4 09 2020

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

As soon as I saw this jumble of sprouted bulbs (still in the bag on the potting bench), I immediately thought of these lyrics by my beloved John Denver:

I want to live I want to grow
I want to see I want to know
I want to share what I can give
I want to be I want to live

I *think* these are iris bulbs. Or very tiny gladiola bulbs. The label was now rendered illegible due to the rain. I ordered them online, and while I planted everything else, I left these on the bench, intending to find a place for them later. Then the rains came. And came. And came. When there wasn’t rain, I watered the garden daily, never seeing these still on the bench. Just now, I glanced over and saw some tall green stalks on the bench. Whaaaaaa? The little bulbs had sprouted; every single one of them! They were poking through the holes in the bag, roots entangling. The roots even went through the bag and had attached themselves to my gardening gloves.

I sat at the patio table and cut them free from the bag and found a home for them in the garden.


25 06 2019

Daffodils (missed this one from a series I shot back in April) Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Daffodils.jpg


6 05 2019

Tulips in my garden (Nikon D850 with the 105mm micro lens)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Three Yellow Tulips

iPhoneography: Carolyn’s paperwhites

12 02 2019

iPhone 8Plus, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Attachment-1 (4)

Peony ‘Cora Louise’

20 05 2018

This one’s for you, Lisa Russell Jackson! ITOH (intersectional hybrid) Peony ‘Cora Louise’, photographed at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro, 1/80, f/22, ISO 250

If you visit Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, check out Lisa’s wonderful gift store. She has my greeting cards available, and one of the newest cards has two of these beautiful blooms on it.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB White PInk Peony 2

Double Late Tulip ‘Orange Princess’

1 05 2018

Double Late Tulip ‘Orange Princess’ (I’m hunting bulbs these down for my garden!) They’re simply stunning blooms–love the green streaks that run through the orange and yellow. This particular shot isn’t heavy on the green striations; I’ll share one that shows more of this color contrast. This was shot with the new Nikon D850 and the Nikkor 105mm micro lens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Orange Princess Tulip x2

Blooming in my garden: Gladiolas

26 06 2017

Unknown cultivar © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB First Glad 2

WEB First Glad 3

WEB First Glad Bloom.jpg

Double flowering tulip

29 04 2014

I needed to look at a jolt of color on this oh-so-dreary-raining-since-this-morning day here in Northern Virginia! (Ah, but the garden needs rain, so can’t complain too much.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





20 04 2014

I was in heaven photographing these double flowering tulips against a backdrop of violas.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


White muscari (Muscari argaei ‘Album’)

20 04 2014

Muscari, taking a siesta on a nearby tulip leaf

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Siberian iris

12 05 2012

Siberian iris (Iris siberica, unknown variety)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Lycoris radiata (Red Spider Lily)

11 09 2011

This lovely perennial, also known as Spider Lily and Naked Lily, is a member of the Amaryllis family and was introduced to the U.S. in 1854 by Captain William Roberts with just three bulbs he acquired in Japan. I photographed this bloom this afternoon at Green Spring Gardens.

Learn “How to Grow Your Garden Photography Skills” in my recent profile with Nikon here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

‘Queen Fabiola’

6 06 2011

Queen Fabiola (Triteleia laxa); common name—Ithuriel’s Spear; photographed at Green Spring Gardens. Perennial in zones 7-10, prefers full sun for most prolific blooming, drought tolerant, 10-20 elongated Agapanthus-like flowers per stem, blooms in late spring to early summer, grown from bulbs.

It has such a long name for such a tiny and delicate flower. The real Queen Fabiola is Dona Fabiola María de las Victorias Antonia Adelaida de Mora y Aragón (now that is a long name!), a member of the Belgian Royal Family. She is called Her Majesty Queen Fabiola of the Belgians.

Learn more about this flower here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Tulip trio

22 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus)

31 01 2011

I force paperwhite bulbs every year and always forget about their scent—when they begin to bloom and I haven’t noticed yet, I walk around the kitchen and living room and ask myself, “what is that smell?” You’d think I’d learn! I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the smell. It’s okay when you get the first whiff of it, but I made the mistake of moving them from their usual place in the kitchen (which I rarely inhabit) to a table in the living room (where you’ll find me if I’m not in my studio). And I’ve had a mild headache ever since doing so. Wonder why? I’m tempted to call it a day (or a bloom) and pitch them, but some blooms haven’t opened yet and I just can’t bring myself to interrupt the blooming process, obsessive gardener that I am.

I just read a post on Margaret Roach’s blog, awaytogarden.com, about paperwhites and the trick to keeping them from flopping over (gin, vodka or rubbing alcohol). She also mentions that adding a few drops of bleach might limit the strong scent (if you find the scent offensive, that is). Margaret was the first garden editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Go check out her blog—it’s wonderful!

I also learned something from the reader comments: Brent of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs says that the Israeli hybrids are the ones that “stink.” Most likely mine are the ‘Ziva’ hybrid that dominate the market for forced bulbs. He recommends one of the newer Israeli introductions, ‘Inbal,’ which has a nice fragrance. I’ll look for that hybrid in their catalog—but it’s still so convenient to get my $5-after-Christmas-sale-deal at Target, complete with the pot and growing mix—despite the stinkiness. I’ll just keep them in the kitchen again next year.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Spring Beauty

25 03 2010

One of my favorite little spring flowers at Green Spring Gardens is Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’—also known as Spring Beauty Scilla, Wood Squill or Siberian Squill (Liliaceae family). Tiny and delicate bright porcelain blue flowers grow on 4-6 inch stalks from bulbs in early spring in full sun to part shade. Tough and extremely cold hardy (Zones 2-8), this low-maintenance plant naturalizes easily by bulb offshoots and through self-seeding. Until this morning, I had never seen the underside of these shy, downward-facing blooms. The wind had flipped back a few blossoms, revealing their “faces.” I also photographed a white form, ‘Alba.’ Green Spring Gardens also grows a striped squill, Puschkinia libanotica. The website tulipworld.com states that although this striped form is hardly known, it is one of the best bulbs for beginners because it can be grown almost anywhere as long as there is proper drainage. And their price is right, too—40 bulbs for just $9.71—can’t beat that!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Plant shopping!

24 03 2010

Because of the various gaps in my front and back yard gardens (due to the age of the garden and our crazy winter weather), I’ll need to do a bit more planting than usual this year. We also took out two butterfly bushes that grew too big for the space, so that left two big gaps in the side garden. (Note: When the tag on the plant states that a butterfly bush grows 5-8 feet wide, do not ignore it and buy the plants just because they are “today only, just $5 each!”). I speak from experience: if you have a townhouse garden, you do not have the room for this monster—much less two of them!) They will be relocated somewhere else where they have room to spread.

I just ordered some replacement plants from Michigan Bulb Company, Spring Hill Nursery and Dutch Bulbs this week and got some really great deals, particularly with their “buy x, get x free” specials. I’m adding things that I would love to photograph this year and most species that I haven’t grown before. I’ll add few more things like herbs (basil, mint and oregano) for my kitchen garden. I also bought inexpensive bulbs from Wal-Mart this week, too (Liatris, Crocosmia and my favorite, lilies!). I’m filling in the gaps with these great deals and since they’re all perennials, I should have easy sailing for a few more years.

From the Michigan Bulb Co., I ordered (left to right, top to bottom, photos from catalog): Sparkle Meadow Rue, Green Wizard Rudbeckia, Foamflower, Montana Skies Delphinium, Toad Lily Mix, Twinkle Toes, Double-Decker Coneflower, Licorice Mint, Petite Delight Bee Balm, Blue Fringe Daisy, Helenium Mix and Blue Mist Shrub

From van Bourgondein (dutchbulbs.com), I ordered (left to right, photos from catalog): Gloriosa Rothschildiana (gorgeous!), Habeneria Radiata/Egret Flower (I’m really excited about growing and photographing this unusual beauty—not an inexpensive bulb, but I’ve been wanting one ever since they debuted—tell me this isn’t one of the coolest plants you’ve ever seen!), and Hardy Gladiolus Atom (love the white piping outline—wait, is that a 3 point reverse rule around those petals?!)

And finally, from Spring Hill Nursery, I ordered (left to right, photos from catalog): Coral Drops, Lemon Fluff (how cute are these?) and Anchusa Azurea

Wish me luck with my green thumb and be on standby for photographs throughout this spring and summer!

Bull Run Bluebells

9 04 2009

For many years I’ve been meaning to go see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) en masse at Bull Run Regional Park in Manassas about this time of the year. I can now cross that excursion off my list! If you live in Northern Virginia (or thereabouts), there’s an annual Bull Run Bluebell Walk at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 12.

As I mentioned in my earlier posting here, I wanted to avoid the crowds and certainly did. We encountered less than a dozen hikers and photographers on our hike down the Bluebell Trail.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of plants in bloom, though, and a bit hard to work around the plethora of trees, trunks, and fallen branches to get that stellar shot. Many of the landscape-with-Bluebell shots I got were more “record” shots than stellar. Michael found a plastic bag in the car (the ground was still quite damp), and we both hunkered down on the ground to get up close and personal with a few perfect specimens. Our positioning also allowed us to discover other plants in bloom: Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) and Cutleaf Toothwarts (Dentaria laciniata, a member of the Mustard family, Brassicaceae). From a distance, Cutleaf Toothworts, whose beauty belies their nefarious-sounding name, look very similar to the ‘Spring Beauty’ wildflowers.

We also took along the Interfit 5 in 1 collapsible reflector (translucent portion only) to block the mid-day sun and get more saturated color. I’ve used the reflector in the studio and for outdoor portraits, but since I usually follow the rule of “shoot flowers in early a.m. or late p.m.,” I’ve never used it for this purpose. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before—I can now shoot flowers even in the worst light of day for flower photography—that mid-day sun!

While researching where best to photograph fields of Bluebells, I stumbled upon Chris Kayler’s posting about them here. Take a look at his Nature Photography Gallery. Chris, a student at Northern Virginia Community College, specializes in nature and wildlife photography, and lives in Manassas. Spectacular work, Chris!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Spring Beauty

1 04 2009

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’—also known as Spring Beauty Scilla or Siberian Squill (Liliaceae family). Showy blue flowers bloom from bulbs in April in full sun to part shade. Tough and extremely cold hardy (Zones 2-8), this low-maintenance plant naturalizes easily by bulb offshoots and through self-seeding. Learn more about this flower here. This site states that this particular Squill is great for forcing indoors. Guess what I’m growing indoors next winter!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Snow(flakes) in the garden

17 04 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos

Okay. I did my best to figure out which snowflake this is. I have failed you. So, if someone out there in blogging land can correctly identify (with footnotes, supporting evidence, etc.) this particular Snowflake, there will be a prize for your efforts.

Uh-oh, gotta have one of these now

11 04 2008

I really should be in bed now but after a full day of design work on the computer, I’m still up, restless and can’t sleep, so I’ve been perusing gardening blogs and bulb sites. Then this caught my eye and I’m thinking I must add at least one to my garden. I can just imagine the size of the hole I would have to dig to make a home for one of these bulbs (who am I kidding? I’d beg Michael to dig them for me). And they’re pricey, too. (Just imagine how sad you would be if your green thumb failed you on this purchase!). They’re “Giant white squills,” a plant I’ve never even heard about (and which I now seriously covet). The bulbs are each ten years old, 8 inches across, and cost $25 each! Whoa.

Get ’em here: