After several weeks of downright balmy winter weather, we were greeted this morning with exquisitely beautiful frost …
A late bloomer – really late. I can’t say I’ve ever had anything blooming in my garden at this time of year – and this is the only plant that is. It’s November 16th and there is a single Scabiosa caucasica ‘Perfecta’ flower merrily swaying in the frosty, foggy breeze. How sweet and beautiful is that?
I headed out to Nose Hill and Whispering Woods shortly after sunrise this morning and spent a couple of sun-filled hours meandering on the trails…I am so thankful I had the forethought to put my ice cleats on my boots or I would have had to turn back right at the gate to the Hill. Even with the extra grip, I was still skidding all over the place. (Who needs to go out to the mountains for an ice walk experience when there are such excellent opportunities at home?). 😉
Yesterday was humid and cold and so the trees were all caked in frost, but as I walked I could feel the warm air currents slip down into the valleys, and the sunlight quickly burned off the ice. The aspen were so strongly scented they made me think of spring thaw. And that’s a very pleasant thought, indeed….
Very green aspens in Whispering Woods
Thistles may be annoying, but boy, do they have winter interest!
With my work schedule, free weekends are in short supply around here – it’s fortunate the mountains are a short drive west and the daylight hours have increased, so we can get out for some exploring during the week. A couple of Tuesdays ago (before spring came along and all the nasty weather with it), my hubby and I headed out to Jura Creek, just outside of the town of Exshaw. It’s about an hour’s drive west of Calgary on scenic highway 1 A – or you could do as we did and take the faster route via Highway 1, turning off at Bow Valley Provincial Park.
The day we went there was a strong Chinook wind and it was so warm you could smell the fragrance of the junipers and the spruce trees and the earthy odour of the thawing ground. The path leading up to the creek bed was a muddy mess (memo to self: buy some rain boots already, you need them for gardening anyway). Once we got to the creek, the first few metres in front of the canyon were dry and bare. We tried to determine whether or not the area had gotten damaged in the floods of last June and it’s a safe bet it was: the sides and bottom of the gravel bar had obviously been pushed around by heavy machinery, but there was no sign of broken trees or other debris littering the banks.
For anyone looking for a good workout, Jura Creek doesn’t offer any sort of challenge; the creek bed is pretty much level and it was an easy walk through the canyon. The scenery is marvellous, though!
View of the dry creek bed, looking back from the canyon mouth. The trailhead lies south, about a kilometre away (to the left of the scene in the photo).
The creek on the other side of the canyon. We found open water in some areas.
Lots of moss.
Trees budding in the snow.
I did use ice cleats on my boots, but there was actually a fair amount of snow cover and they were only really necessary in a few spots, mostly when we exited the canyon and headed further along the creek.
Wonder what is in that cave? On second thought….
Back through the canyon.
I read somewhere that you can hike above the canyon, but I don’t know where that trailhead begins. It would be interesting to see it from above.
No outdoor adventures planned for this week – the weather is not co-operating whatsoever! Tomorrow night our community garden group and the local horticultural society are presenting an information session about raised bed gardening, and I’ll venture out for that – it should be interesting. What are you up to this week?
More snow and cold and the iciest sidewalks you could ever imagine here in Calgary this week (my boss asked me on Tuesday if I had perfected my triple axel jump during my “skates” to work). Needless to say, I’m eager for some COLOUR! I’ve been going through some of my photos and I came across the ones I took at the Foothills Orchid Society Show in May of last year. I’ve only grown phalaenopsis (moth) orchids and don’t have any experience with the beautiful varieties that were exhibited by these enthusiastic growers and collectors, but I can certainly appreciate these amazing blooms!
Ascocenda ‘Princess Mikasa’
Burrageara ‘Stefan Isler’
Cattleya intermedia var. orlata
Rhyncholaeliocattleya ‘Green Devil’
Oncidium McKenzie Mountains ‘Frank’
Have you ever grown orchids? Which ones are your favourites?
Related Links – Orchid Care for Everyone! (Phalaenopsis)
I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season! Have you had a chance to get out and do some gardening? (Weather permitting, of course!). Or perhaps you’ve gone on a nature walk?
My hubby and I attempted to work off some of the holiday cookies on Christmas Day and did a bit of wandering around Canmore and Kananaskis Country. We live less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and it is always such a treat to head out there! No matter what time of the year, there’s always something new to see…while I’m especially fond of going on wildflower hunts in the late spring and early summer, you simply cannot beat wintry scenes like this:
One of my goals for 2013 is to spend even more time outdoors! Have you made any resolutions yet?
Have the happiest of New Years! Make every moment count! 🙂