Allium Bulgaricum

26 05 2011

Allium Bulgaricum (Nectaroscordum siculum), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA. This ornamental allium is easy to grow, deer-resistant, and hardy to zone 4. They thrive in sunlight and bloom in May and June. Also known as Mediterranean Bells, Sicilian Honey Lily, Ornamental Onion and Sicilian Garlic; native to the Mediterranean.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Spiderwort

23 05 2011

Spiderwort (Tradescantia), photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Red Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

20 05 2011

I’ve grown the yellow species in my garden for years, but rarely come across this red cultivar. Photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Nope, that’s not a rubber snake!

20 05 2011

A few of my friends (Carmen and Gina, in particular) are so afraid of snakes that I can’t even say the word in front of them. I have been instructed to refer to them as “s’s.” I, on the other hand, have no fear of them—unless, of course, it’s a snake that is: a) bigger than me, b) coming at me, or c) rattling at me.

So Carmen and Gina—Avert your eyes! Avert your eyes! (I suppose I really shouldn’t tell them that a female Black Rat Snake lays about 12-20 eggs in early summer!)

I was walking down a trail near the visitor’s center at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens this afternoon and glanced over at a bank of shrubs and immediately saw this little critter—a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta). I’ve seen plenty of snakes in my lifetime, but I’ve never seen one sunning itself on a shrub, so I thought at first it was a rubber snake some kid left there. Nope—he was the real deal, and he didn’t seem to mind being my subject for several frames. He was no bigger than one inch around, but can grow up to eight feet long—making it the largest snake in Virginia. In my research, I learned that they are excellent climbers and competent swimmers. I already knew that they were non-venomous.

And regarding snakes—I have a huge pet peeve when people automatically want to kill any snake, regardless of how tiny it is or what type it is. If it’s not attacking you or the family pet—why kill it? If I found one in my home, I would capture it (taking extra care if I couldn’t identify it and didn’t know if it was venomous or not) and release it into the wild. If I couldn’t capture it myself or it was a venomous or particularly aggressive species, I would get outside help—but not from someone who would exterminate it. What can I say? I’m a self-appointed steward to all animals!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ornithogalum Magnum (crown)

20 05 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ornithogalum Magnum (closeup)

20 05 2011

Ornithogalum Magnum is a perennial plant native to southern Europe and southern Africa. Belonging to the family Hyacinthaceae, it is a member of the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ family. Grown from bulbs, they bloom in late spring into June. The stalks can reach 24″ high with dozens of perfectly spaced white flowers that open as they circle from the bottom of the stem up to the crown. Photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, VA

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.





Tall Bearded Iris ‘Indian Chief’

14 05 2011

I’m pretty confident in my identification of these flowers after seeing this one here. I photographed these beauties in a garden located between the original Vienna Library, which is now a museum (circa 1897, relocated to its current location in 1970) and the Freeman House Store & Museum in Vienna, VA. The Freeman House has served as a residence, store, Civil War hospital, railroad station, post office and fire department, and is now a museum and general store. The little L-shaped garden was ablaze in color with Bearded Iris, Poppy, Salvia and Foxglove blooms. The overcast and slightly drizzly weather made for perfect photographic conditions—saturated color and glorious raindrops on petals!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.