Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Garden - lots of red

. Iris Grateful to see a ladybird on this honeysuckle, so many aphids. I had forgotten that this Honeysuckle was red - first time flowering. It is so beautiful

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Garden purples

Apparently I thought purple for this Spring Clematis Baptisia - frist time the purple has bloomed Baby beets Oriental poppy

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Alive" and kicking...

One of my favorite Harlem celebrities, may in fact be less known to many of you. Ms. Vy Higginson, she of Mama Foundation. I see her in many different spots here, but she is always surrounded by friends and admirers. People shout across the street, “Hey Vy”. Vy takes the time to listen and talk to all who approach her. I suspect that quietly, she has done more to change Harlem and yet keep it’s integrity. I have been to see “Alive” and kickin’ the new Vy Higginson/Mama Foundation musical, directed by Ken Wydro at the New Dempsey Theatre four times now. Each time it has improved, and every time it has made me laugh, cry and ultimately leave uplifted. I feel I should add that I am probably biased as Num is part of the cast, But it is very good. I feel that if only the European tourists in my age group that come up to Harlem looking for ‘old Harlem” knew of this show, they would flock too it. I see the tourists walking around, looking, they want to hear the Soul, R & B, Gospel music that they associate with Harlem. Various places offer different aspects of this, but the “Real” feel is in the Dempsey Theatre with “Alive” and the other musicals that Vy produces. And yet, I feel, it goes unrecognized because people perceive it as being a “Black” production for a “Black” audience. Alive is a musical based around the performers stories of their lives and a song that helped the artists express how they felt. So most people in their 40’s and up will know the songs, and will happily sing along, as most of the audience does. The audience reacts in it’s own way too, one or other of the stories on stage reflects their own life experiences. You will leave the theatre having been through every emotion, and yet, you feel refreshed, re-energized and that you can face the world. Do yourselves a favour and check “Alive” out. You will thank me!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Amazing what a Month of sun and rain can do...

Alium and chive Lily of the valley Ostrich Ferns We gonna have grapes this year!!! I love the pale yellow green against the brick..

Sunday, March 23, 2014

R I P Chuffy

RIP Chuffy Within my family, no matter who I visit, everyone has bird table and a couple of feeders. We are no serious birders, no, running after elusive quarry. But we all knew our backyard birds. At the Folly, on the river Medina (Isle of Wight) our backyard birds included the sea birds. We could tell what sort of winter we were going to have by the variety of birds that were on the river, birds that we would not normally see that far South. My father spent more time and money on his birds and red squirrels. A number of summers and Fall they would house sit on the South of the Island. My father drove back each day to make sure the birds got their nuts and whole wheat bread. There were 8 different Red Squirrels and he knew each one, we could not make a noise or move too quickly if they were around. His favorite was an old Cock Pheasant that would arrive, calling to dad and would eat nuts from his hands, they would chat away to each other, two old soldiers communing. Sue, my cousin in London, has different feeders for different birds and gets numerous varieties, rare and common. I can happily sit drinking coffee watching the Pine Siskins at their feeder. When we moved to Harlem and had a garden, I was aware of the different birds that flew in and out, as I worked on making beds in our garden. Off I went to get a feeder, working out the seeds they preferred and the other critters that enjoyed seeds. Our most frequent visitors were the Cardinals, we mostly seemed to have 4 - 5 pairs, and late summer the newest fledgling would appear among the sparrows. Happily flying and eating among them. At that time we were really the only people outside in our garden, so the birds and squirrels had the run of the backyard area of our block, many tree’s and shrubs, providing protection and food. One of the big surprises was the day I was talking to my brother Simon on the phone and a Hawk dropped into the garden, caught a Dove, flew up on a branch of the tree and ate said Dove. The squirrels were something else. Harlem squirrels, good and bad, one even acted like a crack addict. For a couple of years we had Scaramouche, he was easily identifiable with a big chunk of fur missing half way down his tail. He was clearly the most dominant male, no one messed with him, except the feral cats. In his last year 2012, he had a young female mate. At some point of that Summer, we did not see Scaramouche any more - run over, lost his last fight to the cats? But the female who was nursing would come and sit by me, if I was reading in the garden. That Fall our new young male Cardinal showed up. He was different from the other fledglings. Vocal, chatty. Announcing his arrival, peeping away during his visits. Cardinals are always the first and last bird in the garden. When I heard Chuffy, calling I would go and scatter a few safflower and sunflower seeds for him, as soon as I closed the back door, there he would be at the table. Eating and chatting away as I cooked dinner the other side of the glass, I would talk to him through the window, he always agreed with what I said! We have always had Cardinals. I felt that there were different generations and branches of the same family group. One female was distinct because she had more red on her beak, looking like a beautiful lady with crimson lipstick. Last winter (2013) we had one big snow storm, and when I got up in the morning, looked out the window there were 8 males sitting in the trees behind us, all looking at the kitchen window, waiting for me to come out and feed them. It was quite a sight. I was half asleep and failed to take a photo. Chuffy through last Spring turned red and got a mate. I was relieved he lived through his change, 2 years earlier a young male, who was incandescent orange, flamboyant and full of himself, lasted about a week before one of the feral cats got it. I found his poor broken body behind one of the big plant pots. This winter has been terrible for everyone, but the birds really suffered. We have had so many sparrows trying to feed, that I think they have overwhelmed the other bird varieties. But I would see Chuffy and his mate sat dusk. Not the other Cardinals, which was unusual in and of itself. Chuffy even learnt to eat at the feeder. But now we have not seen or heard a Cardinal in 3 - 4 weeks. I miss Chuffy and the other Cardinals. What can have happened to them? This cock pheasant flew into the garden a month or so after my father passed.