Summer of 2008 was a difficult time for me. I had been having problems with an ankle, and decided to have an MRI to find out if it was 'fixable'. Not only did the test show tendonitis, but a stress fracture in my foot as well. I was given a choice....a cast for several weeks, or a clunky boot. I could take the boot off at night, and take a shower, so I chose the boot. Little did I know.
Of course this all happened right at bloom season, when I needed to be able to navigate our hill-side gardens to do my yearly pollen dabbing. BUMMER!! There were some parts of the garden I didn't even SEE all summer because walking up or down steep grades in that boot was impossible. Walking NORMAL was impossible and eventually all my other parts got thrown out of kilter by my uneven gait. I hadn't even KNOWN I had a stress fracture, but after a week of the boot I became painfully aware of the clinical definition of sciatica!
My photography capabilities were limited...but since there had been no 'walks thru the garden' for three years, I put together some of the shots I DID manage to get.
The images on this page were all taken with my newest camera, a Sony H50. I love this camera! I hope you enjoy what it can do.
Any time WE are in the garden....KILLER is in the garden....unless we think to lock her up. She has a tendency to roll on seedlings, and snap scapes off before we get to see them bloom.
Killer makes sure that she is available for a photo shoot at all times....and she is convinced that anyone who comes to visit the gardens REALLY came to see her instead of the flowers. No walk through the garden is complete without her, and
I like this shot so well that it spent quite a long stint as my wallpaper.
Even before the daylilies start to open, a camera addict can find something to shoot. These little garden visitors do manage to make some holes in our flowers, but we think they are cute, so we're willing to share. For those who don't recognize this little guy at this stage, this is a 'baby' Katydid.
Once our seedlings start to bloom...Richard and I are out the door before breakfast, trying to photograph each one of them in the best possible light. These are two seedlings from a Dan Bachman seedling we call "Freaky Monday", and a Dave Jackson seedling that has the garden name of "Money Talks."
These are a couple of older seedlings we had been hanging onto from our 2005 crop. The one on the left is still with us (Daring Deception X Admiral's Braid), and it's a sibling to the framed shot at the top of the page. The one on the right didn't make the 2008 "cut".
Here's Richard, doing my job for me. I managed to make some crosses, if the parents involved were on flat ground... (a precious commodity in our garden!)...but the majority of the crosses were put on paper by me, and put on the pistils by Richard.
I love shooting macro, and daylilies make perfect subject matter for getting in close and personal. Notice that Victorian Lace has been pollenated. The resulting seedlings are happily growing as I type.
The birds and the squirrels help us with 'companion plantings'. We usually have plenty of sunflowers to aim our cameras at. The purple spikes in the background are a bush-like perennial called Loosestrife, or Lithrium.
Surprise is the name of the game in daylily hybridizing....but this is the first really big Sunflower surprise we've seen. Look closely at the petals.
See the 'tubular' petals. I tried saving the seeds, but the birds beat me to all but a few....which I will try planting in the spring. If they don't germinate, this very unusual sunflower....which may be a one-of-a-kind 'sport', may never been seen again. If anyone viewing this page has seen this before, and knows where seeds can be purchased, please let me know.
This is a very small part of the ever-changing landscape, and that big hibiscus on the left is one of the changes. It was a 'volunteer', growing in a crack, and has since been removed so we can walk down the sidewalk without tripping over it. The Japanese Beetles liked it far too well anyway, and I try to dispose of most their favorite food supplies, so they'll go elsewhere. Roses all get cut back during Beetle Days, and we also took out our Purple Ground Cherry. The beetles made it look like lacey swiss.
The red spikes are "LADY IN RED SALVIA". It's a garden staple here. We buy a few plants early in the spring to give the hummingbirds a head start. As summer progresses, the ones that sowed themselves from the year before start popping up everywhere. The garden is dotted with red until frost.
A tighter shot of the same area. The two daylilies (upper right) are Victorian Lace and Divine Comedy.
Like this little guy, spotted getting his morning drink.
We've added a lot of garden art over the years. (Maybe a little too much.) The moose are two of my favorites. What Norwegian elkhound breeder doesn't have a moose collection? I've just extended mine to the front yard.
A small portion of one of the seedling beds. These are the '06's, which means they must all be moved out of here by the first of September, 2009, to make room for the 2010 crop. (See anything ya' like?)
This juvenile mantis looks like he's peering down into an erupting volcano. I can never resist a photo-op like this one.
Ida's Magic is a widely used, well-known cultivar that has been around quite awhile. We have a lot of newer, fancier varieties, but this shot is one of my favorites. Those Black-eyed Susans in the background are still invading every inch of available space, and I've yanked them out like weeds for years. I demolished these last fall, but you can bet they'll be back this spring.
As fall approached, and the daylilies wound down, I finally got to discard that @$!% BOOT! I was able to (carefully) explore more of the gardens, and while trying to get a decent shot of this hill-side petunia, in deep shade, I found this hoverfly to test my skills on. A little post processing to adjust the levels, some serious cropping....and this is what I ended up with.
Is this cheating? I actually shot this from inside the house through dirty glass, at an angle. I was amazed at how good it turned out. The butterfly and it's namesake bush WERE in the garden, even if I wasn't....so I think this still qualifies as a garden picture.
OK...so I'm just showing off now. This is another pic taken from the same vantage point as the Tiger Swallowtail above.
As summer slipped into fall, finding something interesting to shoot became more challenging. The shadows were longer, the plant life was winding down, and the critters were getting scarce.
This is a Joseph's Coat....a shade-loving annual that doesn't flower, but the foliage is so beautiful that it doesn't need to. 2008 was the first year we planted it, and Richard and I were both impressed with it's performance. I hope we can find a new one in the spring.
Speaking of SCARCE CRITTERS, this was one of only two garden spiders we saw all summer. Isn't she pretty? In years past they were everywhere, but not in the last two summers. Maybe it was the drought.
I may be one of a very few women who really loves spiders. SOME of them. Garden spiders and Flower (Crab) spiders are my favorites, and the subject matter for many photo shoots. Spiders that are foolish enough to invade my house may not evoke the same warm and fuzzy feelings!
I accidentally destroyed this beautiful lady's web while pulling out some spent Black-eyed Susans. They don't navigate well on the ground, and when I saw her crawling clumsily across the garden path I was horrified that I had ruined her home. I carefully placed her in an Astilbe, where she immediately set up housekeeping. She stayed there for several days. then she was gone...off to lay her eggs, I hope. Maybe we'll see her children in 2009.
Fall arrived, and any walk through the garden produced less and less visual interest. At times I was reduced to this....photographing weeds! Actually, it's a wild flower, and it's blooms are surprisingly SMALL.... about a half-inch in diameter. It's normally a tall plant, but these were growing very short because they were in the middle of the lawn, and were constantly being mowed down. It's in the ASTER family. The Sony H50 has an articulating LCD screen, so I was able to put the camera on the ground to take this shot without getting on the ground myself. Did I mention I LOVE this camera!!
A close-up of the Loosestrife, that lurks in the background of many of my other shots. I spent a lot of time on macros, shooting anything I could drag the boot, and my garden stool, close enough to.
The Last Rose of Summer....
.....and my doctrine/mantra/battle cry.
I vow to do a better job of keeping up with my garden blog in 2009. Come back and visit again.
A Walk in the Garden-2008
Once all the daylilies were moved that needed to be, Richard started on a project of his own design. I had always edged the gardens with my half-moon shaped garden tool, but as my old knees got worse, it became impossible to keep up. I was constantly nagging and complaining about the quack grass, crab grass and plethora of other weeds creeping into my well-designed beds so Richard put on his thinking cap and came up with this edging design. These are shots of the first garden he completed, before he filled in around the edges. Two skids of bricks, sand, gravel and a LOT of hard work, and Richard got all but one of the display beds edged before winter set in.
Another view of the same brick work.
By the way, we don't call it 'edging'....it's "THE CAT WALK". Killer LOVES these 'paths', and uses them constantly. She was quite the little helper while Richard was trying to work. laying in his trench, (to show him where the next bricks should go)....and going dead limp when he would try to move her out of his way. I wish I had some shots of her 'help', but I missed them.
We'll find out next summer if Richard's idea works as planned, but for now it is definitely "Kitty Approved".