Tag Archives: garden

“Texas Buttercup” – Oenethera triloba

“Texas Buttercup” - Oenethera triloba

“Waiting for you
is as delightful as
waiting for sunset.”
― Kamand Kojouri

Hey, will you look at that, a flower that is not pink for a change. The seasons are turning, and as my lovely peonies fade into memory, yellow has returned in full force.

This flower, which we mistakenly named ‘moon flower’ when we first got it from my mother-in-law, who also called it that, because it opens at dusk. It’s a fascinating plant to watch, though with foliage that very closely resembles dandelion, some do not survive till summer. I’ve pulled a few before realizing the error.

In any case, the flowers start as elongated pods with pointed ends. You can actually sit and watch them twitch before they open rapidly. Yes, they actually move from the energy of their opening. Then, in the blink of an eye, the pod bursts open at one seam and the delicate yellow petals unwind, yielding this wonderful, bright yellow blossom. The split pod can be seen below the flower in the image above. As the plant gets bigger, it may produce three to five blossoms in one night. The blossoms are short lived though, shrivelling up at dawns light, having been pollinated by moths and other night flying insects.

I have yet to watch one open this year. This one was already fully opened when I saw it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.8 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Bursting Forth”

“Bursting Forth”

“Everyday can be extraordinary
And ripe,
Like a flower burst,
If the will is there.”
― Scott Hastie

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I revisited the bud I photographed the day before, titled “Opening Soon“. Well. it did open and I’m still amazed at how all this pomp and frill can fit inside such a small bud.

The peony season is beginning to wind down and we had a torrential downpour yesterday, which did not help them much. Yet, some survived and keep providing us pleasure through their soft and intricate blossoms.

This was, however, my only peony image of the day, as it was bright and sunny today, so I ventured out to see how the wild orchids were fairing. More on that tomorrow.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
2.0 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Hanging On”

“Hanging On”

“Ants always eat sweet food … but none of them haven’t diabetes ?”
― Ali Ghasaby

Among the residents of peonies are, of course, ants. Ants of all sizes and shapes thrive on the sweet nectars the peonies offer from bud to blossom. It would be a rare occasion when I bring a peony blossom indoors that an ant does not emerge at some point. It’s a given.

As I photographed my post-rain peonies, I took the opportunity to try my hand at photographing the ant as it clung to the edge of a leaf. Since I was shooting handheld, I had to adjust my aperture up a bit, which meant I sacrificed depth to get an acceptable shutter speed. If I had to do this again, I would have bumped my ISO, and closed the aperture a bit more, but this is how I learn. There will be more ants.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/5.0 ISO 100

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“Henbit ”- Lamium amplexicaule L.

“Henbit ”- Lamium amplexicaule L.

“As I leave the garden
I take with me a renewed view,
And a quiet soul.”
― Jessica Coupe

This lovely purple flowered plant was given to me by my grandmother many years ago and is well established in the garden. For years I called it Bee-Balm, being uncertain of what it really was. It always reminded me a bit of nettle or overgrown Creeping Charley.

One of the joys of photography, which I have mentioned before, is that it allows me the ability to look at things more carefully and to use internet tools to search images. So, I now know that this plant is called Henbit or Henbit Dead-nettle. That explains my perception of it being some variety of nettle. Honestly though, I’m a bit disappointed in the name. It seems so dull for such a beautiful plant.

The plant is a great attractor of bees and hummingbirds, though a bit unsightly till it puts up flowers. The flowers are quite long lasting and we enjoy them through most of late June into July. It’s also quite photogenic and has given me a break from my peonies, which continue to provide their enjoyable fragrance and beautiful blossoms.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
2.0sec, f/32.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Purity”

“Purity”

May you understand my love–because it is the only thing I have that is really mine, the only thing that I will be able to take with me into the next life. Please allow it to be courageous and pure; please make it capable of surviving the snares of the world.”
― Paulo Coelho

A simple title that describes my first impressions of this single, rain speckled, white peony blossom. Yesterday rained heavily and quite steadily, less than ideal conditions for peonies. So, I spend some time early in the morning salvaging a few of them to photograph and remember, before they get battered too badly.

Needless to say, this has been a spectacular year for my peonies and I’ve enjoyed photographing them at their peak. The raindrops are just an added bonus.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.8 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Peonies in a Jar”

“Peonies in a Jar”

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”
― Colette

Here’s an assemblage of several of the peonies I’ve shared over the past few days, placed in a convenient mason jar. I do have a few more formal peony vases that my grandmother used, but I have not done a large blossom harvest yet. It’s been more of a select and cut as individual plants began to bloom, which has been a daily activity for the past week or so.

Though casually placed, I think they make a nice bouquet, showing the different colours and sizes in a single image, and the aroma is absolutely wonderful. The half quart jar also gives a reference point to gauge the size of the blossoms from. Some are quite large.

As I write this post, I can see several more ‘subjects’ ready to open. And, when the rain hopefully stops later today, I can get out and harvest them for the studio.

Since many came from my mother-in-law’s garden and her health is not great, I plan to document them all in a photo album. All that will be missing is the scent.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1.6 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Marvelous Magenta”

“Marvelous Magenta”

A heavy sort of beauty,
yet delicate to the eye.
The peony welcomes the late spring sunshine,
and bears the burden of its rains.
Nourished, yet strained,
she bows to the beginning of summer.
– Ed Lehming

The peonies keep coming, and despite the rains, they are holding up quite well. As I’ve said before, how they hold up their heavy flowers is a real marvel. As I clip blossoms to photograph them, I am challenged to find a way to hold them up to photograph them. They either droop or pull the supports over. They are that heavy.

The blossom above is probably one of the heaviest so far. It’s thick magenta blossom is much larger than the earlier varieties which have been blooming in my gardens for the past few weeks. As you can also see, there are sub-blossoms ready to bloom as well, but they will yield smaller flowers.

This is my first year of really paying close attention to my peonies. Probably because they are all blooming around the same time. Since they are almost all from my mother-in-law, some have taken a few years to establish enough to come to full bloom. I had not realized that similar coloured blooms are actually different varieties. Such is the joy of gardening and learning.

My next challenge will be to figure out the names of these heirloom peonies.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1.6 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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