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Raindrops on lilacs

Raindrops on lilacs

I have always loved the smell of lilacs, especially in the rain.
lilacs in the rain
It’s raining in Calgary today. Not just “showers” or “chance of showers” but “rain”. This is unusual because it only ever rains for about an hour, maybe two, and it’s been raining all morning.
Today is welcome rain, soaking the lawns and flower beds, and clearing the wildfire smoky skies.

Into each life some rain must fall. 
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I grew up on a farm in Southwestern Ontario. When it rained, we didn’t have to hoe beans or pick cucumbers. There were multiple indoor activities on a rainy day – a game of euchre, a jigsaw puzzle, a pie to make. Once my brother built a telegraph from the house to the barn and we practiced Morse Code for hours.
At any rate, I still associate rain with rest. Today I sit in the kitchen and enjoy the view.
The backyard is mostly perennials because who has time to plant each spring? I suppose a gardener does but I’m not really a gardener. I am an Enjoyer of Gardens.
Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
— Roger Miller
This bleeding heart comes back every year—
—and so do the Saskatoons.
These two bushes were recently planted. They are Haskap berries. Apparently, Haskaps are higher in antioxidants than blueberries. Behind the plastic is the strawberry patch. The plastic keeps the birds away and also keeps the plants a little warmer.
Haskap berries
This is the new grapevine, with accompanying trellis. The backyard is on a slope—a sort of hillside. Grapes grow on hillsides, right? Even though Calgary has a short growing season, we can always hope.
I do plant a few annuals in pots on the balcony—mainly because I can bring them indoors when Calgary has snow late, or early, in the season.
A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.
—James Dickey
At the beginning of each spring season, we put the concrete birdbath outside. It’s in the basement over the long harsh winter and now it is enjoyed by the birds—
—and by the humans watching the birds.
I hope you are enjoying this rainy day!

Backyard Bliss

balcony garden

balcony garden

In the good ole summertime, there’s nothing quite like relaxing in your backyard and garden.

geraniums and lobelia

geraniums and lobelia

Of course, I love anything pink, but these are one of my favourites.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams

Always pretty and very hardy, especially in this climate, we have snow-on-the-mountain.



The strawberry patch is doing well.

tasty strawberries

tasty strawberries

We got a new lawn chair.

our new lawn chair

We already had a “pensieve”.

our bird bath aka “pensieve”

our bird bath aka “pensieve”

And the livin’ is easy . . .

relaxing in the backyard

Fairy Garden 2

Fairy Garden 2

Last November, I made a fairy garden—a place for my imagination to sit and dream up new plot lines, or mull over old plot lines, or try to forget the plot lines completely. I think this is a “displacement activity”.

From the MacMillan Dictionary, a displacement activity is  

something that you do in order to avoid dealing with an unpleasant situation.

In biology and psychology, it is something that a person or animal does that has no obvious connection with the situation which they are in and that is the result of being confused about what to do.

The Collins Dictionary defines a Displacement Activity this way:

1.    (psychology) behaviour that occurs typically when there is a conflict between motives and that has no relevance to either motive, e.g. head scratching

2.    (zoology) the substitution of a pattern of animal behaviour that is different from behaviour relevant to the situation, e.g. preening at an apparently inappropriate time

I first heard about Displacement Activities from author Cherry Adair when she spoke at one of my writer groups. She told us how she made a binder for each book—spending time making a cover for the binder, putting in dividers, finding pictures.

For a writer, a displacement activity might be something you do to avoid writing. But, in a writer’s case, that may be a good thing. A displacement activity is a way of turning off the Editor so that the Creator can perform its work. Building a fairy garden can be a displacement activity and that is what I did.

Yesterday I showed you the plants I used. Here they are, freshly planted, before any of the other stuff showed up.

fairy garden with just the plants

I started off with the black “large” furniture, but later I changed to a scale half this size.

For ROCKS, I used a piece of quartz that I found while walking. (I put it through my rock polisher.) And I had some ocean rocks from when I was on Vancouver Island. (They also were in the rock polisher, for a long time.)

I needed some WATER so I used marbles from the Dollar Store. This makes the “ocean”. Some glass shells, also from the Dollar Store, float on the ocean.

My fresh water POND is a blue agate slice that I bought at the Rock & Gem store in Whistler.

Once it was all put together, it looked like this:

fairy garden with everything added

And like this, up close:

fairy garden up closeI needed some fairies too. This fairy garden is full of fairies, but you can’t see them because they are invisible.

By February, the garden was slightly overgrown. This shows the “half-size” furniture, which makes the garden appear so much bigger.

the fairy garden by February

But there is still lots of room to sit and dream.

still lots of room to sit

However, by early April, the plants are taking over . . .

by early AprilI should go in there with a machete. But I don’t have time. I’m working outside in a real garden now.

Anyway, I like the way the plants have grown. I make a cup of tea, sit by my garden, stare at it and try not to think.

That is when the Inspiration Fairies show up and help me out.

fairy from bigstockphoto.com #45611884

Fairy Garden 1

Fairy Garden 1

Look at that. It’s the end of April and I haven’t checked in yet this month.

After a long winter, spring has arrived. We didn’t have a lot of snow over the winter months. Lots of snow in the mountains, but not in the city. That made for gray days.

To amuse myself, I made a fairy garden. These are the plants I used.

Bernard's Elfin Herb

Bernard’s Elfin Herb

Dee Dee's Box Honeysuckle

Dee Dee’s Box Honeysuckle

Belle's Pink Cranesbill

Belle’s Pink Cranesbill

Fine Gold Leaf Sedum

Fine Gold Leaf Sedum

Kay Kay's Angel Vine

Kay Kay’s Angel Vine

Silver Carpet

Silver Carpet

Stefan's Blue Moneywort

Stefan’s Blue Moneywort

Violet's Creeping Thyme

Violet’s Creeping Thyme

Tomorrow, I will show you the assembled garden.

My balcony garden

My balcony garden

I took out my collection of pots and then made a trip to Sunnyside Greenhouse. Along with a huge bag of potting soil, I bought nasturtiums, geraniums, lobelia, pansies, violas, petunias, dusty miller, zinnias and a Gerbera daisy.

In an afternoon, I created this—an outdoor “writing room”. 

my balcony gardenA place to sit and think and compose, with fresh air, sunshine, colour and sweet smells. I love it. And, it seems, so do the squirrels.

Brave little buds

Brave little buds

Calgary is at 51 degrees North with an elevation of 1,048 m (3,438 ft) so spring does not come early. Not usually.

But so far, March has been beautiful with temperatures up to 15 degrees Celsius! (That’s 59 Fahrenheit for our neighbours to the south.)

The weather predictions keep changing. A few days ago, they were saying snow on the weekend, but it looks like we may miss that. Although it will drop below freezing again.

These little buds don’t seem to care. I hope they survive the next few weeks. I think it’s a long way until spring, with a lot of snowy weather yet to come and there’s not a robin in sight.