And one more to call it a night…

28 06 2010

Here is one more shot from my photo field trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on Saturday morning. It’s a good thing we went earlier than planned (thanks to my friend Jeff, who forwarded an e-mail stating the lotus blooms were peaking earlier than usual). We were surprised that there weren’t as many full blooms close to the pond edges to photograph. Most of the ones that were accessible were past their peak and already losing their petals. I really could have used a Nikkor 200mm micro lens (it’s on my wish list, but it’s about $1700-1800) to reach the ones in the pond (really, wading boots would be much cheaper than that lens). The water lilies, however, were in beautiful form!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Advertisement




Water Lily and Duckweed

28 06 2010

This hardy water lily might be a Nymphaea ‘Rose Arey’, but I’m not positive. I photographed it at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this weekend. View my past posts on the gardens in the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/early-morning-at-kenilworth-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/my-kenilworth-bounty/
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/

http://www.cindydyer.com/KenilworthGardens/


© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The Frog

27 06 2010

The Frog
Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As “Slimy skin,” or “Polly-wog,”
Or likewise “Ugly James,”
Or “Gap-a-grin,” or “Toad-gone-wrong,”
Or “Bill Bandy-knees”:
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare).

—Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

I was fervently hoping to get some shots of the dragonflies yesterday at Kenilworth, but they were very active and rarely settled long enough for me to photograph them. It was getting hotter and I was just about to give up. I stopped to rest and something compelled me to look to my immediate left—a little more than a foot away from my head, at eye level, was a Blue Dasher (the fella in the second photo) clinging to a bare branch sticking out of the pond. I moved really slowly and was able to fire off about a dozen shots before hedashed away.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pair of Water Lilies

27 06 2010

Water Lily

My whole life is mine, but whoever says so
will deprive me, for it is infinite.
The ripple of water, the shade of the sky are mine;
it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal—
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not desire—I am moved;

by being moved I exert my empire,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors…

—Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by A. Poulin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Hey, this is a nice angle…lemme crop out that brown leaf on the left…and now wait until the sun goes behind that cloud…mmmm…nice and graphic…black, white, green, yellow pop in the center…let’s try a vertical…focus, click, view screen…nah, horizontal is better…focus, click, view screen, change aperture, focus, click, refocus, click, click…now if only a dragonfly would land right smack in the middle…then it would be perfect…oooh, oooh, a bumblebee!…quick, refocus, click! Just one shot before he buzzed away, but here it is. (Cropping it as a square made for a more dynamic image in this case.)

Ode Tae a Bumble Bee

Wee hoverin’, fleein’ ferlie fello’,
Wi’ yer stripes o’ black and yello’,
Yer ever sae bonnie, so ye ur,
Like a spring lamb—only smaller and withoot the fur,
But see if ye ever sting me oan the bum again,
Ah’m gonnae jump on yer heid so Ah um.

—Stuart McLean (from No’ Rabbie Burns)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water Lilies

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

The Dragonfly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on Lotus bud

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher Dragonfly on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Serendipity! I was photographing this water lily at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens early this morning and was silently praying that any one of the myriad dragonflies buzzing about would land and pose for me. And it was so. Michael was talking with a woman by the water lily ponds near the park entrance and she mentioned that she and her husband visit the gardens often, most recently accompanying a photographer friend who had just gotten a new long and pricey lens. She said that he set up his tripod with his camera, attached the long lens to it, then turned his back. (You can see where this is headed, can’t you?). Off went the whole contraption into the shallow water lily pond—lens, camera and tripod! He immediately insisted everything was okay with the camera and lens. (I can just imagine I would say the same thing—not so much to calm my nervous friends, but more to keep from breaking down right there and sobbing!) Um, yeah…let’s hope he was right—-but I’m just not sure digital equipment can survive a dunk in a pond without needing some kind of intervention afterward.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Your guess is as good as mine!

26 06 2010

It looks like a Gaura plant, but I’m just not sure, and the plant wasn’t labeled at Green Spring Gardens this morning. Any one venture to guess? Patty? The sprigs tend to lean downward, like a waterfall.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Zowie’ Zinnia and Giant Alliums

25 06 2010

‘Zowie’ Zinnia with alliums in the background—-I just learned from an employee that the gardeners at Green Spring Gardens spray paint the giant alliums blue after they have flowered. I should have noticed that but didn’t until now—duh. Pretty creative!

Thanks to Patty, the name is now correct. I actually called Green Spring Gardens and when they got back to me later, I was told it was the ‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia. I know I described it in detail so there would be no confusion. Thanks, Patty, for getting it right!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Papaver Somniferum (Opium Poppy)

25 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Agapanthus bud opening

25 06 2010

I think this is an Agapanthus africanus bud. Common names include Lily-of-the-Nile and African Lily (although it is not in the Lily family). This herbaceous perennial plant, native to South Africa, is planted in well-drained soil in the spring. It prefers full sun and blooms in the summer. The orange blobs in the background are beautiful orange daylilies!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden today…

24 06 2010

Shasta daisies everywhere! © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sweat bee on cornflower

22 06 2010

I think this cornflower is a Centaurea dealbata and the insect is probably a Sweat Bee (Agapostemon angelicus? Agapostemon melliventris?). According to Wikipedia, the insect earns its name because it is attracted to the salt in human sweat. And “their sting is only rated a 1.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, making it almost painless.” Hard to believe there is actually a “sting pain index.” But of course…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Shasta daisy at Boerner Botanical Gardens

22 06 2010

Photo shot on Sunday at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





AHS 2010 Great American Gardeners Awards

18 06 2010

Last Thursday, I photographed the 2010 Great American Gardeners Awards, hosted by the American Horticultural Society at their headquarters on River Farm. Did you know that River Farm was just one of George Washington’s five farms? He never actually lived on the farm, preferring to rent it instead. This beautiful property offers a stunning view of the Potomac River and there are so many things in bloom this time of year.

Click on the link below to go to my main blog and see the award descriptions, winner biographies, and photographs. I just love meeting and photographing these movers and shakers in the field of horticulture! This year was no exception—go take a look below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/ahs-great-american-gardeners-awards-2010/





Revisiting the Kenilworth archives…

18 06 2010

Next month, the lotus blossoms will be at their finest at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. And yes, I’ll be there once again (even though these lovely blooms choose to do their thing on the hottest day of the summer, year after year. Ah, well, no pain, no gain, right? Even for photographers! Here are some images I shot last year.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden today…

13 06 2010

Easy-to-grow perennial ‘Blue Star’ Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia laevis) and unidentified yellow lily 

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought. 

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)





And the entries just keep a’comin’…

13 06 2010

Below are three entrants (and the only entrants thus far, bless them) of my Polaroid Notecards Essay Contest. Thanks to Alex, Bo and CheyAnne for submitting their wonderful essays. Read more about the contest (you, too, could win!) here. Contest rules and regulations can be found here. And remember, just like the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes—if you don’t enter, you can’t win!

CONTESTANT #1
First up is Alex Solla, of Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography, in Trumansburg, NY. (Be sure to check out his website below—he and his wife, Nancy, create beautiful pottery in truly yummy colors!) To preface his essay, Alex wrote: “Alright Cindy, you win. I held out because I figured you would be inundated with stories and after the umpteenth,the last thing you would want is to hear yet another gardening story. Having held a few contests over at my pottery blog, I know that a lot of times, folks just don’t anty up. No clue as to why. So here’s your story:

Ten years ago this August, I bought the house we live in. A month later I met my wife Nancy. One of our first goals was to clean up the yard and prepare a veggie garden. For the most part this yard was as flat as a pancake. The only distinguishing features were tall white pines lining the driveway, a huge blue spruce next to a very old outhouse and between both…was this enormous pile of blackberry brambles and grapevine. Fifty feet on all sides—it was HUGE! We tried at first to mow it. Broke a very expensive old riding mower. Ripped the transmission completely out of the machine. Then we tried the age old jungle solution: the machete. After a few near misses with my shins, we called that experiment done. That night, as my wife and I sat soaked in sweat, trying to imagine the dirt under all that overgrowth, our neighbor arrived. Most folks have neighbors who go to work at a normal hour and mow the yard on the weekend. Not mine. He’s an excavator, so he is up before 5 a.m. revving engines of his dozers and backhoes and such. Well, he took one look at our project and zipped back over to his house. The next thing we know, he is driving a monster backhoe through our yard. He spent the next hour as the sun set, ripping out roots of grapevines that were huge stumps! He took all of this green and by the time he went home, we could see DIRT! With all the plant material staring us in the face, we took some of the other move-in detritus and made the most beautiful burn pile. A week later, we had cleared, fenced, rich soil.

Because of all that sweat and toil, the first plants to grow into this garden held a special place in my heart. I had never photographed flowers or plants before, but as soon as we had color that spring, I was out in the garden shooting every flower I could catch. This started my love affair with plant photography. Your blog has been a huge inspiration. Your color saturation is just amazing. If you ever have time, would you consider writing a tutorial about how you capture such fantastic images?

Alex Solla
Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography
Trumansburg, NY

Website: www.coldspringsstudio.com

Blog: http://oohmyheck.blogspot.com 

HEAD JUDGE’S NOTE: Alex wins extra points (and possibly extra notecards!) by shamelessly flattering the head judge at the end of his essay! And to answer your question about writing a garden photography tutorial—it’s in the works, so please stay tuned.

_________________________________________________

CONTESTANT #2
Next up is Bo Mackison, of Seeded Earth Studio, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin. Bo is a frequent contributor to WisconsinNative.com, writing and photographing for both the Wandering Wisconsin and Travel Green. Her photography has been featured in regional and national architectural magazines, national travel guides and in a book on Functional Architecture published in 2009.

I have only a fairly small garden, maybe four or five dozen perennials. And each spring and summer, these eagerly awaited for blooms are half eaten by the rabbits in my yard who are attracted by my gourmet floral dinners. They are particularly fond of my coral bells, sweet williams, and balloon flowers. I have taken to spraying the garden with a foul smelling concoction—organic and putrid. It reminds me of a spoiled milk, rotten egg combination, plus a few other horrible odors thrown in for good measure. It successfully keeps the rabbits away, so I can still enjoy looking at my flowers, but it totally prevents me from photographing my flowers.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if I could shoot and run. Grab my camera, hold my breath, run up, and take a quick snapshot. Unfortunately, that is not my photographic style. I like to get close when photographing my flowers. Really close. I like to study the angles and natural lighting, brush off specks of dirt and remove wandering insects. More often than not, I find myself lying on the earth, looking straight up the stem of a flowering plant, trying to capture an unusual perspective. I can do none of this when the plants are saturated in “Stinky-Rabbit-Keep-Away.”

I have solved my problem with a compromise. I spray my garden so I can at least enjoy the beauty of the flowers. And then I travel a few miles down the road to a wonderful garden planted by the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Horticulture. In a garden less than 2.5 acres, there are literally thousands of plants, many of them experimental, so there are many opportunities for me to look for that special blossom. 

I truly have a feast of flowers to photograph, and without any assault to my nose. The garden’s tall fences do a great job of protecting the flowers and plants from hungry critters. And I can take my photographs at my leisure, sometimes spending several hours in the garden, often flat on my back, three or four days a week. 

Yes, my idea of heaven on earth! Literally.

Bo Mackison
Seeded Earth Studio LLC
Madison, WI  

Blog: http://seededearth.com

Website: http://historicplacesphotography.com

_________________________________________________

CONTESTANT #2
And last, but not least, is CheyAnne Sexton, a talented watercolor artist and photographer from New Mexico.

Let’s see, where to start. Quite a few years ago, while I was raising our babies in a little mobile home park in the mountains west of Durango, Colorado, I started to garden. I loved this space we had been living in just because of the water available to use in the garden. The area was a canyon that ran north and south, so in the summer when it was blazing hot in the Colorado sun, my yard was in cool, wonderful shade. I loved this yard, but it was sadly very bare. Too many people had lived and moved away without caring about the earth around them.

An older woman in the neighborhood asked me to come and help in her yard and my husband agreed to watch the little ones. Her yard was overtaken with these beautiful little yellow flowers. I found out later that they were buttercups. I fell in love immediately. They had deep green leaves and bright, bright yellow cups about the size of my thumb. They spread by runners and grew short in the sunshine but longer and more leggy in the shade. Well, this woman wanted me to pull them all and throw them away. I couldn’t bare the thought of throwing these beauties out so I asked if it was alright to keep them myself. She assured me I really didn’t want to, but please help myself and please try to get them all. I had learned the hard way that it’s a lot easier to pull “weeds” if the ground is wet, so I soaked and pulled, and pulled and pulled them all. Her yard look so bare, I felt guilty, but I was so happy because I had soda cardboard flats full of these wonderful little creatures to take back to my own bare yard. Another lesson I learned quickly—It’s a lot easier to pull than plant! But plant I did, for quite a few days and still I had more left. I started giving them away to other neighbors and finally I left the couple of remaining flats lying by the strawberry bed, determined to not care if just these 40 or so remaining plants died, because I had already saved sooooo many. Even these grew from the little bit of guilty watering I did when I watered the strawberries.

These little buttercups grew everywhere I planted them and even beyond there to places out of reach. It was wonderful to watch. In fact, a few years later I dug up invading ones and sold them to a local nursery in town. Fun, fun, fun! Buttercups are still one of my favorite flowers to see. I don’t have any here in northern New Mexico and I’m not sure I will. They do like lots of water, and since we haul all our water for plantings, that amount is just not feasible right now. In fact, I have seen a similar variety growing by the acequias here. I have yet to investigate—I’m a little afraid that I would fall in love all over again with their sweet little yellow faces. I have been known to get out my trusty little foldable garden shovel for just such inspirations!

Blog: http://newmexicomtngirl.com/

Paintings and photography for sale:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/newmexicomtngirl/
http://www.redbubble.com/people/nmexicomtngirl
http://www.etsy.com/shop/cheyannesexton





Shasta daisies blooming in my garden

12 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





In bloom at Green Spring Gardens

12 06 2010

Ah, yes, this is the life—lost myself for a few hours this afternoon at my favorite garden—and I still didn’t cover everything that was blooming. Kudos to the staff and the volunteers who make this place such a treasure (and an escape for this photographer, too!).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The fruits of Friday

11 06 2010

Just enough to make a single-serving salad, I know—but they’re the first harvest of 2010 and that’s cause enough for celebration! I bought this particular plant at a local plant stand and have planted several more plants that a friend gave me. (Thanks, Sophia!) There’s fruit on other vines, but not ripe just yet. We’re trying out the “Topsy-Turvy Tomato” gizmo this year—I’ll keep you posted on the results. No, you’re not imagining that the plate isn’t completely round—it’s a free form set of appetizer plates from Crate & Barrel. And yes, in fact, I do sing the song below when I pick my tomatoes. Love me some John Denver! 

Home Grown Tomatoes 
Words and music by Guy Clark. Recorded by John Denver and first released on his album, Higher Ground. 

There ain’t nothin in the world that I like better
Than bacon ‘n lettuce ‘n homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin, out in the garden
Get you a ripe one, don’t pick a hard ‘un
Plant ’em in the spring, eat ’em in the summer
All winter without ’em is a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin and the diggin
Every time I go out and pick me a big ‘un

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

You can go out to eat an that’s for sure
But there’s nothin a homegrown tomato won’t cure
Put ’em in a salad, put ’em in a stew
You can make your own tomato juice
You can eat ’em with eggs, eat ’em with gravy
You can eat ’em with beans, pinto or navy
Put ’em on the side, put ’em in the middle
Home grown tomatoes on a hot cake griddle

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

If I’s to change this life I lead
You could call me Johnny Tomato Seed
Cause I know what this country needs
Home grown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don’t bury me
In a box in a cold dark cemetary
Out in the garden would be much better
Cause I could be pushin up a home grown tomato

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. 





Morning blooms

8 06 2010

Lovely and lusciously luminous lilies in sweet, succulent, seductively spectacular shades of sherbet glisten in my grand and gloriously gorgeous green garden (this sentence created solely to amuse my alliteration-loving father)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





After the storm

7 06 2010

I photographed this beautiful crimson-colored lily after a storm (one of many during our vacation over the Memorial Day weekend) in my friend Carmen’s garden in South Carolina.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Marvelous Monday

7 06 2010

Jasper…lounging in his personal bed of crushed catnip and catmint. Does it get any better than this, Stripey Joe?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.