Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blossom Time

It is Blossom Time

It's that spectacular time of year when each day looks different. Two hot days brought speedy growth. The blossoms seemed to grow in just days.

Profusion of Blossoms

Each tree has its own shade of pink.


Each tree comes to life at its own rhythm. Some have leaves that are almost full, others blossoms and some are just starting to send out the first signs of leaves.

Tulips Wide Open in the Heat

On one of our hot days (Wednesday and Thursday the temperature went up to 30°C) the tulips opened wide. Some closed up again as a cold front came through. Tulip season is not long here. Spring brings rapid change before settling in to the lushness of summer.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Up in Summit Woods

The Forest Floor Sprouts Yellow

After days of rain and chilly temperatures growth is once again speeding up. Up on Summit Woods the early spring flowers have woken up. Their time here is short. Once the leaves open on the trees, these flowers will die off for another year. The dog toothed violets (a.k.a. trout lilies) were open in profusion.

Trout Lily or Dog Toothed Violet

Their bright yellow colour advertises to insects to quickly come and pollinate them so they can grow another year.

Trilliums Find a Spot to Grow

From wide open spaces to little niches, the trilliums pop up.

Trilliums Springing Up

They carpet the forest floor. It is their moment of glory - short-lived but grand.

A Protected Space

The forest is constantly regeneration, from decay comes new growth.

Stopping to Rest

We saw a number of these butterflies flitting around. They rest with their wings wide open. I believe they are mourning cloak butterflies.

Basking in the Sun

For moments the sun shone. Spring is upon us.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spring is Trying

A shot of orange

Spring is trying to take hold. One warm day brings a burst of growth and then the cold makes the tulips close and huddle.

Not Ready To Open

April and May have brought record amounts of rain which along with snow melt has caused serious flooding along the banks of rivers. Montreal is an island, and though I am not affected by the flooding, not even being near enough to the shore to see the effects, I know that others are suffering the loss of homes and the tremendous stress of watching helplessly as their sandbagging attempts simply did not have a chance against the fury of the water.

Spring Flowers

Flowers still bloom; trees start to bud (though at a slower pace as temperatures have been below normal). Yesterday I saw some snow flurries and walked bundled up with gloves, hat and scarf along with a jacket worn more often in March than in May.

Magnolias Beginning

Magnolias are starting to make their fleeting presence known. Spring is coming in slowly. At least for now, there is no more significant rain expected.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Forest Floor Wakes Up

Red Trillium 2

New growth pokes through the layer of dead leaves. Out of last year's debris, regeneration begins. The red trilliums seem to open before their more proliferous white cousins.

Red Trilliums

Sometimes solitary, sometimes in small clumps their deep red is a sharp contrast to the sepia around them.

Huddled Together

Slowly the ferns are unfurling. They looked like they were huddling together. Warmth in numbers. The temperature was a hovering around 5°C (about 41°F), definitely chilly for the end of April.

First Trilliums

We did find a few open, white trilliums, but mostly they were just starting to bud.

Waiting for Warmth

Like the trout lilies (erythronium), they seem to be waiting for warmer temperatures.


Small patches of hepatica have sent up their first tentative blooms.

Sanguinaria Canadensis

Sanguinaria could be spotted here and there.


The forest floor is covered with dry, decaying leaves. Some looked almost ghost-like. Slowly they will return to the soil and soon the forest floor will be covered with the green of new growth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A City Walk

Musical Swings

I love to have a destination for my walks and this was a different route from one I usually take. I'll start at the end so you can enjoy the whimsy of these swings. It is impossible not to smile as the movement of the swings creates music. I sat a while and pumped my legs - the real pleasure comes when more than one swing moves. Click and listen.

Sunshine in a Flower

Walking on a sunny spring day is energy-boosting. These sun-soaked flowers started me off on my trajectory.

St. James Church

My final destination was actually the Belgo building, which at one time was a department store and then served as small factories for the garment business. The first time I was in the building many years ago you could smell the furs which were being cut and sewn into coats, hats and other wearables. Now the majority of spaces are rented out to art galleries and studios. The study group on Aboriginal art was meeting there to see an exhibit.

On the way I passed St. James United Church (above). As I don't pass by here I often, I still get surprised by the open square in front of the church. For most of my life the front was obscured by store fronts which were removed in 2006. Now the church has a presence.

Corner Building

I took a little detour and walked up to John F Kennedy Blvd and St. Urbain. I liked the way this building used the corner.

Red Roofed Church

This church, St. John the Evangelist, is known as the red-roofed church for obvious reasons. I have been to a few concerts there. They also host St. Michael's Mission, which provides support, food, shower facilities,.. particularly to homeless men.

More Music

This is the seventh year that the swings have been set up here in the Quartier des Spectacles. The 21 swings are a creation of Daily tous les jours, in collaboration with animal behaviourist Luc-Alain Giraldeau from UQAM and Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, who composed the score of this fun installation. (from Each swing emits a different note and, apparently at night they also emit colours. What a delightful place to stop a while!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Signs

Scylla Gone Wild

I couldn't live in a place that did not have a change of seasons. In spring each day brings surprises as growth and change is so rapid. Where one day a lawn looks tired and sepia-coloured, the next it is covered with leaves and then next with tiny blue flowers. Scylla always delight me; they pop up where they will, never staying within the constraints of a garden.

First Daffodils

Daffodils show their sunny faces. These hardy plants can endure the spring frosts and occasional snow.

Hyacinth and some Daffodils

In sheltered spots the flowers arrive sooner with heady-smelling hyacinth sharing a spot with these daffodils.

Downcast Daffodils

It has been a very rainy April with temperatures going up and down. Many people are craving a bit of sunshine as are these flowers, heads down, waiting for the sunshine to perk them up.

There has been flooding in a number of communities as the rain and melting ice in rivers combine to raise water levels. We are heading for the rainiest April on record, which apparently may lead to the most mosquitoey months ahead. Here's hoping for a couple of weeks of sunshine ahead.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Gardens at the Huntington


I spent my last full day in California with my two friends going through the gardens at the Huntington.  Funny how so many years can dissolve and friendships pick up where they left off. It was wonderful to renew our connections, to share our interests, to realize that what sparked our friendship so long ago was as valid today.

In the Japanese Garden

We strolled, chatted and enjoyed the beauty around us (here in the Japanese garden) and ate lunch together - even ordering the same meals.


Here is a taste of what we saw.


I think this is a cormorant. He stood watching.

Shaking Its Gullet

Then he started to shake its gullet - I saw a programme about herons who do that in hot climates to cool down. Perhaps this bird was doing the same thing.

In the Rose Garden

We wandered through the rose garden.


Beauty comes in many colours.

More Roses on the Way

Along with promises for the future.


Friendship renewed. The bonds of friendship are a mystery - those connections that were strong can last. And now we have to find ways to nurture them into the future despite our distant homes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum

We spent a delightful afternoon at the Getty Museum. It is located on one of the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. I was captivated by the architecture and the use of the setting. Architect, Richard Meier, did a fabulous job of mixing buildings, plazas, gardens and incredible views.

The Entry Hall

It is a mix of curves and straight lines and it takes advantage of natural lighting, even in the galleries.

Multiple Pavillions

The plazas feature fountains and sculpture and the swaths of windows reflect back other aspects of the site.

Looking Over the Gardens

The buildings are faced with travertine stone - smooth in some areas and very rough in others. And everywhere are these incredible views.


Despite the number of people who were on the site, there were still quiet, contemplative areas to be found.


At times, the architecture provided natural frames through which to view the city below - creating a living piece of art.


I loved the combination of curves and squares and the lines.

Lines and Shadows

Lines and shadows - always making new patterns.

Curves and Straight Lines

I had to keep stopping to enjoy the architecture

Circular Gardens

The gardens echoed the curves and lines.


And everywhere people enjoyed the art, the architecture and the grounds.

Knees and Feet

Sometimes the people looked like art installations...