It’s a jungle out there

28 05 2009

Shot of our front yard garden taken this afternoon…

Just past bloom: White & purple Bearded Iris and Purple Sensation Allium 

Debuting now: Beard’s Tongue, Catmint, Veronica Speedwell, Creeping Thyme, Sweet William, Penstemon, Rose Campion (blush pink-white and bright pink varieties), Hellebores, Sedum, Yellow Yarrow, Nasturtium, White Dianthus, Pink Phlox, Hosta flowers, Ageratum, Evening Primrose ‘Lemon Drop’, Strawflower, Geraniums 

Very-soon-to-bloom: Globe Thistle, Lavender (various), Coreopsis, Tickseed, Lilies (various) and Salvia

And later in the seasonButterfly bush (pink, yellow, purple varieties), Coneflower (various varieties)

Platycodon Balloon Flower (purple and white varieties), Shasta Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Monarda Bee Balm, Lamb’s Ear, Morning Glory ‘Heavenly Blue’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Maximilian sunflower

Ha! And this is just the list of plants in the front yard. Proof enough that I’m a gardener obsessed.

Got a question for my fellow gardeners…what is the weed (looks a lot like the tops of celery plants or almost cilantro-looking leaf) that is taking over my entire garden in spades? Why have I not noticed this prolific pest in previous years? Is it a new invasive? Do I need to photograph it for identification?
© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



My Kenilworth bounty

27 05 2009

The previous posting about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens prompted me to look through my photo archives. I’ve been to Kenilworth three summers in a row (and 100% sure I will do so again this summer). While I have posted on my trips to the gardens, I didn’t gather all of them into one collage until now.

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit the gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below: 

What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


A Wilson Bridge Too Far

27 05 2009

Last Thursday I accompanied my friend Jeff to an office complex in Fairfax where five of his floral images are on display as part of the office decor. The woman in the top left photo with Jeff (below) is Sylvia Zuniga, who purchased the prints for the Fairfax Intelligent Office location.

The poppies were photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia, and the lotus blossom was photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

A few weeks ago Jeff shared an essay with me that he had written to accompany his photos for his entry in the Nature’s Best magazine photography contest last year. The essay was about one of our field trips to photograph the lotus blossoms at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. I’m sharing his essay here, along with a photo I shot of him in the garden.

A Wilson Bridge Too Far by Jeff Evans

The Plan: A Sunday morning trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. to photograph the sacred lotus, which is found in large numbers in the ponds of the gardens, not to mention dragonflies, butterflies, and other insects drawn by the water and plants such as milkweed which surround the ponds. Maybe even photograph a water lily or two. An early start would allow us to beat the crowd and have good light.

The co-conspirator: Cindy Dyer, good friend, head of the neighborhood garden club (fondly dubbed Head Weed), and excellent photographer.

The Route: Easy enough—the Beltway from Springfield across the Wilson Bridge to 295 to Douglas to Anacostia Avenue to the park. Easy-peasy. And early on a Sunday there would no reason to expect much traffic.

Jeff@KenilworthBut this day…this day fate would not be a kind mistress. This day she would reveal the capricious nature of her temperament, the kind of day where she seems to channel the spirit of Ghengis Khan…and Conan, and acts as if the greatest joy in life is to crush her enemies, to see them fall at her feet—to take their horses and goods and hear the lamentation of their women. And this day we were the enemy. Woe unto us.

Because you see, the Wilson Bridge was scheduled for an opening that morning. And not just any opening, but an opening for a ship no doubt named “Slow As Molasses On a Cold Day.” We sat on that bridge, on the bridge mind you because of how close we had been to making it across, for at least 45 minutes, as the sun moved higher in the sky, and the light grew harsher. Woe onto us.

And then, safely parked in the parking lot at the park, I hear myself saying, “you know, the breeze feels really nice.” Doh. Double Doh. You appreciate the power of even a light breeze on photography when faced with flowers and leaves big enough to seem to want to act as living kites and float away into the sky, that seem to want to dance like teenage girls at a Ricky Martin concert. Oh, the gnashing of the teeth and the cursing of the Powers That Be. Woe unto us.

But hey, you play the cards dealt you right? And I had brought a secret weapon, an artifact so powerful that it might transcend the fickle will of Fate. A light, white, plastic artifact that puzzled some and earned startled exclamations of appreciations from others. A step stool, about three feet tall, to maybe help me get a little better perspective on both lotus and lily. Tall folks looked at me like puzzled dogs hearing a high-pitched noise. But short people knew. They understood. And thus armed, the battle was joined.

I don’t know if I won the war, but I at least won a skirmish or two. Got a punch in here or there. They’re there, on the enclosed CDs, in high-def and low-def. Take a look and know–-I fought the good fight. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Jeff “Blood and Guts” Evans

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Water like satin

26 05 2009

Sunset begins at Lake Land ‘Or © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The Lake. To — by Edgar Allan Poe (1827)

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less—
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody—
Then, ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremendous delight—
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define—
Nor Love—although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining—
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.


I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky

25 05 2009

Excerpts from “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver (my lifelong crush)

I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.
Rocky Mountain High…in Colorado
Rocky Mountain High.

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below,
saw everything as far as you can see.
And they say that he got crazy once and that he
tried to touch the sun,
and he lost a friend, but kept the memory.
Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream,
seeking grace in every step he takes,
his sight is turned inside himself, to try and
understand, the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

Photos of Lake Land ‘Or © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Cotton candy

25 05 2009

Another view of sunset from a canoe on Lake Land ‘Or, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Pink Sky Ball

Stairway to heaven

25 05 2009

Late Saturday afternoon Michael and I drove down to join Karen and Joe at their lake house in Lake Land ‘Or. Just before sunset, Joe took me out in their canoe across the entire lake and pointed out these unusual stair-stepped clouds on our return trip. I finally learned how to paddle a canoe (thanks to Joe’s excellent mentoring) without going around in circles. Yay to me!

Thanks to The Cloud Appreciation Society, I think this cloud formation is an “altocumulus undulatus.”

I’m also experimenting with my new software program, Noise Ninja (doncha love that name?). Noise Ninja, available for both PCs and Macs, removes noise and grain, and is particularly effective with low-light situations (such as this one). Take a look at their before-and-after samples here. Pretty impressive. You can get the program e-mailed to you for as low as $44.95 (this home bundle license includes the Photoshop/Photo Elements plug-ins as well as the stand-alone program) here. I’ll play with some of my own low-light, high-noise examples and report my findings.

More weekend adventures to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.