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October 25, 2011

Filling the Frame?

Filed under: Contests,Fall,Flowers,Travel — Judy @ 5:40 pm

A new photo contest over on the Gardening Gone Wild blog site has captured my interest. I always find them intriguing. So many beautiful photos are posted to the contest and it is fun to see how others interpret the various themes. I wasn’t quite sure (and still am not) what the theme “Filling the Frame” by Saxon Holt meant. He offered more explanation in his post a few days ago and so I am going to venture to enter the contest.

I have two pictures in mind that I recently took on our trip to the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. The first one is an interesting one of different stripey leaves right next to each other in the Tropical Forest Conservatory. All the different colors of green were beautiful by themselves, but I liked the way they were juxtaposed against the red-browns of the blocky wall.

Foliage Stripes

The second one is the one that I have decided to enter in the contest. These Strelitzia flowers (aka Bird of Paradise) remind me of a mama and her baby. The sun was streaming through the conservatory roof at just the right angle and really lit up those wonderful colors. How do you like the little bugs crawling around on the mama? Never saw them when I was taking the picture!


The contest’s theme has certainly made me more aware of how I compose a picture. Not sure I have done this very effectively in cropping these two pictures, but I really enjoyed the journey.

May 14, 2011

Unfurling of Spring

Filed under: Contests,Flowers,Our gardens,Spring — Judy @ 11:21 pm

The unfurling and uncurling of spring is now taking place in gardens all around me. This miraculous process is one that I love to watch. The emerging leaves or flowers give only a little hint of the final show!

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

Watch the Christmas ferns bending over backward as their fronds uncurl.

Polystichum acrostichoides

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

The ‘Lady in Red’ ferns unfurl in red, but their leaflets turn green while the stems stay red.

Athyrium 'Lady in Red'

Athyrium filix-femina 'Lady in Red'

The next picture is one that I am submitting to the Gardening Gone Wild Picture This contest for May. The unfurling leaves of the Crimson King maple, though red, remind me of newly emerging bat wings drying in the sun. Or what I imagine they would look like. I love how the early morning sun lights up the leaves against the clear blue sky.

Crimson King maple

Crimson King maple


March 2, 2011

Honorable Mention!

Filed under: Contests — Judy @ 5:12 pm

So sweet! My foggy morning picture of Mirror Lake won an Honorable Mention in the Gardening Gone Wild Picture This Contest for February 2011. Here’s the link to my original post where I commented on ‘Genius loci’, the theme of February’s contest.

Mirror Lake morning

Morning Fog on Mirror Lake

GGW Honorable Mention Award

And not only that, but my foggy evening picture near Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown NY also got a shout-out! Woo Hoo!!!

Foggy Fort Niagara

Fog rolling in near Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown NY

Many thanks to the judge, Andrea Jones, and all those at Gardening Gone Wild!

February 7, 2011

Genius loci pars duo

Filed under: Contests,Fall,Flowers,Grasses,Our gardens,Spring,Summer,Veggies,Winter — Judy @ 10:25 pm

I’ve been thinking more about the concept of ‘Genius loci’ and how it relates to my own personal gardens. Currently buried under a sea of white here in upstate New York, I thought that perhaps I could find some older pictures of my gardens to use to convey ‘the spirit of the place’ to others for the Picture This contest for February over at Gardening Gone Wild. I found nothing that I felt was suitable. Why was that? Had I ignored the ‘Genius loci’ when I was creating my own gardens or had the ‘Genius loci’ really left the area!

First of all, location, location, location. Andrea Jones’ photos showed us enticing and gorgeous vistas. I live in suburbia. Granted, we have almost an acre of land, but everywhere you look there is another house impinging on the “vista.” Losing seven mature trees in ice storms over the years does not help! I can’t grow trees tall enough in my lifetime to block out all those houses looming over us.

So what if I thought about the ‘borrowed’ vistas, a time-proven fundamental of landscape design? Hmm! I found this, this, and this.


Fall sunset

Winter moon

Yes, but those are not of my gardens specifically and doesn’t everyone have lovely pictures of snowstorms and sunsets and moons? Well, what else could I find that would entice you in and make you want to visit, or at least to convey what makes my gardens special to me?

Summer Pool

Nice range of colors, nice sunshine, open gate, feels good to me, but that picture brings up the second major problem – I am not a very good photographer! There’s that pool skimmer and brush in the corner. If I crop that out, the picture just doesn’t have the same feeling. It becomes blasé – all because of a pool skimmer? Ok, so my photographic skills need to be improved on, but surely among all those hundreds, nay, thousands of photos I have taken over the years, there might be a few really good ones of my own gardens. Hah!

At this point in my thinking, I still don’t know whether I had ignored the ‘Genius loci’ or whether it had left when I wasn’t looking (if a ‘Genius loci’ can even do that!). It occurred to me that our little plot of land used to be a cornfield before it became suburbia. But what do they do when they build and build and build? Why, they scrape off all the good dirt and sell it down the river! Yikes! What if there never was a ‘Genius loci’ here?

No, no no! I mean, really, look at that pool picture again – there are some good things going on there! There are some pretty perennials, some great grasses, some shrubs growing into nice specimens, and lots of varied evergreens (both mine and borrowed).

All right, so maybe I need to think more about what I love or want in my gardens. In no particular order then –

Attracting birds, even predators like this juvenile Cooper’s hawk:

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

A place for children and adults to play – in the pool, in the yard:

Kelsey playing Ultimate Frisbee

A place to grow lots of vegetables and fruit and flowers:

Pool and veggie garden

A place for herbs for my cooking adventures:

Herb garden

So, what about the ‘Genius loci’ in my own gardens? Perhaps we created a new one while bringing in new soil and composting and amending and planning and planting all these years, and maybe it is just waiting under the snow to emerge once again in the spring.

Pool in winter

Too bad I don’t have the photographic skills to convey the ‘Genius loci’ to you . . . yet!

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