Cee’s Flower of the Day: Clematis

Sometimes I just can’t resist being a little naughty. Here’s the story:

It is 10:00 at night and I was going through my e-mail notices of blog posts of people I follow, picking and choosing because I really want to go to bed but don’t feel like getting up from my comfy chair and doing my nightly routine. I, by chance, decided to click on Cee’s FOTD for January 23 which was titled “Clematis.” A lovely purple one.

Today we had snow all day, a heavy snow. The type of snow that most people who live in Michigan get excited about, including me. This afternoon had a date with a neighbor who lives down the street who makes cards and I have been helping her because I love to do it but not enough to buy a few thousand dollar’s worth of supplies. Besides we love talking together and she bakes me a great treat – today it was brownies with a covering of peanut butter and chocolate. It was such a beautiful snow fall that I decided to walk to her house and take my camera along. As I was leaving my home I snapped some photos of my front garden, including a new clematis that I am training up a wall and over a railing.

Sorry, Cee, I couldn’t resist posting it in response but I know you will appreciate the humor of it all.

Find beauty in nature wherever you are and if you are in the north-eastern quarter of the U.S., please stay off the roads and stay warm.

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.

I Missed One Last Chance: But Not Again

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.