Posts tagged ‘learning to love winter’
It was a glorious day here in Vancouver this past Saturday, full of sunshine and spring. On the way home from a long, long walk we passed a giant rack filled with tulips grown in the Fraser Valley. $10 for three lovely bunches, so of course I came home with an armful. It’s a bargain when you consider the joy of them, plus the much needed cheer they provided when it poured rain all day Sunday.
I always put a couple of pennies in the bottom of a vase of tulips: the copper in the coin keeps them standing up tall instead of flopping over. There is controversy that this is just an old wives’ tale, which may be the case. However, I’m convinced that it works and I’m also attached to the ritual of watching the penny float down through the water, and hearing the sound of it plinking in the glass vase, so I guess I’m siding with the wives.
Up until this weekend my plan was to ditch the excess pennies cluttering up my world since they’ll soon have no monetary value. But now, thinking of the tulips, I’m alarmed at the meagre size of my stash. Imagine all the years ahead, all the future tulips, the copper they crave. I searched around the house and put the pennies I found into a jar for safe keeping.
Beware the penny drop, tulip lovers!
I arrived home from a weekend away on Vancouver Island to find my paperwhites in bloom! Many people grow these at Christmas time, which is a lovely thing, but I’m always away for the holidays so I start mine after New Year’s.
I discovered paperwhites (narcissus papyraceus) about five years ago and I’ve been growing them ever since. It’s a comforting winter ritual: visit a garden shop in December, load up a paper bag with bulbs, and spend a quiet hour potting them up once the holiday chaos subsides. A few days near a bright window is all they need to start stretching green and skyward, and star-shaped white blooms open up a couple of weeks later, bringing brightness to dreary winter days and helping to stamp out the January blues.
Paperwhites are easy to grow. Follow these directions in this video if you’d like to try (the video also includes info on growing amaryllis, which are beautiful, too).
Vancouver’s sunny days glisten like jewels this time of year. We had a gorgeous stretch of weather last week, four or five days of sunlight that made morning strolls with the dog and walks around the city oh-so-pleasant.
I found myself at the entrance to Sun Yat-Sen Park, a free public garden adjacent to the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on one of the sunny days last week when I was early for a movie. Few things match the joy and decadence of going to the movies on a weekday afternoon, but sitting in the sun for half an hour watching ducks glide around a pond and then going to the movies in the afternoon, well, try to top that.
Weeping birch trees still full of golden leaves hung over sun-dappled water, a few people milled around the paths near the pagoda, and I thought, This is why I live in Vancouver. Because the gardens are open all year.
The movie was also amazing.
Winter on the west coast is at its best when flowers and snow collide. Take these two scenes: above is a picture of a cherry tree in bloom just off Davie Street and Burrard in Vancouver’s west end. I took this picture today when I was wandering around on my lunch break. This seems shockingly early for cherry blossoms, but the photographic evidence speaks for itself.
And below, in the same neighbourhood on the same day, just a few hours earlier, is the view from my office window of the 20-minute snowstorm we experienced this morning in Vancouver. It was a great start to my week to be able to gaze out into the swirl over emails and Monday morning coffee. (more…)
It’s hard to believe, but the first shoots of snowdrops and crocuses are peeking up in gardens around the neighbourhood, including mine. This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, which you can see was lovely and sunny compared to today’s drizzle and grey. (more…)