Wednesday, 21 October 2015


Over the years, many ducks and other birds have flown into  the Duck Inn. Rubber Duckies from all over the world have come with guests. Here is a charming Swiss one who arrived in a box covered in International Stamps.

See how quickly he made friends with some 
of the others who call the soaker tub home.

Allen loves to carve and several of his winged creations 
have made their way to the cottages.
These live on top of the kitchen cupboards in 
Willow Cottage, making them great dust catchers and 
causing Cora some frustration!
This Heron sits by the fire, keeping an eye on things.
Some of our oldest ducks are these plaques on the Willow Cottage living room wall. Many years ago, long before this Duck Inn, Allen and I were part of a Consignment Store on Powell Street also called The Duck Inn. 
The partners brought in their treasures to sell in the store, and took turns working in it. 
Many delightful things were bought and sold
….a lot to other partners!
No one got rich, but a good time was had by all. Eventually the store closed and we all brought our unsold treasures home. When we opened the Duck Inn in 1996, many of the old Duck Inn partners came to the Inn Warming
….bearing gifts like these.
Neil Erickson, one of our favourite artists, 
created several water colours for the Duck Inn.
Mr and Mrs Mallard is an original that he painted for the "Opening Ceremonies". 
The same ivy plant growing among the old duck plaques loves to encircle this painting
The Great Blue Heron is one of Neil’s best known works. 
This is a print taken from the original, which we feel privileged to own! It hangs in our dining room.
 Many Duck Inn guests have purchased copies of this print from Neil.

Neil and his family now live in Vernon, where he continues to paint. He's on Facebook if you're interesting in seeing some of his other works.
Neil Erickson - Facebook

Several rather worn Mallards hold the large bath towels in the bathrooms....we can't bear to part with them!
And these geese love to have guests apply their makeup in front of them.

These old Blue Mountain Pottery Ducks make a charming grouping on this old silver duck tray.

In La Paz, we have a friend who creates original bird houses. This Duck Inn one hasn’t attracted  any nesters yet,
 but it’s happy in its spot above the canoes.

 When you Check In to the Duck Inn, 
you’ll find more ducks in our house! 
Here’s our Registration Book with a
 Duckie Welcome Vase behind it.
I think it's safe to say that there are Ducks everywhere here. Will we ever have too many?? Don't think so! 
The ducks in this post are just a small sample of our collection.....I may have to add a few more later!

Saturday, 19 September 2015


Several years ago, in one of her downsizing adventures, Cora was seeking a spot for her “Spider Collection”. Coincidentally, we had just taken down a latticework trellis at one end of our garden because it could no longer support the weight of the Wisteria that it was holding up.
As Cora and I eyed the twisted trunk, we both had the same thought and the Insect Corner was born.

 It began with this beautiful Spider that Cora had 
cherished for years....
....and this smaller one with a precious stone for a body.

Once they were in place, it was remarkably easy
 for us all to add insects.
Some were exotic like this bronze Fly that we picked up at a Marché aux Puces in France in 2011.
This is how it looked then….
and here it is now after a few years out in the weather.
The Spider and the Fly are often photographed together.
And as you can see, Ladybugs started to move in!
This bejewelled one came home 
with us this spring from Mexico
And now it hovers over its plainer Canadian Cousin
And some Mexican Hummingbirds flew in undetected 
one day, ignoring the Insects Only Policy!
Of course, once the rules were broken, Strange Bugs began arriving from Dollar Stores and other suspect sources!
A large Dragonfly from the Ladner Village Market 
shouldered its way in this summer.
And in July, some favourite Duck Inn guests threw out all the guidelines and added these woodland creatures
....not Insects by anyone's standards!


Tuesday, 14 July 2015


There is a spot in our garden, just past the cutting beds, 
that we have started to call 
"Where the Wild Things Are"

It's main feature is our old garden swing, 
seen here three years ago when the clematis and other vines were just starting to encroach on it.
 Today it looks like this and we've given up on keeping it clear enough to allow anyone to swing on it!

The area has always been home to a small hammock....
Allen tested it a few years ago!
If you lie in it now, your feet might be covered by a blanket 
of crocosmia, hostas and other plants that grow in the shadow of the vine covered cherry tree.
And the other cherry tree might drop fruit on your head!

Beside the fence, nothing much will grow in the damp soil....but a few giant mushrooms always appear.

We've started filling the space with things 
that no longer have a home.
This chiminea sat on our dining dock for years, 
full of candles for a cheery glow.
But this year we replaced it with a gas fireplace, 
and it had to move here.
 Maybe a bird will nest in it!

This fountain lived on the Willow Cottage balcony 
until it sprung a leak. 
It's happy here being a home for some of Cora's many frogs. 
Kelly is eyeing it as a planter for some shade loving species!

My favourite icon in the corner is the "Virgin of Guadalupe" with her colourful robes and kind smile. 
We brought her home from Mexico several years ago
 after seeing her in all the neighbourhood gardens there. 
Maybe one day she will grant someone's wish
 and flowers will appear in her vase!
We hope to find a "Saint Francis Feeding the Birds"
 to keep her company.

Monday, 15 June 2015


We left behind the bougainvillea and palm trees of
 La Paz at the end of May and came home to 
roses blooming in our garden on the river.

The first one we smelled was this Lovely Lavendar Lagerfeld 
(named for Karl) by the mailbox.

We bought these Magic Carpet ramblers years ago because they were supposed to be groundcover roses, and we thought it would be lovely to have a carpet of little roses between the other shrubs. Our Magic Carpets didn't obey their instructions and climbed on our pergolas instead! 
This one near the mailbox loves the low pergola 
where the sweet peas grow.
This one, in the main garden, chose to climb to the top of the highest pergola and spread itself out up there. By mid summer it will have spread into our Japanese Apple Pear tree!
And this pink one waited until we pruned an unruly 
Climbing Peace and scrambled up the stalks to replace it!

In the main cutting garden, these two stalwarts have been blooming since April.
 They are the mainstays of our summer bouquets, 
adding their pink and red tones.

As you walk down to our house, two fragrant Olde English Roses have also reached for the top and put their blooms up on the roof of the canoe shelter and the greenhouse  so that you can only appreciate them from the ramp.
 We hope they will form a canopy 
around the canoes this summer.

Once you reach the house to check in, this prolific red climber, which we planted over 20 years ago, 
will tumble out of it's container to greet you.

And no matter where you are in our garden, or on our dock, you will find David Austen English Roses with their intense fragrances. An elderly specimen of this climber is in the planting bed beside the lawn, but we loved it so much that we had to get another to add to a pot on our dining dock.

How many roses do we have? We truly have no idea....
and some of those that welcomed us home looked completely new to if they had been in hiding for years and decided that this spring was warm enough for them 
to chance an appearance!