Life in Colour: Green (with a little extra)

During my weekly walkabout at the Botanical Garden, with camera around my neck, I was looking for green for Jude’s “Life in Colour” challenge. Not that there isn’t any green in a subtropical garden where staff and volunteers are continually working to keep “green” from taking over. Yes there is lots of green, but I was looking for greens with unusual textures and color variations and plant combinations. I was trying to not become overwhelmed by so many greens – all with wonderful textures and variations, all planted in beautiful combinations.

Maybe you’re wondering what my problem is – especially if you live up north where your world hadn’t turned very green yet. My problem is that the photos I liked the best, were really excited about, were the ones where other hues popped in. Other colors kind of photo bombed their way in. Snuck in through the back door.

See what I mean? That little red pepper just slipped in there and looks maybe a little smug or even giggling a bit on the inside. It is hard being subtle when you’re a red-hot pepper.

Oops, here’s another one…

As I was trying to photograph the beautiful form of these green palm fronds, I couldn’t very well climb up and cut down the fruit from the palm behind it. Instead, the red almost takes center stage in what was suppose to be a photograph of “green.” It would be a crime to crop it out of the photograph, don’t you think.

I never put my camera in my photography cart when I am ready to leave because the area along to exit boardwalk always had a surprise or two requiring me to get my camera out again. When I turned the corner and headed towards the exit from a direction I usually don’t take, I noticed beautiful, big green leaves and no other color trying to weasel their way in. I examined them, thinking about a good composition – and then I saw it.

This little critter was perched on a big green leaf and seemed quite happy to be there. He didn’t even move when I came within a couple of feet to take its picture. When I downloaded the photos into my computer, I got a closer look and realized that it is a work of art and very colorful.

What wonderful color in the tail, and look at how complex the wings are and especially where to wings join the body. I think Jude will forgive me for introducing this color into her “green” challenge. Right, Jude?

Changing of the Orchids

This past week we were walking into the Naples Botanical Garden, past the Orchid Garden, when a work truck filled with orchids grabbed my attention. I asked if they were taking orchids out of the garden or bringing new ones in – they said they were taking them out but would be bring new ones in soon. As they drove away I raised my camera and took some shots – thinking that this is a story. Jim chuckled about my taking this photo and I asked him when he had last seen a truck going down a sidewalk filled with orchids. He understood.

The orchid garden is outdoors, in a protected area enclosed by three single-story buildings. The Garden has a collection of over 1,600 species and hybrid orchids that are displayed depending on blooming season but also researched for conservation purposes. There are more orchid species (28,000) than any other flowering plant and there are species found from the artic tundra to the hot and arid deserts of the Arabian Peninsula – a temperature span from -4 F (-20 C) to 100 F (38 C). The Garden is invested in studying them because they are very are extremely susceptible to habitat changes and loss, an increasing concern with climate warming. That explains why people who live in cooler climates have to work hard to create inside environments to grow the tropical species while I have about 10 different ones that bloom outside on trees (with very little care) around my home. The only rule I have to follow is to make sure they don’t get too much sun.

Some of the orchids have been attached to trees so the orchid roots attach to and grow on the trunk, taking in moisture and nutrients when it rains while other orchids are growing in pots and wooden hanging baskets. All are strategically placed, like in the photo above at the entrance to the orchid garden. I think there are around seven different colors but all quite common. They make a splash when first seen and make a great backdrop for a quick selfie, but people don’t stop long to admire them blocking others from entering. Those attached to the trees aren’t blooming continuously, but because so many are in movable pots, there are orchids continuously blooming. The orchids in the trees around my home are either fall or winter/early spring blooming when I am here to enjoy them.

As visitors move into the garden they can find orchids to delight any taste, from very small (not much bigger than a finger nail) to big ones, and in multiple colors. Here is a sampling from a recent visits.

I have another orchid post brewing on lady slippers (or is it lady’s slipper, or ladies slippers???) Anyway, stay tuned.

A Little Splash of Vanilla, Please

V. planifolia – Photo copied from Wikipedia

I had spent close to two hours, taking almost 200 photos in the orchid garden of the Naples Botanical Garden (Florida), but my real excitement was focused in the Caribbean Garden. I had learned that the garden had erected trellises and had planted vanilla orchid plants (V. planifolia) with plans to plant another variety, V. x tahitensis, in the near future.

Now I will wait and watch for the orchids to bloom and produce vanilla seed pods. From reading the Garden’s blog I have learned that it is a long and work intensive process to get from new plant to vanilla extract. According to the blog, the Horticulture Team hopes to eventually supply Garden’s Fogg Cafe with Garden-grown vanilla. But it seems that it will be well over a year before that will happen. Stay tuned.

I couldn’t decide which challenge this post should be linked to – so I’ll do both. Now you can check out both and join in.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Something New

Life in Colour: Yellow

Life in Color: Yellow Orchids

Last week I spent a lot of time in the Orchid Garden at Naples Botanical Garden. It was 8 in the morning and in most places there wasn’t strong sunlight so I had lots of fun and ended up with lots of photos to filter through, delete or keep, and process. And I found lots of yellow orchids to post in response to Jude’s monthly challenge “Life in Colour: Yellow.” Use the link to join in the fun as many times as you like during the month of February.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #103: Surprise

Would you like a bananananananananana?

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I walked around a corner at the Naples Botanical Garden and was surprised by this very long hand of bananas. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it before. Help yourself – there are plenty.

If you want to participate, everyone is welcome at Leya’s.