Bleeding hearts

18 05 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

(Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro lens)





Bearded iris blooming in my garden

8 05 2021

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. (iPhone 12 Pro Max, Camera+ 2 app in macro mode)





Stack ‘o butterflies

10 09 2019

I think the top and bottom ones might be Clouded Sulphurs, middle one is a Variegated Fritillary; feasting on Purple coneflowers (with purple Lantana in the background)

Nikon D850, Nikkor 105mm micro lens, 1/250 sec, f/14, ISO 400

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Stacked Butterflies WEB





iPhoneography: Live oak tree with Tillandsia air plants

13 02 2019

Photographed at Mission San José in San Antonio, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

IMG_6928

 





Smart Phone Nature Photography Workshop at Green Spring Gardens

4 03 2018

Here’s the info on my first smart phone nature photography workshop at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA (Saturday, May 5, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm). The class will cover smart phones in general (Android and iPhones welcome)!

Smart Phone Nature Photography
(Adults) Learn techniques to improve your smart phone nature photography with the help of professional photographer Cindy Dyer. Get a better understanding of composition, color and lighting and how to use your camera settings to capture what you intend. Practice what you learned with an in-class garden photography shoot, critique and lesson on editing. $52/person. Code 290 232 6001.

Register at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/parktakes or call 703-642-5173.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone photos / Snapseed app borders

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iPhoneography: Tulip

9 04 2016

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone 6s / Snapseed

Red Yellow Tulip WEB





White larkspur (Delphinium)

14 06 2015

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

White Larkspur





Assassin bug on Sea Holly

13 06 2015
Assassin bug (fairly certain) on ‘Blue Glitter’ Sea Holly (Eryngium planum)
© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.
Orange Bug Sea Holly




Scenes from an exhibit reception, part 1

18 04 2012

WOW. That’s how I can sum up my photography exhibit reception on Sunday at Green Spring Gardens. My friend Martha says her favorite moment was when I came by her and simply said, “I am just soooooooooo happy.” I kept repeating it like a Stepford character. I’m just soooooooooo happy. Really, I am just soooooooooo deliriously happy! Sales and attendance were way beyond what I expected (or dared to hope for).

Remember, the show is up for two more weeks—you have until April 29 to see it if you haven’t already done so. For more details and directions, visit my show site: www.gardenmuseshow.com! FYI—I will have an etsy.com store up and running soon. I’ll be selling matted and framed images, greeting cards and jewelry (and any other crafty endeavor that strikes my fancy!). Stay tuned for more info on that venture. More photos to come from the reception…

Reception photos © Ed Fagan, Columbia Photography

Martha, my friend who came up for the weekend from San Antonio, Texas, confidently pitches the “buy all eight greeting cards for $20 and get a nifty floral gift bag” deal to a potential customer.

Above, from left: dear friends Holly and Tom, yours truly (with my trusty Coolpix) and lovely Sue-in-blue, who flew up from Huntsville, Alabama

With a lot of help from family and friends (Karen B., her daughter Margot, my sister Debbie, sister-in-law Nancy, Karen W. and Martha), the table decor—inspired by spring and all things gardening—became the perfect backdrop to showcase Barbara‘s wonderful sweet and savory appetizers! The only downside—putting all those decorations back in their place in our townhouse.

Above, left: The view of the banquet tables from the “savory” side. Right: Barbara Kelley, caterer extraordinaire, displays her Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcakes, topped off with homemade fondant butterflies made by Karen B., daughter Hannah and me.

Above: The photo pendants were a hit, much to our delight! My friend Paula and I made about 30 of them and we sold more than half of them. I’ll be preparing more to sell in my etsy.com store, which I’ll be working on next month. We hung them on satin cords (longer length), vinyl cording and silver-plated chains and sold them sans chains as well.

Barbara and Hollace made open-faced tea sandwiches and adorned them with edible flowers—which required some cajoling to get attendees to eat. I heard several times, “are you sure we can eat these?” Michael proved they were edible by devouring a complete pink rose (photo to come). Another guest poked at the mozzarella balls (!) and asked if they were real (!) Thank you to Sue for helping me festoon the cupcake stand with garden-inspired fabric and ribbon. We went through a lot of hot glue on that project!

Above: getting the store set up before the crowd comes through the doors. Thanks to everyone who set up the shop—Michael, Karen B., Margot, Karen and Joe W., Pete and Nancy, Martha and Debbie. We filled up 3.5 cars with matted/framed prints, greeting cards and buffet decor elements. From left: Holly and her friend Helen examine the necklaces on display; center: Michael explains how to use his credit card machine to Karen B. and her daughter Margot; far right: me explaining something (?) to my friend Leda

Above: seven of the eight 5.5 x 8.5 greeting cards available for sale. Not shown, my “Unfurled” image with a ‘Negrita’ Tulip

Above: another shot of the buffet—tea sandwiches, fruit skewers and pesto pinwheels

Above, left: the jewelry display with my brother-in-law Pete in the background. Peter and his wife Nancy (Michael’s sister) drove up from the Columbus, Ohio area. Right: one of my favorite people—friend and neighbor Michael P.—deciding with “hairy legged” insect photo to purchase (thanks for giving Vault and Whirly Girl a good home, Michael!) Below: lines began to form—how cool is that?

Above: It was so great to see my former roommate (from way back circa 1988 or so) Wendy and her husband Mark—I last saw Wendy at Potomac Mills mall when her son Eli (now 17) was still in a stroller! We reunited on Facebook (but of course) and they truly surprised me by driving down from West Virginia just for the reception! She has asked me to do a presentation to her second grade class on “how to learn how to see” things in nature. Now that I can do!

During this entire process, I have had such a tremendous show of support from family and friends. Since the show went up, I have had guests coming from Florida, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Alabama and Maryland. I am so blessed to have these people in my circle!

In preparation for the show and reception, I’d like to thank a slew of great people:

A very special thanks to Jeff E.—thank you for the kick in the pants to get “exposure for my exposures!”
Dorothy Norpel
, F.R.O.G.S. (Friends of Green Spring Gardens) show coordinator, for giving me the opportunity to exhibit
• Mary Olien and Janet Hammes of Green Spring Gardens for their support of my work and Janet in particular for letting us in early on Sunday so we would have ample time to prepare for the reception (and also for purchasing several images!)
• All the employees and volunteers of Green Spring Gardens who answered questions, fetched a ladder, made a sale, answered my myriad questions and honored my requests
The Green Spring Gardens horticulture staff who are masters (and artists) at what they do—for always having something new and beautiful for me to photograph (not many people know that more than 75% of the images in the show were shot at Green Spring Gardens)
Dad
for his financial input, patient framing guidance and being the best cheerleader/dad/patron of the arts a girl could have
My sister Kelley for helping me select all the images for the show and being the genius behind the idea to name the images
Tom and Holly for loading up 98% of the framed images in their van and transporting and unloading it all—you just don’t know how much I appreciated that!
Dear Camilla for flying up to help me hang up the show and her invaluable creative direction (not to mention her long-time friendship)
• Karen W.
and Michael for helping hang the show from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (thanks also to Karen for constantly promoting my work, whether it’s jewelry making or the exhibit—there’s a reason you’re a key component of the K.I.T.A. club, ya know!)
Carmen and her sister-in-law Ester for driving eight hours from Greer, South Carolina just to attend the exhibit
Mary Ellen
for flying from Wisconsin
My sister-in-law Ronnie and her husband Ed for coming to see us and the exhibit en route from Florida back to their home in Cleveland
My sister Debbie and our friend Martha for hopping planes from San Antonio to share in the big weekend
Karen B.
for helping design the buffet tables, create the table covers and decorations, making fondant butterflies for the cupcakes, sleeving greeting cards and for every single creative project she is willing to tackle alongside me (I enjoy all our creative time together, KareBear) and for her patience in heading up the store
Mo Sherman
for spreading the word to his Virginia and Maryland friends and for being so supportive of my work
Sue
for flying here from Huntsville, AL, helping me make the three-tiered tea sandwich stand and putting matted prints in sleeves (and for her never-ending cheerleading!)
Hannah
for help with creating the butterflies and manning the store with her mom
Margot
for her flower arranging skills, buffet decorating and helping in the store
Paula
for helping me make those pretty photo pendants that were such a hit (and for her and Ken spreading the word of the exhibit to their friends and colleagues)
Nancy
, Pete and Martha for helping frame (assembly-line style) some last-minute pieces
Karen W.
and Joe for preparing and bringing a great breakfast spread to the house Sunday morning so we wouldn’t pass out during the day
All the help transporting to and fro in four separate cars from Michael, Pete, Joe, Nancy, Karen W., Martha and Debbie
Barbara
and Hollace for the amazing reception food—it was colorful, tasty, imaginative, filled with love, and I couldn’t imagine a catered event going more smoothly than this one did—you are a pro, Barbara!
Karen B.
, Margot, Hannah and Martha for minding the store and taking care of sales, wrapping, etc. (I know it was a crazy, unexpected time and I thank them profusely for all their efforts; nothing I can do can repay their generosity of time!);
Michael for running errands to get more change, to the house for more supplies and bringing fans to cool off the place (we learned that they turn off the air at the Horticulture Center on weekends!)
Karen W.
, Debbie, Martha, Karen B., Margot and Nancy for all their help decorating the buffet tables and setting up the store
Jeff S.D. for his constant support and helping me determine pricing (why is this always so hard for an artist?)
Brian for his mentoring and valuable input, always
Kudos and thanks to my hard-working friend Ed for so thoroughly and beautifully documenting that wonderful day with nearly 700 images (shot from above, below, from the side, on a ladder, on the floor and from the ceiling)!

If I have left out anyone in the never-ending gratitude list above, it is not intentional. Finally, thank you to all my local friends, faraway friends, Facebook friends, WordPress fellow bloggers and design clients for being a constant source of support and enthusiasm for this pet project of mine. Thank you to all my local friends who were able to make the reception and for your purchases as well. I thank you profusely and Green Spring Gardens thanks you, too!





From the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide…

31 03 2012





Vertical beauties

2 11 2011

When my friend Senthil was visiting in September (to be photographed for the cover of the upcoming November/December 2011 Hearing Loss Magazine), Michael and I dropped him off at the U.S. Capitol building so he could get some photographs. I went over to check out the sprawling vertical garden display outside the U.S. Botanic Garden, which is in view of the Capitol.

Apparently the exhibit has been in place for a couple of years and I just got to see the very end of the exhibit. I can’t find anything on the web regarding who designed it or any details on the types of plants, how-to’s, etc., but I do have some photographs to share. It was really a sight to see—and had I the room to build something like this in my own backyard garden, it would happen in a nanosecond. I shot some closeups so you can see the details. The wood frames have coco fiber “shelf baskets” held into place with wire screen. The plants are tucked either directly into the liner baskets or through holes made in the side of the baskets.

There were a lot of plants that I recognized immediately, including vegetables and ornamental plants, plus herbs such as oregano, sage and basil; various coleus plants, licorice plants, flowering annuals, sweet potato vine, ferns, ivies, catmint and catnip, just to name a few. Read more about vertical gardening here.

Michael and I saw these Woolly Pocket living planters in the gift shop at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden last week. They’re made from recycled plastic bottles and come in unlined (for outdoor use) and lined (for indoor use) versions, along with wall anchors. You can line an entire wall with these pockets (which come in a multitude of sizes and colors), fill them with a variety of plants, and achieve impressive results!

But the type of vertical gardening that makes me swoon are the “succulent gardens” shown on Flora Grubb Garden’s blog here and their main website here. Jaw-dropping beautiful pieces of living art—they remind me of landscapes as seen from the air. Flora Grubb sells the tray components to achieve these looks in your own home or on a garden wall.

Authors and gardeners Susan Morrison and Rebecca Sweet recently published Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, available here. Author and garden photographer Derek Fell has written Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space, available here. And on my list of books to add to my gardening library is green thumb artist and French botanist Patrick Blanc’s tome The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City, available here. Want to see some spectacular living walls? Visit Blanc’s website here.





How’s this for some eye-poppin’ color?

26 06 2011

‘Kim’s Knee High’ Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) against a backdrop of False Cypress (possibly Gold Thread or maybe Lemon Thread?). It was just too much color to resist!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The coolest bathroom hallway EVER

28 05 2011

I shot this photo below of the restroom hallway in Longwood’s new East Conservatory Plaza. It is the largest “living wall” in North America, and was designed by famed British landscape architect Kim Wilkie.

This is the first time I’ve seen a living wall planted with ferns and other greenery (28 plant species and 47,000 plants in total!)—rather than succulents. (I blogged here about the gorgeous living wall of succulents on the facade of the Anthropologie store in Huntsville, Alabama). Watch the video below to see how the project came together and see the Longwood Gardens blog here for more information.





Hellebore

7 04 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Fringed Tulips

22 03 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





How many more days until spring?

11 02 2011

These images were all shot in one my most favorite photography spots in the world—Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia. When things are in bloom, I escape to this place as fast and as often as I can, even if it’s just for a half hour of shooting. It is my respite, my calm, my own private paradise…just me with my camera, surrounded by bountiful blooms and bustling bugs under a balmy blue sky. It is where I go to think, to dream, to regroup, to create. Spring can’t come soon enough for me!

See more images shot at Green Spring Gardens here.

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.






Updated Green Spring Gardens portfolio

21 10 2010

Take a look! http://cindydyer.zenfolio.com/p787446313





Colorful borders at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

14 08 2010

Earlier this month, I visited Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. While I usually only post my signature “plant portrait extreme closeups” on the blog, I also photograph more “record shot” images of gardens as well. There were many new borders in the garden—a smorgasbord of interesting plants, colors, contrasts and textures. Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Think pink, updated series #1

9 07 2010

Last year I posted a series of botanical collages based on various colors. I’m adding recent photos to those collages, beginning with pink—in every shade imaginable! I had so many new shots of pink flowers that I had to divide the collage into two separate postings. Click here to read my posting last winter entitled, “This post is brought to you by the color pink.” Enjoy!

© 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.

H. MARC CATHEY AWARD
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.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD
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!

PROFESSIONAL AWARD
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.

JANE L. TAYLOR AWARD
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.

LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY AWARD
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.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
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.”

B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATIONS AWARD
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.

FRANCES JONES POETKER AWARD
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.

CATHERINE H. SWEENEY AWARD
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.

TEACHING AWARD
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.

URBAN BEAUTIFICATION AWARD
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

2010 AHS BOOK AWARD WINNERS
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.”





Newest addition to my garden…

26 05 2010

I bought this lovely dahlia specimen at the annual plant sale at Green Spring Gardens two weeks ago. After photographing the amazing dahlia border at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C. a few years ago, I have been enamored with this flower ever since! Click here to see my posting, “Dahlias as far as the eye can see…”

© 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!





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.





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






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





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





Siberian Iris, Green Spring Gardens

6 05 2009

Overcast (but unusually bright) skies (perfect for flower photography) + a gazillion things in bloom at Green Spring Gardens = photographer’s heaven! More photos to come…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

irislorez





Judy, Simon & Beyond the Garden Gate

28 04 2009

Sue and I met Judy and Simon while out window shopping in Little Rock last week. Judy is the proprietor of Beyond the Garden Gate, located at 5619 Kavanaugh Blvd. in The Heights section of Little Rock. The shop sells silk flowers, plants, trees, and unique decorating accessories. The one-year-old daschund serves as the unofficial store greeter and was such an energetic and sweet pup. Judy says lots of people return to see Simon but don’t always purchase anything because they get so distracted playing with him! I told her she needs to wear a t-shirt that reads, “Please buy something—Simon needs kibble!”

So if you happen to be in the area, stop by and see Judy, Simon, and all the wonderful items for sale. And for Simon’s sake, buy something!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

judy-simon





Spring Starflowers

31 03 2009

These star-shaped, pale blue flowers with grass like foliage are Spring Starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum). This perennial is grown from bulbs and blooms in mid-spring for 3-5 weeks. Originating from Argentina and Uruguay, this plant naturalizes very swiftly, spreading by self-seeding and from bulb offsets. Often used in rock gardens and woodland gardens, they grow just 4-5 inches tall, and are perennials in Zones 6 to 7 (with mulching to protect from frost) and in Zones 8 to 9 without mulching. They can be grown in full sun to part shade, require medium watering, are low maintenance, and tolerate a wide range of soil types. They are just beginning to bloom at Green Spring Gardens this week.

I photographed these tiny blue flowers last year in mid-April at Green Spring Gardens. See how they look en masse here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

starflower2