Lens-Artist Challenge: Favorite Images of 2022

Usually I would use characteristics such as composition, subject, clarity, or some other photographic technique to choose my favorite images of 2022. But 2022 was a most unusual year. The images that I chose for John’s challenge are from the Naples Botanical Garden – a favorite place of mine and a place I didn’t get to visit during the later months of this year like I usually do. I am surprised how much I am grieving the changes in our Florida plans so I chose these to sooth my troubled heart.

The first two photos are of the lily ponds (upper and lower) in the Brazilian Garden – taken from slightly different perspectives.

And of course I had to include a water lily taken at the upper pond…

and a water iris taken at one of the other lily ponds. I am drawn in by the colors of both images.

I took a lot of photographs of the many flowers that grow throughout the garden, most of which I’m not familiar with as they are tropical or subtropical. I grew up in the northern part of the U.S. where I struggled to keep houseplants alive that grow with abandon out doors where we stay in Florida. This next flower always draws me in and I have taken many photographs but none felt right until this one. I am intrigued by how hard it is to capture the personality of flowers.

This year I also spent a lot of time photographing the orchids. I have a lot of favorites but the coloring on this one is a winner for me.

We went to the beach one evening because there had been really big waves during the previous 24 hours. And every time I’m taking photos at the beach, I take one or two of the Naples Pier. This is a very popular place for fishing (don’t need a license) and for strolling to watch dolphins, people, and the people who are fishing.

This photo of the pier is special because just a few months later the huge waves and storm serge of Hurricane Ian destroyed the structure from the building on the left to the end. Even the cement piling are gone. It will probably be a couple of years before it is rebuilt.

Thanks to the Naples Botanical Garden, however, I think I can see some light at the end of our rebuild tunnel. As you can tell, these beautiful glasses don’t provide a clear vision but it is good enough for me to feel some hope that the rebuilding of our condo will start to progress more quickly so we will be able to live in it again come next October.

Treasures of my Mind

Oh my, what do I treasure. I spent some time looking around the house and there are lots of items purchased in foreign countries that could be treasures, but on the other hand they are just items. I really enjoy both of our residences; but are they treasures? I have gotten great pleasure from my garden and get lots of compliments on it, but once again it doesn’t feel like a treasure. When it gets to be too much work I will turn it into something else and I won’t grieve because it will be a relief. I love my family and friends and they bring me so much pleasure but when I think of them as a treasure, it almost sounds like they are objects I possess. I also get a lot of joy through using my sewing machine and my cameras, but they seem to be objects that somehow lead to a greater treasure. As you can see, I’ve put a lot of thought into this Lens-Artist Challenge: Treasures.

Then it occurred to me that all of these things were once treasures to me but I seem to be changing as I am aging. I believe my greatest treasure in life is my memory.

Our campers could be listed as treasures; we have had six or seven. This year Jim isn’t putting the tires on our current one because we decided we wouldn’t go on any trips because of the price of gas. Last night during supper we talked about all the beautiful, interesting places we have been with a camper in tow. We talk about experiences with our kids and the other kids that sometimes went along. In memory mode we can also laugh about all the “oh shit” moments that we got into and had to figure out how to get out of. These memories are our shared treasures that make our relationship a treasure.

I have found so much pleasure working in my flower garden this year – maybe because others have done the heavy work and I’ve done the planning and planting. Now that’s a collaboration to treasure. After ten years I seem to be reworking my garden design as it seems to be growing out of it’s previous plan. Did I hear someone say, “Wow, she had a garden plan all worked out.” My plan was not on paper nor based on a wealth of plant knowledge. I followed the trial and error plan – reading lots of books (that suggested I draw a layout) and relying on what I could find in local garden centers.

This year, however, I found a surprise treasure while working in my garden. I found a connection to my grandmother who also loved to garden. This is my Polish grandmother who I know loved me but the relationship was hard to maintain because we had a language barrier. I felt her spirit with me this summer as I gardened, thinking that she would approve of my work and would have loved to get her hands dirty along with me.

The only objects that I really treasure are my books. I learn best through reading so I have books on gardening/landscaping, photography, travel, quilting, faith development, and professional books. All of these books shaped who I am and will continue to guide me into new life experiences. I believe even the fiction I read impacts who I am. I continue to cull my books and of course buy new ones that indicates that I am a work in progress as I approach 80. As my dear colleague, Margret, used to say, “God isn’t finished with me yet.”

I also treasure relationships with family and friends but don’t do well with photographing people and feel uncomfortable posting the photos on public media. Besides that would require another whole post. They do, however, fit into the treasures that make me who I am, along with my nature and social environments. Maybe the big-picture treasure that interconnects all, is that I treasure who I am, who I am becoming, and the life I have been able to live, am currently living, and look forward to in the future – with all it’s ups and down.

Anticipatory Buds

Aren’t these cone flowers striking? And look how many buds are opening. Last year, or maybe the year before, I divided the yellow daylilies along our drive and filled in places that could use some easy color. But this year I’ve decided my garden is toooooo yellow. My coneflowers have started blooming in the lower tier, in this beautiful orange, in yellow, and the typical bright pink. I’ve decided to remove some of the yellow daylilies in the upper tier (my daughter-in-law want some) and put some coneflowers in. But that can wait until fall or next spring.

Last winter I was thinking that I would start putting more evergreens in with less flowers. Somewhere, probably in one of local garden shops, I forgot about that decision. Or maybe it was when I was sitting on my purple porch swing on a cool spring morning surveying the plants coming up. I’ll blame it on the coffee I was drinking.

If you have a flower you would like to show us you can join in Cee’s Flower of the Day postings.

Lens-Artist: Color Expressions

I love color, I love playing with colors when I create quilts and when I edit my photographs. I had great fun when I was arranging these bouquets of flowers for your pleasure. But I get ahead of myself, here, because what attracts my eye and draws me in with my camera is the play of light and shadow that creates the beauty of colors. The colors in each one of these flowers makes my heart and soul smile – big!

The Naples Botanical Garden has wonderful collections of orchids and water lilies so I have tended to use them the most for my winter posts. Today, for this Lens-Artist Challenge, I decided to show you some of the other colors of the the garden. I have been going two or three times a week and every time I walk around I am surprised by new small splashes of color or changes in the reproductive cycles of those plants that I have been photographing for a few weeks and result in new colors of buds, blossoms or fruits/seed pods (I’m saving those for future posts). I have provided captions for those that I can name – if you know other names I would be very appreciative for your knowledge in the comments section.

I found this last plant in the Idea Garden, where ideas are given for growing flowers and vegetables in the southern Florida tropical climate. Does color have a sense of humor? Can you identify the five colors? The chef at the restaurant in the garden really likes hot peppers for seasoning.

Chinese five color hot pepper

To find out how others are interpreting this photography challenge of “color expressions” you can click on the link.