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Square in September: 23

Begonia petal in the rain

I’m joining Becky B’s square flowers in September series for the last few days of the month. This is an oldish photo from the balcony of my previous apartment.

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My parents’ peonies

A single white peony.

A single white peony.

Today I received these photos of the peonies in my parents’ front garden (they live in Stratford, near Toronto). I’m sure my mother won’t mind me sharing her photos with you! Such lovely flowers.

The peony bushes, with the Japanese Maple in the background.

My parents have very green thumbs! I previously posted some photos of their gardens here.

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Woodland: Tree Silhouettes

Tree branches and half moon, Alice Springs Desert Park

Tree branches and half moon, Alice Springs Desert Park

November’s garden challenge theme is woodland — individual trees or leaves or woodland/forest views, fungi, wildlife or wildflowers. For my first post this month, I’ve gone with the striking shapes of tree silhouettes, whether snow-covered in winter, defiantly clinging to life with a few leaves, or undeniably dead.

Tree branches and cliff face in the mist, Grand Canyon

Tree branches and cliff face in the mist, Grand Canyon

Olive tree, Sicily

Olive tree, Sicily

Tree branches, Sydney

Tree (or deadly tentacled creature lying in wait for the unwary??), Sydney


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My parents’ garden

The view from the patio, 2014

The view from the patio, 2014

Nostalgia: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends. So many things spark this emotion in us. For me, one of the things that stirs this ‘wistful desire’ is my parents’ garden — or, as we call it, ‘the back yard’.

More than a garden, more than a collection of plants, this is part of my history. My maternal grandparents bought this house in Stratford, Ontario in the 1970s; my parents bought it from them in the late 1990s. I have never lived there, but for almost 40 years the house and the garden have been part of my life, the scene of large gatherings with family and friends, or smaller gatherings of my parents and me. Seeing these photos reminds me of those times and those people, some of whom are now dead but who still live in memory.

Of course, food and wine play a part in any gathering, regardless of size!

Speaking of food, the garden is more than flowers.

But let’s not forget the flowers …

And what’s a garden without birds?

Travelling to Canada from England or Australia plays havoc with my body clock, so I often wake up much earlier than usual. As you can see below, the garden is very peaceful soon after sunrise.

Early morning, 2007

Early morning, 2007

All great gardens evolve, and this one is no different. The saga of the apple tree illustrates this well.

And, sadly, when autumn comes the garden must be emptied and readied for winter.

October’s Garden Challenge theme is Favourite Gardens. This is definitely one of my favourites. (Many thanks to my mother for a lot of these photos!)


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The roses of Billong Street

Imagine an entire street of rose gardens! You will find one on Billong Street, near Mosman Bay on the north side of Sydney Harbour. According to the plaque below, “This rose garden was established in 1993 by local resident Mark McGuire. The remarkable floral display from October to April attracts visitors from all over Sydney.”

The Roses of Billong Street

The Roses of Billong Street

There are about 400 bushes including 80 varieties of roses. Here is a very small selection!

If you’re in or around Sydney, don’t miss this display. Click here for a map link.

October’s Garden Challenge theme is Favourite Gardens.


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Flower Portrait: Water Lily

Water lilies in a billabong, Australia

Water lilies in a billabong, Australia

From the ridiculous to the sublime: last week I showed you Hairy Balls Milkweed, now I have water lilies. With their grace and delicacy, these are captivating flowers. Although many of the leaves float, the plants themselves are rooted in the ground, so they are generally found in shallow ponds or along the edges of slow-moving rivers.

Water lilies belong to the plant family of Nymphaea, the various species of which can be found around the world. Here are some I’ve spotted.

Water lily pond, Goa

Water lily pond on a misty morning, Goa

Water lily pond, Australia

Water lily pond, Australia

Water lilies, Yangshuo, China

Water lilies, Yangshuo, China

 One of Monet's Water Lily panels hanging in the Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris

One of Monet’s Water Lily panels hanging in the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris

September’s Garden Challenge theme is Flower Portraits.


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