Sunshine For All My Northern Friends

A Florida Sunflower Radiating Sunshine

I lived in the north long enough to know that as March nears, nerves begin to get prickly and souls are yearning for signs of spring. It could be guilt that I am in a sub-tropical local with flowers everywhere, but more likely just compassion that motivated me to search for just the perfect yellows for all of you who are currently color deprived in your environments.

What a beautiful yellow bouquet with a touch of red and deep blue on a ground of green. Makes my heart sing.
A sure sign of spring.

I was also motivated by Jude’s posting of beautiful lemons for this month’s 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.

Up Close from Florida

We drove to Florida last week-end, staying out one night and eating all our meals from our stash of food in our car. I was nervous about the drive but felt safe except when we had to purchase gasoline. We are taking the same safety precautions we took while in Michigan – except we can go outdoors and see friends from a distance.

Tuesday morning I was off to the Naples Botanical Garden – with a reservation for 8:00 am member early entry for me and my son & daughter-in-law. The humidity was really high with some light fog so there were beads of water along the edges of the flowers, along spider webs and large drops of water falling off trees. There were only a few members walking their dogs so my tripod didn’t get in anyone’s way as I focused on some of the flowers. This camellia caught my eye early in my walk, and I was excited to see a lot of buds so there will be more flowers on future visits.

I think I use up-close photography more often to show the beauty and personality of plants and critters than showcasing the minute details. But both are important to me and I am beginning to think about when it works better to take a few steps back for a more inclusive image.

I’m not a big bug lover (neither big on liking them nor liking big bugs) but close-ups sometimes gives me a greater appreciation for their complexity. I’m not sure the little critter below is a moth staying out late (9 in the morning) or a butterfly that looks a lot like a moth. Maybe one of you will educated me.

This last close-up is of rice, taken a year ago. The Botanical Garden grows rice in small paddies in the Asian Garden but also in big, round planters on the boardwalk through the lily garden. I have been trying for several years to capture their beauty and personality and this is the best so far. I will try some more this year. It is so nice to have such a photogenic place to go week after week, year after year. It definitely keeps my spirits up!

I am connecting this post with Becky’s “square-up” month that is just about to end. Kind of like a “last call-up.”

Lesson in Perspective

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This is my last post for Becky’s Square Perspective challenge and I’m a little late but it is still July 31 in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S., so I can still post my most intriguing exploration of perspective. And think about what I learned through my camera.

The above square is a photo of the flower of a hens & chicks plant. I have some growing along the sidewalk in a really dry area leading to the front door. I’m not happy when they bloom because I’ve never found the flowers attractive.

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I bought this single “hen” at the garden center in the spring but realized when I got home that I already had some of these with reddish leaves. I set it down in the garden thinking I would get to it later, and much later (like weeks later) I found it on the ground still not planted. My compassion for all things living compelled me to dig a hole and stuff it in. There. End of guilt.

To my surprise it bloomed just a few weeks later. No spreading, no chicks, and no attention from me. Just this one little plant with a big ugly bloom coming out of it. And I heard it begging me to take its picture as I was recording what was blooming in my late July garden. It had been a while since I worked at this type of macro photography so I decided to take a stab at using my camera to get a closer look. My aging body doesn’t do well getting down low to peer at little things close to the ground.

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What a surprise when I edited photos to find how beautiful the small flowers are. There has to be a lesson here, don’t you think. If I hadn’t gotten close and intimate with this flower I didn’t like, didn’t see any beauty in, didn’t even respect or appreciate it enough to give it a proper planting – if I hadn’t taken the time to care and really look at it I wouldn’t have ever known how beautifully unique it is.