Tag Archives: spring

“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

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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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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“Pink Bliss”

“Pink Bliss”

“Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.”
― John Keats

What more can I say, I am enveloped in pink. It is the  colour theme of the season, the transition from whites to pinks and purples.

Our peonies, are redolent in pinks and magentas. The gardens, filled with pink ruffles, brilliant white ecstasy, and magenta glory.

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

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Pink Ruffles”

“Pink Ruffles”

“Everything passes. Joy. Pain. The moment of triumph; the sigh of despair. Nothing lasts forever – not even this.”
― Paul Stewart

The ‘fancy’ pink peonies are blooming at last. The flowers this year are massive and I frankly have no idea how the weight of the blossoms is supported by some of the stalks. Were it not for surrounding vegetation and a fence, they would surely collapse under their own weight.

I’m hoping to enjoy them for at least a few days, before the heat of day takes its toll or a rainstorm adds so much weight that the just fold over. Perhaps it’s the brevity and uncertainty of their beauty that makes them so precious?

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

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Heritage Peony -Edulis Superba, 1824”

“Heritage Peony -Edulis Superba, 1824”

“The long roots of the peony strike deep into the past.”
– Alice Coats

Today I’m sharing a peony that I have many of and I don’t believe this is the first blossom either. Several blossoms opened a few days ago, so it’s hard to know. The plant itself came from abandoned (expropriated) farm near my home. The family who used to live there (Spangs) were close friends with my wife’s family and are distant relations.

The land was expropriated (taken by the government) back in the nineteen seventies, with plans to build an international airport. Those plans never materialized and many families were displaced for nothing. Over time, houses and farm building were rented out or simply abandoned to rot. Many of these farms also had beautiful gardens at one point, now overgrown with grasses and thick shrubbery. I noticed the bright pinks of these peonies from the road, as I drove by and asked permission to dig them up. Permission was granted and I proceeded to recover some twenty plants, some of which went to my gardens and others were given to friends, as well as planted in the gardens at my kids’ school.

I have no idea how old the plants are, but peonies can live for close to a century and these have roots the size of yams. I have a touch with peonies and most plants bloomed the next year. These are also prolific bloomers, with each stem producing up to three flowers (you can see two more buds in the photo), making for a terrific display.

As I enjoy them, so do others and I’m often asked about them. It’s nice to be able to tell this story, give a bit of local history, and simply enjoy the lasting beauty of these deep pink blossoms, as they fill the air with their rich fragrance.

This richly fragrant, deep pink relic is one of the oldest peonies of all, and yet, writes expert Martin Page, it’s “still one of the best.” Introduced in France soon after the first lactiflora peonies arrived from China, it has been cherished ever since  for its “good form, strong color, and delightful fragrance” (Boyd, 1928).

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

High Resolution image on 500px

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Underside Visitor”

“Underside Visitor”

“Spiders are anti-social, keep pests under control, and mostly mind their own business, but they somehow summon fear in humans who are far more dangerous, deceitful and have hurt more people. Of the two I’m more suspicious about the latter.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

Finding a ‘visitor’ should not have come as a surprise. As I was making photos of one of my peonies, a spider, variety unknown to me (I’m not a big spider fan), popped out of the petals and chose the base of one of the outer petals as its perch.

Once it found this spot, it did not move and presented an opportunity to make an image of it. Like I said, I’m not a big fan of spiders, but I do enjoy looking at details and this one certainly has some interesting markings. He’s really quite small, but the macro treatment makes him look big in the photo.

Generally, I like to leave peonies on the porch for a few hours before bringing them and all their hitch-hikers into the house, mostly ants, but I expect this guy would have come in regardless.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.4 sec, f/18.0 ISO 100

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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