Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Not for the Squeamish

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(Update: the photos above were taken on 5/25/06,
the day after my original post and photo below.
The bee was gone - dropped? eaten? I couldn't tell,
but the spider seems ready for the next un-witting
critter to get too close.)

I'm getting ready to leave on this two-week trip
and thought after the Calla Lily post that I wouldn't
put up another one until I returned to the west coast.


Zipping by the Honeybush Buddlia this afternoon,
I spied another "chameleon" spider, neon yellow this time,

with a honey bee firmly in its grasp. Not one to pass up
something this wild, wicked and wonderful, I sprinted into
my office, snatched up my camera and took the photo below.
"My, my, my, said the spider
to the fly..."

The Exquisite Form of a Cala Lily

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Despite the unseasonal heat of a few days ago, and now the rain,
plus slugs, earwigs and other critters that like to munch on plants,
my sturdy bunch of Cala Lilies continues to flourish.

I love the form of this plant;

The swirling patterns,

the soft, curving edges,

and the erotic, hermaphroditic display
within each flower.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Joseph's Coat?

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Years ago my girlfriends Gloria and Erika and I were at a nursery in Woodland on a quest of Gloria's, if memory serves me, for a special plant the species of which I can't remember. Not being monitarily flush at the time, I hadn't planned to make any purchases, but was there to be with my friends and enjoy being surrounded by some else's plants. Walking into the "sick bay" (did you know that most nurseries have these?), I spied a very sickly-looking rose in a one-gallon pot, obviously struggling to survive. One small flower had bloomed amid the almost leafless canes. There was no price tag attached, nor a name. I took it to the sales counter, was told I could take it home for $5 and that it was probably a Joseph's Coat, but they couldn't be sure.

That was 15 years ago. I first planted it in my Winters garden, then brought it with me when we moved up here. It grows 7 to 8 feet tall, is always rather leggy, gets blackspot every summer, and puts out glowing, firey orange and yellow blossoms. And it always reminds me of Gloria.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Showy Clematis

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Often times, while on my morning walk around the yard, I'll come around a corner or peek beneath a shrub and the sight of a newly-bloomed flower will render me speechless. Hah! says my family, who know only too well that I'm rarely without something to say. Still, Mother Nature, in all her stunning creativity, can indeed snatch words right out of my mouth. So when this 8-inch diameter clematis finally fully opened this morning, there I was, agog, speechless, grinning widely, marvelling at its perfection and trying to capture its very essence with my camera. I hope I've done it justice.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Second Exbury Has Bloomed

Pin It Another Exbury Azalea, this one a soft apricot-peach, has opened beside the red one and together they make a stunning picture. I walked out after a rain shower the other day and got these shots with the rain drops still on the flowers.

Monday, May 15, 2006

(Walk me) Out in the Morning Dew...

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Yesterday (Mother's Day) dawned wet with dew,
covering leaves and petals with fine droplets
of moisture. Couldn't resist the urge to get in
close to see if I could capture the beauty of each drop.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

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Climbing Cecile Bruner's blossoms measure
1-inch across. A stunning gift in a small package.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Getting Intimate with Iris

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I am so awed by the beauty of an iris
that words escape me. So I'll just let
these speak for themselves.
Do click on the photos to enlarge.
It's worth it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Exbury Azalea

Pin It Here's a little something for you to feast your eyes on while I prepare Erika's irises for posting.

This is an Exbury Azalea. I have no idea what its given name is. Purchased with another one of a slightly different color at a local nursery a number of years ago, they were in the "sick bay" and discounted to 75% off their original price. No name tags. They looked like they wouldn't make it through the year. I planted them anyway, babied them along and waited at least 5 years for trusses (Rhodie/Azalea-speak for blossoms) to begin. At times I almost gave up and thought to yank them out. As you can see, it's a good thing I didn't as they present these beautiful, small trusses every year now. I must tell you that shades of reds are difficult, in my limited experience, to photograph. You'll have to believe me when I tell you that the color is a deep, deep paprika-red color and I hope the photos convey that.

The companion azalea, which is a lighter version of it's bed-mate, hasn't bloomed yet but you'll get to see it here when it does. By the way, Exbury azaleas are deciduous; all others grow leaves year-round.

from this...

to this...

then this...

and finally, this!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Don't Make This Stuff Up, People...

Pin It seems that "bugs" are not shy around me.

This afternoon I was out searching for flowers to photograph when I spied a blog-worthy camellia. While getting ready to snap a few photos, I ducked as something large buzzed by me. Realizing it was two dragonflies, doing what dragonflies do in the spring, I froze, crossed all my fingers and toes, and waited for "it" to, hopefully, land close by. What it did was land on the camellia I was going to photograph. Now how cool is that?! I was able to get 3 shots before they buzzed off, presumably in dragonfly bliss.

As always, click to enlarge.

Roses, Roses, Roses

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The roses in my friend Erika's
Sacramento Valley garden
are spectacular this time of year.

I wish I could name them all. I do know
that the one above is called "Brandy".
Maybe E will share the names with us?
Click on photos to enlarge.

Offerings from Bill's garden
graced the dining room table.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Dragonfly Up Close and Personal

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This lovely critter was waiting for the sun to warm it up
so it could get on with its day. Taken early in the morning
in Erika's garden, it stayed in this position long enough for
me to take many photos, then as soon as the sun hit the

rose it was hanging on, it took off in what I assume was a huff.
I myself felt very lucky.

To me, shots like this are simply fascinating.
This is, of course, an iris. Taken from about 2-inches
away, I hope it gives you an idea of just how many colors
it takes to make apricot-pink.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Teaser From Erika's Garden

Pin It I'm back from three days in the blessedly warm Sacramento Valley where I stayed with my friend Erika and not only enjoyed her fully blooming garden, I got to take photos which she has graciously permitted me to post. So, the next couple of days here will be filled with photos of the irises and roses that are blooming in Erika's garden - along with a critter or two. Here's the first one to give you an idea of what's coming. E had cut this stem and put it in "my" bedroom because she's so thoughtful that way. I woke up early in the morning with the sun just beginning to come through the window, casting shadows on the wall, and practically fell over myself jumping out of bed to grab my camera. I took a number of shots over the next several hours and days. More to come. As always, click on the photo to enlarge.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tiny Mighty Roses

Pin It With the exception of the pink Brody, not one of these roses
gets over 1 1/2 inches across fully bloomed. The Banksia double
yellow and the white Brody barely reach 1 inch. All are climbers.
Photos taken Friday, May 5, 2006. Double click to enlarge photos.

Top, Cecile Bruner. Bottom, Lady Banksia double yellow.

Top, unidentified single climber I call "Apple Blossom".
Bottom, White Brodie, an arching floribunda.

Pink Brody. A prolific climber.