"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Garden

No Need to Mow, Front Yard by Van Gogh

I took the first shot as I sat in my car,  stuck in a long line of unmoving traffic, waiting for the zoo goers to drive out and find their way home.

Sigh.  Camera on the passenger seat, a full stop.  

I went home and changed and came back out and had to return the same route.

No traffic the other way, thank goodness. 

I pulled over to photograph the hillside yard of sunflowers with the late afternoon sun coming through.  

Now it is not the same as my friend Joyce’s field of sunflowers in Provence but they made me feel happy to look at them and I realized they didn’t have to mow that pesky steep hillside front yard.

 

IMG_3359

and the Sunflower front yard from across the street when I was driving the opposite direction a bit later

sunflower front yardand looks what is hiding in the first photo

IMG_3360

Cherry tomatoes


Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic

Something called the Century Plant is going to qualify as a relic today.

My friend Kristin had been sending me photos of the Agave Americana (known as the Century Plant)   as it was growing in her family’s front yard on

St. George Island.    When I went down for vacation I got to see it first hand. I couldn’t believe how tall it had grown.

It is definitely at least twenty + feet tall!

It was preparing to be in full bloom- and then it will die.  I saw some other Century Plants on the island in different stages of their life cycle.

Kristin sent me these photos on the phone and said, “Wait until you come and see it in person.”  She wasn’t kidding. I took some photos of it too.

How it starts.  The mother plant sends out “pups”

baby plant

 

 

century plant

 

century plant 2Look at the thickness of the stalk

 

century plant 8

I used a flash at sunset and it makes the buds look interesting.

century plant 6

 

 

A shot at night

Agave Americana Agave Americana with the American Flag

 

 

 

 

 

American Agave with moon

 

Someone else’s Century Plant fell over.

 

century plant 4

 

 

 


“I Dug Up the Iris” by Guest Poet Liane Ellison Norman- on Dorothy’s Birthday

“I Dug Up the Iris” by Guest Poet Liane Ellison Norman

I Dug Up the Iris

in Dorothy’s garden
to plant in the soaked

soil of mine, memorial
to her each spring

when they’ll open
complicated ruffles

and flourishes, purple
or blue with speckled

throats. They’ll rise
out of rhizomes

sprawling at soil’s
surface like the joints

of my old  hands
anchoring the tall

stalks and frilly petals.
This morning

in the brief breath
of cool I dug shallow

trenches for this legacy,
this pantry of pollens

the bees prospect,
insects with lives

beyond what the mere
gardener knows.

Liane Ellison Norman, a Madwoman in the Attic, has published two books of poetry, The Duration of Grief and Keep (www.smokeandmirrorspress.com). She has published poems in 5AM, Kestrel, North American Review, Grasslimb, Rune, Voices from the Attic anthologies and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Her poem “What There’d Been” won the Wisteria Prize in 2006 from Paper Journey Press.     reblogged On the occasion of the birthday of poet Dorothy Holley  http://rutheh.com/tag/dorothy-holley-poet/


Sad Tulip in a Swan Neck Vase

This lone tulip was left out of the water overnight. I tried to revive it, see if it could stand up again. Gave it a drink.

The curved lines seem to repeat.

My dad gave me two of these vases ages ago.
The students have been photographing the white tulips and painting them in Photoshop elements
to make them a color.

20140326-225803.jpg


Mother Mary in the Snow – Before the Puppeteer Painted Her

A few years ago this Mary statue was a curbside alert through the neighborhood listserve so I walked up to Winterton St. to save her from the trash.

She was peeling paint and looking a bit worn.  Somehow it didn’t seem right to have her picked up by the garbage truck. So I put her in my side “garden” and called her Our Lady of the Weeds (due to my lack of gardening effort)

About the same time I hired a friend of a friend to come and do some master gardening, get rid of the weeds, plant something decent.  And the skilled gardener took the Mary statue home with her and she was gone a couple of months.  The gardener is an excellent puppeteer and brightened up the statue with new paint.  In fact, when she was returned it took awhile to get used to her brightness and revitalization.

Then my neighbor restored the bird bath bowl my father gave me when I bought the house.

One day I came home and the Mary statue was perched in the now repaired bird bath.

It’s been a team effort to get me spiffed up around here.

MAry in the Snow

 

Before

 

bvm painted in a bird bath

This Spring I’ll take a new photo with the plantings and green surrounding her.


Spring in Autumn

After school, I was knitting at Ann’s again.
Her hydrangeas contrast with the turned leaves caught my eye as I left to go to my car. A balmy temperature and a gorgeous Autumn light. Unseasonably warm November afternoon.

20131101-235051.jpg


Late October Rose

This afternoon my friend Ann taught me how to knit a sock on two circular needles. As we knit, we drank some unusual organic herbal coffee (from a tea bag, no coffee beans involved) with a drop of almond milk.
Using two circular needles took time to get the hang of it. When I got home, I watched a video by Cat Bordhi on YouTube as a follow up. It’s good to learn new things.
So the double pointed needles are taking a break. I’m thinking about knitted gifts, wondering why I didn’t start in July- there’s not a lot of time before the holidays. We all know the family is eager to see what grandma has knit this year. Ha!
As I left Ann’s porch, I saw this stunning rose in a lovely light. Ann saw me stop on the steps and I called through the glass – “I’m photographing your rose!”

Thanks Ann. For the knitting instruction and your beautiful rose- almost November.

20131026-233358.jpg


Dried Allium Inside a Glass Globe

 

My artist friend J gave me  a dozen stems of dried Allium from her garden.

(“Allium species are herbaceous perennials with flowers produced on scapes.”)  you know the family- onion, garlic, chives and leek……)

J knew that they’d be great for pictures.

The kids enjoyed arranging them and taking photos of the outer space orbs.

After school I tried putting one into a glass globe my neighbors had given me (minus the  crazy centerpiece, which has since been trashed).

The top flower had broken off from the stem but didn’t take away from the dried flower end.

The round glass globe creates some interesting effects in the images.  I see that you need to plant bulbs if you want Allium in your garden next Spring.

I’d always wondered what they were when I saw the tall purple alien- looking flowers.

Some of the flowers were gigantic.  The stems are called scapes. 

 

And if you want a recipe for scapes, (which aren’t available now but you can plan ahead for next season) check out recipe  from Bartolini Kitchens Chicago John’s calling for “6-9 garlic scapes or Rufus Food and Spirit Guide for Stir Fry with Chicken, Zucchini and Garlic Scapes 

My food blogging friends know allium well.  I just didn’t know what they were named.  Shot with iPhone.

Allium (1)


Liz Tried Her Hand at the Art of Bonsai

Since the family is visiting , Erika wanted to see her longtime friend Liz.  We drove out to the country today to see  Liz and her family’s new home and all the hard work they have done (continue to do) to make it spectacular.  During the house tour she shared her attempt at Bonsai.  

She made us smile.  It can’t be easy.

I should have asked her more about it but the little brown growth had a prime spot in a sunny window in the kitchen, even though it had seen better days.

Not sure if she took a workshop or class.

Bonsai Tree

 

 

 

Here ‘s a link to the Brooklyn Botanic article on Bonsai  Small Tree, Big Heart by Julian Velasco

 

 

And here is one of the photographs of a Bonsai tree at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I took in June when I visited my sister.

Probably more what Liz had in mind.  Bonsai means “planted in a tray” and the definition and history is here

 

Bonsai Tree Brooklyn 3 (3)


Orchid Cactus’ Short Bloom

My friend Kristin sent this beautiful Orchid Cactus (epiphyllum) blossom from Florida- on the phone!
I invited her to guest blog it. I had never seen an orchid cactus before.

The cactus blooms once a summer and the flower lasts about 24 hours.

Glenn Rice’s page states “Opens and closes in a single night” opens and closes on a single night

That’s it. A beautiful short life.

Kristin got the cactus at a local/ native nursery.

20130808-001710.jpg

20130808-001754.jpg
From behind the bloom

20130808-001840.jpg

20130808-001906.jpg

Thanks Kristin for sending the beautiful blossom. I forgot to ask if it has a scent.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,861 other followers