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.

Hepatica

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


Sanguinaria Canadensis

Sanguinaria could be spotted here and there.

Decay

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 http://www.quartierdesspectacles.com/en/activity/8811/21-balancoires-21-swings#newsletter). 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

Waterlilies

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.

Blossoms

Here is a taste of what we saw.

Cormorant

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.

Rose

Beauty comes in many colours.

More Roses on the Way

Along with promises for the future.

Iris

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.

Contemplation

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

Framing

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


Stairways

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.

Feet

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

Knees and Feet

Sometimes the people looked like art installations...

Shadows

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Farmer's Market

Green Goodness

Coming from Montreal where local produce this time of year means greenhouse grown tomatoes, I ogled at all the fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmer's market in Los Angeles.

Radishes and Mini Squash

We are not deprived in the winter. I grew up with tinned fruit and vegetables in the winter and iceberg lettuce. Now everything is plentiful, but it is trucked in or flown in and is never quite as fresh as what was on display here.

Heirloom Tomatoes

The colours and shapes were a feast for the eyes, to say nothing about the feast they could provide for the body.

Carrots and Celery

Even simple vegetables looked fresh and appealing

Beets

Sunday, April 9, 2017

On to Los Angeles

Palms

From Twentynine Palms we drove across the mountains to the coast, to Los Angeles. The drive was spectacular with bright yellow fields of wild flowers to mountain sides also covered with blossoms. We passed through an enormous wind farm - good to see the growth of renewable energy. The winds were certainly blowing and the turbines were in motion.

Wild Flowers

 One of the main reasons for this trip was so I could see two friends from summer camp whom I had not seen in over forty years. Both of them had moved to Los Angeles. It was wonderful to reconnect!

On the Beach

A must for us northerners is a walk on the beach - always something to notice and always the sound of the waves.

Sailing

We could see sailboats on the horizon.

Splash

On the shore, the waves splashed against the breakwaters.

Marbled Gotwit on the Beach

This marbled gotwit also took advantage of the beach, strutting in and out of the water.

Marbled Gotwit

I had to go hunting on the internet to find out the name of the bird.

Under the Umbrellas

Many were taking advantage of the lovely weather - not quite warm enough for swimming, but definitely warm enough to enjoy a walk, a sit and the sound of the sea.


Poppies

And for me - after a long white winter, time to enjoy the colourful flowers.