What’s that Woodlouse?

My 3 year-old son and I spent some quality time in the garden looking under pieces of wood and brick left on the ground from last fall. We discovered all sorts of “bugs” (Alden’s word for them) and watched them scurry from the newly exposed surface for the safety and moisture of the dark underside of the wood and other …

Snow and Spring Flowers

Despite several centimeters of snow our crocuses are doing well along the south facing flower bed. Hard to believe with the snow we had last week but here on the west coast spring is definitely in the air. Our domestic hazelnut has produced catkins (so that’s why we’ve never gotten hazelnuts!) and along the south side of our house crocuses …

Amongst the Lily Seeds

A side view of the pod showing the seeds inside. Managed to get out to the garden with the kids today and did a little bit of fall clean-up. Today I focused on trimming the lily seed heads and collecting the seeds. From what I’ve read on-line, growing lilies from seed is a bit of a hit and miss project …

In the Small, Small, Pond

Mosquito larva hanging out in the water column. We’ve had a couple of days of rain and several centimetres of water has been sitting in a small Rubbermaid tote that we use when gardening. I happened to look into it earlier this week when getting ready to put the yard waste out for Courtenay’s recycling program to pick up and …

Garden Mustards

Kale (Brassica oleracea) flowers are quite beautiful. A couple of days ago I found some Field Mustard (Brassica campestris) down by the Courtenay Estuary and in photographing the plant I got to thinking how similar the flowers looked to the flowers on the kale (Brassica oleracea) that overwintered in our backyard garden. At this time of year the kale have …

Taking a Lichen to Lilac

Contrary to popular belief, it does snow occasionally at sea level on Vancouver Island. Every year in either late November or early December we get a snow fall that generally shuts down the schools and makes driving hazardous. This year the snow came in mid-December and was thick and heavy. It didn’t last long but it did do some damage …

Winter is Golden

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) While we’ve removed the old sunflower stalks and blackened seed heads from our back alley flower bed we’re still enjoying the seeds of the goldenrod as we roll into the dark gray days of December. We’ve noticed that many of the sparrows, finches and other songbirds that frequent our feeders are visiting the seeds of the Solidago …

Seaweed for the Garden

Now is the time of year to think about adding seaweed to your garden. Pre-winter storms this week have brought a lot of seaweed to the shore, piling it up along the high-tide line. Not only is gathering seaweed good for your garden, it also gives you an opportunity to see some of the sub-tidal seaweeds that are not usually …

Some Small Snails

A Very Small Snail on a Very Long Journey Back in September I discovered some very small snails underneath a paving stone in our garden when flipping rocks for International Rock Flipping Day. This past week I’ve found a couple more small snails that I’ve photographed but have been unable to identify. The snail pictured above and below was in …

International Rock Flipping Day

Garlic Glass-snail | Oxychilus alliarius (left) and Vallonia sp. (right) Today is International Rock Flipping Day and in celebration I went out into our garden and turned over a few bricks to see what I could find. Despite living in a fairly urban environment our garden has attracted a number of interesting insects, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, gastropods, arachnids, and birds. …