Tag Archives: botanical

Monochrome Monday

“Urn & Orchard” - Niagara Botanical Gardens.jpg

Urn & Orchard – Niagara Botanical Gardens

Just a bit under a year ago, I paid a visit to the Niagara Botanical Gardens, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The Botanical Gardens are also the location of the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory, which was my true destination.

We spent several hours touring the Conservatory and making photos of the many bright butterflies. On leaving, I noticed this urn in the middle of an orchard. It was a flat, but bright day, if that makes sense and the scene became a natural candidate for a monochrome image, which is shown above.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Rock Garden Waterfall” – Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington

“Rock Garden Waterfall” - Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlingto

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”
― Michael Pollan

A change of pace from all my recent flower and butterfly photos, though if you look closely, there are still flowers present. Can you find them?

I did set out to photograph flowers this day and have plenty to share at a later date, but I do like a good waterfall and the serenity small cascades like this create for me, even knowing it is man made. I used a slow shutter at 1/10 of a second to slightly blur the movement and had to go hand-held because I did not want to carry a tripod all day. That did pose a challenge because it was very bright and I had to shoot at f/32 to keep the water from being blown out.

This stepped cascade can be found at the rock gardens, which are part of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. The rock garden is one of several gardens within this large complex of garden exhibits and is nestled in the base of a valley, forming a bit of a bowl. Much of the stone is native limestone and some material has been moved into place to create a garden with large limestone boulders and many stepped paths which run up and down the hillside. I enjoyed the inclusion of many native plant species, which those who are not hiking the backwoods trails would never experience otherwise. Including Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), which are the small pink flowers visible near the base of the higher cascade. They are a native plant and are members of the geranium family. The crushed leaves can be used as a mosquito repellant, handy at this time of year).

The waterfall pictured here, feeds into some smaller stepped cascades and eventually winds through the lower gardens as a meandering creek which flows beneath bridges and around some wonderful large trees.

At this time of year, the garden also features some exquisite blooming dogwoods, which I have a real attraction to (more photos of those to come).

If you happen to be in the Burlington area and like plants, I would highly recommend this as a destination, but plan on a day, since it is a large complex that spreads over several properties.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/10 sec, f/32.0, ISO 500

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Dawn Redwood” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

"Ancient Redwood" - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
― John Steinbeck

This is the second dawn redwood (Metasequoia) I have seen in Ontario recently, both were in a botanical gardens setting. The first was at the Niagara Botanical Gardens and the specimen above was at Edwards Gardens, in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Botanical Gardens. They look like living fossils but are actually fast growing and not as old as you would suspect.

The species was discovered in Lichuan county in the Hubei province of China in 1944 and was soon adopted in North America as a popular ornamental. That would explain why they are found in various botanical gardens. Also, because they get so large, they would not be suitable for residential properties.

This one is said to have been planted in 1960, on a site chosen to ensure it would would be bathed in the early morning sunlight on June 20 each year, the birthday of the wife of the gardener who planted it.

I felt this would look nice as a painted piece, so took some artistic liberty with Photoshop, mainly to hide the ugly chain link fence directly behind the tree and to enhance the texture of the bark.

As John Steinbeck states so well above, there is a ‘feel’ to redwoods that is difficult to communicate.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 82 mm
1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 220

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Redbud & Rockery” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Redbud and Rockery” - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Spring returns, resplendent in pinks and white. Trees and shrubs glow in the sun, bedecked in bright blossoms and pale green leaves. The world awakens;  the eternal cycle repeats. – Ed Lehming

As I mentioned in my last post, I have not been to this botanical gardens since I was a young child. It was so nice to see all the blossoming trees. I was especially surprised to see redbuds, since I was not aware that they could survive this climate. However, there were many specimens thriving here, including this trailing variety, artfully draped over a stone wall.

The soft pink blossoms against the gray stones are what first drew my eye to the scene and then it was just a matter of framing the shot effectively.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Last Year’s Blossoms” – Niagara Falls, Ontario

“Last Year’s Blooms”

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
 – Wayne Dyer

April is a strange time to visit a botanical garden, since there are no blooms to enjoy. Yet, if you look closer, vestiges of last year remain in tones of brown, gray, and yellow. Yet, amid shrivelled shells and dried branches, hints for life begin to emerge.

I can’t recall the variety of tree that this is, but the bright yellow skeletons of last year’s blossoms glowed in the sun and drew my eye towards them. It was not till I looked closer that I saw the fresh green buds beginning to show, reminding me not to allow first appearances cloud my vision in all aspects of life. Nature has so much to teach us.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 180 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3 +0.33, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com