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”
I used a flash at sunset and it makes the buds look interesting.
A shot at night
Someone else’s Century Plant fell over.
“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
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.
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
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/
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.
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.
This Spring I’ll take a new photo with the plantings and green surrounding her.
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.
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.
My artist friend J gave me a dozen stems of dried Allium from her garden.
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.
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.
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
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.
Thanks Kristin for sending the beautiful blossom. I forgot to ask if it has a scent.
Yesterday Sue commented on the new tulip tree being planted in front of my house. She told how her father had the city plant trees up and down her street, thirty five years ago, and how they were a memorial to him. He was featured on the blog for a Veteran’s Day post- Martin H. Cooper.
Today I was driving by her street on my way home from the Waterfront. Took two cell shots of his trees. Thanks Sue for your good words on the blog.
Ten years ago, I lost the giant sycamore in front of my house. It must have been 100 years old. I even called in a tree doctor to see if it could be saved. It was a sad loss when in was cut down. I applied for a new tree through the city,
Last Saturday, volunteers planted a new tree in front- Liriodendron Tulipifera. A tulip tree. A yellow poplar. The leaves are the shapes of tulips. It is a beautiful looking tree and I am so grateful to have it planted. I read it is the state tree of Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee and may grow to 170 feet tall.
Email instructions arrived on how to water it deeply by using a big bucket with holes in the bottom and how to not put mulch touching the bark so fungus doesn’t grow on the bark are a couple of tips.
Does anyone remember the television commercial encouraging the planting of trees? There was a quote – It’s a mature man who plants a tree under whose shade he will never sit. I looked it up and all I could find is a Greek proverb…
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
When we lived in Germany, we’d get Pussywillow with fuzzy gray shapes along the branch and hang wooden eggs and rabbit ornaments to make an Easter Tree.
Add MediaI’d never seen Black Pussywillows until Wednesday night at my friend J’s home. I was to take a photograph over to her and the evening turned into an impromptu supper. My crazy part is I went over without the picture I was to take. J followed me back to my house after we ate and got the photograph to take back to her own home but she didn’t seem to mind.
A great blog post about this unusual looking plant is here. The Latin name (Salix gracilistylus ‘Melanostachys’)
I can’t remember the name/type of ceramic vase holding the branches. (Taken with the iPhone)
WordPress puts out the Weekly Photo Challenge and this week it is UNIQUE.
I tried to find photos that seemed a tad quirky and not an everyday shot.
Some may be familiar to you if you follow the blog. One of a kind?
Fun to go fishing for some examples for unique.
The sisters-in-law take a photo class and Saturday morning was the field trip to Franklin Park Conservatory. They invited me to go along. They went out to the Bride’s Garden and the doors locked behind them. I was photographing the Fairy Gardens and the model railroad and they were looking for me. Laura called me on the cell and I went and opened the door. I saw this view as I approached the doors.
I was focusing on photographing the two of them instead of the butterflies and the flowers and this added to my series.
Everyone shoots this one- Chihuly’s Glass.
Sisters-in-law shoot the fountain. They have to create a slideshow with ten images to show to the class.
Bubbles from the fountain.
View from the Gift Shop windows.
My friend Barb brought these beautiful figs. I rinsed them and put them in a bowl to take out to the front porch. They looked so lush and colorful, I pulled out my phone and photographed them before we picked one to eat. They were perfectly ripe and delicious.
The sunflowers are a gift from a friend.
This photograph was taken in the art room today on my iPhone. Most of the middle schoolers were on a trip. After lunch I had a few who didn’t get to attend. This wonderful painting was created by a young man named Scott. He painted the sunflowers a friend had brought me.
I didn’t want to leave the flowers at home alone so took them with me to school. They were so vibrant and summery.
Oh, the unexpected surprise of the gift of flowers from a good friend.
Friday after school, I put the bouquet on the front seatand when I arrived at my son and DIL’s home and took them out of the car, my granddaughter ran down the hill of the front yard to greet me and said excitedly when she saw them, “Oh we studied that artist! ” Later in the craft store she picked up a Starry Night Umbrella and told me it was the same artist as the Sunflowers. She’s 8 1/2 and just completed second grade Tuesday.
Thanks for the flowers, friend. I thought it would cheer you to see them in Scott’s painting.
(And that eyeball glaring from the chair is from the cover of a book that belongs to Scott’s classmate and friend, J, who told me he has checked out the photos on this blog! Cool. )
To see other responses to the weekly photo challenge click here
Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild photo class went on a field trip to the Bidwell Training Center greenhouse where there are orchid “crops”. I learned how to use custom white balance in some strange light(thanks Jill) and I asked our guide how she came to be doing the work she is doing. She used to work in hazardous waste. Her undergrad was something to do the with environment (sorry Marie, I didn’t write it down) and she always loved the forest and growing things. She was inspired by a Ziggy comic panel which she still has of Ziggy on his knees in awe of a flower blooming. (didn’t write down the punchline either but Marie, if you read this post Friday please comment and remind me) Getting a Master’s Degree and being a horticulturist became the next step when work in hazardous waste started to disappear. She knows a lot about orchids and was patient as our class tried to get beautiful shots of the elegant flowers in a different full spectrum light. And thank you Marie for the informative tour and consenting to be part of the People at Work series. Marie is an example of finding your passion and doing that work!
I was driving to Columbus OH from Conneaut Lake one August and took some back roads. I wish I could remember how I came to be on the other side of this outdoor statuary which was for sale. Perhaps a stop at a gas station. You might remember the story of how I retrieved a Mary statue standing out on the curb in our neighborhood. It just didn’t seem right for the trash. Then a nice woman who was doing some gardening for me, took the Mary statue home to her house to paint her since she was so weathered. The master gardener also a puppeteer had the urge to restore her since she was so beat up looking. Turns out she was plastic and hard to paint but she is in my side garden now, looking bright and renewed. I actually hope she weathers a bit. I did call her Our Lady of the Weeds but my sister is here and made the side garden really lovely so I will have to rename her. I am intrigued by private grottos and garden statuary. You may remember Mary in the Springtime or Mary in the Snow. Sometimes the placement of Mary statues in Pittsburgh is a real juxtaposition. Stuck in odd spots. No matter where I see the Mary statues, they look peaceful to me.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Flowers. This is unretouched, shot with a 70-200L series lens. Nice bokeh in this image. The bee just happened to be in front of a light petal. Photographed as we left the Columbus Zoo a couple of weeks ago.