A Good Home, Author Cynthia Reyes, Blue Flowers, Canadian Gardens, Canadian life, Flowers, Gardens, Heritage Homes, Homes, Hosta, Photographs, Summer Garden

A Bloomin’ Finale

Welcome to the last of the summer vines.

Blog Photo - Last Purple Clem 2

Purple clematis hanging on, above.

Also, do you remember that the wild rabbits ate two of my favorite clematis vines right down to the ground last winter?

Well, the pink one finally resurrected itself in mid-summer. And started blooming this week.

Blog Photo - Last Clem Vine - Single Pink CU

I’m glad, because it’s the clematis on the cover of my book, A Good Home.

Blog Photo - Arbor and pink clematis

agoodhome_cynthiareyesAnd I’m taking it as a sign that there’ll be more books in my future!

Blog Photo - Last Clematis Pink

Meanwhile, I walked around the garden in search of more ‘last blooms’. Ever tried holding a cane in one hand and a camera in the other?

The result is uneven. (Some of you, my blogger friends, are fantabulous photographers, so –  be kind!)

Blog Photo - Last Hosta to Bloom

Blog Photo - Last Hosta to Bloom CU

The white-blooming hosta, above,  is a fresh sight in the fading garden.

So is a very late Annabelle hydrangea bloom.

Blog Photo - Last White Hydrangea CU

Normally, they’ve all turned green already.

Blog Photo - Last Blooms - Green Hyrdrangea

The morning glories are now blooming in two colours, though I planted only one (the blue-purple).

Blog Photo - Last Morning Glories

Blog Photo - Last Morning Glories Single Blue

Blog Photo - Last Morning Glories CU Blue

Some flowers bloom gloriously….

… and some are shy.

Blog Photo - Last Puprle clem to bloom

Just like people.

Wishing you a happy Labour Day weekend.

**

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Food, Friends, Verandah

Everybody was complaining about summer.

Not me.

Blog Photo - Muskoka Chairs and Flowers

After a painful several months – much of it spent in bed – I welcomed the summer by taking to the verandah.

Colourful cushions, simple wood furniture and time-worn rugs created a homey feel.

Blog Photo - Verandah chairs

A verandah is a place for serious summer reading….

Blog Photo - Verandah - Reading intently

Or some serious hanging out….

Blog Photo - Verandah - dogs on old rug

Blog Photo - Julius lying down

In the nearby garden, sometimes it rained and hailed and the wind was crazy.

Blog Photo - Rainy Peonies

But flowers bloomed everywhere.

Blog Photo - Peony deep pink single

Birds sang.

The air was fresh.

Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

Family and friends came to visit.

Some invited themselves, which I loved.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Bee Balm Single

“How are you coping these days?”

“I’ve taken to the verandah,” I replied.

“I’m coming to visit!”

It was the summer of the verandah. Of  kindness and affection. Laughter and quiet moments.

My editor Tim, returning home to South Africa, spent most of his last week in Canada with our family. He held court on the verandah like an eminence grise, saying wise, cryptic and funny things to everyone.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim Mischief

Some people wondered how he’d handle returning to a country which he left decades ago. Tim’s enigmatic reply: “Did I mention I’ll have the use of a heated swimming pool?”

“Long way to go for a heated swimming pool,” we laughed.

Blog Photo - Verandah Visitor 2K

Of course, one should always feed one’s visitors. Despite one’s lack of cooking talent.

“You are the best cook I’ve ever met,” Tim declared, straight-faced, to loud laughter.

I swatted him with my dinner napkin.  He complained  – theatrically –  of “the abuses I suffer in your home”. 

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 1

We alternated between joking, serious talk and companionable silence.  If tears were hovering, we didn’t let them show. This man has been a stalwart friend to me through life’s challenging times and I shall miss him.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Tim says something wise

Marilyn visited next. Marilyn’s the doyenne of tea (See Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.)  She kindly admired my floral arrangement and I wisely served a cold lunch… no cooking required.

Blog Photo - Verandah Guest 3M

“I caught that salmon, smoked it and sliced it,” I lied.

“Well done,” she praised, playing along.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Salmon and lettuce

Seriously, though: the lettuce, tomatoes and red currants came from our garden.

Blog Photo - Verandah - Red Currants

Longtime friend Dale arrived late one night, on her way back home from visiting family out west. I made breakfast, the only thing I cook consistently well, and we caught up on family news.

Blog Photo - Verandah Path

Marie, who lives way up north, took an evening break from her role in an important cross-country hearing. My husband cooked supper that day, as he did for my childhood friend, Angela and her family. Wonderful occasions.

Jacqui dropped in and lucked into one of the nicest dishes I made this summer.

Blog Photo - Jacqui on verandah

“But this is GOOD!” she declared.

“Don’t tell anyone!” I pleaded. “You’ll ruin my reputation.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Dogs in Foregorund and Visitors in BG

Anthony Trollope once asked: “What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book and a cup of coffee?” 

My answer: “A verandah, a garden, and loved ones to share them with.”

Blog Photo - Verandah - Garden bed outside verandah

Dedicated, with a grateful heart, to my caring family and friends… and everyone who appreciates a verandah.

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In the Garden with Gail and Sam

Right away, you can tell that two avid gardeners live here.

Blog Photo - Gail's garden - implements on tray

These gloves don’t stay idle for long.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Covered Porch

Gail and Sam have lived in their home in a city east of Toronto for 25 years.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Covered Porch 2

Theirs is a mature, complex garden that is tended conscientiously every day. It has trees, vines, ponds, statuary, gazebos, and plants that grow in the ground and in a multitude of containers.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Buddha

Of course, a gardener’s work is never done. If you’re a gardener, you’ll relate to this moment:

The camera comes out and Gail spies a weed — way, way at the back of the garden.

“Wait!” she says. “Let me remove that weed!” As she pulls one, she finds one more. And one more.

Blog Photo - Gail pulling weeds

A Canadian who was born and raised in Jamaica, Gail has fond memories of the island.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden  Pond closer shot

This garden helps her to keep connected to it.

“We come out here and we’re in Jamaica!” says Gail.

Blog Photo - Gails Garden Gail talks

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Pond - Tree reflected

The garden is also a tribute to her mother, who died several years ago.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Ferns over pond CU

Gail is a passionate gardener. Luckily, her husband Sam, of Italian-Canadian background, also loves gardening — and Jamaica.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden water Lily

To see them in the garden is to see a team that works well together.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - Sam

He does the building and hardscaping (paths, gazebos, trellises, stone walls, ponds, decking, etc.) while she chooses and takes care of the plants.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Wide shot from back

To no-one’s surprise, there’s a banana tree, rescued when the friend who had it was having trouble caring for it.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Rescued Banana Tree

It’s among umpteen tropical plants growing in containers spread throughout the garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Taro

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Tropical Plants

Most of them would be quite at home in a Jamaican garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's foliage plants 1

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden table and chairs

There’s even an old copper gallon-jug which was originally used to measure rum at the Appleton estate in Jamaica.  It belonged to her father, and, thrilled with the historical significance of the jug, Gail was very pleased when her dad gave it to her for her garden in Canada.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden Jug - Appleton

Gail’s an active volunteer in Canada’s Jamaican-Canadian community. She was a member of the Toronto committee celebrating Jamaica’s 50th anniversary in 2012 with a variety of cultural events, including concerts, author readings, an art show and other activities. That project is over, but when Gail wants to feel a connection to Jamaica, all she has to do is to step into her garden.

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden - wide shot different angle

Blog Photo - Gail's Garden back porch view 2

Thanks, Gail and Sam, for allowing me to visit with you in your beautiful garden.

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I’ve Got The Blues

If you’d asked me if I had many blue flowers in my summer garden, I would have said ‘no’. Blog Photo - Blue Clematis single But turns out I would have been wrong. As borne out by this blue Clematis, above. The blue-lavender Clematis on the right, below. And the blue Salvia on the left. Blog Photo - BLue clems and Salvia Morning Glories get in on the act, and this one is lovely. Blog Photo - Blue Morning glory Blue Salvia will soon get crowded out by Margaritas… Blog Photo - Blue Salvia wide But right now it’s holding its own. Blog Photo - Blue Salvia Group Blue and yellow make a refreshing mix in the garden. Blog Photo - Blue Salvia and Yellow And — honestly — this Clematis below is a blue-lavender. But compared to the sky, it’s positively pink. Blog Photo - Blue-Pink clems

Blog Photo - Garden rain cu of lavender blue clematis

Except for this other blue Clematis, which has somehow risen above the pink one and is holding court. Blog Photo - Blue clems atop Pinks While, just below them both, this flower – whose name I’ve never learned – blooms all summer. Blog Photo - Blue No-Name Do you know what it is? Almost a Forget-Me-Not, but I don’t know what it is or where it came from.

Blog Photo - Blue forget me not -- closer

It’s a far more vivid blue than the photo shows.

Blog Photo - Blue Something CU Here’s to the blues!