Hearts of Gold

Jude’s “Life in Colour” for the month of September is “gold.” In another month we will be heading south for a few week and I am looking forward to taking my new camera to the botanical garden for a walk around. In the mean time I thought I would share some flowers from earlier this year with “hearts of gold.”

Are these little beauties wearing their hearts of gold on their sleeves?
Does a heart of gold spread its glow far beyond.
This treat from the cafe was golden but the heart was berry…

September Garden – Up Close

I was afraid that the zinnia seeds I planted weren’t going to bloom before we have our first frost – they had a slow start. Probably because I was slow in getting them into the ground because of a very cold month and then a very hot month in the spring. Or was it the other way around? Not to worry – they are now blooming just when needed most for late summer color.

I love close-up photography so my zinnias and Cee’s Close-up or Macro call to photographers were perfectly timed for each other. Zinnias are a lot of fun to photograph because of their symmetrical petals that seem, at the same time, to be asymmetrical. And look at how a really up close photograph shows how the petals form. What a beautiful wonder right under our noses, especially if there is a camera between our nose and the flower!

A while back I was doing some research before deciding on a new lens and read an article about whether it was better to use a telephoto lens or to use a 50 mm dedicated lens and crop. This second photo was taken with my new Nikon Z fc and a 16-50 mm lens, taken at 50 mm. I have really been pleased with this camera. It is light enough so I can take hand-held photos and have them be acceptably sharp. If I ever wanted to enlarge them a lot, I would have to use a tripod. This serves as a really nice walk around, grab quickly camera – similar to how others use their smart phones.

I was surprised to see the little flowers within the unfurling petals when I processed this last photo. This one was taken with the 50 mm setting and I only cropped a little of the edges off for aesthetics. I have found I can get really close to my subject with this lens but can also get good shots to crop when I need to stand back so I don’t frighten butterflies away.

Waiting for the Blues

My morning glories are growing up the strings on my front-porch railing and I am (not too) patiently waiting for the the glorious silky-blues to appear. I don’t get blooms every year, but I did in 2017…

Last year there were none, but I learned that I had given them too much attention – watering and fertilizing them. This year I’m trying neglect to see if they come begging.

As I am waiting I will share some other blue flowers from my files. (Did you hear that, morning glories? I have other blues in my life.)

We have a month of blue ahead as we follow and contribute all kinds of blues to Jude’s Life in Color challenge.

Sunday Serenity: Macro Waterlily

This is a water lily taken on one of my last visits to the Naples Botanical Garden in April. May it bring you lots of joy and serenity as you go inside nature in all its glory.

Cee posted her Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge for close-ups and macro photos this week. Although this wasn’t taken in June, I think its beauty can linger on throughout the month.

June Close-Ups

Wildflower taken at a local natural preserve.

During the Covid pandemic we found fun, diversion, and emotional healing by spending time in nature where we could be almost normal when all social gathering was dangerous. The past two springs I have spent a lot of time in my garden attacking weeds (a good target for virus-anger), moving plants that weren’t thriving according to my original garden plan, and dividing plants (some of them 10 years old) to increase their flowering and to spread their color in the garden. Now, in the first week of June, my garden is covered in new green growth with small patches of color here and there. Within a month it should be a sea of color – in fact I think I can see the green growth quivering, just waiting for the right moment to send forth its blooms.

Geranium growing in a container.

Yes, I am waiting for June to do its transition from spring to summer. I look daily for signs of flower buds on my perennials and just finished up an application of liquid fertilizer designed for blooming plants – just in case nature (and my soil) needs a little help.

Bearded iris that has a beautiful variegated leaf.

I am having to wait – something my personality doesn’t do gracefully. My waiting is helped a little by the wonders of digital photography and computer science. I decided to go back to the digital files of past Junes to find close-ups and macro shots for the CMMC where Cee is asking us to provide close-ups or macro photos. I had a good number of them because I had bought a close-up lens filter in June of one year so I put in some practice time with it. I haven’t used it lately so maybe that would be a fun project as my garden begins to flower again.

Freshly washed local strawberries anticipated towards the end of June.
Wonderful black cherries grown on the northern sandy shores of Lake Michigan.
Last year three of us ate 60 lbs. (give or take) of Michigan high bush blueberries.

And how can I fail to mention the most important anticipation associated with June – the promise of freshly grown Michigan strawberries, blueberries, and black cherries. We wait all year for this production and June means that we have only one more month of waiting. Depending on weather conditions and where they are grown in Michigan, they may start during the last week of June and into/through July. Strawberries have the shortest season, sometimes only a couple of weeks if it is really hot.

Surface of Lake Michigan on a calm, blue-sky day.

June is also an excellent time to visit the northern Michigan resort areas because their tourist season doesn’t go into full swing until after the Fourth of July holiday. June holds all of the excitement of a new season of warmth while still being a bit cool for swimming in the Great Lakes and our many inland lakes. We will be heading up to the Traverse City area with our camper next week-end for a few days (we save the Upper Peninsula for later because summer is slow in coming that far north). I think I will put the warmer quilt on our bed as the nights are still pretty cold in June but too warm for flannel sheets (I hope). I am looking forward to walking the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, shopping the charming stores of the small tourist towns, and maybe even visiting a winery on the Mission Peninsula for a sampling and maybe a lunch.