May 23, 2016

Lakeside Gardens in early May

Lakeside Gardens on St Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island is a special place. In early May, during an unseasonably hot spell, we spent another glorious weekend at number 7.

Located right on the lake, the small cabins are a world away from all the cares of the world. One small step above camping, the cabins are under ten square metres in size but provide a luxury not easily found elsewhere: songbirds in the early morning. shorebirds through the day, eagles soaring overhead in the late afternoon, and the gentle sound of frogs to lull one to sleep at night.

And through it all, the ever-changing view of the lake.

It's rustic to be sure, but on a beautiful day on Salt Spring, nothing could be better.

Lakeside Gardens Resort website.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

May 22, 2016

Laburnum ~ the golden chain

Laburnum, sometimes called golden chain, is native to the mountains of southern Europe, and here on the left coast, its flowers herald the beginning of spring.

All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the fruit, which develops as a pod. Symptoms of poisoning include convulsions, coma, and a slight frothing at the mouth, among other things equally distasteful. Why anyone would want to eat laburnum might be a mystery, though it has been used as a poison in earlier times.

On a more positive note, laburnum has been used for cabinetmaking and musical instruments like flutes. At one time it was a popular wood for the making of the most beautiful sounding of all musical instruments: the bagpipes.

For us, it's become a sign of spring, warm weather and the coming months of summer. Just don't eat it.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.

May 17, 2016

Spring gets more colourful at VanDusen Gardens

This year spring on the left coast has been, at times, quite like summer; temperatures in the mid- to high twenties and dry and the colours of our favourite Vancouver backyard have come earlier this year.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2016 by Jim Murray.