Friday, June 28, 2013

Peony Garden

It is nearly the end of June and so I feel I must write about my favourite flower. Lilacs have a wonderful scent and roses are romantic but I believe there is no flower lovelier than the peony. Mid-June, when my flower beds are resplendent with peonies, is my favourite time of year. Although they don't flower for very long, I make the most of it by cutting masses of the flowers and placing them in every room in the house. My work cubicle is also a little cheerier at this time of year as there is always a bouquet of these beauties on the corner of my desk. I find it interesting that co-workers who don't normally notice flowers comment on my peonies. It seems that no one is immune to this flower's beauty and scent. 

There are several varieties of peonies and they flower at different times so over a period of about a month there is always a peony to be found in my garden. Unfortunately, it has been raining heavily in Ottawa today so I fear that I have enjoyed the last of them. 

I knew nothing of these flowers when we moved into our brand new home 15 years ago. We had a great big empty yard with no flower beds, no trees, nothing but lawn. Fortunately, my dad who is a very talented gardener helped us out by designing and planting several large flower beds. He also transplanted some of his own peony plants into our garden beds. This means that the peony plants in our garden are over 30 years old and they are as beautiful as ever. 

The first variety to bloom in our garden. I don't know its name but its deep burgundy colour and peppery scent are heavenly.

Once again, I don't know this variety's name but I call it the tutu peony as it reminds me of a ballerina's skirt.

In full bloom. Most people stake their peonies but I do not because I like how gracefully they fall towards the ground.
One of many bouquets that I keep around the house during peony season.

Until next year, lovely peony, I look forward to seeing you again.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spreading their wings

This past weekend was an emotional one. Saturday morning, bright and early, our son Tristan left for the Yukon. He will be gone for three months to work at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse. Three months is a long time to be separated from your child, even when he happens to be a 6'1 nineteen year-old. 

This is the second summer that he leaves home to go North. I knew that he had had a wonderful experience last summer but it still surprised me a little when he announced that he had intentions of leaving again this year. Not only does he enjoy working with the kids as a summer camp counsellor but he also gets to spend time with his family members who live in Whitehorse. It really is a fantastic experience for a young man and I'm happy for him, but still, I do miss him (and not only because he's our resident techie and mower of lawns).

Before he left he helped his dad finish building the pergola. I've included a few pictures of the work in progress. The structure itself is done and I must say that I'm very proud of my men, it looks fantastic! Now we wait for the canvas cover to come back from the shop. 

Tristan, helping out his dad.

Here is the pergola without its canvas cover. (Daisy really wanted to be in the picture, she kept staring at me, waiting for me to take it.)

The same day that Tristan left was also my daughter Amélie's last dance recital with the dance studio she had been attending since the age of six. That's 11 years of memories and it was a very difficult thing for her to say goodbye to that part of her life. She has chosen to attend university away from home in September and so it is natural that she is mourning the things she has to leave behind. Still, she is a very tough cookie, so when she walked towards us sobbing after leaving the stage for the last time it was heartbreaking for her family to watch. Why oh why do children have to grow up so fast?

Watching Amélie dance so beautifully and confidently I kept hearing the lyrics to a song she introduced me to the other day, by Little Mix. The lyrics go something like this: 
"Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly". 

And that's exactly what my butterflies are doing.