Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Gros-beak not Gross-beak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus

I really know very little about these guys. We actually do not see these often. However when we do, they are showy and interesting. They are actually large, about the size of an American Robin but heavier looking.
These are related to the Cardinalidae:, Cardinal Family.
They do sound very similar to the American Robin as well.

The King

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

This guy was named specifically for a King. A King of Great Britian  no less. He was named for King William III of the duo Monarchy of William III and Mary II. Actually very fitting for the name of this Butterfly. William III was of the "House of Orange" in the Netherlands. Hence the name of this Butterfly. This guy is a male. The way to know this is by looking at the lower wings. You will see he has a black mark on the vain on each wing almost looking like a wart!! The Female does not have this marking.

I am so lucky to have a lot of these guys in my garden. More so than most people do in their gardens. At times by the hundreds. The reasons for this are many but the two main ones are:  I have a large amount of native plants in the garden, also I have a large amount of Asclepias syriaca:,  Milk-weed here as well.
The other is I rarely use insecticide in the garden unless I really have to, and then it is when I can be specific to what needs to be controlled.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Golden Glance

Acer platanoides:, Norway Maple
This is just a shot of a Norway Maple in my backyard. The yellow in it was intense. However by this evening with the rains and strong winds the leaves where all but off the tree. So a lucky shot for me. These along with the Acer saccharum :, Sugar Maples are the favourite of yard landscaping from the Great Lakes to Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada, and through New England in the North Eastern parts of the United States

Friday, 23 October 2009

Welcome to Dunnville, Ontario Canada


This is the welcome sign as you come into our town from the west end on the King's Highway # 3. This is the short cut for many Americans traveling from Buffalo to Detroit. This highway follows the north shore of Lake Erie, and is very scenic. you come relatively close to such places as Paris, London, and Windsor. However these famous places are of course the Ontario ones!!!!
This is a new sign. The old one was really funny. It was a large bill-board thing with "Welcome to Dunnville, glad you came , hope you stay". What made it so funny was that there was tomb-stones in front of it for sale and a graveyard behind it.

An Admiral, but not of the Seas

Vanessa atalanta:, Red Admiral Butterfly   Echinacea pururea:, Purple Cone Flower

These are an incredibly beautiful butterfly, and very plentiful here in the Niagara Region. Actually kind of over looked much of the time. They do not seem to be picky eaters as long as you have Native Plants in the Garden.
Although many native plants are considered by most of us as weeds. They really do have a place in the garden. If you want diversity of nature to visit the garden it is a must. Control of these weeds can be a problem. However if you "dead head" these regularly and pay attention to it, they will not get out of hand. Also never put your weed plant material in you compost pile. They can hold seed for up to 7 or more years in some cases. If you ever notice most very manicured gardens have little in the way of wildlife in them. There is nothing in these garden types to attract diversity. However you may get a few creatures checking things out but rarely stay.

Hint here: By definition a weed is any plant unwanted. In this case any natural plants to your area. Interestingly Dandelions and Creeping Charlie are both from Europe. They are Naturalized WEEDS !!!!!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Welcome to Canada

These gardens are next to the Canada Customs at the Rainbow Bridge. In this picture at the top right you can see their offices. The tower there, when built was the Largest Full Carolan Tower (Bell Tower) in the Americas, As it happens it is the only one in the world at an International Border even to-day.

Mosquitoes Run from this Guy "Maybe"

Anax junius:,  Green Darner Dragon-fly

Most dragonflies hunt during the daytime, when it is sunny and warm. Most mosquitoes remain hidden in the daytime, so they’re not a major food item for most dragonflies. Nymphs will eat mosquito larvae, but most nymphs live in permanent water bodies, while mosquitoes breed mainly in temporary waters. Mosquitoes can have several generations in one summer, so their populations can rise dramatically in a short time. Dragonflies have only one generation each year, so their numbers cannot increase to match mosquito populations. Dragonflies are an important part of wetland ecosystems, but they can’t control mosquito numbers. In nature, the availability of prey usually limits predator populations, not the other way around.

Okay so all said not the Mosquito killer we think it is, but it is one of a number of front line attackers in the war against Mosquitoes.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Not Quite Nature, a Dunnville Monument

This is the long awaited for Mudcat Monument. The world's largest as it were. They started to erect this thing this morning. For five years, people were debating it to death.  Was it necessary to have it? Absolutely not!! Is it a good thing for the town? O YES, it is! Even if people just stop to take a pic with it, it is worth it. 10 years ago we went through the same thing about a statue for the town. Crazy . We have that statue now for a few years and it is nice. People take pictures of it and it adds a little class in a town that is lacking.
Well done to those that kept the fight going.

I'm Big Now

Turdus migratorius, also called North American Robinhttp://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_robin/id
This guy just left the nest for the first time about a minute before the picture was taken. His baby picture is the one just below this. same guy. A little less attitude in this pic, however you can see that he is proud of him self, or scared half to death from what he just did. His parents never bothered with me ever when I took pictures up close of the nest from egg to here. however this time the Male actually attacked me. I guess it was doing what it felt right for the family. A new stage in the Family Development and the Dad did not know what I would do. So there was no pics taken after this one of that family.
This nest was in a  Catalpa speciosa Standard:, Catalpa Tree Standard just a few feet from the kitchen door

Expressive Young Fellow

Turdus migratorius, called North American Robin, also American Robin

This guy is all attitude, he has the facial expression second to none. But what is even funnier is if you look to the lower right he is giving the finger, so it seems,
Because of the gardens and the pond, I have as well as my neighbours receive a lot of Robins in our yards. Almost all produce two families a year, a few three. So there are many here to enjoy. They are also protected by a 30+ meter Acer  saccharumin:, Sugar Maple in my front yard which seems to be a gathering point for them, by the hundreds. They also share with Passer domesticus:, House Sparrows in that tree. What a racket in the mornings and the evenings, mainly in the spring.
As I mentioned in a previous post these are not true Robins, they belong to to the Turdus:, Thrush Family. The easiest way to know this is by the spots on the belly of the young. All members of the Thush Family have this characterization.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The Moth that thinks it is a Humming-bird

Eumorpha pandorus:,  Pandora Sphinx Moth


This guy is incredible, when you fist see it in the garden you think first thing it is a Humming-bird in every way. I do not see them often but on occasion they will be here in large numbers. I only saw one this year. They are also attracted to the same flowers as Humming-birds. As you can see here it is going for the Monarda didyma :, Bee Balm. They are fascinating to watch, and very beautiful to look at.

If you have Bee balm in your garden you will never regret it. More so, it is even a wonder beverage. Easy to make a Herbal Ice Tea with it. What you do is make your tea as you always would. But add the young leaves of the Bee Balm to it before adding very hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes and then strain it. Add honey to your liking and lemon and then chill. Serve with Ice and it is refreshing. Just another great way to enjoy flowers from the garden. Don't use the old leaves as they can be bitter.

Ruby Tuesday Moments

This is for all the Ruby Tuesday Followers that come to visit. This weeks post is actually down two posts from here. I hope you all enjoy, This is at Niagara Falls, Ontario on Lundy's Lane

Monday, 19 October 2009

A few pics of Niagara Falls, Ontario

I thought people might enjoy a few pics of our part of Canada, This of course is Niagara Falls
the Horse-shoe Falls or Canadian Falls
the Skylon Tower, and the New Falls Casino
the Niagara Falls, Ontario Skyline
The American Falls and the Bridal-Vail Falls

Another Ruby Tuesday, October 20th 2009

A Northern Flicker enjoying a drink out of my main fountain
A Purple Cone Flower centre
A Tiger-swallow Tail Butter-fly having lunch in a Tiger Lily
A Poppy looking her finest as the sun sets

I really enjoy the Ruby Tuesday.I have found myself looking forward to posting and looking at other peoples fine photos

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Sylvilagus floridanus:, Eastern Cotton-tail rabbit

Okay first thing I will admit to is that these guys are cute. HOWEVER they belong in a stew!!!!!. I made a mistake once when my best friend's wife was over for a visit with a friend of her's and a Cotton-tail Rabbit showed up. They went all googly eyed over it and were so happy to see it. I saw something different. I saw a Monster that devoured hundreds of dollars of annuals in short order. My comments on what I wanted to do with it was not in keeping with these lovely ladies. I should have known better!!!!! I do not hate these guys I just rather like them in some other garden. or served with fresh Vegetables that it did not get to. They can be very destructive and they are smart. All said, I love the book " Watership Down", by  Richard Adams and I kind of see them from that perspective.

I have never figured out a sure fire way to keep them out of the garden , so I am of very little use to give an idea on it......

My Urban Pond

This pond and it's surroundings are very natural and self contained. I really do not do much here at all. I mixed native and hybrids together that all like similar conditions and let them fend for them selves. One thing I did was to off set the bench a bit so you kind of have to look through some greenery to see the pond. It gives the whole a much more natural look, and more relaxing. For the fish it is better as well, they continue their lives much less disturbed. The biggest problem for me with this pond is servicing it. I had to create a walkway behind the pond so I can do what needs to be done, with out going into it every time. All said it truly is a  relaxing place to enjoy a bit of time out. The most expensive thing I did was to set up lights for this. Underwater pond lights are expensive but well worth the effort, especially for the fountain it adds a bit of class to the whole. The Bronze Cranes are Fountains as well but I never use them that way.

Always remember no matter how natural the look, a back-yard pond is and it's surroundings are 100 % man made and needs regular care.  Spend at least 2 hours a week on it. Or at least commit to that.
Last thing here always leave a lip of the Liner above the ground level. It may look ugly but it will prevent dirt and fertilizer and so forth from entering your pond. A fun thing here is to get creative and hide that liner edge. You see the liner by the walk way in this picture, however it is okay as it is structural and you would look past it into the pond.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A quote from Christ:, where will he find a place to rest

 My pond at night with lights, above and below water

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
I am no scholar but this quote saddens me. I often think on it. I came to a conclusion of sorts. We are so busy being Christian that we forgot how to follow Christ. We do so many things in the name of Christ and yet never do those things that are with in Christ;.


Bombus impatiens:,  Bumble Bee
Aquilegia pyrenaica:, Columbine

This Bumble Bee is Cheating the Columbine here by taking the nectar from the out side. The intent for the Columbine is for the insect to go into the flower to induce pollination. Here the Bumble bee is biting the flower on the out side and taking the Nectar. Hence no pollination. Not all is lost however as many other insects will use the front door.

Friday, 16 October 2009


Carassius auratus:, Gold Fish    The Latin here is quite generic as there are at least 4 types in this pic alone.
These guys are about two years old. all around 10 to 15 cm long. There are Koi as well but none in this pic. Gold Fish are easy to have in a pond but be careful. The biggest single mistake we all make and I included is to over stock your pond with them. This leads to much grief for the fish and for your self. The more fish in the pond the greater the up keep. My rule of thumb is about one to every 400 liters of water or 100 USA gallon. Fish in nature do not usually live a crowded life. These guys do tolerate a lot where other fish will not. Still to keep them healthy that is a great way to go with little cost.
Big thing for these guys is to give them lots of protection. The reason that these are all two years old is that my neighbour feeds the seagulls and when they spotted the fish they had an extra treat on the side. In a few short minutes they where all gone.   Lots of side cover plants floating plants and places for them to hide under water are ideal. Also avoid ledges and slops in your pond as this helps the raccoons. My pond is less than 1 meter deep and it works for me. however it really should be deeper.
Remember kids love ponds and there are kid hazards involved with any water feature

"Swan Lake"

Eufuchsia:, Fuchsia Double Pink
This picture really reminds me of the Ballet of "Swan Lake". 5 little girls on stag.
This can be a tricky plant to grow . However I found with a lot of neglect in a huge planter with other things it thrived. It was in some shade and did great. I actually forgot about it. I bought the plant 10 years ago and I managed to save it from year to year. bring it in and leave in a cool place. By spring it is an ugly stick. then out it goes early May, and by Canada Day (July 1st) it is beautiful. I have found that a lot of the time leaving plants alone is the best gardening style. and they perform their very best. These guys do like a lot of feed, so I use a good all round one first thing in the spring and that is all it gets. plus leaves from the previous year.
These guys come from Central , and South America. There are a few that are native to New Zealand.
When buying them in hangers I suggest to take them out of these and replant them in large stationary planters with other things. Or a few of these together. They do not like to dry out at all, and Veranda planters (Hanging Baskets) are horrible for that.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Become a Follower

The Chicago Peace Hybrid T Rose
Become a "follower" I would love to have you here.
It is easy. Look to the right hand side of the page and look for the word "followers" click on it, and it is that easy.
also leave comments they make my day!!!!!!!Great or not so great.

Eating in a Mexican Restaurant

Papilio cresphontes;, Giant Swallow-tail Butter-fly
Asteraceae tagetes :, Marigold Cottage Red
The reason for the title is that Marigolds come from Mexico, and to me this particular Marigold reminds me of Mexico, so there you have it. They are also a member of the Aster Family. However not the rich ones from the RMS Titanic fame !!!!!
Anyway these Giant Swallow-tails love many things in the garden a wide variety actually. This pic came out different than what I had expected. the Sun was really low in the evening and I guess the Sun light just caught it right for my liking. The wings almost have a stained glass look

Marigolds are so easy to grow and because they are from Mexico also drought resistant. So much so that they become some how looked down upon by Serious Gardeners. They should not be, they add guaranteed colour and endurance to any condition that they find them selves in. To make them show their very best plant them heavily. crowd them in and it becomes a show stopper.
I may use this one for "Ruby Tuesday" next week

Break Time

Archilochus colubris:. Ruby Throated Humming-bird (Female)

This Bird had a nest in my Picea pungens Hoto:, Hoto Colorado Blue Spruce. It was the most incredible thing to see. This clothes line is not far from it maybe a meter. It was made of course of spider webs and some fine wool (I think) it had gathered. She had two babies, I never took pics of it as I was afraid to interfere with their lives. Nor did I ever get a pic of the male. However he was around. This Lady actually trusted me to a point, or at least I think it was trust. She would hover about a meter from my face for a minute or so, and then take off again. I also understand that they are territorial, so she could have been giving heck for being there!!!!!

poor me I am suffering from a bad cold!!!!!!

The Toronto Maple Leafs

 my pond in the winter, not very attractive this way!!!!

What do the Leafs and the Titanic have in common?
A: They both look good until they hit the ice.

What's the difference between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a cigarette vending machine?
A: The vending machine has Players!

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and whales have in common?
A: They both get totally confused when surrounded by ice.

Why are the Toronto Maple Leafs like Canada Post?
A: They both wear uniforms and don't deliver!

Why doesn't Hamilton have an NHL team?
A: Because then Toronto would want one...

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays all have in common besides being based in Toronto ?
A. None of them can play hockey.

What do you call 30 millionaires around a TV watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
A. The Toronto Maple Leafs..

How do you keep the Toronto Maple Leafs out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal net.

What do you call a Toronto Maple Leaf with a Stanley Cup ring?
A. A thief.

What do the Toronto Maple Leafs and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.

How many Toronto Maple Leafs does it take to win a Stanley Cup?
A. Nobody knows ... And we may never find out.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Conclusion of the First Week for this Blog

Thank-you all who have visited this site in the last week. 1,000 hits WOW. not to mention 58 comments. Special thanx to Terry who was a great help, and Jake who is a great spell checker!!!!!!!!

Moody Blue

Iris virginica shrevei :, Blue Flag Iris
These are great plants to have in the fish pond area. In spring they are incredible with their bright blue flowers and tall slender leaves. After they flower the leaves stay nearly perfect for the year. They really do add a realistic look to a Man Made Garden Pond. Do not be afraid to kind of over use it. I have some in pails in the waters as well. They should not be completely submerged. However you can submerge them maybe an inch at most . Your fish will lay eggs in the pail as well if they can, which is really cool. Add a rock or two to the top to make them bottom heavy. Otherwise first good wind and they are toppled over. If you like, add other small water pond plants in the pail with them. it adds extra interest. In time Moss will grow over the soil and give it an unique look.
Hint Here: When planting out side the pond remember that the soil is dry, they like wet. To fix it just throw a bucket of water on them a couple times a week. Another hint for general pot planting in the pond is never use bricks. They will disintegrate in the water with in a few years. Use rocks, they are more interesting anyway. Also make sure there is a hole in the pail. This to insure water can get in if the water level becomes low in the pond.

Town of Dunnville

This is a shot of our great little town of Dunnville, Ontario Canada. Population 13,000.  It is situated on the Grand River in the South East of our Great Province. It is not far from Niagara Falls to our East, Lake Erie to our South and Lake Ontario to our North.. To the West of us we have the great farms that make Ontario one of the most productive food baskets for the world. Our closest major American City is Buffalo, New York United States of America.
I live just off the page left of the picture on the other side of the River.

I did not take this picture

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


:, Brown Eyed Susan  /  Echinacea purpurea:, Purple Cone Flower
I just love this picture in a fun way. These two flowers just reminds me of two best friends, lovers, sole mates,  or even a comforting moment. Funny how we can put Human feelings to such things.
Back to the real world the Rubeckia is a relative of the Sun-flower. They are excellent as a mass planting in a large garden. just give them their own space and they are fine. The same can be said of the Echinacea. What is even nicer is planting them together. I will post one like that in the future

A Quote from Christ , Wednesday addition

So when the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’
Gladiolus endemic:,  Gladiola
    The word Gladiolus actually means Sword, as does the Roman Fighter of the same name.

He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 
A thought to ponder

Canada Day !!!!!!!!!

Alliaceaea allium;. Purple Star Burst Allium

This is an incredible spring flower. Very structural and gives nice height to the spring look. These guys are related to Garlic, Onions, Shallots, and Leeks all from the Dinner Table. and these are all a sub Family of the Liliaceae:, Lily family.
The Allium has a wonderful smell and can truly be noticed from a distance. They also make a great dried flower arrangement plant after the flower is finished (when naturally browned).
the negative to this plant but for many a plus it readily self seeds. So in a few years you could have many more than ever intended.

Monday, 12 October 2009

A Bride Maid's Splash

Rhododendron macrophyllum  in the family Ericaceae ; Rhododendron Black-sport

The word Rhododendron literally means "Rose Tree" in Greek. 
These are wonderful plants. evergreen in the winter and beautiful in Bloom in late Spring. Unless you live on Vancouver Island and they have a type that blooms in January. Anywhere else in Canada you just have to Hate Love them out there. Seems so unfair some how!!!!!!!.
Hint here: These guys really should get winter protection here in Southern Ontario. This year of 2009 we had an okay winter but in March we hit a cold record spell and killed most bloom buds that where exposed. This is a time when you think all is safe for the year. The Rhodo's love acidic soil. if you have non Acidic soil like I do there are cheap to free fixes for this.. Go to your nearest coniferous tree and rake up as many needles as you can and mix it into the soil around the plant.. Or if you have left over tea dump it on the ground around the plant, meaning water it with tea. also Tea bags and coffee grounds are perfect for this.

Ruby Tuesday Moments

My first post for Ruby Tuesday, Hope you all enjoy!!!

a Red Dahlia (Eric the Red)
 a Bud of a Prickly Pear Cactusa
 a Pink Rose ( Queen Elizabeth II)
a Red Rose (Dr Huey)
a Red Lily (Red Blazer)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

a Yellow Thistle?, NO

Centaurea macrocephala,  Great Golden Knap-weed
A member of a much bigger family of plants such as Bachelor Buttons, Yarrow, and Asters plus others called Asteraceae. 
There is very little on the net for this plant so I will not link it. mostly Sales pitches.
Anyway this is a fun plant for the first timer to see before and during flowering. The heads look like a Thistle, however the body of the plant looks like a stalk that belongs to Nicotiana, Flowering Tobacco Plant. In fact it even blooms out exactly the same way as a Onopordum acanthium, Scotch Thistle does, except of course it is Yellow not Purple. It is a native to Ontario and Quebec in the East, and South Western BC in the West. After blooming it actually becomes very ugly. To fix that just cut of the stems ( new leaves will have started to come up by this point from the base) and the plant starts to make a nice low greenery.

"Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon"

Platycodon grandiflorus, Balloon Flower

These are a wonderful plant. They look great and the flowers are interesting. It does very well in the zones from 5 and up here in Canada. This particular one was given to me by my Niece for my garden. Actually she has given a few. She lives on Vancouver Island so a real treat for me to have it.
For the very best results and looks it is best to "dead head" the flowers as they finish. That really goes for most plants in the garden. 

I find that it does need a cage to help support it as it can get rather tall. It also transplants very easily. 

a moment to ponder, I think

Hemerocallis: Day Lily

This Bronze stands about 1.5 meters high and the  Hemerocallis, Day Lilies are surpassing it in height. Like some other plants that love water, don't plant these in standing water, they will rot. So this was the year for them. If you notice in the back ground I do not always put my tools away!!!!! You just got to love that.
This fixture as well as the other Crane were shiny Bronze when I bought them and now after many years they have started to put on a wonderful green patina.

I seem to be stuck on Red

Solenostemon scutellarioides, Coleus Hybrid

I plant few annuals now, however I really like the Coleus. What I do with them is plant a few in a group, in out of the way places or  in areas where the plants from spring will disappear for the summer . It really helps to avoid 4 months or more of nothingness, and looking like the garden went threw bad times.

Tower of Red

Canna Cannaceae, Canna lily
This year due to the rains and much cooler weather than normal. My Canna's came up later and did not start to bloom till Mid September. A dud year really for these. How ever since they like wet conditions the plants them selves are incredible. Some reached up to 2.5 meters. The constant number of over cast days was the reason for the lack of flowering normally.

life goes on

(Papilio glaucus) Eastern Tiger Swallow-tail female

Okay, when people see this picture and ask what kind of Butterfly it is, I say it is a Tiger Swallow-tail. People think I am nuts, generally the comment is that it can not be because it is black. Good observation, however this is a female. This older Lady is in the Black form, there is a second colour format for the same species gender that resembles the adult male. This has to be the most striking butter-fly in the garden.
A sad story for me is attached to this picture. My Mom passed a way a few hours before hand. I took a walk in the garden for reflection. This butter-fly was just there. It gave me a sense of peace, I think. As it was I had the camera outside so I took the picture.