of summer are ticking away so quickly. Summer always flies by, while dreary January and February go on and on and on. In the garden, the daylily season is drawing to an end. Oh yes, there are still late bloomers with plenty of flowers, but every day another daylily opens its last flowers for another year. Kinda sad, but I can’t complain. This year has been great for daylilies, and there is still plenty of colour in the garden. The phlox, especially, are looking brilliant. Here are photos from a walk around the garden that I took yesterday morning.
















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Last Saturday, we visited the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, a town north of Cornwall, Ontario. Although Maxville is of modest size, it boasts Highland Games of some renown, featuring the North American Pipe Band Championships and formidable massed pipe bands. I had thought we might attend the evening tattoo, but time got away on me and I missed the Friday night event. Instead, we stopped in for a few hours on Saturday to watch a bit of the pipe band competition. The Mounties above were leading a Parade of the Clans.

My knowledge of pipe band competitions quickly leapt forward from nothing to a little bit, which I’ll share with you here. Pipe bands are judged in classes graded from one to five, with Grade One being the most accomplished bands. Each competing band performs twice, first in a Set, or MSR event (March, Strathspey & Reel), which consists of three pre-arranged tunes, and then in a Medley event, which consists of a short selection of music chosen and arranged by the band. Each performance is scored by judges.

We watched the Grade 2 event. The bands came from across the country, and included the City of Regina Pipe Band, the Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band, the Greater Midwest Pipe Band from Chicago, and the Ottawa Police Pipe Band. The Ottawa band went on to win the Grade 2 event. The Grade 3 contest was won by the Dunedin Pipe Band from Florida.

The Grade 1 winner was the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band, which was crowned the North American champion band at the 67th running of the Glengarry Highland Games.

Here is a recording of the City of Regina Pipe Band performing in the Set event.

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