Phriday Pheathers – Ransacked Zinnias

Adorable August Bandits have been ransacking my zinnias. Do I care…only a little, and why is that? Even without every petal the nectar-producing disk florets are alive and will be visited by hummingbirds and butterflies.

Goldfinches are the bandits. The male is bold and brash, watching me carefully, but staying in plain sight.

The female likes to forage amid the cover of the zinnia leaves.

They aren’t the only ransackers in the garden. I’m a guilty party too, stripping off petals to press between the pages of a book. They will retain their bright colors and be useful in crafts later in the year.

Each petal has a seed attached. I break these away before pressing. Aha! I’ve had a great idea.

I gather the seeds and take them to the garden. The ring of florets on the zinnia makes a perfect miniature bird feeder for the goldfinches. This post is part of August Photo A Day Challenge/Start With A – August 3rd.

Photograph – The Bone Yard

LILY SEEDPOD
LILY SEEDPOD

Autumn has brought out the beauty in the “Bone Yard” of my garden as my blossoms turn into seeds.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Change.”“This week, show us a change in progress. This can be done in one or multiple photos — we’ll let you decide!”

ZINNIA SEEDPOD
ZINNIA SEED HEAD
MOONFLOWER SEEDPOD
MOONFLOWER SEEDPOD
ECHINACEA SEED HEAD
ECHINACEA SEED HEAD
VITEX/CHASTE-BERRY SEEDS
VITEX/CHASTE-BERRY SEEDS
ACORNS - WASHED BY RAIN FROM THE ROOF
ACORNS – WASHED BY RAIN FROM THE ROOF

Pic-Monkey is a terrific site for adding special effects to photographs.

Photo Challenge – Swallowtails, Zinnias and Bumblebees, Oh My!

“Away with the colors of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Show us what “Yellow ” means to you.” Photo Challenge at WordPress – December 19th

swallowtail on zinnia

My first thought for this challenge was to choose a photograph of yellow flowers. I have dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of flowers on disc. Many of the photos have been taken in my own gardens, others at local public gardens in the area I live.

I decided instead to combine a favorite flower, zinnias, with a yellow swallowtail butterfly. Perfect. I love swallowtails. Lately, the weather and environmental issues have diminished their ranks, but hopefully their numbers will rebound in our area soon.

I love zinnias, and especially am entranced by the yellow ring of flowers surrounding their center. I always give this ring of small flowers, technically called “disc flowers” my own whimsical name of fairy ring flowers. This is where the butterflies find the nectar that they drink.

Zinnias have “Heads composed of both disc and ray flowers, with disc flowers tightly packed together in the head’s “eye,” while enlarged ray flowers function as petals radiating outward from the eye.” Composite Flowers – Backyard Nature

Here’s a closer look at the yellow “fairy ring” of zinnia disc flowers, this time hosting a Skipper butterfly.

skipper on butterfly

I loved this photograph so much I used it as a reference for a 5 x 7 watercolor, and posted the finished results on this blog: Skipper on a Zinnia

bee

Another visitor to the zinnias is a bumblebee in a fuzzy yellow jacket. Gorgeous insects all!

This post is definitely a tad out of season, but perhaps you are like me, and at the threshold of winter enjoy being reminded that Spring is only three months away.

Painting – Faux Botanical/Zinnia

IMG_3376

I love botanical watercolors, but I don’t have enough minutes in the day to attempt painting one. If truth be told, even if I had the time, I’m not sure I would have the inclination; botanical watercolors are painstaking and precise. I like having a bit more freedom and fun when I paint. Instead of following the traditional route I paint “faux” botanicals, or maybe a better term would be a floral portrait. At first glance my watercolors appear to be botanicals, but on closer inspection a professional would see there are many flower details left out.

Step by Step Slideshow

IMG_3377

Watercolor Tip – To remove a finished painting from a watercolor block, use a piece of an old credit card and slide between sheets. Gently work the card around until the paper completely lifts away from the block.

Thanks for looking! 😀

Of course, I had to include the inchworm.

IMG_3379

I’m pleased with the new addition to my “faux” botanicals in the hallway.

IMG_3381

Planting – Front Garden Color Combo

buggy 004

I love this combination of wave petunias, angelonia, heliotrope, coleus and low-growing pink zinnias. I crowd my plants a bit in the front garden, but I am rarely disappointed by stunted plants, they all seem to thrive in their close quarters. Perhaps the tight lacing of foliage prevents quick dehydration of the ground below them.

buggy 042

buggy 044