Cindy’s Cusick’s Camas closeup

29 04 2011

This title is a nod to my alliteration-loving father!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cusick’s Camas (Camassia cusickii)

29 04 2011

So now I know what this striking plant I photographed last year is! It’s a Cusick’s Camas (Camassia cusickii). I photographed the first image against a backdrop of the feathery stalks of Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damscena) at Green Spring Gardens this morning. The Love-in-a-Mist flowers, another of my favorite blooms to photograph, should make their appearance in mid-May. I shot the second image last year at Green Spring Gardens after a gentle rain. In that shot, the water droplets add another element of interest and the color is a bit more saturated because of the overcast light. I posted the second photo on this blog last spring, but didn’t have a name to reference at the time.

Most often referenced as a member of the Lily family, Cusick’s Camas was reassigned to the Agavaceae family by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG 11) after DNA and biochemical studies were done. The APG is an informal international group of systematic botanists who came together to establish a consensus view of the taxonomy of flowering plants (angiosperms). In my research, I find most sites reference it as being part of the Lily family despite the reassignment.

This perennial plant, which can be propagated by both seed and offsets, was a food staple for Native Americans and settlers in the Old West. They emerge early in spring and the flower hues vary from pale lilac to deep purple to violet blue. Cusick’s Camas is one of the six types of Camassia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Viola sororia ‘Freckles’

28 04 2011

The rare and unusual Sister Violet (Viola sororia) ‘Freckles’, with heart-shaped evergreen leaves and tiny snow white blooms speckled with deep purple spots, is similar to a wild violet. This hardy perennial likes well-drained soil in full to part sun (mine is in shade for a good part of the day). It’s a great plant for naturalistic shade gardens and it spreads by seed and underground rhizomes. I planted my first bunch a few years ago in an egg shaped wire sculpture perched atop a big urn. This year the plant has escaped from its cage and began spreading on the ground!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Blooming in my garden: Lily-of-the-Valley

28 04 2011

Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis), with extremely tiny unidentified insect (can you spot him?). I didn’t see it until I zoomed in on the image in Photoshop!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Blooming in my garden: Alliums

28 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Rhododendron

26 04 2011

The name ‘Rhododendron’ is derived from Greek—rhódon (rose) and déndron (tree). This genus has over 1000 species of woody plants and includes azaleas. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Columbine

26 04 2011

Columbine (Aquilegia), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Meadow Rue

26 04 2011

Meadow Rue (Thalictrum ichangense), photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Craft Room: Crochet wire necklaces

20 04 2011

My family and friends (and perhaps some of you, my treasured readers) have noticed that when I learn a new skill, I go a wee bit crazy implementing it, expanding upon it and trying to perfect it. In a previous posting here, I debuted the first necklaces my sister Debbie and I made last month after taking a class in San Antonio. I have since made four more wire creations. Never content with just the basics, I’ve begun embellishing them with charms, such as in the four strand “Sea Goddess” (#1) and the triple strand “Falling Leaves” (#2). “Bluer than Blue” (#3) is a two strand version. The last triple strand version in this group (“Tropical Punch”) is a gift for my friend Gina’s mother. I think my next one will be garden-themed with floral embellishments and garden tool charms.

Taking orders soon! (Seriously. How else can I pay for these hobbies?)  😉

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eensy weensy spider

20 04 2011

Wheeeeeee! A tiny spider navigates a stalk of Spring Snowflakes against a backdrop of green and white Hellebore blooms.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Glow again

19 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







Karen’s garden: Grape Hyacinths

17 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Light and curves

17 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pansies

17 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Orange tulip

17 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Bluebells at Green Spring Gardens

17 04 2011

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), are also known as Lungwort Oysterleaf, Virginia Cowslip and Roanoke Bells. The pink-tinged buds turn sky blue as they open. I photographed Bluebells for the first time last year. See my post on the Bull Run Regional Park Bluebells here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tulip ‘Red Riding Hood’

14 04 2011

Native to Pakistan, the ‘Red Riding Hood’ Tulip (Tulipa greigii) was introduced in 1953 by a Dutch company. What makes this cultivar so unusual are the red and green variegated leaves. The inside of the flower is scarlet with a black throat. Gina brought these bulbs back from Amsterdam and they are now in full bloom in Karen’s front yard garden.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Damselfly emerging from aquatic larval state

14 04 2011

I’ve asked permission from my longtime friend/former boss/photography mentor, Brian, to share this video slide show he created. (Thanks, Brian!) Here are the details of the project:

The insect is a male Desert Firetail damselfly (Telebasis salva). It is emerging from the aquatic larval state to the winged flying adult. This series was shot (exactly, by coincidence) one year ago on April 14, 2010 in a pond here in Austin. It was made with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera with a Nikkor 200mm F4 macro lens. For this sequence, I shot 88 images over a period of one and a half hours. I used 58 of those images to make the video clip in Lightroom 3.3. No computer enhancement or manipulation was done. The series is synchronized to the instrument soundtrack “Africa” #1009 by InstantMusicNow.com, for which I paid a fee for the reproduction rights.

© Brian K. Loflin. All rights reserved.

Enjoy!





Bluebonnets aplenty!

14 04 2011

Texas Bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), photographed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. (Now if I could just get that jingle, “everything’s better with blue bonnet on it,” outta my head) Did you know that the flower gets its name from the shape of the petals? They resemble bonnets worn by pioneer women to shield them from the harsh sun. Even though I spent more than 20 years living in Texas, this year was the first time I had seen these lovely flowers up close and en masse!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

14 04 2011

Also known as Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Buttercups and Pink buttercups, this perennial plant spreads to form extensive colonies that are hardy and drought resistant. Most evening primrose species open their flowers in the evening, then close them in the morning. The farther south they appear (in this case, Austin), they will open their flowers in the morning (as shown here) and then close them in the evening. Photographed at the Mueller Prairie

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.



 





Male House Sparrow

12 04 2011

When I was sitting on our front porch photographing the potted Grape Hyacinths on Sunday afternoon, this little bird landed less than 10 feet away from me. I turned to get this quick “record” shot before it flew off. I did a bit of sleuthing and I think this bird is a male House Sparrow.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Spiderwort studies

12 04 2011

Photographed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Re-post: Pollen buffet

11 04 2011

Originally posted July, 2008

Two bees (or maybe one bee and a flower fly, perhaps?) vying for pollen on one small sunflower. See the fella on the right? Look at how thick the pollen is on his body and legs!

UPDATE: This morning I received an informative comment below from a biologist in Argentina. (Visit his/her blog at http://polinizador.wordpress.com/)  Thanks for the identification—I learn something new every day!

Nice photo. The one on the right is a female bee. The males don’t carry pollen on their back legs; in the world of bees the females do all the work. The one on the left is a flower fly, Eristalis; it is a male. You can tell because of its huge eyes.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.    www.cindydyer.wordpress.com





Spider posterior!

10 04 2011

This spider was extremely tiny and very quick—hence why I only had time to get a sharp shot of her backside! She was weaving a web on a Spring Snowflake bloom in my garden.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Grape Hyacinths

10 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Hellebores

10 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Daffodils

10 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Visit my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery!

9 04 2011

Below is a small sampling of more than 500 images in my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery. Click here to visit the entire gallery. I’ll be revising the design to include galleries for portraits, stock, weddings, events, landscape, commercial and travel images as well as a bio, contact information and pricing for various services.





Golden blooms

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia (tree identification unknown)

Check out my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Geranium Daffodil (Narcissus ‘Geranium’)

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Jack Frost’ Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

Check out my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Hellebore bloom

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

Check out my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Afternoon sun on Summer Snowflakes

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

Check out my newly-updated Zenfolio botanical gallery here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum)

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Move over, will ya?

6 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The UT Turtle Pond

6 04 2011

Turtles bask in the reflection of the University of Texas Tower. The Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and the Texas river cooter (Pseduemys texana) are common to waterways in central Texas and are also the two most common species in the UT Turtle Pond.

The semiaquatic Red-eared slider is a subspecies of the pond slider and is native only to the southern United States. It is the most popular pet turtle and as a result of pet releases, it has been established in other places. It gets its name from the red mark around its ears. The freshwater Texas river cooter has yellow and black markings and is native to creeks, rivers and lakes in Texas. They can grow to a shell length of 12 or more inches.

I knew that the University of Texas Tower was infamous because of the shooting rampage by sniper Charlie Whitman on August 1, 1966, but I didn’t know many of the details. Click here for trutv.com’s Lost Innocence, a chilling account of that day by author Marlee Macleod.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Chartreuse

6 04 2011

A palette of green in the hills of Austin. Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

A Line of Chartreuse Blooms

Chartreuse blooms, living for a week at most
maple trees lining Maple Street
little bells, like green lilies of the valleys,
bright yellow-green buttercups
bouquets shining in the April-May sun
Soon they will fall and the supple new leaves
will stiffen, turgid with Kelly green, darker hues
But for a regal moment, even the trees bloom
in vivid bright colors

—Raymond A. Foss


I met Raymond online a few years ago when I asked for permission to use one of his poems to accompany a post about growing grapes in our tiny townhouse backyard garden. I’ve kept in touch with him regularly and enjoy reading his new works. He is one of the most prolific poets I have encountered—more than 11,000 poems to date! Check out more of his work here.





Signs of spring in dad’s backyard

6 04 2011

When I was photographing my niece Lauren wearing the necklaces (see previous post), we startled a tiny bird nesting in one of the hanging ivies on the back porch. I took a peek and noticed this perfectly-formed tiny nest with three little eggs. We don’t know what kind of bird she is—she’s very small, slimmer than a sparrow. The eggs have a slightly blueish tint and some dark speckles here and there. Any guesses? It’s not the best photo in the world (certainly won’t win any prizes), but I didn’t want to disturb the nest to get a better shot—-I just held the camera up above the ivy and photographed it without looking. This is the best shot I got!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Entireleaf Indian Paintbrush or Texas Paintbrush

6 04 2011

Texas Paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa); Scrophulariaceae (Figwort family), photographed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Here’s your sign…

6 04 2011

Great sign posted at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Large-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus macranthus)

6 04 2011

Correct identification: Large-flowered buttercup (thanks, Brian). The label near the plants reads, “Prairie Goldenrod,” which is another plant entirely!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Spiderwort

5 04 2011

Photographed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.