Bird’s eye view: Dallas to Huntsville

17 12 2008

On Friday morning I headed to Sue’s house in Hunstville, Alabama, for a long weekend visit. I’ve gotten in the habit of shooting aerial record shots whenever I travel. (I call them record shots because they’re certainly not prizewinners!). Sometimes I shoot with my little Coolpix; this time I used my Nikon D300. The scenery was spectacular—from winding rivers to checkerboard farmland to snow-covered hills. Beautiful abstracts…quilt-like parcels of green and brown land…the interruption of trees through pastures..curvy, twisty rivers and finger-like land masses jutting out into bodies of water…carefully structured subdivisions with tiny Monopoly houses. Because these images were shot through thick plexiglas, the color is a little off and there is some vignetting happening (I couldn’t very well roll down the window, now could I?). I’m sharing them anyway—they’re a reminder of how diverse our Earth is—and this is just one tiny cross section of our country.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Visit my main blog at www.cindydyer.wordpress.com, where I post portraits, event photography, personal essays, and other non-garden-related entries.

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December 12 Moon

17 12 2008

December 12 moon, photographed near the airport in Huntsville

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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December 11 moon

12 12 2008

Just in case I don’t get a chance to shoot the full moon tomorrow night (when it’s supposed to be at its brightest and the closest to Earth since 1993), here is tonight’s moon as seen from my parent’s backyard in the Lone Star state…best I could do with a 400mm lens. If I do get a chance to photograph Friday’s moon, it will be done from Sue’s yard in Huntsville, Alabama. Yes, this weekend I’m flitting off to a whole ‘nother state just to have tea on Sunday with Sue and her new southern friends—the plane ticket was a gift from Sue. Of course, I’m helping her decorate, and yes, I’m bringing my camera gear—so you know there will be photos of the soirée and whatever else I stumble upon!

I just saw her a few weeks ago when we were en route to Texas for Thanksgiving. We were delivering a painting for her new home. See that posting below:

https://gardenmuse.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/alabama-cotton-field-under-a-virginia-sky/

National Geographic‘s website states that “although a full moon happens every month, the one that rises tomorrow will appear about 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than the other full moons seen so far this year. That’s because our cosmic neighbor will be much closer than usual. The moon will be at its closest perigee—the nearest it gets to Earth during its egg-shaped orbit around our planet.

In that same article, Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, states, “Typically we don’t have the full moon phase and perigee coinciding at the same time, so that makes this event particularly special.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.
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Buddy in the garden

12 12 2008

While archiving photos, I came across one of my favorite “cat in the garden” photos. This is Buddy, a cat from our neighborhood, sitting in my friend Regina’s garden.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Kreepy kacti and kuddly kritters

2 12 2008

(Hey, if the Kactus Korral can take liberties on the spelling of their name, I should be able to do the same!)

Creepy cacti and sumptious succulents weren’t the only photographic subjects on our visit to the Kactus Korral. (See my previous posting here.) As soon as we entered the greenhouse, a small and elusive black cat appeared. We later discovered she was checking on her three tiny, six-week-old kittens. I discovered the kittens under a table and fell instantly in love! One was a calico and the other two were torties—one with a neat yin & yang stripe down its nose.

Plants and kittens…do I have to choose?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Kactus Korral revisited

2 12 2008

On this trip to Texas, we stopped at the Kactus Korral in Harwood, Texas, before heading to our final destination—San Antonio. Usually we stop at the Kactus Korral on the way back to Virginia (after leaving space in the car to fill with plants, of course). We learned from Molly (our friendly plant expert/cashier pictured in the last photo below) that the Kactus Korral will probably be closed by January 2009.

Saddened by that news, I bought more plants than usual, knowing I wouldn’t get a chance to see this many gorgeous plants in so many varieties again. I picked up some that I don’t ever see in our local nurseries, such as two variations of the otherworldly “Ghost Cactus” (Euphorbia trigona ‘Ghost’), which is native to Mexico. Once again, we scored bargains. Essentially everything was 50% off—the plants I picked out ranged from less than $2 for the smallest size to under $6 for the largest. After gathering my bounty, I photographed my favorite plant heaven one last time while Molly calculated the (minor) damage to my cash-on-hand. Many of the plants were in bloom, so I got to see what one of my favorite plants–Lithops or “living stones”—might look like when they finally bloom. This time around, I bought 4″ pots with large “colonies” of these amazing little brainy-looking plants rather than the small single specimens. Many of them were already blooming with pink, yellow, and white fringe-like flowers. (See my posting last year on the Kactus Korral here.)

If you’re in the San Antonio/Austin area, you might want to check out the Kactus Korral before it closes. The selection is overwhelming, the plants are very healthy, and the prices (plants are 50% off, pots are 60% off) are amazing. I just wish I had the money (and the space) to offer to buy their inventory! Michael and I pondered that insane idea, thinking we could start a cacti/succulent nursery in Virginia—since no one in our area offers such an incredible variety of cacti and succulents. My only problem would be letting go of the inventory!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Visit my main blog at www.cindydyer.wordpress.com, where I post portraits, event photography, personal essays, and other non-garden-related entries.

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Is this not the coolest thing ever?

2 12 2008

During our short stop in Huntsville, Sue and Steve treated Michael and me to lunch at Westin Hotel’s Sage Grill (where I feasted on my first fried green tomato ever—now I know what the fuss is about!). Afterward, we browsed the shops at Bridge Street Town Centre, one of Huntsville’s newest shopping malls. I was immediately drawn to the “living walls” at the Anthropologie store. New York-based Elmslie Osler Architect designed the store as well as the living wall—the largest in North America. The installation is constructed with two foot by two foot panels that are three inches deep. The container trays were filled with growing medium and pre-planted with seeds from various sedums. The walls bloom in the spring and stay green throughout the milder winter months in Huntsville. They serve another purpose—extra insulation to reduce energy use. In the summer, the south-facing walls absorb UV rays that cool the building’s interior. The 2,000 square foot wall was created by Green Living Technologies.

There are two categories of green walls: green facades and living walls. Green walls are comprised of climbing plants growing directly on a wall or on specially designed structures. Living walls are composed of pre-vegetated panels or fabric systems that are attached to a frame or structural wall.

The concept of “vertical gardens” or “Le Mur Végétal” was invented by botanist Patrick Blanc. Click here to browse his amazing website with beautiful examples of vertical gardens. They are also known as biowalls.

Read more about Anthropologie’s “edgy and unexpected” store facades here.

Check out this article by architect Randy Sharp— “6 Things You Need to Know About Green Walls.”

Visit www.treehugger.com to see some really beautiful buildings wrapped in living walls.

Learn about maintenance of green walls at www.greenroofs.com

Gardener’s Supply Company sells outdoor living wall planters as well as indoor living wall panels. Click here to see more examples of living walls in their photo center.

I know what my next project is going to be!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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