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.

Glow Bright

Except for the photo that was over-exposed, this was the brightest one I took as I wandered around the Naples Botanical Garden on Monday. I spent quite a bit of time with my 50mm lens in the water lily garden. Love that lens.

I also love the April Squares theme of bright. Hope you follow and join in with Becky by clicking here.

Patterns in Nature

When I saw that Cee was calling for photos showing “Patterns in Nature,” I was pulled in. My last visit to the Naples Botanical Garden was last March and some of my photos were focused on patterns. I was waiting for this opportunity to have some fun using photos from my last trips to the garden and from older files.

Kinda Fall Squares

Becky is enticing us to post square photos this month that relate in some way to “kind.” Thursday’s sunrise was showing bright in a clear blue sky so I decided to venture out on a photo mission to find some examples of fall. It has been the first time that I have ventured out on a photo taking excursion since the Naples Botanical Garden closed in February. I didn’t go out when we returned to Michigan in the spring, nor in the summer except when I took a few photos on outings with our travel trailer. Southern Michigan doesn’t get full color until late October but on the first of October there are kind-of hints of what is to come. For the past 10 years we have left for Florida before full color came.

We have been tidying up the garden getting it ready for the spring growth next April. It always feels like an act of faith, of hope for the future, when I cut back spent plants and pull up annuals with ideas of what I want to do next year. I convinced Jim that some of the fall flowers should be left for a little while longer – like the mums, asters (above), sedums, and zinnias. Cutting down blooming plants always feels very unkind to me – like cutting their life short.

Yesterday Jim pulled the giant marigolds by his shed. He was pushing them, roots down, into a large white cardboard container he uses to carry yard cuttings across the street. By the time he finished it looked like a 5 foot high bouquet in a white vase, bringing me some comic relief from the election stress. I thought the marigolds could have stayed in a few more days, but we all pick our battles and I know Jim wants to get his yard work done before the snow flies. Next week we will have several days of sun with temps in the high 60’s, perfect for finishing up my garden work. This year we won’t be going to Florida in the middle of October so we don’t feel the pressure of getting it done before we leave. And I will get to experience the full-on fall experience.

But for Thursday morning I had to be satisfied with mostly macro images of what are kind-of hints of what will be the full glory of fall color in the coming weeks. I headed for the wet-lands that are on Folks road and the Lime Lake County Park. This road is on the route I took to work for many, many years and every morning I turned the corner from Mathews to Folks road to breath-taking beauty. This morning was no different so I had to pull over.

It is an ordinary marsh, with marsh grass and other plants that like wet conditions covering all but where a small lake is. But there are always beautiful colors and movement and light at the marsh. And of course there is a lot of sky to see.

Thunder storms were predicted for early afternoon and I could see dark heavy clouds on the western horizon and directly above me there were hints of what was to come. I have lived here for all but two of my 76 years so I notice how clouds are different during different seasons. The clouds of fall are a combination of high, fluffy clouds of summer and and the heavy low dark clouds of winter. The dark heavy clouds to the west dropped hail on us as I was eating lunch when I returned home.

This square macro shows a hint of the color that will surround Lime Lake in the next few days or weeks. On this one relatively young maple tree there were red, yellow and green leaves. I kinda think this is a micro (or macro) of what we have here in my neighborhood during the first week of October.