On a day filled with windy March bluster, I found first blooms in the 2023 garden beds. Top left to bottom right: Japonica, Crocus in three colors, hyacinths and a perky daffodil.
Tag: One Daily Word Prompt
Phlowers – Yellow Tulips
I could interpret last week’s sixty-degree temperatures as a sign Spring is on the way, but I have lived through many seasonal changeovers, and I know that even though twilight is coming later every day, the hope of Spring arriving early is just folly and there are still weeks of Winter to live through.
Tulips are my Flower of the Day, part of Cee’s Daily Flower Challenge.
I have grown the yellow tulips from bulbs I purchased in Autumn. Past attempts at forcing them have been mixed. I have kept them bare and in a cold place, forcing them in water. This year I planted thickly in terracotta pots, about six bulbs per pot, and left them outdoors on the porch for several months. I wasn’t sure when I should bring them in, but the tulips themselves told me by thrusting leaves above the surface. I bring one in each week, and this pot is my first success. It is a bit leggy, but grand just the same. I support the overgrown stems with small twigs in the soil. I like the seasonal look they give, and even though thin, they support the leaves and stems perfectly well.
Photograph – Oh Bee-aby!
There are loves throughout my life that have been questionable: people, habits, places, some friends. But my love of nature and the pollen-gathering creatures God has made is not a choice I feel will diminish or ever be deemed debatable. I don’t remember the exact moment in time I took this photo, but when I came across it today, it immediately brought back the spring/summer rush I feel when I grab my camera and run straight for the garden bed and insects gathered there.
The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.
There is nothing motley about the pollen sprinkled across the bumblebees, in fact it seems ethereal, dusting the bumblebee’s fur/pile with magic.
Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair called ‘pile’, making them appear and feel fuzzy.Nature – Check out this article for amazing facts about bumblebees!
The sweet bumbler hangs on and collects pollen from lavender bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), a dependable perennial in my summer garden. Bee Balm blossoms are my Flower of the Day.
Pheathers – Winter Robins
The woods that border my neighborhood is a cherished retreat for me in all seasons. Of course, today’s first frosting of snowfall prompted me to grab my camera and head outdoors. I managed to zoom in and get a close-up for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.
On the path before me a robin rustled among the leaves for insects. As I captured his image, I realized the woods was alive with a large flock of robins.
The robins are drawn to our woods by the native holly trees growing tall beneath the canopy of larger oaks, tulip trees, and sweetgums. I stood for quite a while, taking photos, an easier task than usual as there were dozens of birds all around. I stayed in one spot, and they soon perceived I was no threat. One few so close overhead, I was sure his wing must have grazed me as he swooped by.
It was a curious morning; the wintry frosting of snow belied the springtime sparkle of the sun. Half of the surrounding view shouted, ‘Spring,’ but the cold air and flurries adorning the foliage sagely disagreed and whispered, ‘Winter.” I felt myself in a natural sanctuary, blessed by the song of the birds, the brilliance of the sun. The atmosphere around me was aglow with one of my favorite colors, a light-infused ethereal green. I added my voice to the praise and thanksgiving, “Thank you Lord, this is one of my best days.”
A few of the friendly flock of robins. Amazing to see so many on the first day of February, 2023.
Though my orientation hadn’t changed, my feet exactly on the same stretch of ground from where I photographed the robins, I somehow captured the image of a new bird with my lens. This photo is part of Skywatch.
Phlowers – Longwood Conservatory Winter/Part 2
The Longwood Gardens Conservatory boasts a gorgeous display of orchids. Not only can you view hundreds of varieties, you can also gaze out upon the ongoing construction of Longwood Reimagined in the Orchid room. There are many signs on the grounds, and articles available on the web, that apprise visitors of the future gardens and buildings. It’s quite exciting to imagine myself walking in these structures in the future.
The orchids in today’s post are part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.
While the sun glare, magnified through the window, can make it difficult to take a larger photo, a close-up of these beautiful blooms in the orchid room is enhanced by the back-lighting.
There is no one dominant species of orchid in the display, but I am always drawn to the faces of the Paphiopedilums. Just like pansy blossoms, they seem to have a perky personality.
This lovely orchid almost seems artificial. The inner recesses of the labellum are sunrose yellow, the January 30th color for City Sonnet’s January Colors and Letters.
Postcards – Throwback Thursday/1903
North British Station Hotel, Scotland – Opened in 1902, it is now known as the Balmoral Hotel.
It’s been a long time since I have posted one of my vintage postcards. This one has entranced me for a week or two. I found it in a local Antique Conglomerate, in a box with many others, marked at just fifty cents. Oh my! What a bargain. It is postmarked September 1903, with the image of Edward VII on the half penny stamp. The ephemera I hold in my hand is just a few months shy of being 120 years old.
The age alone makes it a worthy treasure, but for me, it is always the written message, the address, the speculation over the person who picked out, wrote a message, and sent the card, Then, of course, next is wondering over what the person who received it thought of the correspondence. If you are like me, perhaps you too would come up with a whole story around the short message and names.
The postcard is in great shape. I tried to square it up for a photograph, and realized it wasn’t going to happen; the bottom is two to three millimeters less in width than the top. Comparing the date with the opening of the hotel I see it was probably one of the first images taken and sold as a postcard of the location.
Now for the fun part: the messages. The writer of the card had a lot to say in a small space and also used the front. I love the mention of the canaries. I wonder what the L stood for in the name. Was L a man, or a woman? I also wonder what the first name of Miss Young might be…
Eyemouth is a beautiful coastal town about fifty miles from Edinburgh. The word ‘Fruiterer’ means just what it sounds like, a seller of fruit. The recipient might have had a grocery shop, or small stand on High Street. ‘It’s a nicht one,’ is Scottish for night.
This postcard was very clear and easy to read. Other postcards I have are sometimes near illegible. At those times I take a photo of the postcard and magnify it on my computer, creating larger optics to better read the message.
My take on the messages:
Dear Miss Young
I have just found
time to send off the P.C.
you requested me to forward.
Hope it will find a
space in your album.
Along the side:
___own Production” Could
you sell any
I send this just
for a “Lark” and hope
your Canaries are getting
on, & that you don’t miss
the one I took home.
Its a grand whistler.
“Its a nicht one”
Vintage postcards are a great way to break up the tedium of winter weather and staying indoors.
Photo Challenge – Pear Green
Cee’s color choice for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is one of my favorites, pear green, or as some call it, chartreuse. We painted our front door and shutters a creamy yellow in the summer, and my lavender and silver Christmas decor created a hideous color combination with the yellow. To appease my sense of what color goes with yellow, I chose a rather different Christmas theme this year. It’s also a vague self-portrait.
Here’s another seasonal example of Pear Green: sunlight casting a luminous reflection through Jamestown blown glass.
Water, water, everywhere. A good fit for the Photos by Jez Challenge. This photograph is out of season. It is a summer photo, taken on the Glassboro/Williamstown bike trail. I wish I could have captured more of the enchanted nature of the place; a swamp covered in duckweed. The growth is so thick the water was completely obscured. Beneath a canopy of trees, the place took on an otherworldly appearance. Hopefully, it will grow again this coming summer, and I will capture better photographs with a camera rather than my phone. I think this is a good example of pear green too.
Photograph – December Moon
I was going to title this post ‘Silent Saturday’ but then realized I couldn’t stay quiet about this beautiful moon. The photo was taken with my Canon camera, zoomed in, and with a flash. I have no idea, other than I was blessed by the Lord, how I managed to capture this image. I took several photos, all were fuzzy and indistinct, and then this one turned out perfectly. Reminds me a bit of life, so many aspects can be blurry, and then suddenly, crystal clarity when it matters.
Initially, I wasn’t interested in a moon photo, but went outdoors to find Jupiter alongside the moon. The planet didn’t disappoint and was glowing large in the sky. I have an app on my phone called Stellarium, and it shows me the position of stars in my area. The view is fascinating. More info here: Stellarium.
Moon watching has its roots in my youth. On a summer night, July 20, 1969, I watched with millions of others as Neil Armstong took that first step on the moon. I have never lost my love for gazing at the moon. I wonder if neighbors think I am crazy, for often, I am outdoors in the moments before dawn in pajamas and robe, taking photographs of the moon as it sits low on the horizon. Since they can’t read my mind, perhaps they are looking at me out their windows a bit askance.
Phloral Arrangement – In A Vase on Monday/Halloween Hedgerows and Garden Beds
This Autumn Bouquet arranged for ‘In a Vase Monday,’ was created using flowers from my garden and hedgerows surrounding a park near my home. Flowers featured: Sedum, Celosia, Mexican Sage, Zinnias, Honeysuckle, Milkweed pods, and Dandelion Poufs. The harmony of colors ranges from the Espresso Brown of the Sedum to the bright orange tones of the zinnia. Purple seems to be a popular Halloween shade and was a good addition to the bouquet.
“Already the dandelions are changed into vanishing ghosts.”- Celia Thaxter
The spooky quote by Celia Thaxter seemed doubly appropriate for Halloween and the bedraggled appearance of one of my Dandelion poufs.
The other was still in good shape when I came upon it. Both are included in my bouquet, their weak stems supported within the twisted rows of the Celosia.
I was surprised to find a stem of honeysuckle in bloom, out of season, but very welcome in the cooler days of Autumn.
“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” —Robert Brault
Quick Tip – Sprouts!
The first snowfall was pretty, but also makes me resigned to the long winter ahead. For those of you who, like me, enjoy standing in the garden eating peas right out of the pod, I’m posting a reminder about sprouts. I love sprouts. The batch above was especially delicious, although definitely odd in appearance, when I used them on hummus for lunch this week. The meal might look a trifle strange, but it is full of health benefits and a good percentage of your daily vitamins and minerals.
Amazingly, the sprouting seeds I used were purchased in 2015 from The Sprout House through Amazon. After three years almost all the seeds in the packet I chose to use still sprouted. The Sprout House offers an amazing variety packet that will last for months, if not years.
“There are tremendous health benefits from including sprouts in your diet: … Vitamin, such as A, B, C and E, and essential fatty acid nutrients increase in sprouting and minerals bind to protein, making them more easily absorbed. Sprouts alkalize the body and protect it from disease including cancer.” ~Longevity Wellness Worldwide
The Sprout House on Amazon. Here’s the link to the variety package I purchased in 2015. You can also find smaller products through Amazon offered by The Sprout House.
Project – Comminatory Weather and The Big Save
Comminatory is the challenge word today for ‘Your Daily Word Prompt.’ I enjoy expanding my vocabulary, and this was a new word for me: comminatory-threatening, punitive, or vengeful. We have certainly had a change to comminatory weather here in southern New Jersey. Frost, frozen bird baths, ice-sheathed grass blades, are what we wake to in the early morning hours. Today I noticed every garden flower that was lingering is now brown and drooping lifelessly.
I knew a freeze was coming, and took a bit of time on Saturday to walk around the yard and take a few photos of the last flowers of Autumn. I noticed the dill was still green and on closer inspection was astonished to see two black swallowtail caterpillars on its foliage. Since I had good luck a year ago raising caterpillars on dill plants on the porch I decided I should try and save these poor critters from the hard freeze. Unfortunately, my ambitions were forgotten until the evening hours. Resolved not to be put off by my forgetfulness, I went out in the dark and found one caterpillar, the other eluded me.
I placed him in a vase and covered the opening with a knee-high stocking. These make great barriers and are easy to slip over the top of a jar or vase. The soft nylon will not harm the insect.
The caterpillar became lively overnight and the next day my grandsons helped me create a habitat for him. We dug up any dill plants still growing, a parsley plant, and added branching sticks for him to form a chrysalis upon. I know from past experience, while eating and growing, the caterpillar will not leave the food source. When he’s ready to form a chrysalis he might wander, but its fairly easy to find him if he is contained in one area.
We decided it was worth a second look in the garden for the second caterpillar, and after a little searching found him motionless in the garden soil. My grandson said he thought he saw him twitch a bit so we carefully brushed him into a small container and took him indoors. Within an hour or two the caterpillar that appeared lifeless began to move and this morning had joined the other on the dill.
Black swallowtails in their chrysalis have no problem overwintering. A small caterpillar, caught in a hard freeze, isn’t likely to survive to form a chrysalis without a food source. Updates will follow on our winter visitors.