A few more butterflies

29 06 2009

…from the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KeyWestButterfliesx3

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The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

28 06 2009

While in Key West, we visited the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory before we met up with the Muchemore family for the big event—Chantell and Austin’s wedding. If you want to see the wedding photos I shot, click any of the links below:

Weekend in Key West!

Much more of the Muchemores

Muchemore redux

Chantell and Austin on the pier

Yes, another wedding photo…

This conservatory is definitely one of our favorites now! As you walk around the winding pathway through the conservatory, you’ll hear classical music playing. Not only are there 60+ species of butterflies, they also have an array of exotic birds, tropical plants and a koi pond. Ever notice that most butterfly conservatories are hot and humid? That’s the case here, except for the strategically placed cool air tubes throughout the conservatory—these are to help cool the air for the birds. We humans appreciated that touch on a hot Florida day, too! There’s also a Learning Center and a wonderful gift shop. Founders Sam Trophia and George Fernandez established the Conservatory and the Trophia Butterfly Foundation in January 2003. Read more about Sam Trophia in this article on www.SunSentinel.com.

I photographed a plethora of butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland last year. If you fancy butterflies, click here and here to see those photos. I often find butterfly subjects to photograph in our garden—check out the Monarchs I photographed last fall here. Last year I designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat poster for my friend Mary Ellen Ryall of Happy Tonics in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

I have no idea what kind of butterfly this is below, but it’s a beauty, isn’t it? I made a half-hearted attempt to identify it for you but it’s late and I need some shut-eye (it may surprise some of you, but yes, I do sometimes sleep).

As my father often writes on his blog www.thekingoftexas.wordpress.com, “I’ll get back to you later with more details.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Butterflylorez





Amazing tree in downtown Key West

11 06 2009

I’m fairly certain that a Ficus aurea, or strangler fig, has taken over this tree (or group of trees) in downtown Key West. I did some research online and learned that they are common throughout the Caribbean and tropical Americas. You’ll find excellent and very detailed information about strangler figs with illustrative photos on this site: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ploct99.htm

In the first photo, Michael serves as my scale reference. Doesn’t the second photo look like a scene out of a Harry Potter movie? If I have misidentified this unusual tree, enlighten me!

THIS JUST IN…Artist Val Webb posted this comment:

“It has been many years since I visited Key West, but I seem to recall that the tree in question is a banyan tree. There is a large one on the Thomas Edison property there.”

I looked up “banyan tree” and learned that a banyan is a fig tree that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree. The seeds germinate and send down roots toward the ground, and may envelope part of the host tree…giving them the name of “strangler fig.” So apparently banyan is another name for it. Thanks for the input, Val!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

StranglerFig





AHS 2009 Great American Gardeners Awards

10 06 2009

Last Thursday night I photographed the American Horticultural Society’s 2009 Great American Gardeners Awards dinner, hosted by AHS at their River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. For some strange reason, I couldn’t get the layout and photos to copy intact to this blog, so I’m giving you a link below to the main blog instead.

I was particularly excited to meet Amy Goldman, author of The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit, as well as two other beautiful books. The Heirloom Tomato won a book award this year.

Check out the photos and write-up on the award winners on my main blog:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/ahs-great-american-gardener-awards/





Contest reminder…just 24 more days!

6 06 2009

Previously posted on May 22

Wanna help me pare down my notecard inventory?
I would love to hear from fellow gardeners who have the same modus operandi as I have when it comes to squeezing in just one more plant…or tell your tale about an incorrectly labeled plant, your greatest plant bargain ever, how you handled an overload of tomatoes (or squash, etc.),
or when you realized you were a “gardener obsessed.” Perhaps you have had a humorous (or not so) encounter with a garden critter or a run-in with poison ivy or a hike that recharged your batteries. Tell me about your favorite garden or nature experience. Tell me what your garden means to you. Did gardening change your life, improve your health, wreck a relationship, forge a friendship, clean out your wallet or save your sanity?

Vanna, show them what they could win…
The
top five winning contributors will be published on this blog and will also receive a free package of my Polaroid transfer notecards (4-color images printed on cream speckled card stock with contrasting seafoam blue green speckled envelopes—all on recycled paper—and each card is signed). There are 12 different images (see collage below): carousel horse, Canadian maple leaf, sunrise at Cape May, Monument Valley, red rose, tulips, Cape May seagulls, Saguaro cactus, kids on the beach, cactus blooms, Camilla’s lace dress and Canyon de Chelly.

RememberRedStarOdds of winning are infinitely better than the lottery! You may submit up to five stories and there is no cap on the length (although any entries venturing close to War and Peace heft will be severely edited for publication). Entries will be judged by a panel of my fellow gardeners and authors (all of whom will be compensated—in the form of notecards). Entries will be judged on creativeness, resourcefulness, originality, and empathy/sympathy/laugh/tear-jerk factor. You retain all rights to the stories (and photographs, if included) you submit.

Please e-mail entries to me at dyerdesign@aol.com. Be sure to put “Notecard Contest” in your subject line and include your name and mailing address in the e-mail. Deadline: June 30, 2009

Read more about the Polaroid transfer process and my notecard venture on a previous posting here.

Cards are also available for purchase (in packages of 6, 12, or singles). Inquire within!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Polaroid Cards Collage





What 20 bucks will get ya in Key West

5 06 2009

(Delicious bruschetta not included) While eating dinner at Caroline’s on Duval Street on Saturday night, we watched a cockatoo dancing in time to reggae music on a nearby bench. The bird is on exhibit at Jungle Greg’s Rescued Animals booth in downtown Key West. A sign lists prices at $10 for each animal for photographs. He also had various birds and two large snakes on display. So Jungle Greg must have been feeling pretty good that night because he attached four birds to Michael for just $20 so I could get this shot. Whatta deal! The money goes to his rescue projects (at least that’s what the sign purports; the animals on display aren’t rescues). I did observe that the animals were far more lively and conversational than the proprietors. But $20 isn’t too bad considering he usually charges $30 (plus tax) to shoot a photo for you and that gets you one 4×6. As we were leaving, two twenty-somethings came up and said, “we’re scared to death of birds, but can we get a photo of the python wrapped around our necks?”

Coming soon: See how fast you can part with $35 in 15 minutes in the tropics!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Bruschetta & Birds





Cloudspotting: spinal column

5 06 2009

Key West sky photographed Tuesday, June 2, during a dolphin-watching tour

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

SpinalColumnClouds