Friday, September 29, 2023

The Butchart Gardens


As you know I took a week adventure recently. With a 5 hour drive we reached the ferry that travels from the US to Victoria, BC, Canada. It had been awhile since we traveled to Victoria and I was excited to finally have an adventure outside the US. We hadn't been outside the country since before the pandemic and it was time to go.

The first full day we visited The Butchart Gardens. Now I had been there before, but I love visiting in every season. It is so gorgeous. Let me know if you agree after reading my post.

Sometimes, when stepping into a new garden, I felt like I had stepped into Monet's garden. The salvia were so beautiful and by the end of our trip I came home with one beautiful salvia to plant in my garden.

Oh! And the begonias! Gorgeous!

If you haven't been in these gardens, the sunken garden always makes me smile. I think it might be the highlight for many visitors, as I always see the most people here.

And at the far end of the sunken garden are the dancing waters, so beautiful.

I could have sat there for a long time, but we had reservations for tea at 1PM. Off we went to explore some more.

Sometimes I like the road less traveled; so off I went.

There were a couple fountains along the way.

And dahlias!!! Isn't this pink one amazing?

Heading for the rose garden I found apple trees dropping their apples on the ground. I do have a weakness for a beautiful apple tree.

Heading for the rose garden.

They were amazing!

This one just glowed in the light of the day.

We walked through the Japanese garden, saw the peaceful marina, and headed through the Italian garden.

One stop to rub this guys nose for good luck before heading in for tea time.

A private garden next to the tearoom. We could just peak over the fence. Isn't it beautiful! I think I said that a lot throughout the garden.

And then it was teatime!! You know I love a good teatime and this is one of the best.

The savories/sandwiches and scones were imbibed right there, but the sweets came back to our room for later. Yummmmm! Do you like a good tea time?

We always stay in one of the garden rooms at Prior Castle Inn. Our room had this lovely patio just outside the door for morning tea. I grabbed a cozy blanket and sat out there for morning tea and meditation. It was so very special.

If you ever visit Victoria, BC, Canada, I can highly recommend this inn. Their breakfast is delicious too. The neighborhood is great for walking and on another day I will share a bit of a walk nearby.

Hope you enjoyed a bit of a travelogue.

Have a great weekend, dear friends!

Monday, September 25, 2023

Word Magic

 Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and 

learning to be astonished.
—Mary Oliver
This morning I came across this quote and that word "astonished" just jumped out at me.
Isn't that an amazing word? What images does it conjure in your mind? 

So the word for this week is ASTONISH.

Definition: to strike with sudden and usually great wonder or surprise
I hope you all had a wonderful week while I was away. I hope there were times you were astonished. I am constantly astonished at the beauty in nature. And again as I have said so many times, when we "notice what we notice", we can be astonished.

As I was standing still looking at the beauty around me a few days ago at Lake Crescent I had to snap this above picture. I was astonished that this young couple sat so perfectly still, enjoying the beauty and love. I noticed in my quietness and thought it was the perfect portrayal of the beauty around us. With my camera in hand I am always searching out Adirondack chairs by water and this was perfection.

On another day I went searching for Adirondack chairs by water in Victoria, BC. You don't see the water in this picture, but that is what this couple was looking at. I think part of my astonishment was finding young couples savoring the beauty of nature around them.

Where I was most astonished was at the Butterfly Garden in Victoria, BC. Let me share a few pictures and you can see.

I talked to these parrots for awhile and they listened, but didn't respond.

However, this little guy was listening and waiting for me to talk to him.
When I turned and found him sitting on the fence waiting for me we had quite a lovefest of chatting and singing. He hopped right on me and looked in my face. He said "hello" and "I love you". He rested his beak right on my arm in such a loving manner. Now he astonished me with his visitation and loving. I think this was a highlight for me. 

He was a "great wonder and surprise".

And yes!!!! The butterflies were beautiful.
One did land on me, but I more enjoyed that pretty green parrot than all the fluttering butterflies.

So for this week, be astonished by little things in your day.

Sending love to you, dear friends!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Autumn Poem


Autumn Poem:

Autumn around the corner comes

Colors change

The light shines through golden leaves.

It tells us to turn inward

 Pull out the cozy quilt

Sip tea with a warm heart

Savor friendship and hearth

Today we sit in quietness

We sip and share

Savoring the day.

 Today I share autumn words and sightings as we head into this season of cooler days and nights.
May you be blessed with joy, quiet times and peace.

I will be away next week, but will return on September 25th.
Have a most delightful week.

Love, Marilyn
PS: I am turning off comments for the week.
Thanks for stopping by dear ones!!!

Monday, September 11, 2023

Word Magic

 The word this week is PAUSE

Definition: noun, a temporary stop in action or speech.

 Pause has been on my mind lately.

And on this day of 9/11 let's pause to remember.


For me, I am a person that has always thought "what next". I am so focused on the "what next" that I forget to stop for a moment, pause, and appreciate what is around me. I am being reminded as I think on this word to stop, breathe, and look around me. To take in the beauty of our world, to notice the sadness of the world and just what surrounds me in that very moment.

As I go walking outdoors I am stopping to smell, look, breathe and turn around, just pause for a moment and take in "god moments". 

As I walk through my favorite antique malls I pause to breathe and see the beauty around me.

This also happens when I walk through the museum or even at the market, especially in the produce section which I love.

 Saturday the day came to go zip-lining with my grandson, D. In preparation I stood in the forest and breathed, smelled nature, noticed the smiles of the others standing on the platforms with me, and looked over the tree tops as I flew through the forest. I took time to pause. to notice, remember, and savor those very moments.

Pause helps me appreciate my moments more fully and to temper my "what next" attitude.


Welcome to a new week, dear friends!

Take time to pause in each and every day.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Tea Review - ITeaWorld

Recently ITeaWorld sent me two boxes of their Classic Tea Selection samples. They asked if I would review their teas and their website.   I found their website easy to move around and loved that they included an About page. Right now they are doing a lot of marketing, as I believe it is part of their re-branding. The choices of tea are definitely "classic" tea choices and each one is worth a try.


I often drink Yunnan black teas; so it was fun to review the Yunnan Black. This one was more subtle than the one I usually drink, very smooth, unpretentious, and a nice breakfast black tea.

Lapsang Souchong is in the picture, but there were two different packets of Souchong varietal teas. The Lapsang Souchong was not particularly smokey, as expected, but a bit woody with a touch of golden straw sweetness.

Wild Souchong was definitely smokey and what I normally would expect in a Souchong tea. In some I find the smokiness to be over powering, but this one was just the right amount of outdoorsy smoke. It felt like sipping a black tea while sitting by an outdoor bonfire.

Yingde Black was probably my favorite of the black teas. The first hit was a nice simple black tea, but then it hit my back throat with a touch of sweet raisins. I quite liked it.
All four blacks would sip well for a morning tea.

 Oolong -

The oolongs were steeped gaiwan style as in the picture. The packaging is in the background.

Minnan Narcissus was probably the most different of the oolongs. It reminded me of my grandfather's fruity tobacco, which I quite liked as a young girl. Smooth and comes alive in the back throat.

Da Hang Pao was like walking through a mulchy forest floor with gradually turning to corn silk with subsequent steepings becoming a bit sweet.

Fenghuang Dancong had a pretty amber color and smell a bit smokey, a bit of toasty plum.

All the oolongs had at least 5 steeps before I noticed a bit of change.

Tie Guan Yin was steeped outdoors in the forest, but still gaiwan style. I don't know if it was that I was sipping in the forest, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It reminded me of what I love about oolong teas. It was like sipping a cup full of glorious spring flowers.
If you want to become familiar with a variety of Chinese teas I could suggest the Classic Tea Selection. The packaging is amazing and each tea comes in individual packets just right for making a 3-4 cup English pot of tea or a gaiwan. They make it easy by changing the color of ink on the packets to represent either a black or oolong tea. Very clever.

I made the oolongs in a gaiwan and the blacks English style and both work just lovely. 
Have a great weekend, dear friends!
Happy sipping~