HLM Cover Feature: Jennifer (Jen) Thorpe

29 06 2010

The July/August 2010 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine (which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) features Jennifer (Jen) Thorpe, an HLAA member. I met and photographed the Thorpe family in Nashville last year at HLAA’s annual convention. In her article, I Am Simply Me, Jen shares how her hearing loss has affected not only her but her family as well. The issue is en route to HLAA members shortly! You can read more about Jen’s “journey to bilateral bionic hearing” on her blog, Stereophonic Bionic.

I discovered Jen on Abbie Cranmer’s blogroll, which I found during a random search for hearing loss-related blogs. It turns out Abbie and Jen were already friends. Now both have been profiled for the magazine!

Abbie wrote her feature for the May/June 2008 issue of HLM and I spotlighted her on this blog here. Abbie’s blog can be found here. Download Abbie’s full feature article, Chronicles of a Bionic Woman, here: http://www.cindydyer.com/BionicWoman.pdf

I’m thrilled to report that Abbie and her husband-to-be, Todd, have hired me to photograph their wedding in mid-September. They’re getting married in a botanical garden in New Jersey—-how dreamy is this photography gig? Jen will be one of Abbie’s bridesmaids, so I’ll get to see her again this fall, too.

Other articles in this issue include:

Author Cathy Kooser’s excellent article, Hearing Loss is Not Just About Me, outlines her maladaptive coping strategies—bluffing, dominating the conversation, withdrawal and selective hearing—and how they impact her family and friends. Cathy is a licensed independent social worker with a severe hearing loss, and lives in Dayton, Ohio.

Audiologist Mark Ross’ article, Understanding and Managing a Severe Hearing Loss, identifies what qualifies as severe hearing loss and explores treatment options such as cochlear implants, hearing aids, directional microphones and hybrid implants. Mark is an associate at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) at Gallaudet University. He is a regular contributor to the magazine.

In Let’s Hear from the Families, editor-in-chief Barbara Kelley introduces us to Alicia, wife of HLAA member and cochlear implant user, Mike Royer, and Katie, wife of Reed Doughty, starting safety for the Washington Redskins and a hearing aid user. Alicia and Katie share their insights as to what life is like living with a loved one with hearing loss. I’ve had the honor of photographing the Royer family (see their portraits here and here, kids Annie & Joshua here, and most notably the birth of their daughter, Ashley, here) and the Doughty family (see my post here on Reed’s cover debut and family portraits here.)

And finally—my dear friend, Tom Hedstrom, writes about his father’s hearing loss in My Dad, the Ford Man. Tom’s father, Bernie, wore hearing aids for more than 30 years until he got his cochlear implant at the age of 92. Bernie is a long-time member of HLAA and loves reading and sharing the magazine. I photographed Bernie for this issue when he was visiting the D.C. area in May.

All photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

And one more to call it a night…

28 06 2010

Here is one more shot from my photo field trip to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on Saturday morning. It’s a good thing we went earlier than planned (thanks to my friend Jeff, who forwarded an e-mail stating the lotus blooms were peaking earlier than usual). We were surprised that there weren’t as many full blooms close to the pond edges to photograph. Most of the ones that were accessible were past their peak and already losing their petals. I really could have used a Nikkor 200mm micro lens (it’s on my wish list, but it’s about $1700-1800) to reach the ones in the pond (really, wading boots would be much cheaper than that lens). The water lilies, however, were in beautiful form!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Water Lily and Duckweed

28 06 2010

This hardy water lily might be a Nymphaea ‘Rose Arey’, but I’m not positive. I photographed it at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this weekend. View my past posts on the gardens in the links below:






© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The Frog

27 06 2010

The Frog
Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As “Slimy skin,” or “Polly-wog,”
Or likewise “Ugly James,”
Or “Gap-a-grin,” or “Toad-gone-wrong,”
Or “Bill Bandy-knees”:
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare).

—Hilaire Belloc, 1870-1953, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

I was fervently hoping to get some shots of the dragonflies yesterday at Kenilworth, but they were very active and rarely settled long enough for me to photograph them. It was getting hotter and I was just about to give up. I set my tripod down to rest and something compelled me to look to my immediate left—a little more than a foot away from my head, at eye level, was a Blue Dasher (the fella in the second photo) clinging to a bare branch sticking out of the pond. I moved really, really slowly and was able to fire off about a dozen shots before he dashed away.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Pair of Water Lilies

27 06 2010

Water Lily

My whole life is mine, but whoever says so
will deprive me, for it is infinite.
The ripple of water, the shade of the sky are mine;
it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal—
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not desire—I am moved;

by being moved I exert my empire,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors…

—Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by A. Poulin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Bumblebee on Water Lily

27 06 2010

Hey, this is a nice angle…lemme crop out that brown leaf on the left…and now wait until the sun goes behind that cloud…mmmm…nice and graphic…black, white, green, yellow pop in the center…let’s try a vertical…focus, click, view screen…nah, horizontal is better…focus, click, view screen, change aperture, focus, click, refocus, click, click…now if only a dragonfly would land right smack in the middle…then it would be perfect…oooh, oooh, a bumblebee!…quick, refocus, click! Just one shot before he buzzed away, but here it is. (Cropping it as a square made for a more dynamic image in this case.)

Ode Tae a Bumble Bee

Wee hoverin’, fleein’ ferlie fello’,
Wi’ yer stripes o’ black and yello’,
Yer ever sae bonnie, so ye ur,
Like a spring lamb—only smaller and withoot the fur,
But see if ye ever sting me oan the bum again,
Ah’m gonnae jump on yer heid so Ah um.

—Stuart McLean (from No’ Rabbie Burns)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Water Lilies

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

27 06 2010

The Dragonfly

Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Dragonfly on Lotus bud

27 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blue Dasher Dragonfly on Water Lily

26 06 2010

Serendipity! I was photographing this water lily at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens early this morning and was silently praying that any one of the myriad dragonflies buzzing about would land and pose for me. And it was so. Michael was talking with a woman by the water lily ponds near the park entrance and she mentioned that she and her husband visit the gardens often, most recently accompanying a photographer friend who had just gotten a new long and pricey lens. She said that he set up his tripod with his camera, attached the long lens to it, then turned his back. (You can see where this is headed, can’t you?). Off went the whole contraption into the shallow water lily pond—lens, camera and tripod! He immediately insisted everything was okay with the camera and lens. (I can just imagine I would say the same thing—not so much to calm my nervous friends, but more to keep from breaking down right there and sobbing!) Um, yeah…let’s hope he was right—-but I’m just not sure digital equipment can survive a dunk in a pond without needing some kind of intervention afterward.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Your guess is as good as mine!

26 06 2010

It looks like a Gaura plant, but I’m just not sure, and the plant wasn’t labeled at Green Spring Gardens this morning. Any one venture to guess? Patty? The sprigs tend to lean downward, like a waterfall.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

‘Zowie’ Zinnia and Giant Alliums

25 06 2010

‘Zowie’ Zinnia with alliums in the background—-I just learned from an employee that the gardeners at Green Spring Gardens spray paint the giant alliums blue after they have flowered. I should have noticed that but didn’t until now—duh. Pretty creative!

Thanks to Patty, I’ve got the name correct. I actually called Green Spring Gardens and when they got back to me later, I was told it was the ‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia. I know I described it in detail so there would be no confusion. Thanks, Patty, for getting it right!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Papaver somniferum (Opium Poppy)

25 06 2010

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Agapanthus bud opening

25 06 2010

I think this is an Agapanthus africanus bud. Common names include Lily-of-the-Nile and African Lily (although it is not in the Lily family). This herbaceous perennial plant, native to South Africa, is planted in well-drained soil in the spring. It prefers full sun and blooms in the summer. The orange blobs in the background are beautiful orange daylilies!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Sunset in downtown Milwaukee

24 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blooming in my garden today…

24 06 2010

Shasta daisies everywhere! © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Farewell, Antarctica Dad

23 06 2010

On the freighter MS Disko, en route to Antarctica in late February 1998, I met my Antarctica Dad—aka Richard (Dick) Franklin, who hailed from Dayton, Ohio. I met him at breakfast the first morning after we boarded the ship from Ushuaia, the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego and the southernmost city in the world.

He declared, “You look and sound exactly like my middle daughter, Julie—so from here on out, I’m calling you ‘daughter.'” And he did just that via e-mails, Christmas snail mail letters, an occasional phone call, and on a visit as he was passing through the D.C. area with his wife in October, 2006. Although I have yet to meet Julie, my twin-separated-at-birth, I learned that she is an artistic soul as well, nestled in the middle of two sisters—just as I am. I shot the photo (above) of Dick and Judy when they visited us on October 22, 2006. They were standing under our Jack-in-the-Beanstalk-tall false sunflowers that had grown so tall that they began to form a natural archway to the front porch! We became fast friends, Antarctica Dad and I, a bond that lasted until his death.

There were so many things that I didn’t know about him but so many things we had in common as well—a love of gardening, nature, photography and travel. He was gregarious, witty, a great listener and my long-distance cheerleader. He e-mailed me jokes, political musings and inspirational photos. He kept me posted on his ongoing tree identification project. Each year I got the annual Christmas letter that highlighted all the things he and Judy were doing in retirement, including galavanting across the U.S. and abroad. He always signed his e-mails to me with Antarctica Dad, Adad, or just Dad. And when I shared his stories to friends and family I always prefaced them with, “My Antarctica Dad told me this…”

I looked over the e-mails from him that I’ve saved throughout the years. In this one below, dated Tuesday, February 10 he congratulated me on getting the opportunity to photograph Dr. Vinton Cerf, the “father of the Internet,” for the cover of the Hearing Loss Magazine.


Congratulations!!!!!!! You’ll do a fantastic job and catch the guy behind the beard and the mind that put the world in one big bag via the internet. They couldn’t have picked a better photographer. I can’t wait to see your pictures. Luv ya, Adad

Antarctica Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. He kept his friends, including me, in the loop after the diagnosis and while he was exploring treatment options. I received his first e-mail about his health issues on January 21. He had surgery on February 26 to remove the upper left lobe of his left lung. My last e-mail from him was dated March 28, and was full of positive news about getting ready to undergo chemo and relief that the cancer had not spread to his brain, as this kind of cancer often does. He ended every e-mail with, thanks for the prayers, but keep the prayer lamp lit. Love to all. His first chemo was April 1 and when I didn’t hear from him via e-mail for a few weeks, I assumed everything was moving along on course. On April 21, Judy e-mailed everyone to let us know that Dick was being cared for in hospice after unexpected complications from his chemotherapy regimen had set in. He passed away the next morning at 12:02 a.m. He was 82.

His obituary, published in the Dayton Daily News, reads:

FRANKLIN, Richard A. age 82, of Huber Heights passed away early Thursday morning, April 22, 2010 at Hospice of Dayton. He was preceded in death by his parents, 1 brother, and 1 daughter. He is survived by his wife, Judy, of 43 years, 3 daughters, Janet Franklin of Kettering, Jeriann Staddon of Miamisburg, and Julie Franklin of Oakland, CA, 1 sister, Norma Tennies of East Randolph, NY. He leaves behind 4 grandsons, 1 great grand daughter, and 2 great grandsons, as well as several nieces and nephews, and a host of friends and acquaintances. He graduated from Bradford High School in Bradford, PA. He served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II and then graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He retired Chief, Telemetry Division in 1986 at the Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He was elected into Sigma Xi, Research Society of America, and received over 70 awards and commendations, and ended his career by being awarded the Department of Air Force Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. He joined the York Rite Masonic bodies of Tokyo, Tokyo Chapter No. 1, Tokyo Council No. 1 and Tokyo Commandery No. 1. He was a member of the Antioch Shrine of Dayton, the Southern Forge and Anvil Association, the Western Ohio Woodworking Club, and the National Rifle Association. Dick actively served as a Boy Scout leader for over 30 years, rose to District Commissioner, and received the District Award of Merit. He volunteered for Metro Parks at Carriage Hill Farm for over 40 years. Dick was an avid photographer, world traveler, and Certified Open Water SCUBA Diver. His wish to be donated to Wright State School of Medicine was honored. Memorial services will be May 1st at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 5040 Rye Dr, Huber Heights, with Pastor Dobbins officiating. Visitation is scheduled for two hours preceding the service at 3:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation in Dick’s name may be made to Shiners Children’s Hospital, 1900 Richmond Rd, Lexington, KY 40502.

I was so honored to be his “Antarctica daughter” for the past 14 years. He is dearly missed. Farewell, Adad—much love follows you!


SIDEBAR: It really is a small, small world: Judy’s nephew, Jeffrey Hopper, was the 12th victim of the infamous D.C. snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. The 37-year-old was shot while leaving a Ponderosa Steakhouse in Ashland, Virginia with his wife Stephanie. They had stopped for dinner en route to their home in Florida after visiting family in Pennsylvania. He is one of the few survivors of the “D.C. Sniper” attacks in D.C. area in October 2002. I remember that paralyzing time so well. With the randomness of victims and venues, and the fact that one fatal attack happened in an area where I frequently shopped, I seriously considered uprooting and leaving the northern Virginia area. I was in Denver photographing a client’s conference in late October that year when Muhammad and Malvo were finally apprehended. It was such a relief to come back home, knowing they had been caught.

The two had intentionally filled the gas tank before reaching the D.C. area so they would not have to stop and become a “potential target.” “When I was shot, I felt as if I had an unusual type of stomach ache,” Mr. Hopper said. “It was a dull, queasy feeling, not a sharp pain.” He lost about 70 percent of his stomach, part of his pancreas and spleen and his liver, kidney, lung and rib were damaged. He has since recovered from his extensive injuries. However, he and his wife joke about how they no longer go to buffets because, “Jeff does not have the stomach for them.” As Mrs. Hopper waited in the hospital for her husband to recover, a local church sent her a care basket with fruit, a toothbrush, toothpaste and other “simple comforts. “She now makes “trauma bags” with similar items for the local trauma center so that others may be comforted during tough times. —excerpted from “The Sniper Attacks, 7 Years Later: A Remembrance / Washington Times.com


Tuesday’s tabby

23 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Sweat bee on cornflower

22 06 2010

I think this cornflower is a Centaurea dealbata and the insect is probably a Sweat Bee (Agapostemon angelicus? Agapostemon melliventris?). According to Wikipedia, the insect earns its name because it is attracted to the salt in human sweat. And “their sting is only rated a 1.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, making it almost painless.” Hard to believe there is actually a “sting pain index.” But of course…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Shasta daisy at Boerner Botanical Gardens

22 06 2010

Photo shot on Sunday at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Revisiting the Kenilworth archives…

22 06 2010

Next month, the lotus blossoms will be at their finest at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. And yes, I’ll be there once again (even though these lovely blooms choose to do their thing on the hottest day of the summer, year after year. Ah, well, no pain, no gain, right? Even for photographers! Here are some images I shot last year.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

AHS Great American Gardeners Awards 2010

17 06 2010

Last Thursday evening, I photographed the American Horticultural Society’s (AHS) 2010 Great American Gardeners Awards Dinner, hosted by AHS at their River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The award descriptions and recipient bios are reprinted with permission from AHS.

Recognizes outstanding scientific research that has enriched the field of horticulture. After earning a doctorate in genetics from Michigan State University in 1981, Robert J. Griesbach joined the Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit within the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). For more than 25 years, Griesbach conducted broad based research in the genetics of floral plants, aided in the creation of new types of floral crops, participated in the development of new genetic engineering technologies, and facilitated the determination of the genetic basis of flower and foliage colors. Currently Griesbach works in the USDA’s Office of Technology Transfer in Beltsville, Maryland, where he coordinates programs to facilitate the transfer of significant USDA-ARS research to the private sector for development and commercialization. Over the course of his career Griesbach has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals and 28 in other publications. In addition, he has presented more than 280 scientific seminars and nearly 200 lectures to popular audiences. He served as the chair of the American Orchid Society’s Research Committee for more than 10 years and is a past president of the organization. In 2006, Griesbach was named a Fellow by the American Society for Horticultural Science.

Given to an individual whose work has demonstrated and promoted the value of sound horticultural practices in the field of landscape architecture. A landscape architect based in Bar Harbor, Maine, Bruce John Riddell, is principal of his one-person firm, LandArt. Riddell received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maine and masters of landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. While doing his graduate work, Bruce studied under the tutelage of notable practitioners such as Ian McHarg, Sir Peter Shepheard, the firm Andropogon Associates, and A.E. Bye. After graduation Riddell worked with James van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme in Washington D.C. While at Oehme-Van Sweden he participated on high profile public projects—including the Smithsonian National Zoo and U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, and Battery Park in New York City—and on residential gardens for well-known clients such as Oprah Winfrey. Riddell’s primary focus is on the design and construction of intimate residential gardens, but has designed three public gardens in Maine—Southwest Harbor Veteran’s Park, Charlotte Rhoades Park, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens—all of which have won awards for design excellence. Riddell’s gardens typically combine native and naturalized plantings with site-specific elements such as gates, lights, fountains and stonework. In addition to his design work, Riddell is on the advisory board of the Beatrix Farrand Society and is ambassador-at-large for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Do check out his website—his garden designs (and photography skills) are stunning!

Given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture. Eric Tschanz has been president and executive director of Powell Gardens in Kingsville, Missouri since 1988. During that time he has implemented the first three phases of the Gardens’ master plan. He just completed a more than $9 million development campaign and oversaw the construction of the new Heartland Harvest Garden—the largest edible landscape in the country. Tschanz’s horticultural career began with a summer job at Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio. Captivated by the field of public horticulture, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture at the Ohio State University and then completed a master’s degree in Botanic Garden Management through the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program. After completing his degree, he returned to Cox Arboretum as horticultural superintendent. In 1982 he became the first director of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Since 1985, Eric has been an active member of American Public Gardens Association (APGA), serving on numerous professional committees and as a board member. In 1997 he became a member of the group’s executive committee, serving as vice president and then president. He spearheaded the development of the APGA’s Year 2000 strategic plan.

Given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. Growin’ Gardeners is a hands-on, interactive program that inspires and nurtures young horticulturists and their families. The program is the centerpiece of the Dow Gardens Children’s Garden in Midland, Michigan. Through the program, families are assigned a four-by-four-foot plot in a raised bed around the Children’s Garden. Families have the opportunity to choose the vegetables and herbs they wish to grow. Through weekly lessons and a workbook, they learn the basics of plant growth, weed and insect control and the use of gardening tools. Children, parents, and grandparents work together to nurture and tend their garden from planting through harvest. Growin’ Gardeners, which began in 2003 with 10 garden plots and 34 participants, has grown under the leadership of Horticulturist Melissa Butkiewicz to include 84 garden plots and 270 participants.

Given to an individual who has made significant lifetime contributions to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business, and leadership. This year’s recipient of the AHS’s most prestigious award is Steven M. Still, a professor emeritus of horticulture at the Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus and an internationally recognized expert and leader in the field of herbaceous perennial plants. Still began his teaching career while doing graduate work at the University of Illinois. After graduating in 1974 with a doctorate in horticulture, Still taught horticulture at Kansas State University in Manhattan for five years before moving to OSU, where he taught and mentored thousands of horticulture students from 1979 to 2005. In addition to his teaching duties he conducted horticultural research and served as first director of OSU’s Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Garden. Still’s acclaimed book, Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, was first published in 1980. Now in its fourth edition, it is a standard textbook for horticulture students. In addition, he has written numerous articles for horticultural publications and amassed an extensive archive of plant photographs, many of which have been published in books, magazines, catalogs, and on plant tags. For the last 27 years, Still has been the executive director of the Perennial Plant Association, a 1,400-member international organization for horticulturists, plant growers, researchers, and gardeners interested in propagating, growing, and promoting use of perennial plants. One of five founding members of the PPA, Still edits the organization’s quarterly journal and coordinates its annual symposium and trade show. He has also served in top leadership positions with many other national and regional organizations, including the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association, the Garden Writers Association, and the American Horticultural Society. Still has received numerous awards, including the L.C. Chadwick Teaching Award from the American Nursery & Landscape Association in 2004 and the Garden Club of America’s Medal of Honor in 2008. In 2007, the Steven M. Still Garden in the Chadwick Arboretum was dedicated in Still’s honor.

Recognizes a past Board member or friend of the American Horticultural Society for outstanding service in support of the Society’s goals, mission, and activities. A retired registered nurse and longtime resident of Alexandria, Virginia, Betty Smalley has been a dedicated and very active volunteer at River Farm, the national headquarters of the American Horticultural Society, for more than 20 years. In addition to helping with outdoor activities such as weeding, planting bulbs and annuals, and deadheading, Smalley has been an important participant in the AHS Annual Seed Exchange program, filling seed packets and putting together orders from members in the winter months. She also regularly volunteers at the annual plant sale and other events and programs held at River Farm and has been a friend and mentor to countless other volunteers over the years. Always modest, Smalley says that in her years of volunteering, “I have received much more than I have given.”

Recognizes effective and inspirational communication—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. A well known author and photographer and a recognized authority on North American native plants, William Cullina is currently the director of horticulture and plant curator at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine. Cullina lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups and has contributed numerous articles and photographs to popular magazines and technical journals. He has been a guest on a number of garden television and radio shows, including Martha Stewart Living and the Victory Garden. He has written and contributed photographs to five highly regarded books published by Houghton Mifflin: Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada (2000), Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines (2002), Understanding Orchids (2004), Native Ferns, Moss, & Grasses (2008), and most recently, Understanding Perennials: A New Look at an Old Favorite (2009). Three of his books have received annual book awards from the American Horticultural Society. Other awards Cullina has received include the Walter F. Winkler Award for Distinguished Plantsmanship from the North American Rock Garden Society in 2005 and the Silver Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 2002. Prior to moving to CMBG, Cullina worked as nursery director and head propagator at the New England Wild Flower Society in Framingham, Massachusetts, from 1995 to 2006.

Recognizes significant contributions to floral design in publications, on the platform, and to the public. Jane Godshalk is a member of the faculty of Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, where she teaches floral design. She also lectures and teaches across the country, sharing her knowledge of horticulture and floral design with a focus on nature as inspiration and flower arranging as an art. Godshalk is an artistic judge for the Garden Club of America (GCA) and her floral designs have been featured in books and magazines, including a column on “Eco-Friendly Floral Design” for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Green Scene magazine. Among her numerous awards is the GCA Bonnlyn Martin Medal for “consistently innovative floral design.” She is active in the American Institute of Floral Designers and the World Association of Flower Arrangers, and has served on the boards of the GCA and the Philadelphia International Flower Show.

Recognizes extraordinary and dedicated philanthropic support of the field of horticulture. In 2006, brothers William, Daniel, and Albert Nicholas made a lead gift of $2,150,000 to the Rockford Park District in Illinois for a centerpiece project to celebrate the District’s 100th anniversary in 2009. The gift is being used to create the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens in Sinnissippi Park. Sinnissippi Park was the first land purchased by the District in 1909. The conservatory, which will become the third largest in Illinois when it is completed in spring 2011, will be a showcase for the community and a source of inspiration and education for generations to come. Like many children growing up in Rockford in the 1940s and 1950s, the brothers spent much of their time enjoying the outdoors near the site of the future conservatory. The brothers elected to support the district as a way to honor their parents, William and Ruby Nicholas, while at the same time enhancing the riverfront property located along the shores of the Rock River. The donation underscores their commitment to make Rockford a great place to live, work, and play, and ties in with their ongoing efforts to champion the benefits of plants and quality of life issues.

Given to an individual whose ability to share his or her horticultural knowledge with others has contributed to a better public understanding of the plant world and its important influence on society. Robert Herman’s career spans more than three decades and two continents, with extensive experience in both horticulture and education. Currently he is an instructor and acting coordinator of the horticulture program at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he involves students in campus and community projects. Prior to NVCC, Herman worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, where he started the Master Gardener Program, trained and mentored volunteers, coordinated the adult education program, and was responsible for all interpretive signage. He has also taught for the University of Massachusetts and at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Earlier in his career, while working at a perennial plant nursery in Germany, Herman trained German apprentice horticulturists and created an internship program for Americans. He also worked as director of horticulture at White Flower Farm, where he started an internship to introduce young Europeans to American horticulture. In 2009, Herman received a national award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Texas.

Given to an individual, institution, or company for significant contributions to urban horticulture and the beautification of American cities. An all-volunteer community organization formed in 2004 in Roslindale, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, Roslindale Green & Clean (RG&C) was developed by a group of residents whose goal was to create green, visible, attractive, and pleasant oases within the town’s busy urban center. With the help of the City of Boston and other neighborhood groups, six projects have been completed and more are planned as the organization grows. A small but dedicated group of volunteers maintains the sites throughout the growing season. Through special events like the Green Garden Exchange—an educational program that offers participants practical information on plant selection and gardening techniques they can apply in their own gardens—and a planned 2010 Roslindale Garden Tour, RG&C continues to raise community interest and participation in enhancing Roslindale’s public spaces. Above: Maggie Redfern and Diane Carter Duggan

Four gardening books published in 2009 have been awarded the American Horticultural Society’s annual Book Award. An additional book received the AHS Citation of Merit.

The winning books, listed below, were selected by the 2010 Book Award Committee chaired by Marty Ross, a regional contributor for Better Homes & Gardens and writer for Universal Press Syndicate who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and in Hayes, Virginia. Other committee members were Scott Calhoun, a garden designer and author based in Tucson, Arizona; Jane Glasby, associate librarian for the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture in San Francisco, California; Doug Green, a garden writer and online media entrepreneur based in Stella, Ontario; Doreen Howard of Roscoe, Illinois, a former garden editor for Woman’s Day who writes for various garden publications; Irene Virag, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer for Newsday who lives in Fort Salonga, New York; and William Welch, a professor and Extension specialist at Texas A&M University and author of several garden books. The awards are based on qualities such as writing style, authority, accuracy, graphic design, and physical quality.

The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf—Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York
“With a well-written and compelling narrative, Andrea Wulf sheds light on a band of 18th century plant-lovers—English and American—who changed the world of gardening,” says Irene Virag. “This book is an important contribution to our horticultural heritage,” notes William Welch. “Lest you fear the book is set in staid drawing rooms filled with rattling tea cups and powdered wigs, the text is peppered with tales of English playboys on high seas plant adventures, Tahitian orgies, and glimpses into Benjamin Franklin’s passion for horticulture,” says Scott Calhoun.

Parks, Plants, and People by Lynden B. Miller—W. W. Norton & Company, New York, New York
“In an age where public and common spaces are threatened by underfunding and privatization, Lynden Miller makes a clear case for their continued importance in our lives,” says Jane Glasby. “Though this intriguing narrative about the demise and restoration of some of America’s best-known urban parks and gardens is New York-centered, the general principles apply anywhere,” says Scott Calhoun. “The author offers a lot of great design and planting observations that worked in these public projects, but also would be beautiful in home gardens,” says Marty Ross. Above: Lynden Miller, right

The Explorer’s Garden by Daniel J. Hinkley—Timber Press, Portland, Oregon
“This book is a wonderful education in the form of a book,” says Marty Ross. “It offers an opportunity to learn about rare and interesting plants, see them beautifully photographed, and read the fascinating stories about collecting them,” says William Welch. “I particularly liked the propagation and hardiness comments Hinkley provided with each plant, and I wound up with a way-too-large must-grow list after reading it,” says Doug Green.

Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart—Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
“I love Stewart’s criteria for inclusion of a plant in this book…..a body count! The histories of various “perps” are entertaining, educational, and spell-binding,” notes Doreen Howard. “The book contains stories well told, and I love the illustrations, which are appropriately macabre,” says Jane Glasby. “Stewart has uncovered a treasure trove of great plant stories, and relates them with a sense of humor,” says Irene Virag.

Citation of Special Merit
The AHS Book Award is given to publishers for a single book published in a specific year. However, this year a Citation of Special Merit is being awarded in recognition of a regularly revised reference that has made significant contributions to horticultural literature over time.

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael Dirr—Stipes Publishing L. L. C., Champaign, Illinois
First published in 1975, this volume has become an essential reference for horticulture students, professionals, and home gardeners. The most recent 6th edition (2009) covers more than 2,000 taxa of trees and shrubs. “Dirr’s updated edition, the culmination of a life’s work of observations and experience, is a delight,” says Marty Ross. “His book is a friendly, opinionated masterwork, and a reference I couldn’t do without.”

Know the difference between a rabbit and a hare?

13 06 2010

Well, you will shortly. Mosey on over to my father’s blog (click on link below) and learn some fascinating facts about both! (And you thought I was the only one who researched my subjects ad nauseum—I am my father’s daughter. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). 


See more of my father’s pondering, hypothesizing and philosophizing, musings, comments, lectures, diatribes, royal reflections and revelations, essays, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies, tall tales, fables, childhood memories, yarns, jokes, poems, political and social commentary, and my favorite of his topics—excellent grammatical lessons—on his website, thekingoftexas.wordpress.com

Blooming in my garden today…

13 06 2010

Easy-to-grow perennial ‘Blue Star’ Stoke’s Aster (Stokesia laevis) and unidentified yellow lily 

Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand
Goes home loaded with a thought. 

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

And the entries just keep a’comin’…

13 06 2010

Below are three entrants (and the only entrants thus far, bless them) of my Polaroid Notecards Essay Contest. Thanks to Alex, Bo and CheyAnne for submitting their wonderful essays. Read more about the contest (you, too, could win!) here. Contest rules and regulations can be found here. And remember, just like the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes—if you don’t enter, you can’t win!

First up is Alex Solla, of Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography, in Trumansburg, NY. (Be sure to check out his website below—he and his wife, Nancy, create beautiful pottery in truly yummy colors!) To preface his essay, Alex wrote: “Alright Cindy, you win. I held out because I figured you would be inundated with stories and after the umpteenth,the last thing you would want is to hear yet another gardening story. Having held a few contests over at my pottery blog, I know that a lot of times, folks just don’t anty up. No clue as to why. So here’s your story:

Ten years ago this August, I bought the house we live in. A month later I met my wife Nancy. One of our first goals was to clean up the yard and prepare a veggie garden. For the most part this yard was as flat as a pancake. The only distinguishing features were tall white pines lining the driveway, a huge blue spruce next to a very old outhouse and between both…was this enormous pile of blackberry brambles and grapevine. Fifty feet on all sides—it was HUGE! We tried at first to mow it. Broke a very expensive old riding mower. Ripped the transmission completely out of the machine. Then we tried the age old jungle solution: the machete. After a few near misses with my shins, we called that experiment done. That night, as my wife and I sat soaked in sweat, trying to imagine the dirt under all that overgrowth, our neighbor arrived. Most folks have neighbors who go to work at a normal hour and mow the yard on the weekend. Not mine. He’s an excavator, so he is up before 5 a.m. revving engines of his dozers and backhoes and such. Well, he took one look at our project and zipped back over to his house. The next thing we know, he is driving a monster backhoe through our yard. He spent the next hour as the sun set, ripping out roots of grapevines that were huge stumps! He took all of this green and by the time he went home, we could see DIRT! With all the plant material staring us in the face, we took some of the other move-in detritus and made the most beautiful burn pile. A week later, we had cleared, fenced, rich soil.

Because of all that sweat and toil, the first plants to grow into this garden held a special place in my heart. I had never photographed flowers or plants before, but as soon as we had color that spring, I was out in the garden shooting every flower I could catch. This started my love affair with plant photography. Your blog has been a huge inspiration. Your color saturation is just amazing. If you ever have time, would you consider writing a tutorial about how you capture such fantastic images?

Alex Solla
Cold Springs Studio Pottery and Photography
Trumansburg, NY

Website: www.coldspringsstudio.com

Blog: http://oohmyheck.blogspot.com 

HEAD JUDGE’S NOTE: Alex wins extra points (and possibly extra notecards!) by shamelessly flattering the head judge at the end of his essay! And to answer your question about writing a garden photography tutorial—it’s in the works, so please stay tuned.


Next up is Bo Mackison, of Seeded Earth Studio, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin. Bo is a frequent contributor to WisconsinNative.com, writing and photographing for both the Wandering Wisconsin and Travel Green. Her photography has been featured in regional and national architectural magazines, national travel guides and in a book on Functional Architecture published in 2009.

I have only a fairly small garden, maybe four or five dozen perennials. And each spring and summer, these eagerly awaited for blooms are half eaten by the rabbits in my yard who are attracted by my gourmet floral dinners. They are particularly fond of my coral bells, sweet williams, and balloon flowers. I have taken to spraying the garden with a foul smelling concoction—organic and putrid. It reminds me of a spoiled milk, rotten egg combination, plus a few other horrible odors thrown in for good measure. It successfully keeps the rabbits away, so I can still enjoy looking at my flowers, but it totally prevents me from photographing my flowers.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if I could shoot and run. Grab my camera, hold my breath, run up, and take a quick snapshot. Unfortunately, that is not my photographic style. I like to get close when photographing my flowers. Really close. I like to study the angles and natural lighting, brush off specks of dirt and remove wandering insects. More often than not, I find myself lying on the earth, looking straight up the stem of a flowering plant, trying to capture an unusual perspective. I can do none of this when the plants are saturated in “Stinky-Rabbit-Keep-Away.”

I have solved my problem with a compromise. I spray my garden so I can at least enjoy the beauty of the flowers. And then I travel a few miles down the road to a wonderful garden planted by the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Horticulture. In a garden less than 2.5 acres, there are literally thousands of plants, many of them experimental, so there are many opportunities for me to look for that special blossom.

I truly have a feast of flowers to photograph, and without any assault to my nose. The garden’s tall fences do a great job of protecting the flowers and plants from hungry critters. And I can take my photographs at my leisure, sometimes spending several hours in the garden, often flat on my back, three or four days a week.

Yes, my idea of heaven on earth! Literally.

Bo Mackison
Seeded Earth Studio LLC
Madison, WI  

Blog:  http://seededearth.com

Website: http://historicplacesphotography.com



And last, but not least, is CheyAnne Sexton, a talented watercolor artist and photographer from New Mexico.

Let’s see, where to start. Quite a few years ago, while I was raising our babies in a little mobile home park in the mountains west of Durango, Colorado, I started to garden. I loved this space we had been living in just because of the water available to use in the garden. The area was a canyon that ran north and south, so in the summer when it was blazing hot in the Colorado sun, my yard was in cool, wonderful shade. I loved this yard, but it was sadly very bare. Too many people had lived and moved away without caring about the earth around them.

An older woman in the neighborhood asked me to come and help in her yard and my husband agreed to watch the little ones. Her yard was overtaken with these beautiful little yellow flowers. I found out later that they were buttercups. I fell in love immediately. They had deep green leaves and bright, bright yellow cups about the size of my thumb. They spread by runners and grew short in the sunshine but longer and more leggy in the shade. Well, this woman wanted me to pull them all and throw them away. I couldn’t bare the thought of throwing these beauties out so I asked if it was alright to keep them myself. She assured me I really didn’t want to, but please help myself and please try to get them all. I had learned the hard way that it’s a lot easier to pull “weeds” if the ground is wet, so I soaked and pulled, and pulled and pulled them all. Her yard look so bare, I felt guilty, but I was so happy because I had soda cardboard flats full of these wonderful little creatures to take back to my own bare yard. Another lesson I learned quickly—It’s a lot easier to pull than plant! But plant I did, for quite a few days and still I had more left. I started giving them away to other neighbors and finally I left the couple of remaining flats lying by the strawberry bed, determined to not care if just these 40 or so remaining plants died, because I had already saved sooooo many. Even these grew from the little bit of guilty watering I did when I watered the strawberries.

These little buttercups grew everywhere I planted them and even beyond there to places out of reach. It was wonderful to watch. In fact, a few years later I dug up invading ones and sold them to a local nursery in town. Fun, fun, fun! Buttercups are still one of my favorite flowers to see. I don’t have any here in northern New Mexico and I’m not sure I will. They do like lots of water, and since we haul all our water for plantings, that amount is just not feasible right now. In fact, I have seen a similar variety growing by the acequias here. I have yet to investigate—I’m a little afraid that I would fall in love all over again with their sweet little yellow faces. I have been known to get out my trusty little foldable garden shovel for just such inspirations!

Blog: http://newmexicomtngirl.com/

Paintings and photography for sale:

Shasta daisies blooming in my garden

12 06 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

In bloom at Green Spring Gardens

12 06 2010

Ah, yes, this is the life—lost myself for a few hours this afternoon at my favorite garden—and I still didn’t cover everything that was blooming. Kudos to the staff and the volunteers who make this place such a treasure (and an escape for this photographer, too!).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

The fruits of Friday

11 06 2010

Just enough to make a single-serving salad, I know—but they’re the first harvest of 2010 and that’s cause enough for celebration! I bought this particular plant at a local plant stand and have planted several more plants that a friend gave me. (Thanks, Sophia!) There’s fruit on other vines, but not ripe just yet. We’re trying out the “Topsy-Turvy Tomato” gizmo this year—I’ll keep you posted on the results. No, you’re not imagining that the plate isn’t completely round—it’s a free form set of appetizer plates from Crate & Barrel. And yes, in fact, I do sing the song below when I pick my tomatoes. Love me some John Denver! 

Home Grown Tomatoes
Words and music by Guy Clark. Recorded by John Denver and first released on his album, Higher Ground. 

There ain’t nothin in the world that I like better
Than bacon ‘n lettuce ‘n homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin, out in the garden
Get you a ripe one, don’t pick a hard ‘un
Plant ’em in the spring, eat ’em in the summer
All winter without ’em is a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin and the diggin
Every time I go out and pick me a big ‘un

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

You can go out to eat an that’s for sure
But there’s nothin a homegrown tomato won’t cure
Put ’em in a salad, put ’em in a stew
You can make your own tomato juice
You can eat ’em with eggs, eat ’em with gravy
You can eat ’em with beans, pinto or navy
Put ’em on the side, put ’em in the middle
Home grown tomatoes on a hot cake griddle

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

If I’s to change this life I lead
You could call me Johnny Tomato Seed
Cause I know what this country needs
Home grown tomatoes in every yard you see
When I die don’t bury me
In a box in a cold dark cemetary
Out in the garden would be much better
Cause I could be pushin up a home grown tomato

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. 

Morning blooms

8 06 2010

Lovely and lusciously luminous lilies in sweet, succulent, seductively spectacular shades of sherbet glisten in my grand and gloriously gorgeous green garden (this sentence created solely to amuse my alliteration-loving father)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.