Farewell Delights

I had a beautiful day for my last visit to the Naples Botanical Garden before we headed north. Everything looked really different because they had been cleaning out the water gardens and trimming out the foliage in the other gardens. Then I realized that the glass sculptures were gone – and how empty the garden felt. You can read about them by clicking on these links. Surprise at the Garden and Balancing Act   Here are a few photos from other visits as I continued to practice capturing the beauty that they brought to the landscaping where they were installed.

This exhibit is one of my two favorite from the past five years. I also really liked the origami sculptures. Amazing Lines – Origami   As I wandered around I kept thinking I should walk over to where a sculpture is to see how the light is catching it – oops, it isn’t there any more. But there were many things to catch my interest.

When I reached the succulent garden I was excited to see the cacti that were blooming, especially this one where I could capture the various phases of blooming.

And this one that has such an interesting structure.

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The produce garden is growing nicely, showing people the types of edibles that can be grown in Florida and to provide fresh produce for the chef at the cafe.

As I was sitting at the cafe I saw the chef walking back from collecting something from another part of the garden – maybe by where the bananas grow. My scone and ginger limeade was excellent.

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We are in Michigan now and I am finding delight in the early spring landscape, even though I skipped the long, dreary, cold winter. These images of Florida seem very far away, both in distance and time.

Succulents in the Garden

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What a grand morning in the succulent garden at the Naples Botanical. I have taken a liking to succulents because of this garden but never have I enjoyed snooping around as much as this morning. It was the first Tuesday after Daylight Saving Time so my normal 8 o’clock arrival saw the 7 o’clock sun. Because of this change in time and light, I went first to the eastern side wetland section of the garden to catch to catch the low morning light on the marsh foliage and water. The succulents are on the way back from there so I wandered through while the temp was still on the cool side and the light was less harsh. Usually it is one of my last stops of my morning photo stroll. Please join me.

There are old world succulents and new world, although I didn’t notice where one stopped and the other began. I think my aesthetic gene is stronger than my scientific one.

I spent time admiring how hard structures are used among the succulents – and how the succulents then mold around, maybe hug, the rocks.

This is blooming time for many of the plants, and the weather has been gentle to them. Perfect for photographing.

The color and graceful curves of this plant was like a siren’s call.

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And how could I resist photographing a plant named “Mangave – Spotty Dotty?”

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The small blooms on the tip of this cactus caught my eye, but when I processed my photos I realized that it needed the softness of the adjacent plant for the beauty of the cactus to be fully realized. I wonder how much of our individual beauty is dependent on the contrasting beauty of those around us?

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I met Amanda who is in charge of the succulent garden and spent a little time talking with her. She and a volunteer were filling the back of one of their work carts with the debris from cleaning a small section. It is a constant task given the 12 month growing season and well, life requires a little tidying up every once in a while. She told me that they had added 600 plants in the past year and as I learned in my garden in Michigan, every plant that is added in a garden requires ongoing work. Thank you, Amanda, for your work so I could have a great morning in your garden.

Searching

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It took me a while to head to the spot in the Naples Botanical Garden where one of the sculptures I had missed on my last visit is located. I got distracted at the lily pond, and my head had to concentrate on saying don’t turn right towards the Caribbean Garden, don’t turn left towards the Asian Garden, keep moving… I was so intent on getting there that I walked right past the Blue Calla Flare. It was only when I stopped and turned around in the Succulent Garden that I saw it.

_DSC0051 I spent some time trying to capture the artistic beauty and technical artistry of this glass sculpture by Hans Godo Frabel on display this season but I don’t think my heart was in it.

I was much more interested in the plants in the Succulent Garden, even though this area still needs some cleaning for the upcoming tourist season. These plants seem to reflect the prickly aspects of my personality of late, and the fact that my darker side wants to push through.

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As our country is getting close to our midterm elections, when we are voting for representatives for national and state legislatures, governors, state policy issues, etc. but not for president, the Republicans, especially the president and his followers, are nervous that they may lose some important races. To get out their followers, they are increasing their lying about supporting the Affordable Care Act, even as they are working to dismantle it, and they are ramping up the fear mongering lies about the hordes of immigrants heading for our Southern border infiltrated by Muslims and murdering gangs, bankrolled by Jews, carrying Small Pox and leprosy into our country. I am fed up, I have had it, and I don’t know how to respond except to vote – which I’ve already done. Now all I can do is wait in hopeful anticipation and dread until the election results are in.

I don’t remember ever hating anyone more than I hate our current president. And I don’t like what this hatred is doing to me. I want to attack everyone I know who voted for him, and even those who may have voted for him because of their party affiliation. This isn’t fair and goes against everything I believe in, but it is so hard to do what is right and good right now. I want to be kind and caring towards everyone, but I feel the darkness right there at the back of my brain cutting off those brain parts that regulate the flow of love from my heart. And my soul is constipated.

I want to curl myself up in a community of safety and loving. I want to become fetal, cover my head from attacks.

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And I want to feel the joy of reaching out, of giving.

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Remember to breath in deeply and turn off the TV, Pat. As I teacher of interviewing skills for future social workers, I would explain the importance of focus. I would help them think about how to make sure the focus of interactions was on the person needing the help, not on the helper. We would discuss how to gently shift the focus between topics of importance. If I am going to find peace and joy in the coming week I have to give up my focus on the evil that is going on in national politics and focus on my small circle of influence. I need to focus on caring and finishing my quilt top for donating to flood victims and knitting the sweaters for my two great grandchildren. I need to put a smile on my face and face the world with strength.

And I need to make some fun – starting with an outing with my honey to visit some of the local consignment shops. Let me tell you of the great deals that can be found in thrift and consignment shops in Naples, FL.

Sensuous Day in the Garden

I spent four and a half hours at the Naples Botanical Garden yesterday – about twice as long a normal. I paid the pain price but oh it was sooooo worth it. It was one of those beautiful days when everything seemed more, well sensual.

20150210-Botanical creatures 060My goal was to walk to the edge of the garden where they are preserving the wetland, to see if there were wading birds. The color and texture in the succulent garden was my first distraction. In previous years I have tried photographing these plants, but I didn’t feel the passion I am feeling this year.

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I am drawn to the beautiful curves and colors.

20150210-Botanical creatures 245Yesterday, I played tag with the sun that dappled the thick, fleshy leaves as gossamer clouds rode the wind.

20150210-Botanical creatures 186I watched an artist sketch those parts of the landscape that have also caught my eye on many visits. We talked for a long time about composition and golf bags.

20150210-Botanical creatures 214The subtle colors of vegetation slowed me down and kept me from my destination. How could I possibly choose to walk to the water’s edge when so much beauty was right before me?

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What could be more inviting and sensual than the petal’s curl of a blooming rose or an orchid?

20150210-Botanical creatures 355I had a lot of other distractions from my goal, but the most inviting and sensual was my lunch. I usually stop for a cup of tea and scone before I leave, but yesterday it was later so I ordered a mango chicken salad and an iced coffee.

20150210-Botanical creatures 294The salad had a wonderful herb I couldn’t identify but the blend of flavors brought a smile as I savored it with the tender fresh lettuce and crispy toast. And the iced coffee was extra special with the cream I added.

This adventure fed all my senses. On mornings like this I rejoice at being alive.