One of Earth’s Stories

When Amy announced that this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge is “Earth Story” I began selecting some favorite photos of landscapes from different corners of our earth that I have visited. It was fun looking through my files but I didn’t experience the earth’s excitement in my collection and was having trouble telling the earth’s story with them. A couple of weeks ago I took our visiting-from-Michigan friend, Carolyn, to the botanical garden and several times she talked about getting ready for planting when she returned to Michigan. I realized that my brain is wired to experience the excitement of spring in the northern half of the northern hemisphere, when what appears to be a dead earth comes to life with green sprouts. It is the time when home gardeners are looking at catalogs, referring back to last year’s notes, planting seeds in hot boxes, and thinking about how many plants they are going to purchase at the garden center.

The produce growing season in southern Florida is winter and early spring so I have had the fun of going to local farmers’ markets to purchase fresh produce. They also have produce growing at several places in the Naples Botanical Garden that is used in the kitchen of the Fogg Cafe and given to local food banks. They aren’t big gardens but they are beautiful to view. Did you notice that they are cultivating dandelions? I missed the bloom but the tag says it is pink.

I feel your excitement, northern growers, and look forward to going north to find the wildflowers of spring for a future post. The earth’s story includes growth and regrowth – and providing nourishment for it’s animal and insect population. We need to take good care of her so she can continue to do her work.

Odds & Ends From My Files

I was so excited when I saw Tina’s topic for the Lens-Artist Challenge last Saturday that I immediately found the photos I wanted to use – and then they sat, I would look at them, rearrange them, and they sat. Well today I finally added the words, just as the next challenge is coming out. I guess I can say I had a whole week’s full of fun from thinking about those photographs that have been the odds & ends in my files before sharing them with you.

I have hung on to this first photo because it seems so characteristic of the hot and humid tropical garden I visit several times a week. I have taken so many photos but use only a small portion of them for my blog so it was fun pulling this one up. This one I like because it is of a mood, not a specific object.

That mind thing is happening again where I am so happy where I am in southern Florida but all of a sudden I get a longing to work in my Michigan garden or sit on my purple porch swing in Michigan. Logically I know that isn’t possible because it is still late winter there so instead I meandered through some Michigan files and landed on this one of a gate along a dirt road going down a lane. I lingered on this one enjoying the feeling of cool shade, inviting path, and dappled sunlight. The slight sag of the gate makes me smile – at my age I know all about sags, and hanging a bit crooked.

As I meander through the garden, from lily pond to lily pond or orchid garden, I frequently stop to admire the foliage of all the tropical plants that are strategically place and of course am compelled to try the capture whatever it was that caught my attention. The photo below, and others somewhat like it, are scattered throughout my files but I don’t think I have used them in a post. That seems to meet the criteria of an “odds & ends.” I think what I like about this composition is the overlapping patterns of outward fanning spikes.

We have been too busy to go into the Everglades this year but I hear it calling my name. Southern Florida has had a dry winter so I predict there will be wading birds fishing in the areas where culverts move the southern flowing water under the east/west roads. I’ve been going through past files of photos from the Everglades as a very weak substitution for taking new photos and find that I linger over the photos of the grass-lands that make up a good portion of the Everglades. These have been odd and ends in my files because they don’t quite fit into any category of post. I would discount them as uninteresting except I enjoy them because they reflect what I see as an important part of the personality of this region. It seems to capture the vastness of the area.

The next photo is technically very poor but I haven’t deleted it because I smile every time I see it. It is at the beginning of the western end of the Loop Road, a one and a half lane dirt road that was originally built as a part of U.S. 41 from Tampa to Miami – the Tamiami Trail. It seems like the “Last Chance Turn Around” should be a part of everyone’s repertoire for when we are about to do something that is incredibly stupid.

When I walked into the Idea Garden, maintained by the Garden Club of Naples, and saw this end view of one of their raised beds I was awed by the colors and textures. Ahh, but I never found a good topic under which to post it – so it is relegated to “odds & ends.”

My final “odds & ends” takes us back to Michigan last spring, when Covid was on the rise. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and take a drive to Hidden Lake Gardens. There was a sign saying that picnic tables were off limits because of Covid but my logic couldn’t figure out how Covid would be spread by us using it. Our Covid picnics brought great joy and created fond memories of a difficult period.

Macro Wildflower Seeds

The main purpose of macro photography is to capture the intricacies of a subject that we normally don’t register with our eyes. It allows us to slow down and look deeper into the soul of nature.

In response to Cee’s CFFC: Macro or Close-up.

Surprise in a Red Pod

I saw these red seed pods as I was photographing my way around the Naples Botanical Garden in Florida last winter. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any tags to identify the plant among the foliage. What a surprise to see the seed elegantly tucked inside the golden interior.

My first thought was what a beautiful way to present the gift of new plants but something is wrong with the gift. I’ll leave it to the storytellers among us to give suggestions on story plots for the prickly, gold-lined gift of seeds.

Jude inspired me with her suggestion of quirky reds for this month’s Life in Colour.

If you know the name of this topical plant please inform us in the comments – maybe even share a photo of the flower.

Trees of Winter

On this beautiful summer evening when the temperature is 80 degrees F, the humidity is low, and I’m surrounded by lush green leaves on trees and flowers blooming in my garden, it seems really strange – almost surreal, to be posting photos of winter trees. I have posted the trees of summer and fall for Becky’s July TreeSquares, now I am ready to post winter’s trees.

I love trees in winter, how snow collects on branches creating a stark contrast of white and black and the long shadows cast by the de-robed skeleton of trunk and branches by the low winter sun. I have emotional memories from childhood of being fascinated by the flicker of tree shadows through the car window as we drove down winter roads, like a 16 mm film. I am still intrigued by this magic of sun and shadow.

I don’t have much time to enjoy the trees of winter now that we spend most of it in Florida where there aren’t many deciduous trees. One of those trees is the bald cypress that I enjoy when we drive down the few dirt roads in the Everglades.