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

My parents' garden


Monochrome: suspended raindrops on green branches

Grand Canyon - suspended raindrops.

Grand Canyon – suspended raindrops.

There is one thing to be said for heavy rain: it does present some interesting photo opportunities. These monochrome green photos were taken at the Grand Canyon on a dripping, fog-filled morning when the vibrant new growth was washed clean by the downpour. For a very different monochrome photo of the “view” on that day, click here.

Grand Canyon - suspended raindrops.

Grand Canyon – suspended raindrops.


One daffodil, three angles

Daffodil - front

Daffodil – front

For the Weekly Photo Challenge (a stationary object photographed from three angles), I shot this daffodil from the front, the back and the side.  Friday was “Daffodil Day” here in Sydney, one of the Cancer Council’s big fundraising pushes. The photo below is a “bonus angle” because I think they look cool from this angle!

Daffodil - cirlce, viewed from above

Daffodil – cirlce, viewed from above


New plant growth

Chinese Lanterns plant

New growth pushing out the end of a seemingly dead stick. (Photo taken today)

By the end of summer, my Chinese Lantern plant doesn’t look great. It’s straggly and turning brown, its leaves nibbled by insects. There’s a good chance it’s also got an infestation of unwelcome visitors such as aphids or white fly. So although it seems cruel, I cut it back to seemingly dead sticks. My lovely Chinese Lantern plant looks like a collection of twigs. Only days later, though, nubbins of green appear, and tiny leaves unfurl. New plant growth, like any force of nature, is unstoppable.

Chinese Lanterns plant

New growth. (Photo taken today)

When it’s blooming, the flowers look a bit like hibiscus blossoms:

Chinese Lanterns plant

A flower close-up. (Photo taken Sept 2014)

And here’s the whole plant in bright morning sunshine:

Chinese Lantern plant

The full plant in exuberant flower, in spring. (Photo taken Sept 2014)

BTW, if you noticed the funky sort of blur happening in the feature photo, and wondered about it, wonder no more. I was trying to capture the small spurts of growth at the base of the plant, but my lens wouldn’t focus on them. So I used a magnifying glass and shot through that! DIY macro lens. 😉 Not entirely successful, but interesting.


Tomatoes: more intricate than you might think

Tomato seedling with flowers.

Tomato seedling with flowers. How does it go from this …

Not only tomatoes, of course, but all plants. How does a tiny seed become a plant, where do leaves come from, what makes a flower — and in the case of the tomato, how does a flower become a fruit? The next time you slice a tomato for a salad, take a moment to ponder the intricacy of the process that created that not-so-humble red wonder.


… to this?

(Confession: I bought these tomatoes. But the three in the feature image at top came from the plant in the first photo. My first harvest!)