Alberta snapshot: Cross Conservation Area.


This is one of my favourite not-Rocky-Mountain (!) views from the top of the lookout hill at the Cross Conservation Area, a nature preserve southwest of the Calgary city limits.  I took this photo on 14 December of 2017 (still adjusting to that being last year!). At that point, the weather was dry and warm and completely lacking in snow, which is a bit rare (although not unheard of) for us.  We were promptly walloped with frigid temperatures and significant snowfall over the holiday season, but we certainly haven’t had anything to complain about in the face of the much more significant and devastating recent weather events in other parts of the world.



In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.

∼Mark Twain

While waiting on the fresh snow to melt outside, I had a bit of fun photographing the bright flowers in a mixed bouquet given to me by a friend.  I spotted a couple of crocus blooming in the garden on 31 March, but they were eaten by jackrabbits within a few hours of my noticing.  “Ephemeral,” indeed….

Flowery Friday.


Ah…spring in Calgary!  I have no idea what coat I should wear when I go outside – in a five minute walk, it might pour rain or pelt icy snow or be so pleasantly warm you wonder why you put the coat on in the first place.  I love this crazy season!

The garden was partly buried in snow earlier this week and is now gloriously muddy, so I’m admiring from afar the progress of my slowly emerging perennials (all that fresh green!) and the blooms of tiny crocuses, squill, chionodoxa, snowdrops, and muscari.  Isn’t it amazing that the soil is still so cold and yet all this fantastic STUFF is going on?  Even if you’ve been gardening in northern climes for many years, sometimes you just have to pause a moment to take in the absolute wonder of it.  And how here, in the face of such marvels, I can’t even choose suitable outerwear.  😉

In lieu of photos of spring-flowering bulbs, I want to show off another rose I found while touring Patterson Garden Arboretum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan last July.  I love this photo because it’s a teaser…I still have yet to see the open flowers of Rosa ‘Hazeldean’.  (If you’re curious, here’s a link to some images and a write-up of the breeding history of this hardy yellow beauty).

Have a wonderful weekend…and may you always have the right coat for the weather!  🙂

Cold front.

There’s a cold front moving in tonight, with snow in the forecast…the clouds and the wind were definitely letting me know about it as I walked on Nose Hill this afternoon.



The garden is waking up with all of this warm weather we’ve been having, but I’m not ready just yet.  That sounds funny coming from a gardener, but the timing isn’t right and I’m in no rush.  Better to let sleeping ladybugs lie.  😉   Things will happen in their own time – but this bit of green certainly made me smile.


Bad hair day.



Still standing…even when the chips are down!  (Which is rather punny, given that my hubby and I came across this mostly-defoliated specimen in a logged area in Bragg Creek, Alberta).   😉

I think a lot of people in the province are coming off of a week of “bad hair days”…perhaps it has something to do with the ever-changing weather and the constant “tuque-on, tuque-off”* activity or the hair-raisingly icy and snowy road conditions.  I’m good with the sunshine and brilliant blue sky that showed up in the south today – that can stay!  Here’s to a new week of “Good Hair Days!”

What are your favourite comforts when you’re having one of those days? 

*55 Canadianisms You May Not Know or Are Using Differently

Photo credit: R. Normandeau



I flipped on the tube the other morning and the TV weather forecaster was using the highly technical term “diamond dust” to describe what’s been going on here in Calgary over the past couple of days.  It made me think of little fairies flitting about at sunrise, their delicate wings catching the light just so as they sprinkled the trees with icy filaments of sparkling snow conjured from the still, cold air.  And then I got to wondering if maybe we ought to use science-based language for weather reports, you know…just because.


I remember when I was very young and we were having a cold snap during the winter – it was consistently minus 40 something degrees Celsius for over a week.  We lived out in the country at the time and remote car starters weren’t a thing back then so my Dad had to go outside and start the vehicle to warm it up before driving into town to work.  One morning he walked inside, shaking frost off of his coat, and announced that the air was so cold “you could cut it with a knife!”  I was absolutely captivated by this expression, I kept rolling it around in my head and trying to figure out how a person would go about doing something like that.   Did you need a sharp steak knife, or would a flat butter knife do?  Did you just go outside and start slashing away or should you choose a specific piece of the air to cut?

I’m not sure what I would have done with the concept of frost as “diamond dust.”  I guess that’s how stories and poems get written.  And weather reports, apparently.  😉



Snow in September, part two.


Whoohoo!  The blue sky and sunshine today is proof that we’ve made it out of what everyone here is dubbing “Snowtember”:  three days of several rounds of heavy snow that caused car accidents, disruptions in LRT service, power outages, dicey Internet connection, ruined gardens, and so many damaged trees you cannot walk or drive any block in the city without seeing fallen branches lying on the sidewalk or roads.  In some cases, the trees actually split in half like someone took a giant ax to them; some cracked open so violently they yanked themselves up by the roots.  Tree branches landed onto the windshields of cars as people were driving beneath them, and smashed windows of houses and businesses. Most of the city parks are closed today because there is clean up work underway and there is a lingering concern that a branch will fall on someone as they walk beneath it.  The green ash that sits directly in front of our parking stall at the apartment lost a limb – fortunately, it fell on the other side of the hood of our truck!

I went to work yesterday morning only to discover we had no power, so we shelved books by the light shining in the windows until it became too cold in the library and our manager told us we should go home.  (Funny thing is, the Starbucks and the Tim Hortons across the street had power!  Hmmmmm).

IMG_0133A ‘Schubert’ chokecherry and a May day tree in our yard – hard to believe these two didn’t break! 


Our community garden is a sad, sad collection of mushy plants right now – the root crops will be fine, as will the brassicas, but anything tender such as squash and tomatoes are finished.  The raspberry plants were straining under the weight of the snow when I stopped by after work on Tuesday to check on things and the sunflowers were pulled up and lying on their sides.  My own plot isn’t too badly affected:  as I mentioned in my last post, I had already picked all my tomatoes and zucchini, and I had taken out the fennel and some kohlrabi that was ready to eat.  The garlic and shallots had been harvested a bit ago, and they comprised the bulk of my garden bed, so I am pretty lucky.  The kohlrabi and carrots that are left should rebound quickly.


The community garden before the final (worst) round of snowfall.

My flowers at the apartment – well, they’re still partly buried under the white stuff, so I haven’t been out to survey them.  I know there will be quite a bit of damage, so they’ll look really bedraggled for autumn.  I’m confident most of them will come back as beautiful as ever next year.  I just have to wait until it dries up a bit so I can go in and do some trimming and tidying.

It is difficult to believe that the day before the storm, our temperature was in the mid-20’s (Celsius).  We went from sandals to winter boots in less than 24 hours – which, everyone here would agree, is not extremely unusual, especially given our proximity to the mountains.  The ferocity and duration of the storm was a bit hard to take, though!


Poplars in the park next to our apartment – at least none of these particular trees were split in half like others I saw yesterday.

For anyone here in Calgary and area who are wondering what to do about broken trees, The Yard Therapist published a very useful post this morning – you can find it here.  (This is good advice that may also apply in the event of ice storms, something our eastern neighbours occasionally have to deal with).