Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stormy Weather and Sunny Afternoons

Last night's 70-kilometre/hour winds tested the tarping system covering our roof. Paul was out there in the afternoon, re-attaching the tarp in various spots where the winds had torn it away, and there were several points in the night when we woke and listened to that Aeolian howl and its ferocious attack on the plastic sheet -- astounding how much noise a flapping piece of plastic can make. But a check this morning showed that most of the cover had stayed in place to do its job; only one small leak had resulted in a manageable indoor puddle. The skylights should go in over the next few days, the plywood sheets put on the roof, and then the shingles and we'll be done.

The rain's coming in bursts now with prolonged and welcome interruptions of sunshine -- in the next of those sunny patches I'll try to get out and survey the storm damage in terms of branches and other garden debris. But meanwhile, I have some photos from yesterday afternoon when things were still calm. Above and below, the rich sinuous patterns on an old yew tree we were fortunate enough to inherit, a native tree that I treasure for its reminder, in my garden, that we're here as caretakers only.
And the big-leaf maple, of course, does the same thing. I can't imagine anyone planting one deliberately in a city-sized garden, but over here you'd have to be awfully vigilant to keep it out. Every spring, hundreds of volunteer seedlings make themselves known, and every few years we realize one of those seedlings didn't get evicted in time. As weedy as they might be, though, it's hard to regret the tree's shade in summer, its colour display in fall, and its bare architecture in winter. (My gardening neighbour, Jane, celebrates the broad-leaf maples lyrically over here.)

Nearby, the maple leaves are echoed in a much dainter version -- this cut-leaf Japanese maple is a brilliant chartreuse in the spring and an equally arresting mix of colour in the fall.

Plus I love its spreading shape, romantically illuminated here by this watery fall sunshine.

That misty light is equally transformative of this Miscanthus.
I'm afraid this will be a garden photo week -- I couldn't resist snapping shots of the berries yesterday, nor could I resist admiring purples . . . you'll see. . .