White Bat Flower

25 10 2011

I photographed this exotic White Bat Flower (Tacca integrifolia), originating from Southeast Asia, in the conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden. This is undoubtedly the oddest-looking flower I’ve ever photographed! A tender tropical perennial, it is actually part of the yam family (Dioscoreaceae). Learn more about this unusual plant here.

From what I’ve read, they’re a bit challenging to grow. Learn more details here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Thread-leaf Agave

25 10 2011

Originally from Mexico, Thread-leaf Agave (Agave filifera) is an evergreen perennial succulent. The name “filifera” means “carrying threads.” It thrives in dry and hot climates and is drought-tolerant and low maintenance. It prefers full sun to light shade and needs regular watering in summer, but must be kept dry in winter.

Tequila is made from the leaves and rope, food, soap and other products are made from the fibers and pulp (pretty industrious plant, I’d say!). Agave filifera rarely flowers, but when it does, greenish flowers bloom on a 6-foot tall spike. Some can bloom annually, while others only bloom every 30-40 years (As a gardener obsessed, I’ve developed a store of patience—contrary to what my family and friends might say!—but I doubt I’d have the patience to wait for that show!) The flowers turn maroon as they age.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Honeybee on Chrysanthemum

25 10 2011

Photographed in the National Garden outside the U.S. Botanic Garden

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Geranium Pelargonium x hortorum

25 10 2011

I think this might be the specialty ‘Crystal Palace Gem’ Pelargonium, although it wasn’t identified at the National Garden. I was drawn to the intense orange-red flowers against yellow-chartreuse leaves.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Echeveria setosa

25 10 2011

Echeveria setosa, a member of the Stonecrop family (Crassulaceae), is native to Mexico and is commonly known as the Mexican fire cracker or firecracker plant. It blooms from early to late April with bright red and yellow flowers. Echeverias are my favorite type of succulent and these on display in large glazed pots at the U.S. Botanic Garden are stunning! Photographed in the First Ladies’ Water Garden, part of the National Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Ginger

25 10 2011

Blue Ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora), photographed in the conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monday sky

25 10 2011

Beauty can even be found in a strip mall parking lot!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tropical foliage

25 10 2011

(unidentified), photographed at U.S. Botanic Garden. This shot was actually backlit, so what you’re seeing is sunlight through the leaves!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Spathoglottis ‘Golden Passion’

24 10 2011

Spathoglottis ‘Golden Passion’, from the Orchid family, photographed in the conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Chirita ‘Walkerae’ bloom

24 10 2011

Chirita ‘Walkerae’ bloom, photographed in the conservatory at the U.S. Botanic Garden this afternoon. Doesn’t the tubular part of the flower look like the torso and leg of a green lizard?!

Learn more about the genus Chirita from the site below by John Boggan from the Smithsonian Institute.

http://www.gesneriads.ca/genchiri.htm

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Daylily(?)

24 10 2011

I’m fairly certain this is a type of Daylily, but there wasn’t a marker at Green Spring Gardens to identify it, and my online research hasn’t yielded any clues. Any Daylily lovers out there who might know what it is?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tibouchina buds

24 10 2011

I had to work hard to get this particular shot! The Tibouchina blooms were well out of normal reach—completely surrounded by other plants and shrubs. In order to get these Tibouchina buds centered against a backdrop of a Tibouchina bloom, I had to immerse myself in a tall thicket of grass, carefully position my tripod around a bed of Lantana, repeatedly change the camera angle so I wouldn’t get visitors passing by in the background, and fiddle with various f-stop and ISO combinations. I thought about using my tri-grip diffuser, but there wasn’t enough room for me, the camera, the diffuser, and the surrounding branches and grasses!

I shot this image with a wide aperture to get that really out of focus bokeh, but I like the results—showcasing these fuzzy little pink buds against the intensely purple blooms they will eventually become! (Shot with a Nikon D300 at ISO 250, 1/80 sec, f/9.0, manual focus with Nikkor 105mm micro lens, center weighted metering)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Mushroom family portrait

23 10 2011

While shooting at Green Spring Gardens this morning, I saw a massive colony of mushrooms growing up a hill under the shade of pine trees. It was very wet in this area, so I had to sit on my tri-grip diffuser to get this shot of one cluster of mushrooms.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Toad Lily

23 10 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Canna blooms

23 10 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lantana

23 10 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Why I love macro photography

23 10 2011

This tiny (unidentified bug) is not even 1/8″ long—and with the naked eye, it just looked like a solid dark gray colored gnat. I could barely see it without using my macro lens, and certainly couldn’t see the graphic markings on its back and the milky blue coloration until I opened the raw file in Photoshop. Notice the two curved black arrows outlined in blue on its “shoulders.” To give you a sense of scale, the flower is less than 2″ in diameter. Shooting macro forces me to slow down and notice unexpected details in the tiniest living things. There’s a whole other world out there, folks!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Tibouchina stamens

23 10 2011

Tibouchina (Tibouchina urvilleana), also known as Princess Flower, is a tender shrub native to Brazil. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The aptly named Bat Face Cuphea

23 10 2011

Bat Face Cuphea (Cuphea llavea), also known as St. Peter’s plant, Tiny Mice and Bunny Ears, is a tender tropical evergreen perennial that prefers partial to full sun and blooms from spring through fall. Bat Face Cuphea attracts hummingbirds and bees and is drought resistant and heat-tolerant. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Same day, 2008: Spider on Chrysanthemum

20 10 2011

This is one of my all-time favorite spider + flower shots, taken on October 20, 2008, at my favorite local photo haunt—Green Spring Gardens, in Alexandria, VA. With my Nikon D300 and Nikkor 105mm micro lens mounted on a tripod, I shot directly overhead (which puts the flower, spider and top of the bud on the same plane, focus-wise) and fairly wide open aperture-wise (which gives the flower that look of floating because of the out-of-focus background).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Same time, last year: Yin and Yang

19 10 2011

Previously posted October 19, 2010

Japanese Anemone (hybrid unknown), photographed at Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Fall—the Garden’s Grand Finale

19 10 2011

I just had an article published, accompanied by my photos, on the “Bloomin’ Blog” at http://www.theflowershopnetwork.com. I’ll be writing a monthly column for them on all things gardening and flower-related. Read my October entry in the link below:

http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/fall-garden-flowers/





Egyptian Star Flowers (with bonus bug!)

17 10 2011

This one is for Galen, expert bug-spotter. Can you spot the spider (that I just now discovered!) hiding in this photo? Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Monarch Butterfly on Egyptian Star Flowers

17 10 2011

Egyptian Star Flower (Pentas lanceolata) is a fall-blooming herbaceous perennial that is treated as an annual in my Zone 7 area. The cluster of buds open into small (1/2 inch at most) star-shaped flowers that are irresistible to butterflies and bees. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Nothing short of mesmerizing!

17 10 2011

Thanks to Brian for sharing this time-lapse video of flowers blooming. So this is what they do when we’re not looking!





‘Miyazaki’ Spotted Toad Lily

16 10 2011

I planted two Toad Lily ‘Miyazaki’ plants (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’) in my garden last year and almost missed them blooming this fall. I photographed these blooms at Green Spring Gardens this morning. These unusual perennial plants originated from Japan and the blooms resemble orchids. These self-seeders bloom in late summer to early fall, prefer part sun, are drought resistant, and thrive in Zones 4-8.

Learn “How to Grow Your Garden Photography Skills” in my recent photo feature for Nikon’s Learn & Explore section here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Chrysanthemums

16 10 2011

I believe this is a Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum ‘Hillside Pink Sheffield’ variety of garden mum. There wasn’t a label on the plants at Green Spring Gardens, but my research took me to Monrovia’s site and these flowers look much like the ones shown here. The blooms attracted a bounty of honeybees as well as many butterflies, including Fiery Skippers (Hylephila phyleus), Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia), Cabbage Whites (Pieris rapae) and Monarchs (Danaus plexippus). I didn’t get too many shots of the insects due to both the windy conditions and their way-too-quick movement!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blooming in my garden: Nippon Daisy

11 10 2011

Green Bottle Fly (Phaenicia sericata) on Nippon Daisy or Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. See more of my garden photography here.