Published: Anything But Ordinary—Inspiring and Unique Flowers

23 11 2011

As a gardener and as an artist and photographer, I have long been attracted to more unusual plants—those that are showy, quirky, alien-like, and over-the-top—anything but ordinary. Any plant or flower that makes me ask,“what in the world is that?” has a place in my garden! Many of these flowers can also be used in bouquets, adding a touch of the exotic and unusual to any arrangement.

In the link below, you can read my latest column for the Bloomin’ Blog, a monthly newsletter published by the flowershopnetwork.com.

http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/unique-flowers-photos/

You can see my previous columns in the links below:

http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/got-the-blues/

http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/passion-purple-flowers/

http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/fall-garden-flowers/

Advertisements




100,000 hits!

4 10 2009

I was checking my blog stats and discovered that my busiest day ever was Wednesday, May 6, 2009, with a total of 440 hits. And 46 of those were for my Cabbage White Butterfly camouflage posting—must have been a lot of curious bug spotters that day!

To celebrate this milestone of 100,000 hits, I offer the following:

1. Oddest word searches that brought visitors to my blog:

kids running to touch wood  (a good old-fashioned—and legal—way to pass time)
beard of bees  (no thank you)
daylilies bugs hug   (aww….)
zoo-dutch dog with 2 ladies (1)  (huh?)
waffle house dirty    (hate it when that happens)
polaroid skull     (!)
hermaphrodite plant ruin    (I dare not ask.)
I never saw a purple cow what does it mean    (We’ll probably never really know.)
baby robin dying? crying   (Yep, that would be me doing the crying.)
cool stuff for 20 bucks    (Where? Where????)
gluten free elephant ears    (Didn’t know you could eat them!)
And then there’s the SPAM that gets filtered…    (…and sometimes it doesn’t)
Above-board! Just looking for you highly priced!   (Lost in translation)
young illegal booty content    (Again, I dare not ask.)
what is the flower is blue with 4 pedals   (A flower with pedals? How mobile it could be!)
when the cactus dies my love for you die   (Easy fix. Just don’t overwater.)
can you get high from a magnolia bud    (What? Morning glory seeds didn’t do it for ya?)
i shot myself flower    (Again—what’s up with the violence + flower stuff?)
now, that’s more like it ebay    (eBay sucks for sellers)
things cost an arm a leg or a soul    (Never bought anything that cost my soul!)
puppy girls feet wall paper    (That sounds like an HGTV decorating disaster.)
pups don’t shed for sale   (would make a very good name for a rock band)
sequim booty    (Hmm….Sequim, Washington? Known for booty? Who woulda thunk?)
elephant foot yam butterflies moths   (okay, way too much going on in this search)
cialis cindy   (alright already…enough with the cialis and viagara, spammers!)
legged fish wiki   
20 bucks    (I’ll take it!)
puppy road    (Puppy road, take me home, to the place where I belong, West Virginia…)
duck herding women    (I knew animals would take over one day, I just knew it!)
away morning
bulletin board idea for peek a boo   
tiny little bugs in kitchen denver  
fairmont empress + “bed bugs” 
spring rose sex
very little girl!   

________________________________________________________________________________

2. Top 10 posts of all time on this blog (click on post name to view):

Concrete leaf casting: 4,094 viewers

Color Magic Rose: 2,017 viewers

Crafty room divider screen: 1,730 viewers

Stuff About Me: 1,602 viewers

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth: 806 viewers

Heavenly blue: 704 viewers

Gigglebean with parrot and sugar glider: 661 viewers

Spotlight on Abbie!: 626 viewers

Mina Lobata (Spanish Flag): 576 viewers

Monarch butterfly habitat poster: 536 viewers

________________________________________________________________________________

3. Top 10 referrers:

my2008blog.wordpress.com: 421 referrals  (Thanks, Birgitte!)

contradica.blogspot.com: 265 referrals  (Thanks, Abbie!)

penick.net/digging: 181 referrals  (Thanks, Pam!)

phillipoliver.blogspot.com: 178 referrals  (Thanks, Phillip!)

auntdebbisgarden.blogspot.com: 128 referrals  (Thanks, Debbi!)

mommymirandamusings.blogspot.com: 107 referrals  (Thanks, Heather!)

moresecretwhispers.wordpress.com: 99 referrals  (Thanks, Chloe!)

www.fotoblography.com: 87 referrals  (Thanks, Andy!)

www.outerchat.com: 86 referrals  (Thanks, Senthill!)

www.stphoto.wordpress.com: 62 referrals  (Thanks, Scott!)

________________________________________________________________________________

4. Top 10 links that visitors went to from my blog:

Concrete garden leaves: 1,196 clicks

Color Magic Rose photo: 698 clicks

Martha Stewart’s website: 654 clicks

Making a leaf casting: 641 clicks

Little and Lewis (concrete casting artists): 472 clicks

Jacquard Products (again, concrete casting related link!): 408 clicks

Ellis Hollow Blog (yet another concrete leaf cast related link): 213 clicks

My “Punch O Color” photo collage: 203 clicks

Photo collage of my garden club doing concrete casting: 200 clicks

PDF download of Abbie Cranmer’s feature article in Hearing Loss Magazine: 196 clicks

________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve been remiss in posting as often as I normally do. Work and other commitments called and something had to be set aside. To my regular and most loyal visitors, I offer a plea for leniency (and patience). I’ll be back soon with a plethora of postings, I promise! (In fact, I see that my white Japanese anemones have begun to bloom in the front yard…might they be my next subject?)





Re-post: Rhymes with Orange

15 07 2009

DCUC Cover 2Why I feel the need to revisit orange: I’m working on final changes to a conference program for a client. The conference is next month in San Francisco. The client is working on conference signage and just asked if I knew what PMS (Pantone Matching System) ink color would be closest to the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. I googled “what PMS color is the Golden Gate Bridge?” Apparently the Golden Gate Bridge people have answered that question many times before. It’s PMS 173! See the background info in the two links below. Hmmm…Now I’m thinking I might change that red-colored bar at the bottom to something closer to PMS 173! I need a color pick-me-up—who doesn’t? So here you go!

PMS173Swatchhttp://goldengatebridge.org/research/factsGGBIntOrngPaint.php

http://www.flickr.com/photos/telstar/2903029/

________________________________________________

Original posting, January 30, 2009: 

For several months now I’ve been trying to catalog my images better, bit by bit (there are thousands and thousands of photos). While organizing my garden photos folder I noticed that I have a plethora of orange-hued flowers so I put together this collage of all things orange-ish to brighten your winter day.

Tangerine. Coral. Day-glow orange. Push-up popsicle orange. Sunset. Pumpkin. 70s shag carpet orange (I did window display at a department store while in college and there was multi-shaded orange shag carpet in each window. Do you know how hard it is to design around that color scheme? I covered it up every chance I got—with a decorating budget of zilch, unfortunately. I asked for $5 once for a huge set of markers and my boss freaked out).

Orange peel. Safety orange. Salmon (did you know that the “l” in salmon is silent? The correct pronunciation is “sam-uhn.” Don’t believe me? Click here).

Frou-frou-big-bowed-bridesmaid-dress-apricot (yes, I had to wear one once upon a time). Carrot. Persimmon. Vermilion. Orange-red. Rusty can orange. Burnt orange. Tomato. Panama Brown orange (the color Dad insists his old diesel VW Rabbit was—sorry, Dad, it was ORANGE).

After a week of designing at the computer in a cold basement, pausing only to look out at winter gray skies (save for that remarkable sunset on Wednesday), I needed a jolt of color to inspire me. What better color than orange?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

rhymeswithorange





Firecracker!

29 07 2008

I grew four of these annual vines again this year. This incredibly beautiful vine blooms mid-summer to fall. The Latin name is “Mina Lobata.” The common name is “Spanish flag” or “Firecracker vine.” I posted a photo of my first vine (grown from seed!) here. Today the vines were chock full of these tiny flags, waving in the breeze.

Learn more about this exotic vine here and at Taunton’s Fine Gardening site here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







Organized chaos vs. needs medication

24 05 2008

“Organized chaos,” was Michael’s response yesterday when I asked him to describe the front yard garden. I also asked him to guess what passersby might be thinking. I’m thinking they think I have too much time on my hands…or perhaps I have an illness that could be regulated with medication. I must say that when I’m in the kitchen, near the windows overlooking the two sides of the garden, and someone goes by—I try to catch their expressions and see how long their eyes linger over the garden. So many just pass by without even a glance to their right. How in the world can they do that? Those that take time to pause from their running, walking, jogging, baby-stroller-pushing, dog-walking jaunts get a silent stamp of approval from me. Aside from my own visual gratification, I create this “organized chaos” for them, too.

Recently my friend Gina spent an entire afternoon helping us clean up the backyard and plant those last few bulbs and impromptu plant purchases from the Green Springs Garden plant sale last weekend. I cajoled her into taking leftover bulbs, excess plants, garden ornaments, an old table, empty pots, etc…anything to just get my backyard looking like paradise again. She and Michael kept shaking their heads every time I came up with a statement like, “oh…um… I forgot about the free sundrops someone abandoned in the parking lot. Where should we (shove) those?” Or, “if we just stake up that bunch of plants, I’m sure we can find several inches of valuable real estate in which to plant these lily bulbs I forgot about.” Or, “we’re almost done, guys, just six more things to plant. Okay…I forgot about those, okay, eight more things, and then we’re definitely done.” I confess. I’ve never met a plant I didn’t like. I take great comfort in knowing that I am far from alone with my disease. I’m in such good company with other plantaholics!

The front part is about half in bloom. Right now, the penstemon, beard’s tongue, sweet william, catmint, yellow yarrow, sweet william, coreopsis, thyme, veronica, rose campion, salvia, ice plants, and sedums are in various stages of bloom. My ‘Purple sensation’ alliums are past their prime, now in their architecturally-interesting “koosh ball” stage. The multitude of lilies are just starting to form buds. Tiny blue forget-me-nots, a gift from Peggy’s garden, are still flowering. The bearded iris (a gift from my friend Karen’s garden several years ago) are almost done with their show. The false sunflower plant surrounding the iris is about halfway to its height and will reach 8-9 feet before bursting with small yellow flowers against the blue summer sky. (Insert amusing sidebar here: I bought this plant a few years ago when my friend Debbi took me onto base at Fort Belvoir. The tag on the plant read, “sun-loving perennial, reaches 4 ft., profusion of yellow flowers throughout summer.” The plant proceeded to reach “Jack-in-the-beanstalk” proportions—9 feet the first year—forming a swaying canopy over the steps before it finally spewed forth beautiful miniature sunflowers! Several friends asked if we were growing corn that year.)

The liatris, a favorite of bees, are just a quarter of the way to their height. A bank of lovely lamb’s ears, started with cuttings from Karen’s garden, offsets the other plants with their silvery green hue. The Autumn joy sedums are puffing out, waiting until everything else steps out of the spotlight for it to shine in the fall. Michael’s olfactory favorite, the moonflower, is slowly making its way up a trellis on the front of the house.

Yesterday, I planted mina lobata (firecracker vine/Spanish flag) in a pot at the bottom of the steps (just so I could get more photographs like this beautiful one I shot last summer: https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2007/09/03/mina-lobata/. In front of the pot I planted three new coneflowers and another shasta daisy. We added another hellebore to the large bank (another offering from Karen) in the shade. On the front porch, there are two topiary frames planted with hyacinth vines. My beautiful (and very photogenic) stargazer lilies have returned, making their way upwards from a terracotta pot. Three baskets hang over the railing, filled with verbena, sweet potato vine, allysum, marigolds, portulaca, and marguerite daisies.

Farther up, in front of the morning glory trellises, everything is verdant. When that area begins to peak this summer, there will be a profusion of lavender, multi-colored lilies, silvery purple thistle, yellow black-eyed susans and sundrops, take-your-breath-away Heavenly Blue morning glories, red bee balm, deep pink butterfly bush blooms, grayish-greenish-blueish sea holly, blue-eyed grasses, shasta daisies, various other sedums, and white, purple and orange coneflowers….I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

I replied to Michael, “Organized chaos presumes I did not have a plan.” To which he countered, “There was a plan?” Of course there was a plan. My plan incorporates textures, scents, colors, varying heights, creepers, crawlers, climbers, and a botanical variation of Noah’s Ark—two of everything, please. How is that not a plan?

I’ll accept “organized chaos.” It’s preferable to “needs medication.”

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