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Back to nature: Tour of the Ellis Bird Farm.

Originally posted on Flowery Prose:

Last weekend, my hubby and I took the 160 kilometre drive north to the city of Lacombe, Alberta, where we spent the morning picking haskap berries (more about that to come!) and the afternoon touring the wonderful Ellis Bird Farm, a haven of naturescaping just a few clicks out of the city.

Originally from Parkenham, Ontario, the Ellis family came west in 1886, and settled outside of Calgary. Son John Ellis and his new wife Agnes started homesteading in the Lacombe-Joffre area in 1907, and after they passed away in the 1950s, their children Charlie (d. 1990) and Winnie (1905-2004) took over operations of the large farm.  The siblings were both naturalists, and sought ways to make the property more wildlife-friendly.  Charlie was particularly fascinated with birds, especially the mountain bluebird, and he started building nestboxes to attract and protect this native species. His plan worked: according…

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A gift of warmth.

Originally posted on Flowery Prose:

Warm summer weather is FINALLY here…now if only I could figure out how to preserve it for winter!  Is that recipe on Pinterest somewhere?

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Honeysuckle flowers up against a big blue Alberta sky, Nose Hill Park, Calgary. 

I hope you’re having a wonderful day full of sunshine!  What are your favourite “sunny day” things to do?

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Names for ‘Georgia Blue’.

Originally posted on Flowery Prose:

In my last post, I mentioned that my creeping speedwell, Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ (aka ‘Oxford Blue’) was blooming merrily away, but I failed to put up a photo, as the flowers looked a bit waterlogged after two days of heavy rain.  I’ll make it up to you now that the sun’s come out!

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This Veronica is one of my favourite early season perennials – a reliable, hardy, tidy mound that can tolerate sun or shade, drought or moisture.  By lineage, ‘Georgia Blue’ is an excellent rock garden plant:  it is a native of the West Caucasus mountains in – you guessed it - Georgia.  Although it only sports masses of tiny, bright blue blooms for a short time in spring (and occasionally again in the cool weather of early autumn), the foliage is a treat in itself – the leaves turn bronze-purple when the temperatures cool.

A quick search on the ‘Net, however, lead me to a bit…

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Northern cherry blossoms.

Originally posted on Flowery Prose:

It’s a bit too cold up here in Alberta to grow the ornamental cherry trees you’ll find in warmer southern climes, but we’re not complaining.  Especially when the double flowering plums (Prunus triloba ‘Multiplex’) put on a show like they are this spring.

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Double flowering plums stopping traffic in front of  Captain John Palliser Elementary School, Calgary, Alberta

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Chalk one up for having the perseverance and determination to trudge through that fiendishly long winter!  What a beautiful reward!  :)

 

Do you grow ornamental cherry trees or double flowering plums?   

 

 

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