Koi pond at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

9 02 2010

On Thursday morning Michael’s father took us to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. The 9.5-acre bayfront property is best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids as well as its large representation of warm tropical epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that grow upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or on objects such as buildings or wires. They derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and are found in temperate zones. Epiphytes include some ferns, cacti, orchids, bromeliads, mosses, liverwort, Spanish moss, lichens and algae.

I shot the image below at the Koi Pond at Selby Gardens. I saw this statue and visualized the koi swirling around it, but the fish were right up against the edge of the pond, begging for handouts. So Michael ran off to buy fish food to help make my image happen (isn’t he the best?). He came back empty-handed since they ration out only a day’s worth of fish food for visitors to purchase. Not about to give up on my vision, I asked him to just splash water toward the statue. Bingo—the entire mass of fish started swimming in that direction. Psych! Click! (click, click, click…9 shots later…)

Wikipedia: Koi were developed from common carp in Japan in the 1820s and are a symbol of love and friendship. The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia….The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Carp as known as koi in Japan.

I especially enjoyed the art exhibit, Batiks Botanicos—Gardens, Plants and Flowers for the Soul, on display until February 23 at the Museum of Botany and the Arts in the Mansion at Selby Gardens. A native of Colombia, artist Angela Maria Isaza captures tropical and exotic plants using the batik process. Originating in the East, batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique. Isaza applies hot wax and various dyes to natural fiber cloth to create her beautiful paintings. This step-by-step process is based on the principle that wax resists the water-based dyes. After wax is applied to certain areas, the fabric is dyed in one color. The dye penetrates the unwaxed areas. This process is repeated several times. The wax is removed by ironing the cloth between newspaper pages.

Many of the paintings that are on display can be seen on her website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Kreepy kacti and kuddly kritters

2 12 2008

(Hey, if the Kactus Korral can take liberties on the spelling of their name, I should be able to do the same!)

Creepy cacti and sumptious succulents weren’t the only photographic subjects on our visit to the Kactus Korral. (See my previous posting here.) As soon as we entered the greenhouse, a small and elusive black cat appeared. We later discovered she was checking on her three tiny, six-week-old kittens. I discovered the kittens under a table and fell instantly in love! One was a calico and the other two were torties—one with a neat yin & yang stripe down its nose.

Plants and kittens…do I have to choose?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Kactus Korral revisited

2 12 2008

On this trip to Texas, we stopped at the Kactus Korral in Harwood, Texas, before heading to our final destination—San Antonio. Usually we stop at the Kactus Korral on the way back to Virginia (after leaving space in the car to fill with plants, of course). We learned from Molly (our friendly plant expert/cashier pictured in the last photo below) that the Kactus Korral will probably be closed by January 2009.

Saddened by that news, I bought more plants than usual, knowing I wouldn’t get a chance to see this many gorgeous plants in so many varieties again. I picked up some that I don’t ever see in our local nurseries, such as two variations of the otherworldly “Ghost Cactus” (Euphorbia trigona ‘Ghost’), which is native to Mexico. Once again, we scored bargains. Essentially everything was 50% off—the plants I picked out ranged from less than $2 for the smallest size to under $6 for the largest. After gathering my bounty, I photographed my favorite plant heaven one last time while Molly calculated the (minor) damage to my cash-on-hand. Many of the plants were in bloom, so I got to see what one of my favorite plants—Lithops or “living stones”—might look like when they finally bloom. This time around, I bought 4″ pots with large “colonies” of these amazing little brainy-looking plants rather than the small single specimens. Many of them were already blooming with pink, yellow, and white fringe-like flowers. (See my posting last year on the Kactus Korral here.)

If you’re in the San Antonio/Austin area, you might want to check out the Kactus Korral before it closes. The selection is overwhelming, the plants are very healthy, and the prices (plants are 50% off, pots are 60% off) are amazing. I just wish I had the money (and the space) to offer to buy their inventory! Michael and I pondered that insane idea, thinking we could start a cacti/succulent nursery in Virginia—since no one in our area offers such an incredible variety of cacti and succulents. My only problem would be letting go of the inventory!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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