New additions to my Zenfolio Gallery

27 04 2010

I just added more photos to my Zenfolio Botanical Gallery. Click on this link here to view all 423 photos in thumbnail size. If you double-click on a photo, it will enlarge and a sub-gallery will show on the right side of the screen. You can also select “slide show” at the top. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did photographing them!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


The nerve!

25 04 2010

So about two weeks ago, I bought three ‘Champagne Bubbles’ poppy plants from Home Depot ($4 each, as I recall). I planted them in a sunny spot on the side border in our front yard (which gets both foot traffic and cars going by). Yesterday I noticed one plant, which had bloomed white poppies earlier in the week, was gone. GONE. A plant perp has stolen it and tamped down the ground so it would look like there was never a plant there. Ah, but there’s the rub—I always buy plants in odd numbers—1, 3, 5, etc. No way I would have bought two. I find it funny that they took the time to brush over the hole rather than leave evidence. Guess they figured with all the plants in my garden, I wouldn’t miss this little one. And they would be so wrong. Remember—photographic memory!

For some reason, this theft really irks me. I suppose I should be grateful they didn’t take all three. This is the first time in my 6+ years of gardening that I’ve noticed someone actually stole a plant from my garden. I suppose I should be thankful it hasn’t happened sooner. So now the thought occurs to me—should I take the remaining poppy plants and move them to the back yard where only I can enjoy them?

Have any of my fellow gardeners ever had plants stolen from their gardens?

Goose and gosling

24 04 2010

While I was photographing the ‘Blue Moon’ Siberian Iris, a pair of Canadian geese waddled across a boardwalk near the Martha and Reed West Island Garden at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad were trying to keep up with their baby gosling, off exploring the world in all directions. I got this “record shot” (not award-winning by a long stretch) when the mother (I presume) and baby slid into the water and began grazing in the vegetation.

‘Blue Moon’ closeup

23 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


23 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Siberian Iris ‘Blue Moon’

23 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Siberian Iris

23 04 2010

I played with depth of field while photographing this Siberian Iris at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this morning. I shot more than 30 images of this same flower, and found this one to be my favorite. While the flower is sharp, the background has a very shallow depth of field, making the bloom appear to float—love me some of that bokeh!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Eye-poppin’ Poppies!

23 04 2010

This hard-won image (contending with intermittent spring breezes is no easy task) was shot at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this morning. We also got a later start then planned (it’s a 1.5 hour drive from here), so we didn’t get there until about 11:00 a.m.

I brought my Interfit 5 in 1 collapsible reflector (translucent portion only) to block the mid-day sun and get more saturated color. I usually follow the rule of “shoot flowers in early a.m. or late p.m.,” but now that I carry this reflector with me when I head out to shoot, I can shoot flowers in the worst light for flower photography—mid-day direct sun. I highly recommend adding one to your photo bag, whether you’re shooting portraits of people or plants! It also helps to have someone kind enough to hold it for you if you don’t always want to shoot with a tripod (Thanks, Michael). More images to come!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


22 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


22 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Flowers in the mist…

22 04 2010

Green Spring Gardens, 1:24 p.m. A steady mist on a dreary day. D300 and 105mm micro in hand, Army blanket on the ground. Sharing the park with one photographer, two walkers under umbrellas, and two grazing deer coming from the woods. Blissful in spite of the weather!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Re-post: Blooms at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

19 04 2010

Originally posted April 19, 2008 — I hope to get out to Lewis Ginter sometime this week to see what’s in bloom now!

This morning Michael and Carmen and I headed to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond ( to see the “million blooms.” The weather was perfect and although it was a little windy (tulips waving in the breeze are a wonderful sight!), I still managed to get some good photos in between gusts of wind. As I suspected she would, Carmen fell in love with their amazing garden shop. I’ve been to a lot of garden gift shops and Lewis Ginter outshines them all! They have a wide assortment of garden sculptures, fountains, art, knick-knacks, aprons, hats, t-shirts, scarves, umbrellas, benches, gazebos, trellises, stakes, seeds, plant markers, tools, a great selection of books and instrumental garden music CDs, containers of all kinds, gorgeous garden-themed jewelry, home decor (plates/vases/teapots & cups), and lots of things for kids. We shopped as soon as we got to the garden, then went out to photograph, had lunch, photographed some more, then came back and shopped again. These are some plant “portraits” I shot there today.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Redux x 2: Still unidentified blue pinwheel thingie

7 04 2010

Previously posted in March 2008

I photographed this same type of flower a few years ago (see link here), and I still haven’t been successful in identifying it. I think I’ll take a print to Green Spring Gardens and maybe they can identify it (since they’re the ones who grew it). In the link I just provided, you’ll read my father’s take on the origin of the flower. It was quite involved (he had extra time on his hands, apparently), but still didn’t really identify the flower.

FYI—in reference to my father’s note about not pronouncing the “h” in “herb”—no matter how often I tell him that it’s usually the British who pronounce the “h” in “herb,” he still thinks that’s the only way to pronounce the word. He even points out that if Martha Stewart says it like that, then it must be right. (He says that if “erb” is correct, then we should also say “umongous,” “uge,” and “erbert oover”—as in the name of our 31st President). I’ve done the research and actually—both pronunciations are correct (although he will never agree). Most Americans say it with a silent “h.” Some pronounce the “h” if it’s a person’s name, then don’t when referencing the green stuff. I’m taking a poll, here and now. How many of you pronounce “herb” with the hard h? And what is your reasoning for doing so?

An aside: While searching “pronounciation of the word herb,” I found a synopsis of one of Alexis Stewart’s (Martha’s daughter) radio shows. In it, Alexis says that her mother pronounces it incorrectly and goes on to explain her mother’s reasoning. (Martha and my dad—separated at birth—who knew?). An excerpt from that review is below. I am not responsible for the terrible practice of not capitalizing the first word of each sentence, nor the positioning of the period outside the quotation marks, nor the lower-casing of Martha’s name. I know better than that. I’m hoping the practice of lower-cased i’s and names is simply a phase bloggers are going through, although I sincerely doubt it. What can I say? Aside from the “Great (H)erb Debate,” I am my father’s daughter.

then alexis said that martha says the word “herb” incorrectly. martha pronounces the “h” and claims she pronounces the “h” because, after all, people pronounce the “h” when they say the name herbert, so why shouldn’t they then pronounce the “h” in the word “herb”.  alexis added that trying to explain to martha why her pronunciation is faulty is like playing tennis with a hopelessly bad player – there’s just nothing you can do about it.

If everyone in America was forced to buy the book(s), The Mac is Not a Typewriter or The PC is Not a Typewriter (excellent little books by Robin Williams—the author, not the actor), we would all be (grammatically and publishing-wise) better for it. I imagine Ms. Williams could retire early if that transpired. I know I could finally stop losing sleep over all those excess spaces after periods and misplaced punctuation.

FYI, contrary to the popularity of the practice, you should only put one space after the end of a sentence before beginning a new one. In covered-wagon days, there were proportional typefaces, and every letter and punctuation mark occupied the same width, so two spaces were necessary to make the sentence break clear. These days, the tap of a keyboard spacebar yields 1.5 characters; plenty for spacing before starting a new sentence. Save those extra spaces for other paragraphs—recycle! Old habits are hard to break. I came from the era of typewriters and had the “two space rule” drilled into my head. Then I entered the world of desktop publishing with my very first Mac. If I can break the habit, so can you. Really. Give it a try. Pretty please? It’s the right thing to do (although you may have been blissfully unaware until just now).

And remember, this rule includes just one space after any punctuation—quotation marks, exclamation points (which my father abhors, but that’s another posting), as well as the oft-used periods.

One comment in a forum on the subject of space after periods signed his letter, “Just say NO to Double Spacing!—brought to you by PADSAP (People Against Double Spacing After Periods).

Whaaaa? There’s a club for people like me? Where do I sign up? Hey Dad—maybe we can get a two-for-one membership.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Craft project: Bird nest necklace

6 04 2010

I made these bird nest pendants for the gals in my wedding. They were made just like the cooper wire ones I made for Michael and his groomsmen here. My friend Kathy models one I made for her in the photo below.

Silver wire and dyed freshwater pearls were woven to form a bird’s nest. Special thanks to blogger Cathe Holden for posting her great tutorial on how to make these sweet little bird nests.

Once I make the loops to hang them on chains, I’ll be distributing them to all the gals in the wedding party—Karen B, Debbie, Kelley, Lauren, Deanna, Nancy, Carmen, Norma, Karen W and Macie. Unfortunately, I didn’t have them finished to give to them out that weekend. Hence our wedding theme—“better late than never!”

You can see the latest photos I’ve posted from the wedding on our wedding blog here. Many more photos to come!

H.M. Dyer’s ‘Ode to a cheesecake’

6 04 2010

I must preface my father’s poem (below) by explaining his urge to write about a cheesecake in the first place. In February we hosted a very scaled back Chocoholic Party for friends—aptly renamed the “Cabin Fever with Chocolate Party.” It was scaled-back from our annual soiree because of the unprecedented piles of snow in our area, which resulted in virtually no parking for guests from outside the neighborhood. (This annual party usually brings in 35+ chocoholics, so ample parking is necessary!) So, if you could walk to our house in 30+ inches of snow, you were a guest! Anyway, earlier in the week we bought a cheesecake from Costco during our rounds to gather food for this semi-potluck party. I was sitting at the computer working a few days before the party when Michael came downstairs—a brown wrapped package in one hand and a shovel in the other—and unlocked the patio door. I watched him, wondering if he was going to dig a path through the almost three feet of snow to the back gate (and why?). He proceeded to dig a hole into the snow bank just outside the door and buried the package. I then asked, “what in the world did you just bury?” “Cheesecake!” he exclaimed. “There wasn’t any room for it in the refrigerator and since the party is just two days away, I figured it would keep.” There you have it. Such a resourceful man. I think I’ll keep him.

So, my ‘An apology to the wood anemone’ poem (see my previous posting) has inspired my father to write his wonderful ‘Ode to a cheesecake.’ Bravo, bravo, King of Texas! Here are his comments to my post, followed by his poem.


In advance of posting this comment, I humbly offer my abject apologies to the preacher John Donne, to the poet Joyce Kilmer and to the author of ‘An apology to the wood anemone’ . . . It’s not my fault—it’s in my nature—it’s something I cannot control. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa maxima.

Ode to a cheesecake

Breathes there one with soul so dead
That never to one’s self hath said
Methinks that I shall never see
A word so lovely as anemone.

Offed from my tongue it rolls
Sadly as the bell that tolls
Not for thee and not for me
Nor for the lovely anemone.

But for the cheesecake in its bower
Not ‘neath trees nor plants nor showers
Nay, ‘neath snowstorms full of power
Lying beneath the snow for hours
In wait for the chocolate party
To be eaten by goers hearty.

But wait, what’s that I see
Beside the cheesecake ‘neath the snow
The anemone arises ready to go
With the cheesecake to the table
Petals eight to be divided
Among the diners so excited
A ‘nemone to see.

They smell the petals
They hear the bell
They’ll come to know
As time will tell
If snow and cheesecake
Sounds their knell
Or leaves them alive
And well.

— H.M. Dyer (1932-     )

I neglected to give credit to Sir Walter Scott for his poem ‘The lay of the last minstrel’ in my ‘Ode to a cheesecake’—credit is now given. I also neglected to say that I loved your poem ‘An apology to the wood anemone’… Well done!

Your anemone arising from the snow is reminiscent of Thoreau’s “Walden,” in which he tells of a golden bug that in the spring gnawed its way out of a table after being entombed in the wood for many years.


See more of my father’s pondering, hypothesizing and philosophizing, musings, comments, lectures, diatribes, royal reflections and revelations, essays, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, tall tales, fables, childhood memories, yarns, jokes, poems, political and social commentary, and my favorite of his topics—excellent grammatical lessons—on his website,

An apology to the wood anemone…

5 04 2010

Lovely eight petal wood anemone
please accept my apology
More plants, I surely did not need any
but your price was reduced to a hundred pennies
Relegated to your preferred shady spot
remembering to plant you, I most certainly did not
Lost in the shuffle of spring and summer
as the King of Texas says, “what a bummer!”
you braved well over two feet of snow
yet still come spring, you put on a show
Please accept my apology
lovely eight petal wood anemone

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Thursday blooms

1 04 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Quick visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden

1 04 2010

Yesterday, Michael and I picked up his sister Kathy and her boss from D.C. (they were in town for a workshop) to do a really quick sightseeing tour and then drop them off at National Airport this afternoon. Downtown D.C. was a madhouse with all the tourists and the big Cherry Blossom Festival in full swing! We had about 25 minutes to pop into the U.S. Botanic Garden, then we dropped them off at the Natural History Museum for another 25 minutes while we drove around. I was only able to shoot a few images at the U.S. Botanic Garden—too many people and too little time. Despite that fact, I’ll take flower-shooting time anywhere and anytime I can get it—from here on out, expect lots of flower macros! Here are a few I liked…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.