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

Posts tagged “gardening

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

 

 

 


Lahma bi Ajeen at Joan’s Thursday Night

Steve and I drove across the Highland Park Bridge to Joan’s for dinner. You’ve seen Joan’s spools of thread  and checking out where she used to teach.

Since I went out of town on my  birthday, we made a plan for when I would be back in town and when we could get together

Joan made James Beard’s recipe for  Lahma bi Ajeen. The fresh tomatoes, cucumber and peppers,Baba Ganoush, Hummus, Yogurt Sauce with Fresh Dill from her garden, and wonderful olives.

Lahma bi Ajeen

The Lahma bi Ajeen recipe from Beard on Bread cookbook (A well used page)

James Beard Recipe

 

 

buttermilk pound cake with rhubarb

Buttermilk Pound Cake from World of Baking by Delores Casella topped with fresh rhubarb sauce.  Rhubarb from Joan’s garden- we ate outside.

 

Joan's Garden

 

Thanks for a nice dinner and good conversation, Joan.  Everything was delicious

 

 

 

joan

 

Joan inside her doorway keeping the dogs inside.

 

 

 

buttermilk pound cake

 


Texas Bluebonnets Through a Rental Van Windshield

They are everywhere.

As far as the eye can see.

Bluebonnet wildflowers.  Beautiful color of blue, the Lupinus Texensis is the state flower of Texas.

I photographed (70-200 Canon L series lens) the wildflowers on the way to the San Antonio airport last Sunday.

Was NOT the driver of the rental van but the passenger. (Thanks Rick)  Figure we were going about 70 mph so the blue is a bit of a blur.

bluebonnets


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.


The City Planted a Tulip Tree

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.

Tulip TreeHow about my crop of dandelions?


What Laura and James Found While Digging in their Garden

It’s gardening season finally.  Planting grass seed.  Thinking about what vegetables to plant.  James and Laura were preparing their garden and found this Old School original Fisher-Price Little People® girl.  Wooden head.  Wooden body.

I think she got transferred from my son and his wife’s  house to my daughter and her husband’s  house.  Not by a bird but a grandchild.  Will have to check and see if the same girl is living in two homes.

Awhile ago I did a post on the various generations of the Little People® I’d come across at the family’s house in Columbus.

No worries about choking hazard when these were manufactured.  And here’s the crazy part.  I discovered a site that identifies the Little People®.

From what I could determine she’s from late 60s early 70s.  On the site she is listed as Occupation: Girl.  

Old School Fisher-Price Little People

 

 

 

I think they are a match!

 

Here are the three generations from the October 2011 post

fisher-price

 


Black Pussywillow Branches Cast Wall Shadows

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’)

 

Black Pussywillow

 I can’t remember the name/type of ceramic vase holding the branches. (Taken with the iPhone)


Maura Clare is 4 on November 17th

Four is a great age to be.

You’ve seen her pop bubble wrap.  Eat cake.  Pose with Murphy the Airedale.  Run with her siblings across the lawn, carrying an Easter basket or a doll, wearing a red hat. Gardening!

It’s been a fast four years!

And the most recent shot below


How I Became a Mother-in-Law! To my DIL

Mark married Erika. What a beautiful bride.  But more importantly, a beautiful person. That was ten years ago.

Bill McC gave me lessons on how to to be a mother-in-law, or how to NOT be a bad mother-in-law…

The very words (MIL) can send a shudder through you-there I said it- mother-in-law!

We all know how the older generation (me) can annoy the younger generation.

Even if you try your best to not be annoying or try to not give unwanted advice or commentary.  Joanne B suggested Duct Tape.

But this post is really about my daughter-in-law, Erika.

She is a lot of fun and tolerant and loving towards me, teasing and trying to update my wardrobe and style constantly.  In a good way!  She is one terrific mom, too.  An organic gardener  whose specialty is Japanese Eggplant, Kale and tomatoes and now has a new found interest in photography.

Today’s her birthday.

I wish I had the photo of her in the hot air balloon  last May with my sister. She is brave and adventuresome.

Here’s Erika as an amazing mother to my four grandchildren and a loving wife to my son Mark and a terrific sister to my daughter and son Laura and Matthew and James.  She’s really patient and is always thoughtful and kind to me, calling me up and telling me about the family happenings, keeping me up to date.

Love to my DIL Erika from your MIL!

(MIL sounds less awful than Mother-in-Law) and thanks Bill for the handy tips. You’ll have to ask Erika is I learned from you on how to be a good MIL.

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Dead End Street Sign in Full Bloom

Aspinwall, PA.  The pole is totally covered with colorful flowers and vine.


People at Work- Marie is a Horticulturist

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!

Marie told me that photographers place her between the rolling flower holders so I did the same.


How a Green Thumb Starts

Maura put on her mom’s gardening gloves, picked up a trowel, dug in the dirt and transferred a shovelful from one part of the flowerbed to another.  I asked her, “What are you doing? and she held up the little spade to show me!


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