Posts tagged ‘Vancouver’

Today’s sky

magnolia silhouette

Fuzzy, giant magnolia buds silhouetted against the sky – along 10th Avenue, just west of Main Street. Even more lovely are the grins from fellow walkers who see me capturing these whimsical things.

birthday crocuses

I know I must look silly – constantly taking pictures of every little thing that grows or looks like an ocean or a cat. It helps me tune in, or tune out, depending on what’s needed. There was a guy today who laughed out loud at me taking a picture of the heritage houses a little further up 10th. But he laughed in a good way. I’ve remembered it all night.

heritage row on 10th


February 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

Winter Solstice at the Chinese Garden

owl lantern

At last, the days are getting longer! We celebrated at the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens last night. It was lovely, and especially beautiful with all the shiny melting snow mixed in with the lanterns and the smell of spicy dragon tea wafting out of paper cups as people walked by.

star lantern

It was crowded, but in a nice way with everyone very courteous and smiling, volunteers scurrying around trying to keep all the tea lights in lanterns lit, and lots of cute kids tromping around in snowsuits.

bamboo lanterns

The lanterns were inspiring and gorgeous, created by the Secret Lantern Society, which is one of my favourite arts groups for all the great work they do lighting up local events. Everything they do that I’ve participated in lives up to their name – the ambiance of the lanterns and the way they shape the moods of a crowd do make you feel like you’ve stepped into a secret society filled with calm, gracious souls.

I’ve been to the Chinese Gardens before and loved it, and it was a treat to be there for such a special day. Mark it on your calendar for next year if you’re in Vancouver and you’ve never been.

jar lantern closeup

blue lantern river

leaf lanterns

lotus lanterns

solstice at the chinese gardens

snowflake lantern

lantern jar

flower lanterns

secret lantern society

December 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

The sunshine that was

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.

November 14, 2012 at 9:41 am 1 comment

Saturday at the market

This is the kind of Saturday I live for all year long. The sun is shining and it was 20C by 9am this morning when we pulled up to the West End Farmer’s Market. Cherries, raspberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, carrots and soft ripe apricots all followed us home, along with a wedge of cheese flecked with carraway seeds and the salmon and halibut we picked up from our share in Skipper Otto’s community supported fishery.

It’s all a bit predictable, finding bliss in the Saturday market and all of its bounty, but it never seems to get old.

July 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm 1 comment


Spring’s delicious smell is wafting through Vancouver right now and magnolias like the ones pictured here deserve a great deal of the credit. When their large, leaf-like petals fold open they fill the streets with fragrance and beauty – I especially love seeing them against a blue sky or littered on the ground beneath a towering tree.

When we first moved to Vancouver just over two years ago I remember being enchanted by the smell of it every time I stepped outside. I still am.

We have a star magnolia planted in a large container on one corner of our patio. It came into our lives via the sale section at the garden shop. A clearance section pot became its keeper and it is blooming beautifully in its second season in our little garden.

April 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm 1 comment

Flowers from the garden

All winter long I’ve been buying cut flowers from the store. No longer. Now I just need scissors. My container garden is full of spring blooms: tulips are opening up, pale daffodils that came up late are just starting to fade away alongside the long, variegated leaves of the crocuses, which are quite beautiful all on their own even though the flowers are long gone. My hanging baskets are filled with a mix of primulas and the pink and orange ranunculus and purple periwinkles you see here. All are plentiful enough that I’ve filled a little vase with them.

For those of you who are counting, there are 25 flowers and leaves in this little vase, picked in honour of a sad but special day. Life is a strange place, and hard to deal with at times. Somehow everything feels a bit lighter with flowers brightening a space, especially when you’ve been outside carefully plucking them from your own garden. It’s easier to find a sense of meaning and calm when you’re surrounded by beauty. It’s a simple thing, maybe silly, but there’s a little voice in things like flowers from the garden that calls at you and pushes you to try to make the rest of your world just as right – whether it’s indoors, outdoors, or like these flowers on a windowsill, somewhere in between.

April 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm 3 comments

First day of spring

Today is the first day of spring,  the equinox. The sun crosses over the equator and, according to the smart folks at National Geographic, the day is slightly longer than the night everywhere on earth. What a hopeful thought.  It snowed in Vancouver yesterday and I am still wearing my gloves and winter coat most days, but at least it is starting to look like spring.

I hope the temperature takes a cue from the flowers soon.

March 20, 2012 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

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