Concord Grapes Harvest (Vitis labrusca)

Cluster of organic Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) in a Fraser Valley garden.

cluster of organic concord grapes

Cluster of Concord Grapes (Purchase)

The backyard vines had a particularly vigorous crop of Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) this year and I made a few photographs of them. The Concord Grape is mostly known for juice, and not a grape that one hears about often in conversations about wines. It can be used for wine, but is much more often used for juice and grape jellies. The Concord Grape was first produced in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts, which gives a good idea where the name came from. This particular photogenic bunch was growing in the backyard, and hadn’t yet been harassed by hungry wildlife or grazing humans. Normally I just eat a few fresh off the vine when outside, but this year I decided to harvest some.

harvest of organic concord grapes

Concord Grapes after Harvest (Purchase)

I left the majority of the grapes on the vine, and picked what looked to be the ones in the best shape. I had a sizeable bucket by the time I was done, and put about 3/4 of them in the freezer where they are still waiting. My intent is to juice them and then make some jelly, but I’ve done neither before, so we shall see how that goes. The process of using the steam juicer here doesn’t seem difficult. There may be some potential errors to be made in making the jelly though. I’d imagine that not quite getting things right could result in something syrupy instead of jelly-like but we will see.

organic concord grapes in a bucket

Harvested Concord Grapes in a Bucket (Purchase)

For more photos of crops and farm related images, visit my Farms Barns and Crops gallery.

Fresh Goji Berries (Lycium barbarum)

Ripe Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) in a Fraser Valley garden.

organic goji berries ripe

Ripe Goji Berries (Purchase)

I’ve managed to keep this Goji Berry plant alive through several bad winters but have never really managed to get much in the way of fruit from it. This year some regular watering (and a hot summer) seemed to make a difference and most of the branches were covered in berries. I had never tried them fresh, and they are quite different tasting than anything I’ve had before. Good, but different.

Goji’s other English names are Wolfberry, Matrimony Vine, and Box Thorn. While considered a “Superfood” and often accompanying exaggerated health claims, they nonetheless have high levels of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin B and C. The berries are used in a wide variety of food products, teas, juices, or eaten fresh. Dried Goji Berries are eaten as snacks. Native to Asia, they are an important commercial crop in China where they are know as Ningxia gǒuqi.

A Walk Through Sendall Botanical Gardens

Begonia flowers provide a colorful border to the paths along Muckle Creek on an early fall day at Sendall Botanical Gardens in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

sendall botanical gardens

Begonias blooming in the flower beds at Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

I have a long list of smaller, lesser known parks to visit and photograph, and earlier this fall I visited Sendall Botanical Gardens in Langley City. I’d heard of these gardens many times, and I may have even visited as a kid, but I had no memory of the place. What I found was a very nice, albeit small garden centric park with a nice tropical greenhouse as well. Sendall Botanical Gardens are named after Ernest Edward Sendall who was the first Mayor of Langley City 1955 until his death in 1959. In 1974 the property was purchased and named “Sendall Gardens”.

early fall foliage at sendall botanical gardens

Path near the entrance to Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

Sendall Botanical Gardens features 3.67 acres of gardens, paths, and a small stream called Muckle Creek. While the City of Langley’s website indicates there are two duck ponds here, those have been filled and now are home to a picnic table area and garden beds. My first photograph here shows some Begonia plants in full bloom and the paths with benches along side Muckle Creek in the lower part of the gardens. I believe the flower bed just beyond the park benches in my first photo is where one of the duck ponds used to be. The second photo here shows some early fall leaves falling from trees overhanging the path near the parking lot for the gardens.

begonias and stone steps at sendall gardens

Begonias and other plants along the path through Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

I liked this scene both for the Japanese Maple (Acer japonica) trees and the stone stairs’ railing made out of branches from local fallen trees. Again, Begonias make up most of the flowering plants in the foreground along with a large leaved plant I believe is called “Elephants Ears”.

japanese maples path sendall botanical gardens

Japanese Maples overhang the path through Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

Sendall Gardens Greenhouse

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Water Drops on Leaves in the Greenhouse at Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

The gardens are the main attraction on the grounds of Sendall Gardens, but there is also a greenhouse with a variety of colourful tropical plants. The tropical greenhouse is open from April 1 to October 1. I returned to Sendall Gardens just a few days ago and it looks like the greenhouse is the winter storage area for many of the plants in the gardens that wouldn’t be able to overwinter on their own. The aforementioned Elephant Ears plant is one of those plants. The greenhouse isn’t very large, but despite that I did photograph in it for over an hour. The only thing I wish for the greenhouse would be more labels for the variety of plants growing there. I was able to identify some of them, but many remain a mystery. Among these mysteries are the unknown plant above with some water drops on its leaves.

leaves and tree trunks in tropical greenhouse

Various Leaves and tree trunks at the greenhouse at Sendall Botanical Garden (Purchase)

One of the plants I was able to identify after photographing it was this Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata). The flowers are quite distinctive and an ID app I use was able to identify it for me from this photograph. The Urn Plant is also known as the Silver Vase Plant and is in the Bromliacae family.

flowering urn plant Aechmea fasciata

Flowering Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata) Sendall Botanical Gardens (Purchase)

This last photograph isn’t quite a macro, but kind of looks like one. This is another large leaved plant in the greenhouse with some beads of water on it. I made several photos of this and put them together so more of it was in focus at once (focus stacking).

waterdrops on a very large leaf in a tropical greenhouse

Water drops on an unknown (and large) leaf in the Sendall Gardens Greenhouse (Purchase)

You can view more of my photographs from Langley in my Langley Township & Langley City Gallery.

Lavender Flowers, Bees, and a Western Tiger Swallowtail

A Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) feeding on nectar from Lavender flowers in a Fraser Valley garden.

western tiger swallowtail papilo rutulus on lavender flowers

Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) on Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

It has been a few years since I’ve had both vibrant lavender in the backyard and the right timing to photograph them during their peak. Luckily lavender seem to enjoy a hot and dry summer like the one we have been having. So over a few days earlier this summer I set out to make a number of lavender photographs because these subjects were easy to find – about 10′ out the back door. The highlight of all this was being able to photograph a Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo rutulus) as it flew from flower to flower looking for nectar.

The photograph above is a bit of a different angle on a butterfly than what you might be used to. This perspective, found as the butterfly went from flower to flower sipping nectar, shows it as much more of a big, leggy insect than just a pretty pair of flying wings (below). Adult Western Tiger Swallowtails are Nectarivores, feeding on nectar from flowers as their only source of food. The immature caterpillars feed on plant leaves. For the Western Tiger Swallowtail these are mostly cottonwood and birches, but also include willows and wild cherry amoung their favourites.

western tiger swallowtail lavender flowers

Western Tiger Swallowtail (P. rutulus) Foraging Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

Bees are also favourite subjects in the garden but like the butterflies, they never sit still for a moment and require some patience. This small Bumblebee took a bit more time with this lavender flower gathering pollen and nectar which gave me an opportunity to make the photograph below. Honeybees and the native bees tend to be pretty relaxed, so I can get close with a macro lens and they don’t seem concerned with me at all.

bumblebee on lavender flowers

A small Bumblebee foraging on Lavender Flowers (Purchase)

As anyone who has photographed wildflowers will attest, a small amount of wind can be a big problem! I had to make a few attempts to make the photograph of lavender flowers and stems below as there seemed to be a lot of wind on the first occasions I tried it. The tall stems with the weight of the flowers on the ends sway in the breeze quite easily, and I even saw a few bees that botched their initial landing attempts so it was clearly giving everyone some problems. Lavender flowers are popular with nectar eating insects such as a wide variety of bee species and butterflies.

lavender flowers and stems

Lavender Flowers and Stems (Purchase)

The photograph below is a bundle of freshly cut lavender flowers in a small bouquet on a white background. This photograph didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, and I’ll likely make another attempt next summer. The bouquet is a bit small, and the shadows are a bit harsh. I was using a longer focal length here to keep my camera gear from casting shadows, and made a few photos to focus stack so everything would be in focus. What I didn’t count on was how quickly the lavender flowers would wilt, and I had to do a lot more processing than I’d have liked to pick exposures that lined up well without too much flower sag in between. The shots I made look like a wilting timelapse if you scroll through them fast enough! Anyway, I include this here not as a victory but as a monument to the effort if nothing else. Next year I’d photograph this again on an overcast and cooler day (if such a thing exists anymore in our summers) and a larger bouquet. Stay tuned!

bouquet lavender flowers white background

Bouquet of Lavender on a White Background (Purchase)

You can see more of my bee and butterfly photos in my Animals and Wildlife Gallery and plants in the garden in my Garden Plants gallery in the image library.

Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 2 – Ceperley House and Century Gardens

Century Gardens, Ceperley House and the Burnaby Art Gallery at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

burnaby art gallery ceperley house deer lake park

Burnaby Art Gallery (Cepereley House – built in 1911) at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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In my previous post “Burnaby‚Äôs Deer Lake Park Part 1” I showed some photographs I made while walking around Deer Lake Park. On some of my repeated visits this fall I photographed the area on the northern edge of the park around the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and the Burnaby Art Gallery. Ceperley House is the name of the mansion that has been home to the Burnaby Art Gallery since the late 1960’s. It is also often called Fairacres Mansion and has been a part of the Canadian Register of Historic Places since 1992. Ceperley House/Fairacres Mansion is a two and a half storey house in the British Arts and Crafts style. The building was built by Grace E. Dixon Ceperley (1863-1917) and Henry Tracy Ceperley (1850- 1929) in 1911. The City of Burnaby purchased the mansion 1966 and converted it into their first art gallery to celebrate Canada’s Centennial of Confederation.

arbor in century gardens at deer lake park and burnaby art gallery

An Arbor and Ceperley House at the Century Gardens in Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

In 1967 Burnaby planted an extensive garden around the gallery called Century Gardens also in celebration of Canada’s Centennial. The photo above shows some of the gardens in late fall, with the plants in fall decline but with the Rhododendrons looking good year round. The Rhododendron is the city of Burnaby’s official flower, and there are a lot of them planted in Century Gardens as a result.

flowering annuals at century gardens with the burnaby art gallery at deer lake park

Burnaby Art Gallery with Begonias and other flowers at the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

Century Gardens also is home to a lot of annuals that flower for just one season and are then removed. The first photograph and the one above show a large number of Begonias in the flower beds alongside the more permenant plants. On my second visit to the gardens this fall all of these had been removed by city crews. There are also a lot of Hydrangeas and Japanese Maples in the area.

fall foliage maple leaves century gardens burnaby

Fall foliage colour from various Japanese Maple Trees (Acer japonica) in the Century Gardens at Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

You can view more of my photos from the City of Burnaby in my Burnaby gallery.

Fall Foliage at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

The fall foliage of a Star Magnolia Tree (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

fall magnolia tree leaves at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

Star Magnolia Tree (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park (Purchase)

During many trips to the “big city” I make a stop at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. QE Park is located not far outside the downtown core and is a great spot for fall leaves in the gardens. On this stop I was particularly interested in some of the Japanese Maples, the Gingko tree (Gingko biloba), and a specific Star Magnolia Tree. Queen Elizabeth Park is one of many locations where I had decreased how frequently I make a photograph while visiting as I’ve photographed many of the scenes before here. Now that I have a higher resolution camera, however, I do find myself re-shooting some of my favourite scenes just so I’ll have a few extra pixels should a print or licensing order need them. Plus, there is always room for improvement or slight changes to a composition.

The Star Magnolia tree above is one of my favourite things to photograph in Queen Elizabeth Park, and I was not disappointed with the fall foliage I found here in October. I’ve previously photographed the same tree, with similar compositions in early spring (flowering) and in the early fall. I’ve a few alternate compositions of the first photo in my Garden Plants gallery as well. Getting a winter photo with snow on the branches is going to be the tough one!

yellow gingko leaves at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

Fall leaves of a Gingko tree (Gingko biloba) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)

The Star Magnolia was great but the Gingko tree was spectacular with the dark yellow leaves in the sunshine. There were very few people around the Magnolia as it isn’t quite in the main area of the quarry gardens, but the Gingko is well known, next to a waterfall, and is in the main loop around the gardens. This means some patience was required to photograph the waterfall below, and to a certain extent the photos of Bloedel Conservatory as well. As I was waiting for around 10 people to move on from underneath the Ginkgo, I backed up and made this composition looking up at the leaves. It kind of reminds me of the paintings people do by dabbing sponges into a canvas.

fall magnolia foliage at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

Fall foliage of a Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)

This photograph of the Bloedel Conservatory is a “iconic” view from one of the viewpoints at the west side of the quarry garden. I’ve photographed this scene on many occasions. My most popular photo of it is actually on a typical Vancouver day – grey and dreary. It was nice to finally photograph this location with blue skies and sunshine lighting up the fall leaves. Only the Maple trees denied me their full cooperation. Maybe next year!

bloedel conservatory at queen elizabeth park

The Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)

I’ve photographed this “waterfall” before (water is circulated by a pump) but it always looks best with some fall foliage around it. The Gingko provided some colour for this composition.

For more photographs of Queen Elizabeth Park and other garden scenes please visit my Garden gallery.

Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) Blooming in Spring

Pasque Flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) blooming in a backyard garden after a spring rain.

pasque flower anenome pulsatilla vulgaris

Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) (Purchase)

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   One of the first (interesting) spring flowers that come up in the backyard garden are these Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris – formerly Anemone pulsatilla). I’ve photographed this plant a few times in the past, but it often flowers when we have a lot of rain and the flowers aren’t always this photogenic. I first became familiar with Pasque flowers by photographing the White Pasqueflower in Mount Rainer National Park. Pulsatilla vulgaris (native to Europe) are much smaller with similar seed heads but not nearly as tall as those seen in the mountains.

pasque flower anenome pulsatilla vulgaris

Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) (Purchase)

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More photographs from the garden can be found in my Garden Plants Gallery.

Sweet Violets – Viola odorata – Flowers and Leaves

Flowers and leaves of Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) in a backyard garden.

sweet violets viola odorata flowers

Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) Flowering (Purchase)

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   While I enjoy photographing winter scenes I don’t often get up into the mountains in the winter so I tend to shoot a bit less during that time of year. So when the spring flowers begin to emerge I usually wind up in the backyard photographing the first ones I can find. The flowers here are called Sweet Violets, and are aptly named. Even 50 feet away you can still smell the sweet scent coming off the flowers, especially on a warmer, sunny day. I photographed these flowers and leaves in the last days of winter, but it certainly felt like spring. V. odorata (you can tell where that scientific name came from!) goes by a few other names such as English Violet, Garden Violet, Sweet Violet, and Florist’s Violet.

sweet violets viola odorata leaves and flowers

Sweet Violets (Viola odorata) – Leaves and Flowers (Purchase)

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   Due to their powerful scent it is not surprising that Sweet Violets have been used in many fragrances and perfumes. The flowers are also made into Violet Syrup which is then used in such products as scones and marshmallows. The leaves can also be eaten and are also used in perfumes.

You can see more garden photographs in my Garden Photos Gallery.