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.
We spent the first two weeks of December in Florida doing lots of work setting things up so our contractor can start the rebuild of our condo after the destruction of hurricane Ian. My goal was to spend at least one morning walking around the Naples Botanical Garden seeing what is new this year and taking a few photos. It didn’t happen because there was just too much to do. I missed my chance at one last visit in 2022.
This subtropical growing zone needs constant attention to keep the grounds looking neat and tidy. There was a lot of cleaning up going on during this last 2022 visit to the garden, although I didn’t think of it as a last visit because I knew we would be down again in December. Little did I know that our lives would be consumed with planning our own clean-up and making sure the people who were hired by the condo association could do the really dirty grunt work of tearing out without throwing away things we could salvage.
I took a lot of photos that morning in the garden, and the photos that I enjoy most are the very small orchids that were on display in the orchid garden. I never posted these photos throughout the summer and fall and now Tina has given us a “last chance” to post photos that haven’t been used in other challenges this year.
These are very small orchids so I chose to take photos with the orchids in front of my hand for perspective. I think I have only taken one selfie in my life so maybe this photos will make it two selfies.
I love the small orchids and have spent lots of time working on photographing them in a way that captures both the delicacy of their flowers but also the strength of their presence in the garden. There are hundreds of orchids at any time in this small outside enclosure, and it would seem that the small orchids wouldn’t be seen – however they are placed so my eye sees them immediately. However, when photographed they do get lost within all the other foliage and orchids behind them. Luckily when I photograph them I know it won’t be my “last chance” because I return to try again within a week – after I have had a chance to analyze what didn’t work.
This next blue orchid bloomed for many weeks just outside the orchid garden and each week I would take a few photos of it as I was leaving the garden. The buds are so simple but once the flower bursts out it becomes very messy and difficult to photograph. I believe just one bloom is out in the next photo with a couple more starting to emerge behind the bloom. When two or more are out it is impossible to distinguish one from another.
Thank you, Tina, for this last chance to participate and share some photographs from a time and place that has given me good memories and photographs to sustain me through this trying time. Your “last chance” photos brought great joy to me.
Georgia O’Keefe was in the news recently and this got me thinking of my dream of making my floral photos in the image of her paintings. This summer I have also been going through my many years of photo files instead of spending time out and about with my camera. Several of these meanders through my files led me to photos taken early this year at the Naples Botanical Garden when the Jade Vine was blooming at the front entrance. I remember this find with excitement and would tell myself that I needed to do a post – but didn’t. I knew they had been planted and bloomed there the previous year but seeing them this year was an exciting find.
Whenever there is a sign saying to look up, I do. I look up a lot because there are a large number of flowering trees and also orchids have been put in trees throughout the garden. But this time my look up knocked my socks off.
All the vines and blossoms hanging down looked like someone had decorated for a tropical party. I also felt fortunate to find a vine of buds with the flowers starting to poke their way out.
I would have a hard time saying this was a favorite find – because most every day I find something that is a surprise and excites me. However, I had great fun finishing up this post after our power and internet were returned after a 3-day electronic holiday brought to us by a nasty wind storm.
A strange thing is happening as we are preparing to head north, as we always do about the middle of April. This year Jim made the proclamation that we weren’t going north until the end of April. He is tired of my eagerness to get “home,” wanting to leave around the 15th – and then complaining that it is still cold in Michigan in April. We are staying a week longer and spending a long week-end with our daughter in North Carolina before completing our snow-bird journey. The strange thing that is happening is that I’m not ready to leave Florida. I finally felt like I was here and enjoying myself as I was walking across the parking lot towards the pool a couple of weeks ago. It was a jolt of awakening to my surroundings and a voice in my head saying how nice it is to be here. The first three months weren’t easy as Jim and I worked together to deal with his double vision and severe fatigue as a result Myasthenia Gravis. We have lived and loved together for so long that what happens to one, happens to the other.
The zinnias in the Idea Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden have started me thinking about my northern garden. I have a space where I plant zinnias for some late summer and fall color. The past few years I have planted seeds, then waited and waited for the first blossoms. When I visited the Botanical Garden here in Florida in January the zinnias were just starting to bloom and then a couple of cool months later I noticed they had pulled them all out and the next week they planted another batch of seedlings. I was amazed when they were blooming a couple of weeks later. This year I’m going to buy seedlings to speed things up in my cooler northern garden, but will also be realistic that they won’t bloom as quickly as in hot southern Florida.
We have five more days before we head north so we are eating up what is in the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. I think I can put together some meals that aren’t too weird with the help of the neighborhood grocer with a great fish counter and a deli with really good salads. I’ve been thinking of making a batch of molasses cookies but will need to barter with a neighbor for some butter, maybe for a dozen cookies. On the subject of cooking, I am really looking forward to going north to my new gas range. The one here is electric and even after using electric cook-tops for over 10 years in Michigan and Florida I haven’t learned to regulate the heat so I don’t burn grilled sandwiches. Two grilled sandwiches always take six slices of buttered bread – four to eat and two for the garbage.
I was so enjoying being more relaxed about Covid during our winter months here in Florida. We were spending time with friends at the pool and in our homes, going to very early suppers (late lunch?) at restaurants with outdoor seating, and even forgetting to put masks on when going into grocery stores. These activities felt like getting back to normal. We felt well protected with transmission rates falling and having been vaccinated and boosted. Then four of our friends in our condo association got sick a week ago and tested positive for Covid. I had played in a Rummy Cube tournament at the pool with two of them a week ago Saturday so I could have been infected. Amazing how quickly we put the defenses in gear and also rallied round to make sure friends had tests and people who were sick had enough food and weren’t getting so sick that they needed medical help. Fear moved into our home again as we worried about sick friends who had serious heart problems, and friends who didn’t want to get sick because they had plans to see a 9-month pregnant granddaughter on Easter. And of course we have felt some anxiety about whether Covid would disrupt our schedule for going back to Michigan. We are well stocked with rapid tests so we will make sure we test negative before we leave on Thursday and maybe again before we get to our daughter’s home on Friday.
We are going to take less stuff back and forth this year (said in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021). We both thought we did a good job of bringing less when we drove down last October. We mostly have full wardrobes in both places and have coffee makers and sewing machines and household tools for both homes. As I am starting to put things on the guest beds, I’m wondering why I feel so overwhelmed with packing to go home this time. Maybe it’s because I’m a year older and both of us are having trouble with fatigue. Maybe it is because we are taking some things north for our children. Maybe it is because we are taking almost a week to go home instead of three days, making a stop at our daughter’s home in North Carolina. I think we are doing okay – I just have those week-before-we-leave jitters because I know what needs to be packed but can’t pack because we are still living here for a few days. I have this constantly running brain loop of things I want to remember to take home. Instead of getting ahead of myself like that, I think I’ll just putter around and take a deep breath. I’ve packed for various kinds of trips for too many years to get cocky-jawed about it now.
As I am finishing up this post I am smiling. Although it is snowing in Michigan today I am looking forward to being in my northern home, seeing northern family and friends, and experiencing a northern Spring. Today I have tasks to do and things to pack. And we have an exciting trip north planned this year.