Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Walking Tour Through The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

Rhododendron and Camellias are perhaps the most encountered genus of spring flowering shrubs grown in Vancouver. In weekend, we took a walking tour through "The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden"  in Stanley Park and we were absolutely delighted to see so many colors of the blooming bushes on the trails and to read the information about them from the nearby informative plaques.

Exbury Azalea in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Exbury Azalea in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

Ted and Mary Greig were renowned rhododendron hybridizers, who received the Gold Medal of The American Rhododendron Society  for their Center of Rhododendron Culture built at Royston, on Vancouver Island  - the source of many mature rhododendrons from the Stanley Park Rhododendron's Garden  and UBC Botanical Garden

There are thousands of hybrids of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, deciduous or not, which are blooming in Vancouver's Parks since March to June with fragrant white, pink, orange, yellow or red flowers.

Rhododendron Robin Hood - The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Rhododendron Robin Hood - The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

Some species are changing their foliage in purplish or orange in the Fall, others are losing their foliage when the Winter is starting. We have just admired the mature plants which are now in bloom.

Elizabeth Rhododendron - The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Elizabeth Rhododendron - The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Perhaps the  Robin Hood, Exbury Azalea, Elizabeth Rhododendron, Beacon and Len Living Rhodos  are the hardiest hybrids because their leaves and flower buds, which have not been opening in the fall, were not affected by winter frost.

Rhododendron Crest - The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

On the Stanley Park alleys the most popular Camellia is the Camellia Japonica with red or pink flowers.
Camellia Japonica x in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Camellia Japonica x  in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Walking along the Camelia Walk, on the west side of Pitch and Putt course, we saw some red and pink bushes of Camellia "Aunt Mavis", which would fit exceptionally well into almost any spot.
Camellia Aunt Mavis in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

The Camellia plants reach 5-6 meters in height and is really a pleasure to see and smell their absolutely stunning blooming in spring. Down the path, the sense of smell was awakened by the fragrant flowers of Chinese witch hazel bushes.
Pink Cherry Blossoms in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden
Pink Cherry Blossoms in The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

We also found some pink Cherry blossoms and Magnolia Soulangiana flower buds, although they will be in full bloom in the middle of April.

Magnolia Soulangiana flower buds
Magnolia Soulangiana flower buds 

It worth to walk through "The Ted & Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden" all year round, but in spring... is just marvelous to admire quietly this peaceful garden in a continuous blooming transformation.

Chinese Witch Hazel - scented flowers
Chinese Witch Hazel - scented flowers 

On the "Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation" website, can be found detailed info about the blooming flowers along with monthly recommended walks through the Rhododendron Garden from  Stanley Park Vancouver, and brochures with all walks, map, and most important rhododendrons and shrubs / trees existing in the garden. Don't forget to bring your photo-camera ;-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wolf, the Guardian of Miniature Ficus Forest

Wolf, the Guardian of Miniature Ficus Forest - group of 5 ficus benjamina variegatedAlthough in my miniature landscape it is just a "lone wolf",  I consider the wolf a very friendly and social creature. One of the first historical stories heard in my childhood about Romans, one of my forefathers, was the legend of the she-wolf, the founder of Rome, who found, suckled and raised two twins brothers named Romulus and Remus.

 Romulus and Remus are Suckled by a Kindly Wolf Giclee Poster Print by Victor Jean Adam, 18x24      

The Dacians and Thracians (my other ancestors) were known as fearless fighters under  the Wolf-Dragon flag (named also "dracones"). The Wolf-Dragon banner, having a Wolf head ending through a Dragon tail, was symbol of the brotherhood and bravery of the warriors and also a symbol of the immortality and protection against evil forces.

In Native American tradition, the Wolf is the keeper of knowledge and wisdom, and the teacher who tells people to learn to value their inner knowledge and spirituality.The totem wolf appears frequently in North American amulets and totem poles as a representative of friendliness, deep faith, loyalty, generosity and profound understanding - I know this because we are located in Vancouver and in British Columbia the wolf is a frequent native American Indian symbol presents in carvings, artisan crafts or dream-catchers.

   Magic Howling Wolf Head Unique Black Onyx Gemstone Spiritual Protection Amulet Pendant Necklace    Dreams Of The Wild Wolf Art Native American-Style Dreamcatcher Wall Decor by The Bradford Exchange    Lone Wolf Statue Figure Magnificent Sculpture

The wolf is also among with many ancient cultures: among the ancestry of Genghis Khan or with the Odin's victory from the Norse mythology. In Egypt the wolf-headed god Anubis was the guardian of the dead and the protector of the souls that entered the underworld. In Celtic tradition, the wolf teaches people to feel strength and power when acting in groups, and represents a symbol of loyalty, intuition, transformation and protection.

The wolf related to the dogs symbolizes  friendship, freedom and toughness, and I had the privilege to have a wolfdog as a companion for a short period. He possess a high intellect and is making himself very well understood using body movements, subtle sights and vocal expressions... anybody wants to have such qualities ;-)

Wolf figurine, the Guardian of Miniature Landscape

Well... he is the wolf guardian of the "miniature ficus forest".  He protects the Ficus Benjamina Variegated plants ( a group of 5 plants) that grow on top of the hill and is wandering throughout the meadows (accent plants, moss, grass) that streching to the downhill and on the wide plains downward the forest :-)

This wolf  is the source of power and good luck for those around him and pathfinder to find new creative ideas ;-)  Anybody want to be protected and to dream in a magical world... Do you like such a guardian?

Wolf figurine, the Guardian of Miniature Ficus Forest

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Pelargonium Seeds Exchange Project

We went at the beginning of this month, as usual, to the monthly meeting of the Canadian Geranium & Pelargonium Society, held at VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver. This month the "2011 Pelargonium Seeds Exchange Project" was started, and we discussed various methods to grow pelargoniums from seeds and their degrees of success. For this project we donated seeds gathered last Autumn from our Pelargonium Grossularioides / Coconut scented plants .

The 2011's challenge of this project to the club members will be to grow some special pelargoniums from seeds received from the Geraniaceae Group in UK. The Project phases include planting them using sprouting method (eventually scarifying them), note their evolutions and share the results. The seeds should be planted in a well-drained soil and in good light, avoid over-watering and over-feeding and maintaining best conditions for growing.  

We received one seed of  Pelargonium Alternans: a perfect candidate to become a bonsai because it is a low, stout-stemmed little bush. (it perhaps was given to us after the "Pelargoniums Bonsai" presentation we did in February meeting). It is a plant from seasonally dry climate which will make white-pink flowers with 5 red anthers.

Pelargonium Alternans description
Pelargonium Alternans description

We received also:
- one seed of Pelargonium Lobatum - a variety of pelargonium with tall flowering stems (70 cm high?) and almost black flowers, fragrant in night ;-) with petals edged with yellowish green.
Pelargonium Lobatum flowers
Pelargonium Lobatum flowers

- one seed of Pelargonium Barklyi - a tuberous plant with dark green, deeply veined leaves, purple on the reverse which will bloom with quite large, pale yellow flowers.

 Pelargonium Barklyl description

- one seed of Pelargonium Bowkeri - a summer-growing pelargonium with strange fringed flowers which should be keep dry over winter in its dormancy period.

 Pelargonium Bowkeri description

Other members received also seeds of:
- pelargonium Appendiculatum - hairy leaves finely cut from an underground tuber and pale yellow flowers;
- pelargonium Auritum - winter-growing with dark maroon flowers;
- pelargonium Articulatum - winter-growing, parent of Cliff Blackman's Zonartic Hibrid, with large yellow flowers;
- pelargonium Echinatum "Miss Stapleton" , known also as "Sweetheart Geranium" - winter-growing with flowers white-pink with a deep red spot - often heart shaped.
- pelargonium Endlichenarium - originated to Turkey, summer-growing with bright pink two-petalled flowers. It can be grown outside in Vancouver's climate and some old plants (it is an evergreen plant) can be seen in the "Alpine Garden" at  UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research.
- pelargonium Incrassatum - winter-growing with hairy leaves growing from tuberous roots and purple-pink flowers
- pelargonium Oblongatum- winter-growing with large, undivided leaves and pale yellow with red veining flowers
- pelargonium Quinquelobatum - parent of "Creamery" yellow-flowered hybrids, summer growing with five-lobed leaves (characteristic which give it its name)
- pelargonium Tongaense - looming more like an ivy-leaf but related to zonals with red flowers all the summer.

Another special plant, having the necessities to germinate in cold, the hardy Geranium Pratense "Mrs. Kendall Clarke" will bloom with pale blue with lighter marbling flowers.

Geranium Pratense, Mrs. Kendall Clarke
Geranium Pratense,  Mrs. Kendall Clarke

I hope the seeds will germinate well and in the next month or so, we will see how these plants develop, and I will be able to share some pictures with you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Miniature landscapes at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

Miniature landscapes exposed at Ashenzi booth at Vacouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

Usually, I try not to make promises I can't keep.  One of my favourite proverbs is " Just keeping your word is not enough, make sure you don't delay your promise". So, as I promised in my previous article Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show , I come back to you with details.

Vancouver Convention Centre Entrance Hall

Saturday was a pleasant day in which we have reached almost all of our targets to "The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show".

Ashenzi booth decorated with our saikei , miniature landscapes at Vacouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

First of all, I want to tell you that the Ashenzi booth was decorated with both miniature landscapes we made for them. They enjoyed the arrangements so much and decided to rent both for the show.

Furthermore, without being modest, you can see by yourself that our miniature gardens given a special look to their stand ;-)

saikei with pjm rhododendron at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

On arrival, we were wandering the intense and crowded alley of the show, and we located where the Terry Grant's appearance to the show will be.

Terry Grant / the Mantracker

I got his autograph and I took some pictures with him!
Don't envy me, you don't know how much I was waiting to get it!!!
Terry Grant / the Mantracker's autograph

 "The best way to keep one's word is not to give it." Napoleon Bonaparte

It was an achievement, because we promised to the kids that we will see Terry Grant's reactions in a "real show" and we will obtain his autograph.

travel photography workshop bannerWe participated, also, to one Travel Photography Workshop presented by Kerrisdale Cameras starting with 1:45pm: and we have listened many tips " Accessories, Gadgets & Gizmos: What gear to Grab". Later we have admired the Olympus photo cameras.

olympus booth at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

As an extra for our hobby to create miniature landscapes ... we enjoyed the zipcars miniatures... don't you think are quite funny those cars which accelerating under zipcars street banners? ;-)

miniature zipcars at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

Walking through the "Adventure and Travel Pavilion", we noticed the touristic offers from all over the world.

Visiting the stands, we were joining the adventure of fishing to West Coast, trekking in Himalaya's wilderness, cruising and diving on Vancouver Island.

wilderness trekking poster Hope centre and Fraser River Rafting booth

Also, we were flirting with the idea of participating in rafting expeditions on Fraser River or hiking expeditions in Uganda, the pearl of Africa ;-)

Chilliwack river rafting poster
Uganda booth at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show

White water demo pool banner at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel ShowIn the last pavilion visited by us, "Canoe and Cayak Expo" we were very impressed by the real demonstrations on the White Water Demo Pool. Don't you think that is amazing to see such a pool assembled indoor?White water demo pool at Vancouver Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show


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