iPhoneography: Springfield Farmer’s Market

11 09 2018

iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed app borders

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

FarmersMarketFood WEB

Monday smiles

1 06 2015

Bell peppers were on sale at Giant Food this morning for just a buck each (really good deal), so I bought two red, two yellow and two orange (for the ark?), with no particular purpose intended for them. I started chopping them up for bite size dipping snacks and decided that whacking off the tops (stuffed pepper style) would speed up the process.

1 Yellow Pepper

I cut up a yellow one first and when I lopped off its “head,” voila—a happy smiley face greeted me—in both top and bottom sections. (FYI, this only happened with the yellow peppers. How appropriate is that?)


What’s better than one smiley face? Two!

2 Yellow Pepper

Figuring this was a fluke, I cut into the second yellow pepper (very scientific approach, eh?) and voila—another smiley duo. This one has a crooked smile just like mine (plus Groucho Marx eyebrows).

3 Yellow Pepper

I give you the Smiley family. If they don’t cheer up your Monday, I give up!

4 Smiley Family

The bean harvest

30 09 2011

Behold—the fruits vegetables of my labor!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

AHS Great American Gardener Awards

10 06 2009

AmyGoldmanSusieAwardLast Thursday night, I photographed the American Horticultural Society’s 2009 Great American Gardeners Awards dinner, hosted by AHS at their River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.


Amy Goldman won a book award for her latest tome, The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit, published by Bloomsbury USA. Goldman (left) is presented her plaque by Susie Usrey, Chair, AHS Board of Directors (right).

HeirloomTomatoBookI mentioned Goldman’s other books, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds and Melons for the Passionate Grower, in a posting in March here. I have both of these titles in my library and plan on adding her beautiful tomato book as well. All three books are the most beautifully designed and photographed books I have ever come across (and I own 1,000s of books, so I can attest to this without hesitation!). Photographer Victor Schrager’s work is hauntingly beautiful—he turns humble fruits and vegetables into stunning works of art.

Gwen Moore Kelaidis received an award for her book, Hardy Succulents, published by Storey Publishing. William Cullina received an award for his book, Native Ferns, Moss and Grasses, published by Houghton Mifflin. Scott Odgen and Lauren Springer Odgen received an award for their book, Plant-Driven Design, published by Timber Press. This year, AHS awarded two Citations of Special Merit: Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, second edition published in 2008 by Workman Publishing; and Herbaceous Perennial Plants by Allan M. Armitage, published by Stipes Publishing.BookAwards

MichaelDana&WifeTEACHING 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. Dr. Michael N. Dana, Ph.D., is the recipient of this year’s award. Dana teaches horticulture in the department of horticulture and landscape architecture at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Left: Michael Dana with his wife, Beth, who is a physical therapist.

PanayotiKelaidisTHE LIBERTY HYDE BAILEY AWARD—This award is 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 award was given to Panayoti Kelaidis (right), senior curator and director of outreach at the Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado.

THE LUTHER BURBANK AWARD—This award recognizes extraordinary achievement in the field of plant breeding. This year’s winner was Jim Ault, director of environmental horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden, in Glencoe, Illinois. We have Ault to give thanks to for breeding the first orange coneflower, Echinacea Orange Meadowbrite, and the first three-species Echinacea hybrid, Pixie Meadowbrite!

Ronald GassTHE PAUL ECKE JR. COMMERCIAL AWARD—This award is given to an individual or company whose commitment to the highest standards of excellence in the field of commercial horticulture contributes to the betterment of gardening practices everywhere. This year’s recipient is Ronald E. Gass (left), president of Mountain States Wholesale Nursery in Litchfield Park, Arizona.

THE G.B. GUNLOGSON AWARD—This award recognizes the innovative use of technology to make home gardening more productive and successful. This year’s recipient was Soil Food Web, Inc., in Corvallis, Oregon. Soil Food Web, Inc. analyzes soil samples to determine the presence of a range of beneficial soil organisms that are key to sustainable landscapes.

KarenKennedyTHE HORTICULTURAL THERAPY AWARD—This award recognizes significant contributions to the field of horticultural therapy. This year’s recipient is Karen L. Kennedy (right), who has spent 23 years using horticultural therapy to improve the lives of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. She is the manager of wellness programs at the Holden Arboretum in Kirkland, Ohio, and also teaches introduction and programming courses in horticultural therapy for the Horticultural Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado.

PaulComstockTHE LANDSCAPE DESIGN AWARD—This award is given to an individual whose work has demonstrated and promoted the value of sound horticultural practices in the field of landscape architecture. This year’s recipient is Paul Comstock (left), head of Comstock Studio, a landscape architecture and planning practice that is part of the Valley Crest Design Group in Malibu, California. He is formerly the director of landscape design for Walt Disney Imagineering.

CarolMorrisonMERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD—This 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. This year’s recipient is Carol F. Carter Morrison of Barrington, Illinois, who served on the AHS Board of Directors from 1999 to 2008. Carol (center), is pictured with former president and CEO of AHS, Katy Moss Warner (left) and Susie Usrey, Chair, AHS Board of Directors (right).

William WelchTHE B.Y. MORRISON COMMUNICATIONS AWARD—This award recognizes effective and inspirational communications—through print, radio, television, and/or online media—that advances public interest and participation in horticulture. This year’s recipient is William C. Welch (at left, with his son), who has taught horticulture at Texas A&M University and currently works for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in College Station. Welch is the author of Perennial Garden Color (Taylor Trade Publishing, 1988), Antique Roses for the South (Taylor, 1990), and The Southern Heirloom Garden (Taylor, 1995). He is co-author of The Bountiful Cutflower Garden with Neil C. Odenwald (Taylor, 2000). He is also the editor of the Southern Garden website and contributes regularly to Southern Living magazine and other publications.

CarolSawyersTHE PROFESSIONAL AWARD—given to a public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated in widespread interest in horticulture. This year’s award recipient is Claire Elyce Sawyers. Since 1990, Sawyers has been direct of the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Previously, she worked at the Mt. Cuba Center, a 650-acre non-profit horticultural institution in Greenville, Delaware. She is the author of The Authentic Garden: Five Principles for Cultivating a Sense of Place (Timber Press, 2007).

ShawnAkardTHE JANE L. TAYLOR AWARD—This award is given to an individual, organization, or program that has inspired and nurtured future horticulturists through efforts in children’s and youth gardening. This year’s winner is Shawn Akard, the outdoor education coordinator for Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School in Alexandria, Virginia. The School’s Outdoor Education Program started in 2005 as a volunteer effort to beautify school grounds using native Virginia species. It has grown to include numerous working gardens that serve as active outdoor classrooms for 600 students.

THE URBAN BEAUTIFICATION AWARD—This award is given to an individual, institution, or company for significant contributions to urban horticulture and the beautification of American cities. This year’s recipient is America in Bloom, based in Columbus, Ohio. This independent, non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

On a personal note, as a self-proclaimed “gardener obsessed,” I must say that it is exciting to meet anyone in the horticultural field, whether they are plant hybridizers, authors, or teachers. I especially enjoy meeting the garden book authors since books and gardening are two of my passions!

Bluer than blue redux

5 03 2009

In early February I posted a collage of my blue flower photographs here.

On Tuesday Michael and I took a field trip to Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, to see the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens. I was inspired to do so by fellow photographer and blogger, Patty Hankins, who has been regularly posting her orchid photos from Longwood Gardens (thanks, Patty!). I spent quite a bit of time photographing this bed of beautiful blue flowers in the Conservatory.

If I have identified these correctly by the marker in one of the beds, then these flowers, a member of the Aster family, are a Longwood hybrid—Longwood Hybrid Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). Learn more about the history of this hybrid here. I’ll do some extra fact-finding to make sure that’s correct.

After our photo excursion to Longwood, we headed over to Philadelphia to the 2009 Philadelphia Flower Show. This was our second time attending the event (first time was in 2006) and we were disappointed that Borders Books didn’t have their garden-books-only booth. (As if I really needed more gardening books. But still…)

compleastsquash1We still managed to part with a little money, though (seed packets, a worm bin compost system, and the book, Melons for the Passionate Grower, written by Amy Goldman with beautiful photographs by Victor Schrager.

I found one of Goldman’s other books, The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower’s Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds, at a kitchen store that was closing in San Antonio this past Christmas. I paid just $6 for this coffee table book. I have her book, The Heirloom Tomato, on my radar now. Check these books out on Amazon—the photographs are exquisite still lifes; stunning in their simplicity. melons

Now I can identify those pumpkins, squashes and gourds that I photographed last fall here and here at Nalls Produce, a local plant and produce stand in Springfield, Virginia. Mind you, I have no room in a townhouse garden to grow melons or pumpkins, but these books are simply beautiful works of art, and informative too. How could I not add them to my library?

As you may have suspected, I’ll be posting more flower photographs from Longwood soon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Sigh…the final harvest

22 10 2008

The temperatures are finally starting to feel more fall-like in Virginia. A few nights ago, we gathered up the three passion flower vines and brought them into the studio so they could continue their growing indoors through the winter. I cut the last of the catnip and made our cat, Jasper, a very happy boy this afternoon. And although there are still a few things in bloom, the garden is growing weary and fading fast. The only things blooming now are daisies, butterfly bushes, yellow mums, and balloon flowers in the front. And the only things blooming in the back yard garden are a red cardinal plant and one solitary Marguerite daisy. It’s nearing that sad, sad time when my garden goes dormant. I’ll put the garden to bed for the winter by next week.

When the evening weatherman reported impending frost a few nights ago, Michael ran out to pick the remaining (green) tomatoes (for his homemade tomato relish), as well as the rest of the green beans. With flashlight in hand, he picked what he could find easily in the dark, then I assisted by shining one of my studio modeling lights through the window. To add to the harvest, I found another dozen beans today on a vine hiding by the heat pump.

Without further delay, I present to you the final bean harvest—enough for dinner for two…and a beautiful poem by Irish poet and playwright Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), followed with a quote by one of my favorite writers, May Sarton.

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

—Louis MacNeice


In the garden the door is always open to the holy—growth, birth, death. Every flower holds the whole mystery in its short cycle, and in the garden we are never far away from death, the fertilizing, good creative death. May Sarton

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

One more batch of pumpkins…

9 10 2008

Michael and I couldn’t resist…we headed back to Nall’s in the late afternoon yesterday to shoot some images without the harsh mid-day sunlight. I shot mostly abstract closeups of the unusual colored pumpkins and loads of various colored mums. We never knew there were this many different kinds of pumpkins in such an unusual array of colors….blue, brown, gray, purple-gray, verdigris green & blue, peach, forest green, green & orange, creamy white, charcoal gray, earthy browns. Amazing!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

A plethora of pumpkins (squash and gourds, too)

5 10 2008

Yesterday, Michael and Regina and I went to Nalls Produce in Alexandria to see their huge assortment of pumpkins, gourds, and squash. We got there past the ideal shooting light and I shot most of these in the mid-day sun. Morning light would have been best, eliminating the hard shadows on some of the images, and intensifying the colors. I plan to go back to reshoot some of these for comparison later and will post the reshoot. All in all, I still like most of the images, despite the lighting. I especially want to get a good shot of BLUE pumpkins (which are actually a purple-grayish-blue)!

On the subject of pumpkins, did you know that Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins won’t grow? While researching the myriad varieties of pumpkins, I also learned that:

• The Irish brought the tradition of pumpkin carving to America. The tradition originally started with carving turnips. When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins were plentiful and easier to carve.

• Pumpkins are 90 percent water and were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.

• The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds and the largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs, and took six hours to make.

• The name pumpkin originated from “pepon”—the Greek word for “large melon.”

• Pumpkins are native to North America and have been domestically grown here for five thousand years.

Click here to see the extensive list of the variety of pumpkins that are grown.

For some really sophisticated and very imaginative patterns, check out Martha Stewart‘s site.

Check out Tom Nardone’s www.extremepumpkins.com site for all things pumpkin (including “pumpkin pyrotechnics!)

Wouldn’t you just know it, there is an American Gourd Society! It is located in Kokomo, Indiana. Learn everything you could ever want to know about gourds on the Wayne’s Word site. This site is dedicated to the gourd family and reports that the total number of species may exceed 700!

Nalls also had a wide variety of squash, both ornamental and edible. Click here for a squash glossary, recipes, and decorating ideas. Click here for more recipes and learn the difference between summer and winter squash.

Regina and I were really smitten with the beautiful variation of colors on the Indian corn. Click here to learn why the kernel colors vary in Indian corn.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Upon further inspection…

25 08 2008

After I took the photo in the previous posting, I started watering the backyard garden. In the area that I call “The Scary Tomato Jungle,” there is a free-for-all fight for space among:

— now-defunct lettuce plant remnants (Can you do some weeding, Cindy? Seriously.)
— several don’t-produce-enough-to-warrant-keeping strawberry plants we hauled back from Sequim, Washington on vacation a few years ago
— a very complacent hollyhock plant that just won’t put out
— an ill-placed butterfly bush (but it was only $5). When the books tell you to leave 8 feet x 8 feet of space for a butterfly bush, don’t question their authority. Learn from my (four—count ’em) experiences.
— a thumbergia vine

And…gasp! Pole bean plants I forgot I had planted (refer to photo for proof). When I went to water The Scary Tomato Jungle, I came across one lone bean. And then another. And so on and so on. Beneath these forgotten beans were more grape tomatoes. (Oooh, I get to use another pretty plate for this photo!)

Sigh. So much for the posting below on today’s “meager harvest.”

What did we learn in class today? We learned that maybe a butterfly bush, two vines, two pole bean plants, two red tomato plants, two grape tomato plants, one yellow tomato plant, two strawberry plants, one hollyhock and eight different kinds of lettuce might be a tad too much for a 3 foot x 20 foot bed. Ya think?

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.

Tomato harvest

16 07 2008

Tomatoes! Yet another distraction from trying to get back to work after being gone for nine days visiting my family in San Antonio. I was working at the computer and caught a glimpse of ripe cherry (and some kind of orangeish in color) tomatoes on the vine outside my studio window…the first harvest of the season. Fifteen smooth, little, intense red gems.

Now that I’ve sworn off chicken (in my meander toward vegetarianism), vegetables have become my dearest friends. I even tried cabbage this weekend. Yep. Cabbage. Me. Will wonders never cease? (Of course, it helped that Mom lightly sauteed it in a pan in olive oil with a dash of sugar to carmelize it). I even had a few bites of canned cranberry relish, and although it wasn’t unpleasant, I still can’t get past the fact that it still looks like a can when you serve it!. I’ve been completely beef-free for almost twenty years. Rarely ever ate pork. Now chicken-, pork-, and turkey-free for nearly a month. I’ve found I don’t have a craving for the chicken—it was more just a habit and convenience to choose it when eating out. While these decisions are also health-based, they’re coming far more from compassion than any other reason. It was time to go “cold turkey”—pun intended.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.wordpress.com