29 September 2007

Autumn miscellany part 2

A stroll around the garden this morning revealed more interesting treasures. My favourite new echinacea, Green Envy, is still putting up new flowers, to my great delight. I hope this plant multiplies and is as tough a performer as its relatives, because I sure do love it.

Penstemons have never been a favourite of mine, but because I built that chocolate and wine garden this spring, I decided to put in this variety called 'Sour Grapes.' I'm really glad I did because it's a beautiful colour, rich and vibrant, and the plant has been extremely vigourous in growing. Because it's new to me, here's hoping that it overwinters well and comes back next year with as much vigour; my previous experience was with 'Husker Red', which I found a vast underachiever.

A fabulous 'Paprika' yarrow that I bought this summer has settled in well--so well that it has put up a huge bounty of new corymbs of flowers. It's planted with a similarly coloured helenium, some brilliant orange asiatic lilies, and several daylilies in similar sunset colours.

This spring I got excited at Glad Gardens and purchased two phormium, or New Zealand flax, in wonderful shades of terracotta, rose and bronze. They've been outside in containers all summer, but are soon to come indoors and live in my office--where I can shut the door and keep little phormium-sampling cats at bay.

One of the Proven Winners Colourchoice shrubs that really impresses me is Sunshine Blue Caryopteris. The golden foliage really makes the flowers seem more blue than purple, don't you think?

Like others, I always wait eagerly for the apples to start. Most of the summer apples leave me less than excited, but I do like Sunrise, an apple bred in Canada with Golden Delicious and Mac in its background. I dislike Macs intensely as Macs, but they work well for this apple's taste. The only thing with Sunrise, as with other summer apples, is that it doesn't keep well; but the Cortlands, Honeycrisps, Galas and Cox Orange are soon to be coming along.

Kate of Kate Smudges put me on to the beauty of gas plant, or Dictamnus seedheads earlier this summer; right now they are especially striking, with their pods opened up to release seeds. I understand from a local nursery that these plants are hard to get (and will be very expensive next year as a result) but I've had mine for four years now; it's not huge, but it IS a strikingly lovely thing, fragrant and distinctive in the garden.

Just as we have seedheads to signify the true arrival of autumn, there are buds--beautiful, fat buds--on the horse chestnut tree that is my longsuffering spouse's pride and joy. This tree has grown nicely in the past year or two, and it looks like next year it's going to really get some height and breadth to it. It's one of our favourite trees, even though the leaves get rusty later in the season.

There are still plenty of things blooming--and plenty of chores that need doing--in our garden. Today I managed a little bit of weeding and cleanup, and tomorrow, weather permitting, a little bit more. And of course the most important question of the week is where to plant that new Chamaecyparis Nootka glauca?

And I haven't even started really plotting out the bulb planting!

Sigh. A gardener's work is never done, is it? What's on your must do list?

28 September 2007

a little autumn miscellany Pt 1

I've been on the sick list this week, having been knocked flat by an ongoing health issue that flares up occasionally. This has meant getting behind in a lot of things, especially writing and wandering around the garden. Happily for me, my longsuffering spouse is very good about doing things like housework even when i'm NOT sick or away, so the house isn't a disaster area. Just the garden.

But despite being somewhat chaotic--okay, very chaotic--the garden is still performing exuberantly, considering we're in the last gasp of September now. I'm putting up just a few for now, as I need to rest and let the antibiotics do what they're good at doing. So to kick off, here's the front of the house last week, before the new door went in on Monday. You can't see everything that's in bloom of course, but we have a rainbow of perennials including yellow corydalis, blue globe thistles, mauve-pink phlox with variegated foliage, several rambunctious clematis (Jackmanii, Nelly Moser and another mystery clematis), cimicifuga, monarda and some grasses. Then there are the container plantings which are still mostly doing nicely, especially the hummingbird mint (Agastache) and the osteospermums and foliage plants.

did you ever see such a plaintive collection of characters? These are Nibs, Mungus, Simon Q and Toby in the side porch, also known as the kitty hospital or jail depending on the situations. They were confined to the porch while my longsuffering spouse and his brother in law put the new front door in, as they aren't allowed outside without parental supervision. Nibs has three legs because he WAS formerly allowed out without supervision and tried to play chicken with an oncoming car. The other three escape periodically and make me chase them around the yard, but mostly they're content to be indoor cats. Still, the temptation of an open door is a lot to ask of a kitty....

...except for Spunky Boomerang. Spunky was an abandoned catchild we rescued from the side of the road, and he is completely devoted to me--and has no intention of going outdoors again ever. He walked over to the open doorway, sniffed the outdoors, and ran back to me--but he did go torment his siblings just a bit, peeking in through the glass at them.

They all forgave me when I released them from their confinement and gave them treats.

Back to the plants now! We have some really interesting things in various spots in our garden, and will be getting more next spring (I'm already plotting. ) You would have to touch this plant to truly appreciate it, because it feels like plastic. It's Bolax glebaria, which some people do call astroturf apparently. A native of the Falkland islands, I was entranced by it when I saw it at Bayport this spring, and planted it in my cement clamshell trough. Its flowers are completely insignificant, but they don't have to be showy to be fascinating.

Everyone has chicory, right? Well....there's lots of it growing down in Hants county along the roadsides, and scattered places in Kings county, but I wanted some here in my yard. Last year I collected a few seedheads and tossed them around the yard, and really didn't know what I'd be getting--or if I'd get anything. It's just started to flower in the past couple of weeks, but I think the plant might have gotten hit by the string trimmer a few weeks back, as it has put up a lot of stems of flowers. The blue is so cool and soothing, isn't it? My plan is to throw some seeds down by the pond, and hope it takes hold down there--a good pollinator attracting plant and handsome to boot.

This is the time for the Japanese Silver grasses, or Miscanthus, to really show their stuff, and they're starting nicely here. I have four or five different clumps, and at least four different species, but until they flower I can't really figure out which is which, due to a bad case of LoLa, or Lost Label.

Do not adjust your screens. This is not a test. This is a fall flower on an Oriental poppy (Papaver orientalis); for reasons only known to the plant, one of my orientals decided to throw up a couple of buds and flower a second time. I wish that Patty's Plum would do that, but she hasn't shown willing. So far, anyway.

Finally, before I go off to have that nap, a belated blog-birthday greeting to the best thing I've ever done: my son Ryan. He turned 21 just a couple of days ago, and all of us--his two biological parents and two stepparents--love him dearly and are very proud of him. Ryan is a computer whiz as well as a young filmmaker in training, a partner in an original film company, and we naturally assume that he's going to be the next Michael Moore. Or David Cronenburg. Or Peter Jackson. I'm not entirely sure how it is he got to be twenty-one, because it wasn't that long ago he told me he didn't want to become a teenager...He inherited his mother's love of cats and sense of humour, but he's a lot like his dad too, and not just in looks. I'd like to think he got the best of both of us, although he hasn't shown any signs of being a green thumb--so far, anyway. Happy Birthday, number one offspring, we loves ya!

21 September 2007

Not in my garden....

Kim, also known as Black Swamp Girl, came up with a really intriguing meme called NIMG--Not in MY Garden Challenge. She invited fellow garden bloggers to write about garden features that they don't care for, and the responses have been great (read the comments following her post and follow them back to the various bloggers who have shared their thoughts.

When I’m out giving gardening talks, my overarching theme is simply to encourage people to bloom where they are planted. If three pots of bright scarlet geraniums or a wildflower meadow or hundred-thousand dollar landscaping job is what gives their gardening hearts joy, so be it. I do encourage people to grow as organically as they can, but otherwise, it’s freestyle for everyone.

In my own garden, I plant things that give us joy, and there are certainly things that I wouldn’t do here. That doesn’t mean (in most cases) I don’t enjoy seeing someone else’s garden sporting these things—far from it. It all comes down to a question of tastes and choices, and there are only a few things I simply don’t care for at all. (Garden gnomes, plastic lantern lights, tulips planted in straight rows, and perfect green monocultures of ‘lawn’ are three things that cause me to cringe.)

Here then, are a few features that you’ll never find here at our happy yard.

1. Clipped hedges. Whether evergreen or deciduous, it doesn’t matter. I like the natural look in my own yard, and I don’t have time or inclination to go around meticulously pruning plants to be exactly the same size. We have some white spruce that we’re making into a windbreak and they get topped every year or so—but otherwise are encouraged to grow as thick and happy as they want.

2. Massed bedding of annuals. I love annuals, I really do, and encourage others to try different species in their gardens or containers. But I’m not fan of carpet bedding, nor of scattering all kinds of colours and kinds of annuals together, higgledy piggledy. The first is way too formal, the second too muddying; with all the polkadots of colour nothing stands out clearly.

3. Bulbs in rows. I noted above this is a no-way, no-how thing for me, but thought I should comment further. Masses of daffodils look great because they do grow into masses and look like an explosion of sunlight. Tulips look fine in rows in huge fields in Holland, where they’re commercially raised, but otherwise, I prefer them planted in drifts, or in clumps of 7 or more. I know they lend themselves to being regimental by their straight, erect growth, but it doesn’t work for me—especially when it’s a mix of colours and heights planted in the rows. Nope.

4. Plastic lantern-style lighting. My sister put these in and I constantly make fun of her (love you dearly, sis, but the lights are just icky!). They look like runway landing lights, and don’t do anything but make a bit of light. The solar ones are even worse—just glowing blobs like radioactive mushrooms, casting no real light at all. What I DO like for lighting is low-watt, professionally made lighting that actually has an effect—used to highlight a feature, or bathe a part of the garden in light, or whatever. But those fixtures are quality, featuring nice metal and glass, not tacky wally-mart plastic, and they can be put where you want—not hindered by being all joined together.

5. A beautiful vegetable garden. I LOVE these in other people’s gardens, make no mistake—but I don’t have one, for several reasons. I don’t have time to put into one, I live in the Annapolis Valley where much of Nova Scotia’s produce is raised, and I’d rather put my efforts into flowers and shrubs, etc. Also, we have a few issues with weather and soil. Our heavy clay is slow to dry out in spring, and the frequent fog keeps things cooler, making it difficult to get some things to ripen. Even in the greenhouse, where my tomato plants are producing the occasional ripe fruit, it’s a challenge—we have lots of green fruit, but fog just doesn’t ripen them at all.

6. Topiary of any sort. It just irks me unless it’s in a children’s garden where it looks like fun. However, I have a real hate on for it after seeing this banal video about Disney World. Ack!

7. A perfect lawn. We have a lot of grass here, it’s true. We have seven acres, much of it in pasture for the horse and donkey-from-mars, but also a lot of ‘lawn’. It’s always green, courtesy of the fog (except in winter, of course) but it’s not what a lot of people would like for lawn. It has dandelions (saviours of bees in the spring). It has clover (fertilizer for soil, holds ground in place, doesn’t need mowing, also feeds bees.) It has lumps and hillocks and divots courtesy of senile donkey-from-mars getting lost between barn and pasture. I ‘take back the lawn’ another foot or so every year, making the borders bigger and the lawn smaller—and though longsuffering spouse grumbles, he secretly likes that there’s less to mow.

8. A weed-free yard. I was just outside inspecting the borders for my late garden bloom report. There are lots of things in bloom, including things that we don’t really want—wild mustard, goldenrod, asters, jewelweed, oxalis. I don’t want these in my borders, but on the rest of the property they’re just fine, because they are important plants for wildlife such as birds and pollinators. Well, maybe not the oxalis, which is just a pain. I pull weeds when I have time, mulch where there’s room, but mostly let the borders get full of perennials and shrubs to pull things out. I have resorted to glyphosate for the goutweed/bishop’s weed, and occasionally to the vinegar-salt recipe for the driveway and walkway, but this isn’t a perfect garden or yard.

But it is a very live and thriving one. And that's all that matters to us. (photos top and bottom are part of our garden--rambunctious and happy)

18 September 2007

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day--Newfoundland & Labrador Style!

One of the first purchases we made while we were in Nfld was an exquisite book of watercolour paintings of wildflowers of the province and Labrador. With text by Peter Scott, biology professor and curator of the herbarium at Memorial University, and paintings by artist Dorothy Black, the book provides a glorious look at common and rare wildflowers around the province. This book makes a nice companion to others I already had, and still others I hope to find through used book websites! I thought it would be fun to see some of the flowers and plants we met on our great adventure--I'm sure most of them aren't growing in too many fellow garden-bloggers' gardens...! So here's part one of my Bloom Day report for September.

Of course we would have to start off our Newfoundland and Labrador bloom display with the Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia purpurea), which also happens to be the provincial flower. This has long been a favourite plant of mine, although I haven't tried to grow it down by our pond. It's one of several carnivorous plants in Nfld (others include the sundew, Drosera sp., and butterwork, Pinguicula sp.) and makes its meals on a variety of hapless insects that fall into its pitcher-shaped leaves and drown in the water collected there.

The white-flowered three-toothed cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata) is very pretty with its glossy leaves and starry flowers.

Looks like bunchberry (Cornus canadesis) doesn't it? It's not: it's the Swedish bunchberry, C. suecica, and yes, it was in flower in September. It differs from our common bunchberry by having scattered pairs of leaves along the stem, rather than the whorl of leaves just below the flowers. Also, the tiny flowers, surrounded by white petal-like leaves known as bracts--like those in poinsettia--are deep wine in colour, whereas the common bunchberry flowers are greenish-white. Dick Steele had told us about this plant, and we were really delighted to find it in bloom, rather than just in fruit.

Cotton grasses are charming little plants that are usually found in boggy areas. Yes, I got my feet a bit wet getting close to this one, but it was just too pretty to resist!

When I spied this tiny plant, I wanted to take it home with me! It's Diapensia (Diapensia lapponica) the only plant in its species; a tiny, evergreen sub-arctic alpine. I didn't take it home with me, but I'm quite sure that Dick or one of the other plant hunters got seed or cuttings from it. Wouldn't it be a charmer in an alpine trough?

Well, okay, you caught me. This isn't a flowering plant. It's dulse (Palmaria palmata) and we found it on the shore at The Arches, a provincial park just outside of Gros Morne. I had to eat some, and my colleague, after giving me a dubious look, snacked on a little of it too, to the great consternation of some tourists also scrambling around the rocks on the beach.

We found a LOT of sites with both sedums and saxifrages, including this small clump of S. rosea. Some that we found were in bloom, others were huge patches while still others were plants the size of my fingernail. I love sedums in all their glory, and could get seriously into collecting them, too.

A tiny bellflower growing between two stones on the beach at The Arches caught my eye. Another member of our group discovered a double-flowered bellflower along the way, but the photo she got was a bit blurred due to wind, and inconclusive as to whether it was a mutant or a different species.

Surprisingly, Newfoundland and Labrador has a LOT of orchid specie--43 species and 4 varieties, about the third highest in Canada--but this was the only one we found in bloom. Our best guess is that it's one of the Platanthera species, but we don't claim to be orchid authorities.

There's nothing else quite like Labrador tea, variously given the botanical names Ledum groenlandicum, Rhododendron groenlandicum, depending on which taxonomist you want to be bored by. There's also a smaller Labrador tea, L. palustre, which is more compact and has several other morphological differences, and which we admired greatly in various spots along our travels.

One of my favourite shore plants is Sea Lungwort, Mertensia maritima. As plant-people can tell by the genus, it's related to Virginia bluebells, and we found some still in flower--although the glaucous, blue-green leaves are enough to make me happy. I don't try to grow it at home, but maybe I should one of these days. Mostly I just enjoy it on the beach in Scotts Bay, or anywhere else I find it.

This isn't flora either, I realize, but it's the ever so delicious fruit of the bakeapple, (Rubus chamaemorus) also known variously as cloudberry, and incorrectly as salmonberry, which is another species (R. spectabilis). This particular berry is a bit stunted, probably due to inadequate pollination, given that it was on top of the rocky cliff at Battle Harbour. SEveral interesting things about bakeapples: the plants are dioescious meaning there are both male and female plants; also they are low-growing relatives of raspberries, with only one fruit on each stem; they're red when they're green and they're golden orange when they're ripe. (confused yet?) I love the burgundy fall foliage of the plants and would grow them for that alone if I had the chance.

There are a number of stories about why Newfoundlanders and Labradorians call this fruit Bakeapple. Some say it's because the cooked fruit tastes a bit like a baked apple, but I find that a bit of a reach. Others say it comes from a bastardization or misunderstanding of the phrase 'baie qu'appelle', (whether asking what berry this is called or what bay this is is also open to discussion.) Whatever the case, bakeapples are like Keith's beer, dulse, or liver--those who like them, like them a LOT! I happen to love them, although until this week I hadn't eaten fresh ones in longer than I can remember.

Bakeapples fetch impressive prices as fresh fruit--as muchttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifh as 50.00 for a gallon!--and are also used in making spreads, sauces, jams and jellies, and wines and liquours. Among the treasures I brought home are several bottles of the Pure Labrador products I mentioned in earlier posts, a bottle of bakeapple wine from Rodrigues winery in Nfld, and a bottle of Lapponia cloudberry liqueur from Finland. Rodrigeus is apparently making a bakeapple liqueur too, but I couldn't find it at the government grog shops, so contented myself with the one from Finland, which is very nice. It smells just like the berries--and tastes just like em, too--and will be perfect with dark chocolate--in fact, I believe that someone is making chocolates using bakeapples, but I haven't had any--if anyone would like to send me samples I'd be glad to review them!

This concludes a bit of a show-and-tell of plants we enjoyed discovering or rediscovering in our travels. I'll post a blogger's bloom day report of my own garden soon.

Home is the traveller, home from the seas...

...and the plant-hunter home from the barrens.

I've been home now for just under 48 hours, and it's taken that long to come back down to earth and get some rest. One undesired souvenir of our trip was a whalloping headcold, and that coupled with six hours sleep in total on three nights, and all the driving, etc, made me declare yesterday a sort of mental health break from everything except a bit of work.

It's too early yet to decide which was the favourite part of our trip, although Saturday probably ranks in the top three. Friday we did some plant-hunting in L'Anse Amour,
(photo of two of our intrepid planthunting team)

before the wind did us in and we visited the lighthouse and its giftshop (again) and stocked up on presents, including lots of labradorite jewelry. If you've never seen labradorite, it's a stunningly beautiful semi-precious stone, found in Labrador and one or two other sites in the world. It's iridescent like an opal or moonstone, with fractures in the stone casting colours of blue and green, primarily. Some say it looks like the northern lights are trapped in it; others that its the colour of the sea, which is why I love it so much. Naturally, I added to my collection, but we also succumbed to handmade woolen mittens, gloves, and socks, knowing full well that they'll be well used and appreciated at home in weeks to come.

Lunch found us only a few miles away in L'anse au Clair, and we originally thought we'd follow Captain Steele and some of the others a ways into Quebec to 'The Gorge'. However, on arriving at Blanc Sablon where the ferry back to Nfld runs, we decided we'd best join the queue to get across, as 4 crossings had been cancelled due to the storm on Thursday and there was a bit of a backlog. We drove around Blanc Sablon and admired the dunes and beaches (still a bit storm-tossed) then I joined the ticket queue while my travelling companion went planthunting up this high hill right by the ferry terminal.

The crossing to St. Barbes, Nfld was uneventful to me, but others in our party didn't feel the same way. It WAS a bit choppy, but nothing to worry about. Our original plan was to return to Rocky Harbour for the night but we decided instead to stay at Torrent River, about midway between the ferry and Rocky Harbour, because we didn't want to encounter moose or other surprises while driving at night on an unfamiliar, and very wind-swept, road.

Saturday saw us back in Gros Morne and heading for the Tablelands, which is one of the features of Gros Morne that makes it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
First, we stopped to admire the view across Bonne Bay and yet another look at the magnificent brooding mountain of Gros Morne.

Then we drove up the long and winding road that brought us to the top of the Tablelands--or as I called it as I stared at it in wonder, Mars.

We had glimpsed a patch of ice hanging on a north face of the Tablelands,which had given me a bit of insight into what we were about to see.

But not nearly enough. Honestly, it was like being dropped onto another planet, or at the very least, another part of the world. I've never been to the western US, but doesn't this look like Arizona, or Nevada, or New Mexico--anything but the green boreal forest of Nfld?

On a cursory look at all these reddish rocks, thrown up from the earth's mantle some half a billion years ago, you would think that nothing could grow there. Here's an explanation from Wikipedia

The Tablelands, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, look more like a barren desert than traditional Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock - peridotite - which makes up the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the earth's mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour). Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.

I didn't collect any rock except for one small piece (still under the driver's seat in my car, I think!) But while my travelling companion eagerly collected seed from some even-smaller-than-usual Rhododendron lapponicum, I walked around and took photos of some of the plants clinging to life on this remote, windswept plain of rock. It was surprising to find pitcher plants,

and Scotch Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

among a variety of potentillas, junipers, thrifts, and other plants we commonly enjoy in our gardens, and don't expect to find in such a stunningly alien landscape.
We could have spent much longer there, but it was clouding up and we were hearing reports of further wind and bad weather, so reluctantly we headed off to civilization (in the form of Corner Brook, where we had our first Tim Horton's coffee in nearly a week and got a carwash to remove some of the salt and dirt from my car) and then continued on towards Port aux Basques and the ferry back to the mainland.

At Wreck House not far from Port aux Basques, on the moody Table Mountain, my nerves were tested as the wind screaming across the plain was incredible. I have no photos from there, but let me explain the name of the site. When Nfld still had its notorious narrow-gauge railway, trains were occasionally blown from the tracks along this spot! There was a house where people could take shelter, but it's long gone; as is the man who once was the official wind-tester for the railway. However, when weather warnings give high winds for the Wreck House area, drivers know to exercise caution along the site, which routinely gets winds in excess of 200 kph! It's very much like La Suete outside of Cheticamp, in Cape Breton! Our winds weren't that high, to be sure, but it was an uncomfortable few minutes driving along that plateau. I wondered how people with tractor trailers or highsided trailers felt.

The wind and rain made for a bit of a stormy crossing but the Joseph and Clara Smallwood, our ferry to North Sydney, is a great sea boat. We simply headed to our berths and went to sleep, lulled by the rocking of the ship as she brought us back home.

All in all, it was a remarkable voyage, and an enlightening one. Although I have to admit I was very happy to see maple trees in great abundance again, after barrens or conifers in great abundance. And flower gardens too, as they had been in short supply along our route. More on that in future postings, however.

And I have gotten the wind tangles out of my hair, finally. Pity Nfld and Labrador hasn't harnessed their wind potential a little more fully yet--but I expect that will come too!

Photo above and at the top are sculptures at the Gros Morne Discovery Centre in Woody Point of typical explorers in Gros Morne--plant hunters and geologists! They resemble us during our adventures.

14 September 2007

A spot of weather......

Into every life--and every trip--a little rain must fall. In the case of Wednesday on Battle Harbour, it wasn't a little rain. It was a drownpour! Drenching, wild rains, but also just a little bit of wind--something around 60 kph, for the first go-around.
Thursday dawned cool and clear--and breezy. Just how breezy, we weren't to know for a while. But we're a little ahead of ourselves here. First we made the ride by ferry back to mainland Labrador, which was comfortable and not indicative that there might be something ahead, then took the Highway of Hell (also known by most people as the Labrador Highway) back to Red Bay. This time, with less urgency, we stopped to look around some and take photos. We were especially struck by the rapidly running river, and the Mars-like appearance of the burned barrens all around the area--for miles and miles.

We got back to Red Bay and noticed that things were a bit exciteable there, in terms of the weather. We were having, apparently, the tail end of a hurricane.

Undaunted, but somewhat impressed, we set off down the (blessedly paved) highway to L'anse Amour, our next port of call for plant hunting and staying. The surf coming in on the beach gave us some idea of what was up. A bit too much wind for doing any planthunting, that's for sure.

Since photographing plants seemed a bit out of the question, we went site-seeing. I'm very partial to lighthouses so we went to the Point Amour lighthouse, the tallest one in Atlantic Canada at 109 feet.

It has stood here protecting mariners of all kinds from peril from the sea for well over 100 years, so there was no danger of it falling over--still, we waited til calmer weather to climb it. I figured going up 120 or so steps to the top and watching 'green ones', or huge storm waves, would cause more than a little vertigo. The waves were impressive enough from the ground (from a safe distance).

You may see a 'Danger' sign posted here on this cliff line. Is it to warn about waves? Eroding shorelines? Undertows? Man-eating seals?

Nope. About unexploded ammunition.

Great.....My understanding is there is still, buried in the sand and rock along this part of the shore, some ammunition from a ship that went aground here earlier in the 20th century--maybe the Raleigh, a British warship from the twenties, or perhaps one from during WWll. It was strange to look at that sign juxtaposed with the tantrums of the waves.

This morning dawned clear, and breezy but less so, and after several hours of scrambling over the rocky cliffs and ledges below the place where we stayed, we decided a trip to the Lighthouse was in order. We climbed up with no problem, but the U2 song 'Vertigo has been in our heads every since. Incredible view, and magnificent structure...but we were happier when we had gone down a level or so.

Some of us are now in Hawke Bay/Torrent River, and tomorrow are returning for a few hours in Gros Morne before trekking back to Port aux Basques and the ferry back to the mainland. We had originally planned to take the Labrador-Nfld ferry first thing this morning, but it was cancelled all day yesterday and first run this morning, and it wasn't until the 1800 crossing that we got on--(which was Plan B). A couple of us found the crossing rough, but I thought it was just great, (that's more proof I was a sailor--or a pirate--in another lifetime!) so I entertained my companions to keep them distracted.

It's nearly Garden Bloggers Bloom Day again, but I'll have to ask for dispensation to be late with mine, due to travel. I will get up some photos of plants we saw on our trip, and some explanation of Bakeapples, bearberries, partridgeberries and the like as soon as I can.

Hard to believe we've been here almost a week, and that our adventure is almost done. Some are still in Labrador, but others of us needed to be back, so The Fellowship of the Planthunters is dissolved and we're heading off in various directions. There will be lots to talk about (and blog about) for a long time to come yet, however). Stay tuned.....

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