Fall Colour

Hi everyone!

The last couple of weeks have been a bit crazy — we had a death in our family, and the rhododendron society where I volunteer is presenting an international online conference in ten days. As the resident techno-geeks, Hubby and I have been pouring intensive hours into organizing the IT end of the conference, so there’s nothing left in my brain for a blog post this week… unless you really want to learn the sordid details of video compression, PowerPoint shows, and organizing Zoom webinars for time zones all over the world…

(What’s that you say? Sorry, I was temporarily deafened by the chorus of “No, for the love of all that’s holy, please NO!!!”)

Anyhow, if you’re interested in gardening and/or rhododendrons, we’re hosting some amazing international speakers and it’s free (pre-registration required). Click here for the American Rhododendron Society Fall Conference 2021 schedule.

Meanwhile, here are some photos from our garden — its last show of colour before winter closes in. Happy fall!

(Note: If scrolling makes it hard to see the photos, you can click on each photo to get a full-screen view.)

The asters are putting on a show.
The last bloom on the ‘Beverly’ tea rose.
The tiny-but-tough miniature roses are still going strong.
The hydrangeas are fading to pink, but the burning bush is ablaze!
I was lucky to snap photos of the dahlias on Monday, just before the first frost damaged them.
So many fascinating flower forms…
It’s hard to believe these are all dahlias – they’re so different!
And then there are the colours: Bright red…
Hot pink…
And streaked…
Bicolours so intense they barely look real…
And understated singles that are beautiful in their simplicity.
The last of the zinnias glossy with rain.
A tiny rudbeckia sheltered by a giant geranium.
The crazy spirals of Cyclamen hederifolium albiflorum.
A dew-spangled moth rests on the flower of a carrot that went to seed.
Even the veggies are putting on a show – bright red peppers with pumpkins in the background. (Oops, I guess I should have weeded before I took this photo!) 🙂

Writing update: As you may have guessed, no fiction writing has taken place in the past couple of weeks. But the screenplay for Book 1, Never Say Spy is being shopped around in hopes of finding a producer; the audiobook for Book 5, How Spy I Am has just been completed and will soon be released; and Book 17 is taking shape in my head. (In all my spare time, ha ha!) Assuming nothing else blows up in my life, I’ll start posting writing progress for Book 17 in early November. Stay tuned…

29 thoughts on “Fall Colour

  1. So sorry to hear about the loss of your family member Diane. Never easy times especially when such a big project is happening at the same time. By now the conference is behind you and I will guess went very well with all of your combined tech/IT skills. Gorgeous photos of your flowers.


    • Thanks, Sue! Yes, the conference is over — whew! It went pretty well, but I’m very glad to have it behind me. And we had hard frost last night, so most of the flowers are done now. I’m glad I snapped some photos while I could! Now I’m planting the last of the fall bulbs and dreaming of spring flowers. 🙂


  2. Sorry to hear of the death in your family!! My best to all of you!! I have to say that the color in your shots is incredible!! Fall flowers at their best for sure!! Thanks for sharing Diane!! Good luck with the conference!! Take Care!!


  3. Hi Diane, Thank you for all the beautiful flowers! You and hubby are obviously great gardeners! Had hoped to meet you at a book signing here some day but not going to happen now, am moving back to Edmonton next week to be in the lives of my twin great-grandchildren, born May 2020. When I moved to Nanaimo 9.5 years ago, swore it would be my last move after 45 moves in two countries and five provinces, especially as I love it so much here with my view of Departure Bay. But new circumstances alter our lives. I have all your books – they helped me getting through this bizarre time we’re living in – and look forward to your new ones ASAP. Please keep writing your wonderful, intriguing stories! Gail


    • Thank you so much, Gail! Wow, going back to Edmonton will be a tough adjustment after beautiful Nanaimo and Departure Bay. The thought just makes me shudder; but your forty-five moves make me shudder, too. I LOATHE moving! I’ve only moved seven times in my life, and I’m hoping I’ll only have a maximum of one more: If they don’t carry me out of here feet-first, my final move will be into a senior’s place with not much more than a suitcase. But you’re right; we never know what’s on the horizon, and I’m sure your family will be thrilled to have you back. Enjoy your great-grand-twins! 🙂


  4. You continue to amaze with your talents-author, botanist and now Playwright! Congratulations.

    A bereavement during a time of covid is often without closure due to limits on group meetings. With my hometown in the Cypress Hills of Sk having one of the highest case counts per population factor in North America during the latest wave of cases, it shows the need for caution no matter how remote and sparse the population. My condolences.

    Loved your pictures of the flowers-made me feel good that there is at least one more husband out there captive to a wife with a green thumb. Couldn’t grow Dahlias in the hard conditions of the desert of sw sask but have to adjust to rain as the hazard in B.C.-those big blooms drag in the rain just like the diapers on toddler not yet toilet trained.

    We tend to think that Silicon Valley with the tech billionaires is the first time such a concentration of genius has occurred-but Luther Burbank, breeder of the Dahlia, was the focus of an annual meeting of Genius that gathered in California to solve the problems of the world over a glass of iced tea from 1915-1923.


    And what s bunch of vagabonds they were!



    • That’s so cool — I’d never heard of Luther Burbank. I can only imagine the hours of labour he put into his work. I got some seeds through the ARS Seed Exchange last year, and this fall I planted out just over 100 tiny rhododendron species and crosses. That was enough work for me. The thought of dealing with 10,000 plants at a time just boggles my mind! Hubby is part captive, part enabler. The dahlias are his project, and the rest of the garden (veggies and ornamentals) is mine; but when I’m dithering over, “Should I buy this one or that one?” his answer is simple: “Buy both!” If we live here long enough, the money we’ve poured into the garden will exceed the cost of the house. 😉

      I laughed out loud at your ‘diapers on a toddler’ comparison — very apt indeed! My double peonies are even worse for sagging in the rain, to the extent that I’m planning to install an 8′ wide peony grid above them next year. (The buds grow up through the grid, then the grid holds them in place when the heavy flowers develop.) Those big blooms are gorgeous, but much prettier if they’re not lying in the mud.

      Thank you for your condolences. We were lucky to be able to get the family together in a Zoom meeting, so that helped. I hadn’t even heard of Zoom before the pandemic started! 🙂


  5. How do you get it all done?? Thanks for brightening my day with your amazing flowers. What a joy to be surrounded by all those colors. And I love peppers! Are those red ones spicy? I’m also amazed at all you flora knowledge. Book 17? That’s insane. Good luck with the screenplay! That would be HUGE!!


    • Thanks, Liesbet — you’re right, that would be huge! I know what a long shot it is, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      And yes, those are spicy peppers. They’re a slightly milder version of jalapeno. We grow a lot of peppers in that heat range — we both like the heat but still want to enjoy the flavour. No habaneros or ghost peppers for us! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My sympathy on your family’s loss. Those are stunning photos! Flowers always seem more vibrant as we slide into autumn, and yours are gorgeous.


  7. So sorry for your loss of a family member. Hugs
    The flowers are beautiful and since we have many of the same, I can learn what they are called besides in Russian.
    Good luck with the Zoom conference. I couldn’t join the club because I cant spell Roadodendron, Rotodendron?


    • LOL! We have a sneaky way around the spelling issue: We just say “rhodo”. See, you can still join! And you wouldn’t even be our most remote member — we have several in Australia and New Zealand. 🙂


  8. My condolences on the death in the family.
    Gah at the techno talk which you thankfully spared us.
    And thank you for sharing your garden. I saw some old and much loved friends there. Weeds? I have them. Lots and lots (and lots) of them.


    • Thank you for your condolences, EC. And I was pretty sure nobody would want to hear the techno-talk. I’m at the point where I don’t even want to think about it anymore. 🙂

      Weeds, blech. I’m thinking about renaming them “natural groundcover” or “living mulch”, and only yanking out the ones that get tall and ugly. Trouble is, I can’t retrace my steps from that road. “One year weeds, seven years’ seeds.”


  9. As usual your “blooms” look exceptional! I will show them to Mom when I’m there next. Much as she still misses her garden she enjoys seeing your garden…💕


  10. Thanks for the colors! (Or should I say “colours”?) Must say that everything is looking good!

    No worries on the weeds–parts of my beds have been attacked by morning glory vines. This afternoon’s job might be a cleanup of that mess. I had started doing a border of retaining wall blocks for the beds, but still haven’t been able to complete it–the back part of our yard is the wettest and just when it gets nearly ready to work on, another rain comes along and soaks it. (A high water table and a low spot in the backyard keep it from drying out.)

    Normally by now, my pots and baskets are looking ratty but in August, I put some Jobe’s potted plant fertilizer spikes in the pots and they are still looking good without the flowers fading. The sad looking pots with the two different breeds of lavender really took off, as did the two pots with succulents (which I haven’t watered since I transplanted them–we’ve had plenty of rain to keep them happy). I installed an irrigation system for all the potted plants a few years ago, so it reduced the number of times I’d forget to water things.

    My one accomplishment (?) was to plant a section of a wildflower seed assortment. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but some of them grew to over 7 ft. tall (over 2 meters, in Canadian measure). Now I’m not sure if I’m supposed to cut them back, pull them up…? The bag says it’s a mix of annuals and perennials. At any rate, I still have seed for next year, and am going to mix in some dill to attract the eastern black swallowtail caterpillars and butterflies we’ve had in the past.


    • Wow, those are some major wildflowers! That’s the trouble with those mixes — they don’t give you quite enough information to be useful. My garden is currently being overrun with self-seeded pansies and foxgloves. The rains have started and all the dormant seeds are leaping to life. I’m hoeing frantically, but I think it’s a losing battle. I love the pansies and foxgloves, but the chickweed…! Yikes.

      After four years, I’m finally figuring out what our so-called ‘soil’ needs in terms of fertilizer, and I’m seeing the same results you’ve had with your potted plants. It’s nice to see plants actually growing, and staying attractive until frost!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for the colours! I can’t even go between two time zones and get things right so worldwide is not a concept I can understand.
    I did have a premonition about you being the next Ian Flemming. Next I’ll dream about the best actors for portraying your characters. Who knows what might happen?


    • I like your dreams! Maybe if we all dream really hard, it’ll come true. 🙂
      I’m still struggling with time zones. I’m okay with most of them, but when it starts being a different day somewhere else, my brain wants to explode. I guess it doesn’t matter as long as the Zoom webinar knows what it’s doing. I’ll just keep telling myself that…


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