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September 2005

Between birthdays and wedding anniversary the months of July, September and October are special months for us personally, but September is also still a very important month in the garden. In late August I found myself taking some tight close-up shots of the Hostas still in bloom and when looking at them I noticed something you cannot really see that well with the un-aided eye: the stigma is furry/fuzzy, like you see in this shot here taken September 1st of a 'So Sweet' flower. Not only can you see the 'hair' on the stigma, the pollen is also quite easy to see here.

It's challenging to take these macro shots free-hand, which you pretty well have to do since there is no easy way to use a tripod in these particular locations. At the time I first noticed this there were not many Hostas in bloom any longer, but I did notice on a shot of a 'Golden Tiara' flower that it too looks as if it has that same 'furry' appearance to the stigma. There are at least another 2 different Hostas, 'Guacamole' and 'Sum and Substance', that will flower over the next 7-10 days and I will endeavour to get the same sort of close-ups of these. I'm told this is common to all Hosta flowers, but because they are so small it is difficult to observe all this without some sort of magnifier, which is what you have in effect when you take extreme close-up shots like this.

The past couple of days have been spent re-arranging our potting and cutting area to make it not only tidier but also easier to use. We've been doing a fair bit of transplanting of lily bulbils and bulblets, sorting the stuff we're going to keep over winter for the first plant sale in the spring and what goes into the compost.

Over the long weekend we were busy building shelving and a potting bench in a part of the old dog run. Here you see the shelving we built earlier in the week; it's along the southside of the barrier that forms the back screen to one of planters, the one that holds most of the Hostas as well as one of the 2 Wysterias we have. A second shelf will be built underneath part of this shelf to hold more transplants, primarily the recent ones as well as the ones that prefer shade.

By September 7th the potting bench is in place, freshly painted and stained. The plastic bins you see underneath the potting bench are Rubbermaid buckets that hold our garden mix, perlite, peatmoss and compost. The near opening in the top has a generous hole cut into it to allow for easy access to a bin and the far opening has a Rubbermaid dishwashing pan in it that slides easily in and out of place to quickly dump the waste material and allow the bench to remain fairly clear when doing a lot of potting and transplanting. In addition to that the observant visitor will have noticed the patio and the brick have been painted to match the rest of the patio area.

A small rack will be built to go in front of the bench that will store all our pots, it should be finished this coming weekend.

So, it didn't get done that weekend, but the one after. The potting bench has been covered with some Arborite we had kicking around for too many years. Just behind that canning kettle you see there's a hole that allows you to scoop soil mix out of the bucket below and on the far right side you see that Rubbermaid dishwashing pan that actually sees use for drenching the transplants and letting them drain before they're placed on the rack. The buckets under the bench hold a variety of materials: peat, compost, sand and perlite, all of which are mixed into the soil mix we make for our potting up.

To the left of the bench is a rack built out of the famous fence boards - the boards which were removed and replaced about 4 years ago, cleaned up and resawn into 1x2 - and it holds almost all our empty pots in their various shapes and sizes, except for the 5 gallon ones.

The spacing between the racks and the bench is such that it is quite comfortable for one person to stand and work at the bench, it gets a little crowded with two.

The racks are starting to get populated quickly. We have extended them into the covered part of the old dog run as well, primarily for the slightly more tender perennials such as our Geranium roots. Helps keep them much drier too.

We started the year with probably a hundred or so 'Orange Beauty' lily bulbils potted up and they were just getting to be a bit much, so we severely reduced their numbers over the weekend to make room for things like Iris tubers and transplanted lily seedlings we produced from the open pollinated seed we collected from our oriental lilies last fall.

The weather this September has just been bonus and the last weekend we spent time for about 4 evenings in a row to go to Garry Point, the western most tip of the island we live on, and took in the sunset. This is taken near the entrance of Garry Point Park and shows a narrow arm of the Fraser, called 'Scotch Pond', with some fishing boats, the sun already set, the red and golden glow in the sky and its reflection in the calm waters. It's days and vistas like these that serve as a reminder why we love living here in Richmond.

Over the long weekend we received the cutest, littlest Fuchsia from Bill and Sue. We cannot believe how quickly the little thing has grown, just tons of new growth. And, it also flowered for us. The flower you see here must measure all of about ¾ of an inch, it just TOO CUTE!

It's still in the pot we received it in and we'll worry about exactly where it will get planted out in the spring. It's small and dainty and could quickly get lost if you're not careful about its location. This is definitely a foreground plant!

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