Image

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.

Image

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!)


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Image

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.


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Image

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.


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Image

Unusual Plants: Hairy Balls Milkweed

I leave it to you to guess where the names come from.

I leave it to you to guess where the name comes from.

The wonderfully named Hairy Balls Milkweed puzzled me for quite a while. I’ve seen it growing in a few front gardens in Sydney, but it was a few years before I found out what the plant is. About six feet tall, its gangly stalks festooned with curious prickly growths, it is certainly an attention-getter! It’s also known as Balloon plant, Goose plant, Giant swan milkweed, Family jewels, Oscar and Cotton-bush — but whatever the name, butterflies love it.

The plant has unexpectedly delicate flowers.

The plant has unexpectedly delicate flowers.

When the balls burst, the fluffy white seeds are revealed.

When the balls burst, the fluffy white seeds are revealed.

For September, Jude is looking for Unusual Plants.


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Image

May: Wild Flowers – Seaside

Succulent pink flower

Succulent pink flower

Last Sunday (22 May) seems to have been summer’s last gasp in Sydney — it was a day of blue skies and warm sun, a high of 25C, but a cool edge to the wind that warned of the coming winter (and, oh my, winter hit with a vengeance on Monday!). Determined to make the most of the day, I walked the two blocks from my apartment to Botany Bay and then headed north along the beach, camera at the ready and on the lookout for wild flowers.

As usual, I have no idea what this is but the plant is ubiquitous along the coast.

As usual, I have no idea what this is but the plant is ubiquitous along the coast.

As before, but a wider view. (The white posts hold up the shark net for a swimming enclosure.)

As before, but a wider view. (The white posts hold up the shark net for a swimming enclosure.)

Here are two shots of another flowering plant that seems happy to grow in sand dunes beside the sea.

It's small, it's mauve/purple, it grows in sand.

It’s small, it’s mauve/purple, it grows in sand.

It's small, it's mauve/purple, it grows in sand.

It’s small, it’s mauve/purple, it grows in sand.


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Image

May: Wild Flowers – Grand Canyon

Nameless purple flower

Nameless purple flower

May’s theme for Jude’s Garden Challenge is wild flowers. I spotted all these flowers while walking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Nameless red flower

Nameless red flower, lost against the immensity of the canyon

Another nameless red flower

Another nameless red flower. This is a wider view of the feature photo.

I actually do know the name of these white flowers: cliff rose.


Click here for other Garden Challenge posts

Can-US-badge