The First Flowers of Spring

DSC_0006 Spring is over a week away according to the calendar but the garden rarely waits for the specific date as Mother Nature has a schedule all her own.  These are the only flowers in the garden.  They are revered for that fact alone.  DSC_0004 The bees do not know that they are here yet.  I am going to pay attention and watch for that first pollinator.  It is still cold.  There is still snow.  Spring will come and go for the next few weeks alternating with late winter but spring will take over.   It is inevitable. 

The big reveal!

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End of season

The last post included closeup pictures which were taken with a macro lens and then adjusted to a higher resolution with the aid of computer software.   The macro lens does aid in the quality of the resulting photo and the software allows you to really zoom in a bit closer.

The first pictureJarrahdale pumpkin (2) named 'Casper's rump' is actually a pumpkin as you may have surmised. Jarrahdale pumpkin This pumpkin is a Jarrahdale and made a fairly nice pumpkin soup last evening.  It is a soothing gray  green with pretty ribbing. I grew this one from seed and as has been my experience with heirlooms, the productivity is less than that of the newer cultivars.  I will take partial credit or blame and grow it again with a bit more organic fertilizer to see what will develop.  This vine produced just five of these pumpkins.  The next picture Bhut jolokia closeup (2) is of the famous Bhut jolokia pepper which is the hottest pepper grown measuring over 1,000,000 Scoville units on the hot scale.  Bhut jolokia closeup It is destined for deer repellent.

Callicarpa j (2)   Moving on we have the 'mystery' marshmallows which may have stumped you as it is not a common form of the DSC_0040 Callicarpa with purple berries but instead sports many white berries borne along the stems.

The scary pictureHairy balls closeup is one of my new favorite but as yet not grown annuals, Gomphocarpus physocarpus aka 'Hairy Balls'.  DSC_0011 Curious with a lovely flowerDsc_0063 (2) as an added bonus.  The incredible color within the flower in this pictureSwirl blue morning glory could only be the blue of a morning glory but this one is variegated which I have seen in the past but the name escapes me.  DSC_0013 This one is located in the annual gardens at Blithewold.  Back of Grandpa Ott Grandpa Ott exhibits wonderful coloration on its' back as well as front but the back shot shows the perfect symmetry of nature. Dsc_0021 (2) It has self seeded in my garden and I hear that this plant can be invasive.  The seedlings are relatively easy to remove so I am not yet worried.  This is the first year I have grown Dsc_0007 (2) Tithonia and it is an annual which I will replant.  Clear orange, DSC_0007interesting foliage and the center is glorious as seen in these photos.  The last picture is rather obvious Dsc_0092 (2) as nothing in the garden has quite the shape of the shelf mushroom.  I never tire of their convoluted folds and interesting markings which make each a unique work of nature.DSC_0092   Whole worlds exist within our own which are not visible or immediately apparent.  Taking a moment to stop and take a look can give one an appreciation and respect for the unseen nature coexisting with us in the world.

Hidden Images

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There are pictures within pictures that many of us would never see without the aid of the computer and digital picture enhancement abilities.   It allows us a peak into another world.  This is the world that Georgia O'Keefe must surely have inhabited.  The plant world is full of color and sensuous curves that often go unnoticed and overlooked.  Would you have noticed, in this picture, the button blue buds of the Eupatorium coelestinum aka hardy ageratum or, the streaks of color on the dahlia petals if the shot had not been magnified? Dsc_0015 Here is the larger shot of this picture.  Looking through a microscope holds great appeal for many which is understandable given the minute worlds which are invisible to the naked eye but show clearly through the lens of the microscope and it is a similar surprise when looking through a macro lens.  The simple closeup of a  picture can take on the characteristics of the familiar.  See if you can figure out what the larger picture would show given this view of the item in question.
I've named this one 'rounded rump' or 'Casper's posterior'. 

Get ready for hot colors, slippery curves and color intensity as the folds of this picture are revealed. Bhut_jolokia_closeup_2 Do you feel the heat?

Sometimes a picture comes out fanciful when blown up such as this one, mushrooms or balloons? Callicarpa_j_2

Other times the image is a bit scary causing one to flinch like this shot.Hairy_balls_closeup  The watercolor beauty of nature is readily apparent in a closeup. Swirl_blue_morning_glory A closeup shows color that is transient, changing each day, given the age of the flower and the lighting of the moment.  Each different exposure is a unique palette.  A closeup shows the brush strokes of natureBack_of_grandpa_ott which can rarely be improved upon even though they are mimicked by the human hand.   The textural intricacies Dsc_0007_2 also become apparent in photographs.Dsc_0092_2   Dew drops are magnified and look as though  they could quench the thirst of many a passing insect and the flesh like texture of this shelf mushroom is tantalizing.  I think it is a lesson in perception.  How you interpret things whether it is a plant, a picture, a word, or a gesture, is really all about the limited, immediate facts you can process.  No two people see things exactly the same or respond the same way.     I will post the larger images of these pictures on the next post.  All will be revealed.  Feel free to take a guess at what the larger image might show.  You might be surprised.

Parts is parts!

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The garden in June is a magical place.  It is made more magical with digital technology and the ability to blow up pictures to the point where pollen is visible and stigmas, stamens, anthers and filaments are visually intriguing and quite beautiful.   The secondary colors of the small parts of the flower take center stage and appear more vibrant than in the original photograph.  Nature's perfection is revealed in cinematic detail.  This acquilegia aka columbine was planted last year.   This cultivar holds its' head up high in comparison the the wild columbines which bow their heads and nod at the ground.  Both are beautiful in their own right don't you think?  Dsc_0005_3 Here is the longer shot of this columbine.  The petals are hand painted works of art.
The 'Pat Austin' rose which I planted a couple of weeks ago is blooming.  Dsc_0023_2 The stems seem a bit weak for the heavy flower heads but I am hoping that when the roots take hold and penetrate the soil the stems will thicken and strengthen enough to hold the flowers up high.  This apricot flower blends well with the Spirea 'Magic Carpet'  which is out of sight but  in the same garden bed.  I planted this rose behind the stone bench at the fish pond in the hope that it would provide fragrance while one is watching the fish swim.  Time will tell.
I planted three of these iris and one of them, named 'Starship Enterprise', is blooming. Dsc_0054_2 I don't see any sign of the others but this one is giving a satisfying show and has several buds lying in wait.   I hope that it likes this spot and multiplies in the coming years.  Dsc_0051_2 The Siberian iris are starting to bloom.  All seem a bit late this year as it has been a chilly spring.  I planted these long ago and am not a record keeper so the names are lost.  I'm calling this one 'Sky Wings' and the next could very well be 'Caesar's Brother'.Dsc_0053_3   Electric blue is so soothing in the garden. Dsc_0053_4 The clump is very elegant with the buds soaring above these flowers.  Nature's paintbrush has been busy on this hosta leaf. Dsc_0006_2 This one is 'Great Expectations' which is aptly named.  I have been waiting more than five years for this hosta to achieve some size and it is finally approaching 'greatness'.   I think this is a watercolor.   Is there anything more perfect than the colors nature blends? 

Color saturation

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What does it feel like to lose oneself in a color?  Just a few closeups from the past few days.Cherry_tree Click on the photo to enlarge.  Prunus 'Snow Cascade'.  Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex',Dsc_0022

Rhododendron 'Mary Fleming' ,Mary_fleming_2_2 Delphinium, Sky_blue_delp Fritillaria ,Checkerberry   Prunus persica cv 'Bonfire' ,Dsc_0002 Narcissus 'Replete',Dsc_0007 Narcissus 'Marijke'Dsc_0008, Delphinium, Gazania.  Which color would you like to surround you?Deep_blue_delp African_daisy_3