July 2009

This year we had a wonderful get-together with friends and neighbours for our Canada Day celebrations. As is evident from this shot, the weather cooperated with a beautiful sunny day and a nice breeze to keep us from getting too hot, just great.

The month of July is lily month in our yard and we'll see and smell that wonderful mixture of colour and scent from the Oriental and OT lily hybrids. This here is an Asiatic lily called ''Polyanna' and it is a vigorous grower and great multiplier.

This cultivar is referred to as 'White Tiger' and I must admit that's an understandable name for it, BUT, this most likely is some form of Asiatic lily, and not a 'true' Tiger Lily. Whatever it is, it's always nice to see it in bloom, particularly in backlight, like this shot.

July may be Lily Month in our garden, but that doesn't mean other plants get overlooked, particularly when this penny-pinching Dutchman finds a sale on HOSTAS! Our 'neighbourhood nursery' -Prickly Pear is the name of it- had a sale on all their perennials over the long weekend, it was just too tempting not to come home with a couple. This here is a red-petioled variety called 'Red October' and as you can see its pot was well filled out. It did end up getting divided a few days later as the plant was virtually rootbound in this pot and quite obviously had been in there for a few years.

We picked up our first Lewisia this spring when we attended a workshop in perennial hanging baskets. It was a very good-sized specimen which we used as the center piece in one of the hanging baskets and it has done very well. It was in bloom when we purchased it in April and finally finished flowering around the end of July for all intents and purposes. We liked it so much we picked up another one the same time we purchased the Hosta above.

This picture shows that first Lewisia in the hanging basket it shares with a couple of Sedums.

Over the past few months we have been chipping away at completing some of the many renovation projects that need doing around the house. It started to dawn on Peter that while all the electrical work he has done around the house over the years is all to code, the only thing where there might be an issue is with a couple of circuits having more than the allowable 12 outlets on it. So, we decided we'd spring for the expense of having an electrician come in and upgrade the electrical panel since the old one is completely full and the new dedicated circuits we'd need for future use when we get to doing the kitchen meant we'd need that new panel, or at least a sub-panel. Before all the walls were boarded back up again we ran those new dedicated circuits for the future location of the fridge and microwave. It was necessary to remove the shelves from under the stairs and slice out a narrow band of gyprock, and here's the end result. The panel we had was an older Federal Pioneer one -the one that came as part of the original installation from when the house was built in 1976- and subsequent to giving the go-ahead for this to the electrician I learned that what we had could well have been a fairly serious fire hazard. A class-action lawsuit was launched in New Jersey after a number of issues with the breakers were discovered and there is in inherent design flaw in the way the breakers fit into the Stab-Lok© panels. I found it somewhat odd that the electrician asked us if we found our breakers hard to trip and put that off to a thinly disguised attempt to promote his brand of preference, but a quick Google search afterwards revealed the above. So, needless to say we now have a Square-D panel with a newly installed decorative door! And now THAT's done we also finished the tiling on the walls above the counter to finish off the area.

Record temperatures have been recorded on our patio on 2 consecutive days: July 29th it was up to 35.1ºC and July 30th we hit 35.5ºC. The Vancouver offcial temperatures, which are taken at the airport just North of us in Richmond, for those days set new all-time records.