So that’s why they cost an arm and a leg!

29 05 2009

My friend Ed (a fellow photographer) just sent me this video on youtube—How camera lenses are made—from the Discovery Channel. Six weeks to produce a single lens. Who knew? Fascinating stuff!





It’s a jungle out there

28 05 2009

Shot of our front yard garden taken this afternoon…

Just past bloom: White & purple Bearded Iris and Purple Sensation Allium 

Debuting now: Beard’s Tongue, Catmint, Veronica Speedwell, Creeping Thyme, Sweet William, Penstemon, Rose Campion (blush pink-white and bright pink varieties), Hellebores, Sedum, Yellow Yarrow, Nasturtium, White Dianthus, Pink Phlox, Hosta flowers, Ageratum, Evening Primrose ‘Lemon Drop’, Strawflower, Geraniums 

Very-soon-to-bloom: Globe Thistle, Lavender (various), Coreopsis, Tickseed, Lilies (various) and Salvia

And later in the seasonButterfly bush (pink, yellow, purple varieties), Coneflower (various varieties)

Platycodon Balloon Flower (purple and white varieties), Shasta Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, Monarda Bee Balm, Lamb’s Ear, Morning Glory ‘Heavenly Blue’, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Maximilian sunflower

Ha! And this is just the list of plants in the front yard. Proof enough that I’m a gardener obsessed.

Got a question for my fellow gardeners…what is the weed (looks a lot like the tops of celery plants or almost cilantro-looking leaf) that is taking over my entire garden in spades? Why have I not noticed this prolific pest in previous years? Is it a new invasive? Do I need to photograph it for identification?
  
© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

InBloom5282009


 





The Vendor Client Relationship

28 05 2009

This youtube video was posted in the Graphic Designers Professional Group on LinkedIn. It could easily apply to any business situation. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Funny how some professions allow this type of behavior and others don’t. When I get my car repaired, I can’t haggle with them on the price. Why is that? Because my car is held hostage otherwise? Yup.

I would be out of business if I were not a little flexible. And it has nothing to do with the present economy—it has always been that way (from my perspective). Fortunately, I haven’t run into too many clients like this (I’m very lucky in that regard), but the ones who have behaved that way…well, shame on them (and me for putting up with it)!

Brilliant—but sadly real—video. There, I’m off my soapbox. How ’bout some more flower photos?





My Kenilworth bounty

27 05 2009

The previous posting about Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens prompted me to look through my photo archives. I’ve been to Kenilworth three summers in a row (and 100% sure I will do so again this summer). While I have posted on my trips to the gardens, I didn’t gather all of them into one collage until now.

If you’re in the D.C./Virginia/Maryland area, be sure to visit the gardens, particularly in July. The main attractions are obviously the lotus blossoms, which bloom during the truly hottest time in our area (sigh), but I’m sure there are water lilies in bloom throughout the summer.

You can view my previous posts on Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens by clicking on the links below:

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/kenilworth-park-and-aquatic-gardens/

http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/07/22/kenilworth-gardens-7222007/ 

What a muse that place is!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

KenilworthCollage2





Water like satin

26 05 2009

Sunset begins at Lake Land ‘Or © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The Lake. To — by Edgar Allan Poe (1827)

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less—
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody—
Then, ah then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremendous delight—
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define—
Nor Love—although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining—
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.

CanoeLakeLandOr





I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky

25 05 2009

Excerpts from “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver (my lifelong crush!)

I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.
Rocky Mountain High…in Colorado
Rocky Mountain High.

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below,
saw everything as far as you can see.
And they say that he got crazy once and that he
tried to touch the sun,
and he lost a friend, but kept the memory.
Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream,
seeking grace in every step he takes,
his sight is turned inside himself, to try and
understand, the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

Photos of Lake Land ‘Or © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

FireInTheSky





Cotton candy

25 05 2009

Another view of sunset from a canoe on Lake Land ‘Or, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Pink Sky Ball





Stairway to heaven

25 05 2009

Late Saturday afternoon Michael and I drove down to join Karen and Joe at their lake house in Lake Land ‘Or. Just before sunset, Joe took me out in their canoe across the entire lake and pointed out these unusual stair-stepped clouds on our return trip. I finally learned how to paddle a canoe (thanks to Joe’s excellent mentoring) without going around in circles. Yay to me!

Thanks to The Cloud Appreciation Society, I think this cloud formation is an “altocumulus undulatus.”

I’m also experimenting with my new software program, Noise Ninja (doncha love that name?). Noise Ninja, available for both PCs and Macs, removes noise and grain, and is particularly effective with low-light situations (such as this one). Take a look at their before-and-after samples here. Pretty impressive. You can get the program e-mailed to you for as low as $44.95 (this home bundle license includes the Photoshop/Photo Elements plug-ins as well as the stand-alone program) here. I’ll play with some of my own low-light, high-noise examples and report my findings.

More weekend adventures to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

StepladderClouds





So that’s what happens to our strawberries…

23 05 2009

Several years ago, while in Sequim, Washington, we bought some strawberry plants from a local farmer. We planted them in a raised bed that Michael built just outside a window next to my main computer. From this vantage point, I can see Indy, the neighborhood cat, on the roof of the shed when he comes to pay a visit. And, from time to time, the occasional squirrel runs across it to points unknown. This spring, a mama squirrel has taken residence in the shed (after chewing a bit of wood away to get into it), and I see her go back and forth to her nest. Late yesterday afternoon I glanced up as a squirrel (not mama, perhaps papa?) was intently surveying the (always unproductive) strawberry bed below. I knew there was one almost-ripe strawberry available and I was fairly certain that’s what this squirrel had seen, too. I happened to have my camera at the ready and got these shots—from the squirrel’s roof dive, to rooting for the prized strawberry, to that first delicious bite, to sensing he was being watched, to running off (but not too far) with his little ruby red loot. Not the best photos shot through the window, but it was a slice of life captured in time.

When I told Michael about it, he asked why I didn’t run it off. After three years of this plant producing not even a dozen strawberries each year, I told him that we weren’t going to be strawberry farmers. He now thinks the reason we don’t have a greater yield is because of the antics of squirrels. Doesn’t he know strawberries come from Safeway?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

StrawberryThief





Tell me a story, win a freebie!

22 05 2009

I would love to hear from fellow gardeners who have the same modus operandi as me I have when it comes to squeezing in just one more plant…or tell your tale about an incorrectly labeled plant, your greatest plant bargain ever, how you handled an overload of tomatoes (or squash, etc.), or when you realized you were a “gardener obsessed.” Perhaps you have had a humorous (or not so) encounter with a garden critter or a run-in with poison ivy. Tell me about your favorite garden or nature experience. Tell me what your garden means to you. Did gardening change your life, improve your health, wreck your relationship, forge a friendship, clean out your wallet or save your sanity?

Vanna, show them what they could win…
The
top five winning contributors will be published on this blog and will also receive a free package of my Polaroid transfer notecards (4-color images printed on cream speckled card stock with contrasting seafoam blue green speckled envelopes—all on recycled paper—and each card is signed). There are 12 different images (see collage below): carousel horse, Canadian maple leaf, sunrise at Cape May, Monument Valley, red rose, tulips, Cape May seagulls, Saguaro cactus, kids on the beach, cactus blooms, Camilla’s lace dress and Canyon de Chelly.

RememberStarOdds of winning are infinitely better than the lottery! You may submit up to five stories and there is no cap on the length (although any entries venturing close to War and Peace heft will be severely edited for publication). Entries will be judged by a panel of my fellow gardeners and authors (all of whom will be compensated—in the form of notecards). Entries will be judged on creativeness, resourcefulness, originality, and empathy/sympathy/laugh/tear-jerk factor. You retain all rights to the stories (and photographs, if included) you submit.

Please e-mail entries to me at dyerdesign@aol.com. Be sure to put “Notecard Contest” in your subject line and include your name and mailing address in the e-mail. Deadline: June 30, 2009

Read more about the Polaroid transfer process and my notecard venture on a previous posting here.

Cards are also available for purchase (in packages of 6, 12, or singles). Inquire within!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Polaroid Cards Collage





Ten for 10

21 05 2009

About a half hour before the Green Spring Gardens plant sale was to close this past Saturday, the Virginia Master Gardeners booth started hawking all of their plants as “ten for $10.” Yep…some of the same plants I had purchased about two hours earlier for $5+, much to my chagrin. Reasonable prices before, yes, but at $1 each—what gardener in their right mind would possibly pass on that offer? Never mind if we’ve run out of space in our gardens—they’re a dollar! Just a dollar! We’ve discovered that some of the vendors do that each year so they don’t have to drag all the unsold items back to wherever they originated…and I am only too happy to help them lighten their load.

My 10-for-10 purchases included:

PrimroseOenothera Lemon Drop, common name ‘Evening Primrose’—a low-maintenance, herbaceous perennial that blooms in full sun from June-September. This perennial is tough, tolerates poor soil, and loves the sun. Bright yellow blooms all summer. Deadheading is not necessary, it’s drought and heat tolerant and grows 8-12″ tall. It can also be grown in containers, where it will trail over the sides. And of course I already have some of these in my front yard garden, courtesy of our friend Micheline, who shared them with us when she downsized houses a few years ago. There was a large bank of these cheery flower blooming profusely in her backyard garden. Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder.

AnemoneOne sorta sad-looking (had to rescue it, though) Japanese Aneomone or Windflower (Anemone hupehensis)–-the tag indicates the flowers will be pinkish/mauve, so this might be the variety ‘September Charm.’ This perennial plant bears poppy-like flowers in September and October. The plants reach a height of four to five feet with each flower having five or more petal-like sepals that enclose the golden stamens. The leaves turn wine-red in autumn. Wish this plant luck—it will need it! Photo © Cindy Dyer.


WhiteWoodAsterTwo White Wood Asters (Aster divaricatus)—also known as ‘Eastern Star’—perennial herbaceous native to the eastern U.S. Grows 1-3 feet high with 3/4 to 1-inch white ray flowers that bloom profusely from August to September. The center of each flat-top flower starts yellow then ages to a reddish purple hue. The leaves are heart-shaped, stalked and sharply-toothed. White Wood Asters grow in part shade to full shade, are low-growing and low maintenance, and attract butterflies. They thrive in dry shade but become lush in moist soil. Cut hard at least once in spring to set the foliage back. Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder.

Viola striata (other common names: Striped cream violet, Common white violet, Pale violet, Striped violet)—native perennial herb blooms white and purple flowers April through June. Requires part shade and moist, loamy soil. This plant spreads through its rhizomes. Flowers attract bee flies, butterflies (particularly caterpillars of Fritillary butterflies and several species of moths) and skippers. Seeds are eaten by mourning doves, wild turkeys, mice, and rabbits.

MaxSunflowerI should be punished for purchasing another Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani). I bought the same plant four years ago because I thought it would be perfect at the bottom of the steps of our front porch. The plant label purported, “cheery little yellow flowers on 4 ft. stems.” Four feet tall—nice size for the front entrance, right? By the end of the summer, visitors were asking us if we were growing corn in the front yard. We measured it and the tallest stalk was about 12 feet high! I just did some research and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center site claims they grow 3-10 ft. high. What kind of wild range is that? (Imagine this scenario: Officer: Ma’am, how tall was the man who stole your wheelbarrow? Me: Ummm…he was three feet tall….then again, he might have been ten feet tall. I can’t be certain!) The plant grows Jack-in-the-Beanstalk high and then very late in the summer it sprays forth masses of miniature (2-3 inches across) yellow sunflowers that are at their most beautiful when they sway against a cornflower blue sky. And if I really want to get some good closeup shots of the blooms, I have to drag out the tall ladder to do so! Did I need another of these plants? No. But it was only a buck! Anyone have room in their garden for it? Photo © Cindy Dyer.

EchinopsRitroGlobe Thistle (Echinops ritro)—Clump-forming herbaceous perennial with coarse, prickly leaves (and how!) with 1-2 ball-shaped silvery-lavender-blue or dark blue flowerheads blooming in early to late summer on rigid branching stems 24-48 inches tall. These beautiful ornamentals grow best in full sun to mostly sunny areas, attract bees and butterflies, are good for cut flowers (and dried bouquets as well), will tolerate the heat and are deer resistant. And yes, I already have one—it’s about three years old and is the size of a small shrub already. I expect a plethora of blooms this season. Photo © Cindy Dyer.

SnowonthemountainSnow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)—I photographed this beautiful annual plant at Green Spring Gardens last year and posted the images on my blog here. A member of the spurge family, it flowers in the summer. Reaching 18-24 inches high, it requires sun to partial shade, and will attracts a plethora of butterflies, moths, bees, wasps and other insects—a veritable photographic smorgasbord! Now I’ll have one of my very own…once I find a place to plant it, that is. Folks, it was just a dollar, remember? Photo © Cindy Dyer.


Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)—This tough native is deer-resistant and provides food for larval butterflies. Clusters of sweet-scented white flowers appear on 1-2 foot stalks in June and July. Whorled milkweed can be found in prairies, pastures, open woods and by the roadside. Learn more about attracting Monarch butterflies to your garden (and purchase milkweed seeds, too) at www.happytonics.org.

Salvia

‘Ostfriesland’ Salvia (Salvia nemorosa)—also known as Violet Sage, Ornamental Meadow Sage, Perennial Woodland Sage—this sun-loving herbaceous perennial grows 12-18 inches high with fragrant violet-blue flowers blooming from summer to autumn. Attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, and deer resistant. I couldn’t find this version in my files or a suitable one to reprint, so I’m showing a similar salvia I photographed at Butchart Gardens. Photo © Cindy Dyer







Dahlias, dahling

21 05 2009

This was one of my (many) acquisitions purchased at the big Green Spring Gardens annual plant sale this past Saturday—a very showy Karma Fuchsiana dahlia. The blooms are the most unusual intense shade of dark pink and orange—-the graduated colors of a tropical sunset—not easy to capture in a photo. In the second photo, you’ll see a little visitor—identification unknown.

I read online that Karma dahlias were bred specifically for the cut flower market because they have nice stems, hold up well in bouquets, and yield lots of flowers.

Speaking of the cut flower market, author Amy Stewart wrote the intriguing book, Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers, published in 2007. My friend Regina and I attended a Flower Confidential book lecture by Stewart at the U.S. Botanic Garden two years ago. Flower Confidential takes you inside the flower trade—from hybridizers to growers to auction houses to florists around the world. It’s a fascinating read about the path cut flowers must take from seed/bulb to vase.

Stewart Books

I’ve also read two of Amy’s other books, starting with her first one—From the Ground Up: The Story of a First Year Garden, followed by her second book—The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms. All three books are worth checking out! Learn more about Amy Stewart on her Web site here.

I was so astounded by the number of different dahlias in bloom at Butchart Gardens last fall that I spent an hour just photographing the dahlia border! You’ll find that posting and accompanying photos here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Dahlia Bug





Dirt, Digging, Daffodils, Dividing, Dousing and a Dose of D

20 05 2009

Exactly a week ago today, Tom, Bill and Michael and I removed all of the daffodils from our community front entrance sign so that the newly planted nandina shrubs could survive. I personally wouldn’t have had the landscape company plant the nandinas in the first place because the daffodils were there first. They obviously didn’t look to see what else was already in the bed when they planned this less-than-stellar bed makeover.

What do most landscapers do in this case? Toss them away! What?!?!? Most certainly not on my watch! I just can’t bear to see healthy plants tossed out like that. I’m the head of our grounds committee (volunteer, of course), so with the help of these three very fine gentlemen, we transplanted every single daffodil into two common area beds. I tied off and divided them from huge clumps down to about 3-4 tiny bulbs per hole. By my count, we planted nearly 200 clumps—well over 500 individuals bulbs were relocated! The fellas did 95% of the removal and hole digging (it would take me forever with a shovel). I did the design/planning, dividing every clump into more manageable groups, some hand digging, and a lot of the planting.

I hadn’t actually gone up earlier to see just how many daffodils there were in the bed, so I was a little surprised that my declaration of, “it should only take about an hour with the four of us,” turned into almost five hours of work! The forecast called for rain that evening and over the following weekend, so our new transplants had a chance to settle in nicely.

RECAP #1, WED, MAY 13: gabbed with the guys, saved the nandinas, saved hundreds of daffodils, saved the homeowner association money, beautified two other beds that needed some oomph, divided some existing daylilies to give them room to spread, relocated a slew of worms (better soil than we had expected!), and soaked in some much-needed Vitamin D.

RECAP #2, WED., MAY 20: Just this afternoon, Tom and I doused both beds by hand (mostly because there is no rain in forecast for the next few days), hauling four 5-gallon buckets in his truck up the street. I’m crossing my fingers they survive the transplant shock. If they do survive, I’ll post a recap and photos of them in bloom next spring!

RECAP #3, THURS., MAY 21: Today Michael and Tom hauled free leaf mulch from the local mulch pile over to the area and watered for a second time. Thanks, guys!

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.

Daffodillorez






Apparently you can get here from there!

20 05 2009

In celebration of passing the 70,000 mark on my blog, I offer you some unusual word searches that actually brought visitors to the blog:

cocker spaniel trixie little jimmy
nancy wong booty (Nancy must be very popular.)
mating blogs
october afternoon ducks in a row
what rhymes with the name victoria carr
polydactyl woman (Apparently, it’s possible. Read this.)
the coolest thing ever
obsessive crochet (Been there, done that—too much for my own good)
thrift stores on way to death valley (Ooh! Now that sounds like a fun road trip.)
kids running from bees  (Smart kids)
mom washed our hair   (Every Sunday night, right before the Wonderful World of Disney)
nun toys ugly  (hmmmm….)
using thankfully incorrectly  (Ha! My dad is going to love that one.)
sugar glider on a cat (not a safe place to be, that’s for sure)
lucky hummingbird hobo (I googled it to see what that might be. It’s a tote bag.)
ice cream chest freezer in rio grande valley (hmmm…sounds like criminal activity…should I call the police?)
lilium sweat kiss (sweet, not sweat…and it’s a Lily hybrid)
20 foot high elephant lawn ornament (Our homeowner association would have a fit!)
she wet (T.M.I.)
honey sockal loocust creeper (Definitely not a potential candidate for a spelling bee)

And the top dozen postings of “all time” on my blog are:

Concrete leaf casting (still in the #1 position, as always): 2,482 hits

Color Magic Rose (still in the #2 position, as always): 1,777 hits

Crafty room divider screen: 1,523 hits

Stuff about me: 1,128 hits

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth: 598 hits

Spotlight on Abbie!: 592 hits

Gigglebean with parrot and sugar glider: 528 hits

Heavenly blue: 515 hits

Mina Lobata (Spanish flag): 489 hits

Monarch butterfly habitat poster: 449 hits

Then on to craft project #823: 387 hits

Bionic Woman = Cover Girl: 345 hits

Many thanks to my fellow bloggers who have sent their visitors to my blog:

Avid gardener and photographer Birgitte in Denmark

Bookkeeper, writer, cochlear implant recipient and fun-loving Abbie in New Jersey

Avid gardener, photographer, wife, and mother Jan in Virginia

Garden designer and photographer Pam in Austin, Texas

Traveler, blogger and photographer ChrisY “Visuallens” in Malaysia

Librarian, gardener and photographer Phillip in Florence, Alabama

Lovely Heather—Mom, wife, designer, lover of all animals, helpless creatures and underdogs—somewhere in the U.S.

Golden-haired, candid, open and honest, blossoming photographer Chloe in Australia

Avid gardener, quilter, and Kurt’s Mom—Aunt Debbi in North Texas

Hearing loss social network creator Senthil somewhere in the U.S.

Gardener, nature lover, and recorder-of-all-things-happening-in-the-pond GG near Atlanta, Georgia

Photographer Scott Thomas in upstate New York

Artist and photographer CheyAnne in New Mexico

Passionate gardener, daylily enthusiast and aspiring novelist Gotta Garden in Stafford, Virginia

Avid gardener and photographer Jan from Covington, Louisiana

Reluctant (but obsessed anyway) gardener Kim in Maryland

Creative photographer and lonely wanderer Wildblack in Abu Dhabi

Fotoblography Andy, somewhere in the U.S.

Web/graphic designer and photographer Stacy Tabb in central Florida

Marketing specialist and very talented nature photographer Ed Vatza in eastern Pennsylvania

Homemaker, wife, mother of five beautiful children, and cochlear implant recipient Jennifer near Nashville, Tennessee

Up-and-coming country singer/songwriter Jay Henley in Maryland

Artist, crafter, newlywed, and amazing cloudscape/Texas sky photographer Shelley in West Texas

Avid gardener, photographer, mother, wife and Army retiree Tina from Tennessee

Gardener, blogger and candid writer Gumboots in Australia

Father, writer, and soon-to-be-a cochlear implant recipient (yay for you, finally!) Ulf in Norway

Undeniably, hands-down, no contest—the best father this girl could have, The King of Texas





‘Osprey’ Spiderwort

17 05 2009

This is a new Virginia Spiderwort cultivar—’Osprey’ (Tradescantia x andersoniana ‘Osprey’), photographed at Green Spring Gardens yesterday. You can order it from Bluestone Perennials. Their website states that after shearing the plants to the ground in midsummer, new foliage and flowers will return again in the fall. How’s that for a repeat performance? They’re half price on their website now!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Spiderwort





Blue False Indigo

17 05 2009

Although it wasn’t identified with a plant marker at Green Spring Gardens, I’m pretty sure this is a Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis). This herbaceous perennial in the pea family grows 3-4 feet tall and features purple, lupine-like flowers blooming in spring. Its common name refers to the use of this plant by early Americans as a (lesser) substitute for true Indigo in making blue dyes.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

PurpleBlooms





Bearded Iris

17 05 2009

I just love the unusual color combination of this (unidentified) Bearded Iris. Now if there had only been a hoverfly, honeybee, spider or ant at the edge of the extended petal…maybe next time!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

PurpleBronzeIris





Oriental Poppy ‘Turkenlouis’

17 05 2009

Oriental Poppy (Papaver Orientale), Green Spring Gardens—I think this might be Oriental Poppy ‘Turkenlouis’—a new hybrid Poppy. It was a bit windy this afternoon at the garden, so I had to be pretty patient with the breezes—the fringed petals of this beautiful scarlet flower kept swaying back and forth. This was one of my favorite shots because of the intense red hue against the bright green leaves and the stopped movement.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

RedPoppyCloseup





Blue-Eyed Grass

16 05 2009

Photographed this afternoon at Green Spring Gardens—Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) is actually not a true grass, but a member of the Iris family, closely related to the Wild Iris or Blue Flag. The plant is also known as Star Grass because of the shape of the flowers. This native perennial grows across the prairies and open meadows. They grow just 4-12″ tall and the leaves are about 1/4″ wide. The flowers are incredibly tiny—barely 1/2″ in diameter!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blue Eyed Grass





Love-in-a-mist

16 05 2009

I photographed this beautiful Love-in-a-mist at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. Michael and I got up bright and early this morning to check out the annual plant sale at Green Springs. We got back about noon-ish and then left again with my friend Regina back to the park. The morning excursion was reserved for plant-buying for me (recap to come) and this afternoon jaunt was simply to photograph the latest flowers in bloom. I wrote a post about Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) last May here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Loveinamist





Indy on the roof

15 05 2009

My morning (and frequent) visitor—Indy, a sweet neighborhood cat. To the left of my most-often-used Mac is a window that overlooks a side yard with a tool shed and attached firewood shelter. Indy comes up the stairs of the front stoop, jumps to the wrought iron railing, then makes his way over the shingled wood shelter roof, where he stares at me until I come out. He has an unusually deep and flat meow—a cat’s equivalent of something curmudgeon-ish—a complaintive “muh-wowwwl, muh-wowwwl.” This morning he was just lounging on the roof, staring down at me. I ran out to get this shot—one of only three shots I could manage—and then he was off to chase a squirrel out of my garden. (I confess that I got this shot while talking on the phone with a friend. Self-kudos to me for the shot actually being in focus! While on the phone, I saw Indy…ran upstairs to get my camera…back downstairs to grab a CF card…then outdoors to the backyard…climbed onto the edge of the raised tomato bed to get the best angle…cradled the phone on my shoulders and shot just four snaps before he ran off. How’s that for multi-tasking? And yes, I heard and understood every word my friend said.). Check out my first posting (plus a really cute photo) of Indy here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

IndyOnTheRoof





A bit gaudy, but I couldn’t resist!

14 05 2009

I planted these in the three wrought iron planter boxes on our patio railing outside the front door. The color scheme is red, orange, yellow and white, so these fit in perfectly. Identification to come, but if I had to guess—they might be hybrid strawflowers.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

DSC_2343 lorez





A sighting so rare…

13 05 2009

ZenaB and her “brother” Jasper, just inches apart, basking in the afternoon sun on the still-not-tucked-away-trundle bed in the guest room. This shot of them occupying the same space (peacefully) is pretty rare. She’s usually slapping him upside the head whenever he walks by. My sweet little stripey Joe loves her despite her queenly behavior. He even mews pitifully when she hides (I imagine her snickering behind some door) from him.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

RareSighting





Vinton and Sigrid Cerf

10 05 2009

In March I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Dr. Vinton Cerf and his wife, Sigrid, for the cover and feature article in the May/June 2009 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I also design and produce for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Dr. Cerf is a hearing aid wearer and Sigrid is a binaural cochlear implant recipient. Sigrid and I just happen share the same wonderful otolaryngologist—Dr. John Niparko of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Cerf will be the keynote speaker at HLAA’s annual convention, June 18-21, in Nashville, Tennessee. The Cerfs were interviewed by HLAA member and freelance writer, Barbara Liss Chertok. Chertok is a former speechreading/lipreading teacher and serves on the board of the American Hearing Research Foundation.

If Cerf’s name isn’t familiar to you, his work certainly should be. He is a computer scientist who is the person most often called the “father of the internet.” He is the co-designer with Robert E. Kahn of the TCP/IP protocols and the basic architecture of the Internet. In 1997, they were presented with the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton, “for creating and sustaining development of Internet Protocols and continuing to provide leadership in the emerging industry of Internetworking.” In 2005, they were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed in the U.S., by President George W. Bush, for their contributions to the creation of the Internet. They were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. Cerf is currently vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. Read more about Dr. Cerf here.

Download the full article from Hearing Loss Magazine in pdf format here.

Dr. Cerf is currently working on the Interplanetary Internet together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It will be a new standard to communicate from planet to planet, using radio/laser communications that are highly tolerant to signal degradation. Click here to listen to Dr. Cerf’s speculations on the Internet’s future.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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After the rain…

8 05 2009

Photos taken this morning at Green Spring Gardens, just after the morning downpour. This time I was prepared—I brought a large trash bag to sit on. Unfortunately, when one sits on a slope to photograph a flower, one will soon find one’s behind sliding off the edge of the plastic and one’s pants would soon absorb the surrounding mud and water. I speak from experience. Ah, well. No pain, no beautiful flower shots, eh?

A Spring Rain by Raymond A. Foss

The world is wet today
luxurious, damp, drenched
drops hug the leaves,
anoint the still budded lilac blossoms
before their blooming
rich purple and plum
made richer by their watery skin
New leaves under the weight
droplets heavy, hanging
bowing the white pine needles
undersides exposed to drink
drink in the morning
hushed in the rain
temperature near the dewpoint
sprouts of just planted flowers
eager from the parched soil
new puddles bloom too
on the ground, the driveway
collect and gather
without the smell of summer rain yet
tears splash and spread
silent shimmers, heralds, messengers
in the spring rain

__________________________________________________________

I came across the above poem and it was perfect for this posting. I looked at the name and wondered why it looked so familiar. Apparently I’m drawn to this man’s nature- and garden-inspired poetry because I published (with his permission) another of his poems on my blog in August 2007. His poem was a great accompaniment for my posting about harvesting Concord grapes in our backyard garden. Click here for that post and Raymond’s beautiful poem, Smell of Autumn. Raymond has written 3,974 poems to date and all of them can be found here. Click on “Poems” beneath his photo. Raymond’s blog can be found here.

Thank you for letting me share your poetry on my blog, Raymond. If you ever want to publish a book of your poetry, give me a shout—I would love to design it for you!

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Drawing a blank

7 05 2009

I should know what this flower is, but at the moment I’m drawing a blank. Any takers? (Ed Vatza?—betcha he knows!)

UPDATE: Drumroll, please….Ed is the first to weigh in on identification. And a very close second is Catharus. Thanks to you both for chiming in—I appreciate it! Here are their comments:

ED VATZA: Oh, oh! The pressure is on! Looks like they could be Wild Geraniums. They are just beginning to think about opening here in PA. They are beautiful flowers. We just added some to our backyard native plant garden. Very nice image, by the way. Great color and sharpness.

CATHARUS: Looks like wild geranium.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Moroccan Poppy

6 05 2009

Moroccan Poppy (Papaver alanticum) photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.

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Cabbage White Butterfly camouflage

6 05 2009

I saw these brilliant white flowers across from the gazebo at Green Spring Gardens and went over to photograph this nicely arranged cluster (first image). Then I noticed the Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) on the bottom flower. I moved in to isolate him on the single flower and got the bottom shot. His wings sort of mimic the petals—perfect camouflage! Males only have one black dot on their wings, so this handsome butterfly is a male.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michaela from www.thedailyclick.wordpress.com for identifying the flower as “Star of Bethlehem” (Ornithogalum umbellatum). She gives credit to Ed Vatza at www.itsmynature.wordpress.com for the initial identification. Thanks to both Michaela and Ed!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Flower power

6 05 2009

Unidentified succulent or sedum ground cover in the beautiful rock garden at Green Spring Gardens…once I figure out what this plant is, I’m squeezing it into my garden!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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After the rain…

6 05 2009

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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