Category Archives: Blog

Into the woods – Photo Wednesday

Above: true Pacific Northwest rainforest… abundant mosses draping every limb.

This post is a bit of reminiscing about past outdoor trips. And dreaming of new trips in the future.

Secret waterfall, from a forest service road. Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The photo above was taken from a forest service road on Vancouver Island, BC. I have no idea where I was (I leave the details to the trip leader) exactly, but I remember it with great fondness.

Big trees. Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredettte

I wanted to show how dwarfed we are by the forest giants. We humans are such small creatures…

 

Big trees, hard route. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Getting to the big trees is not for the faint of heart. Hard route, uphill mostly.

 

July forest floor contrats. Photo by Andrée Fredette

The forest floor also offers interesting contrasts.

 

How tall are the firs? Very tall. Photo by Andrée Fredette

How tall are the Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii), you ask? Very tall. Look up, go ahead.

And in late spring, those fir trees are procreating. Have a look at Douglas fir female cones, in the spring…

Douglas Fir female cones. Photo by Andrée Fredette

While we are on reproduction, here is the Salal (Gaultheria shalllon) version, beautiful dainty blossoms…

Salal blossoms. Photo by Andrée Fredette

“How I go to the woods

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.”  ― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

****

Me again, I will finish with a photo of an orchid that is sweetly growing in my garden… and nobody has witnessed me talking to it…

Orchid in June, Saturna Island. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Natural Wonder – Photo Wednesday

Above: a skyscape captured last night, around 9:30 pm. Cue the Mozart sonatas…

I have been outside and away from my blog for a bit. Here is some evidence of where I’ve been wandering…

Achillea blossom, about to open. Photo by Andrée FredetteAbove, an about to open yarrom blossom (Achillea millefolium), like a treasure in the dry grass.

 

Bottlebrush, blooming in the garden in June. Photo by Andrée FredetteThis is an Australian bottlebrush (Grevillea), a shrub that survives in my garden in the Southern Gulf Islands of BC. Loved by hummingbirds.

Salvia Blue Angel, in the June garden. Photo by Andrée FredetteAnd this thrilling version of blue is brought to you by a special sage, Salvia Blue Angel.

 

Hummingbird in flight. Photo by Andrée FredetteSpeaking of hummingbirds, here is a little male, showing off his colours.

 

Promise, almost open... Photo by Andrée FredeteThe spring garden is full of promise. Almost open…

 

Dry grass, almost abstract. Photo by Andrée FredetteAnd in the fields around here, the grass is very dry, and panicles are poetically dancing in the wind…

 

After the moult, discarded snake skin. Photo by Andrée FredetteAnd in the dry grass, look at what we found: a skin, shed by a snake done with moulting for another little while. Such a delicate thing. Moving on, shedding your skin, there’s a thought.

May sunset wonder. Photo by Andrée FredetteAnd I leave you with a golden liquid sunset from a couple of weeks ago. Again, Mozart time.

A friend’s garden – Photo Wednesday

Above: one of the outdoor “rooms” a friend created in her garden.

I explored a friend’s garden last week. An oasis, really.

Magnolia sieboldii. Photo by Andrée FredetteThis is a garden where, wherever you turn, a new treasure awaits. Few blossoms, however, hold the magical effect of Magnolia sieboldii, above. In that garden, the tree has attained a sizeable presence.

There is a clematis collection.

Clematis, lush growth. Photo by Andrée FredetteHere, it helps to define the entrance to the vegetable patch.

 

Clematis Close-up. Photo by Andrée FredeteI got up close and personnal…

And around the corner, another clematis clamours for attention…

Clematis with lush colour. Photo by Andrée FredetteLike a piece of flashy jewelry.

And there were still rhododendrons, finishing their season…

White rhododendron. Photo by Andrée FredetteLike this virginal white version.

And to conclude, here is an intimate look at a peony.

Intimate look at a peony. Photo by Andrée FredetteI can’t begin to describe the fragrance… Just imagine.

My garden – Photo Wednesday

Above: it’s the beginning of poppy season in my garden. I have let a wide strip of them colonize a sunny corner, and they reward me year after year.

Longer days, more sunlight, warm weather. This adds up to flowers in the garden. And many jobs every day.

Bee on rosemany, photo by Andrée Fredette

One worker bee, cleaning out the rosemary.

Whenever I step outside, I notice a loud buzzing in the neighbourhood… It comes from the arbutus trees, which are covered in blooms, but also from every plant that is flowering around here. Bees are everywhere. We have no shortage of bees on Saturna Island, I can vouch for that!

Surprise bloom in thhe garden. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: a mystery white one that is now multiplying in my rock garden.  (Note: a mystery no more, this white cutie is Star of Bethlehem or Ornithogalum umbellatum.  Many thanks to Patrick, who helped identify this beautiful spring bloom, and warned of its tendency to multiply vigorously.)

Since we fenced the garden in front, I am discovering new plants… They were either planted by the previous owners, or are wildflowers that now have a chance to bloom (before the fence, the deer and goats would just mow everything to golf-green condition…).

Inside the fence mystery plant. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: Little blue one, inside the fence mystery (Edit: mystery now resolved: this is Naked broomrape (Orobranche uniflora) a wildflower that appeared in the rock garden. A tiny treasure that is only two inches tall. I have not seen it outside the fence, anywhere on this island, probably due to deer and goat grazing.

Rock roses with bird bath. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Above: rock roses (Cistus) are starting to bloom and will keep going for a month or so. It’s a colourful party by the bird bath.

And I finish with my new “baby”, a rhododendron purchased on a whim. I found a shady spot, and piled a lot of dirt, sea soil, compost, and mulch in a good-sized mound to accommodate the rhodo. Let us hope it survives…

Rhododendron bloom. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I salute gardeners everywhere, with my very rough-looking hands and questionable fingernails (smile). May your compost bring you good results!

Witty’s Lagoon – Photo Wednesday

Above:  Spring wildflowers abound at Tower Point, Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin, close to Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC.

The Haystack Rocks are just offshore and with their cloud crown, the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, supply the backdrop to a lovely sunny afternoon.

Grassy blooms, seaside. Witty's Lagoon, Metchosin, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

These alien-looking blooms are everywhere on Tower Point. Very eye-catching in the afternoon sunlight.

 

Macro of inflorescence. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Here is a macro look at the panicles. Anthers like little orbiting planets around the main spike, maturing in sequence from the bottom up… Click on the photo above for a really intimate view!

Here is another shot of these interesting “weeds”…

Spring inflorescence. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And then there were the spring classic flowers, the Camas lilies (Camassia quamash). Intense blue!

Camas Lily and its intense blue. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And Menzie’s Larkspur (Delphinium menziesii)… Bright purple.

Menzie's Larkspur, most intense colour! Photo by Andrée Fredette

After eating my picnic in the flower meadow, I made my way around to the beach at low tide. It’s quite a walk…

Ocean and mountains. The view at low tide, Witty's Lagoon, Vancouver Island, BC. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, Race Rocks and the lighthouse in the middle distance, and the mountains of the Olympic Peninsual in Washington State. Majestic.

Ocean and mountains: that is the view at low tide, from the beach at Witty’s Lagoon, Vancouver Island, BC. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, Race Rocks and the lighthouse in the middle distance, and across the international line, the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.   Majestic.

The water leaves intriguing marks in the sands of Witty's Lagoon. Photo by Andrée Fredette

I loved the ridges left in the sand by retreating tides.

 

Here is a special effects photo close-up.

Sand ridges, close up and with special effects. Photo by Andrée Fredette

 

And besides the dog walkers, there were young boogie boarders, getting to the water’s edge.

Boogie board teens, on the way to the water's edge, Witty's Lagoon, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And on the way back to my car, the shady trail revealed this treasure, a tall – as yet unidentified by me – flower spike. There was an entire colony of those, almost three feet tall, in the deep shade…

Trailside shade flower, Witty's Lagoon Regional Park, Vancouver Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

And on May 1st, back at home, this was the sunset moment. A great end to a lovely weekend…

First of May sunset, viewed from Saturna Island, BC. Photo by Andrée Fredette

Quand l’heure se fait plus douce…