Friday, August 28, 2009

Flower or Fairy?

Kangaroo paw

And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around—in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing.

~ Author Unknown

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gardening Gone Wild: Down on Your Knees

The subject for August’s Picture This Photo Contest at Gardening Gone Wild is "Down on Your Knees." Garden photos must be taken from knee level or lower. There are some fantastic entries so far. As judge photographer David Perry says, "too many of us take the majority of our pictures from standing height, which really limits both our visual understanding of a garden and the sense of intimacy we can capture." Amen! One of my favorite things to do these days is get right into the middle of a flower, much like a bee might, to get to know it more intimately.

And so my entry for the contest is this Euphorbia milii. It sits in a pot right outside our sliding glass door, which means I walk past it every day. I tend to give it a wide berth to avoid getting snagged by its huge thorns, but stopped one day recently to take a closer look at its flowers. Look how beautiful and intricate they are when seen from this vantage point (you can click on the photo to see it larger). I guess all those thorns are intended to protect this treasure.

For those of you not familiar with this plant, each flower is about a quarter to half an inch across. The photo below shows more of the plant. Did I mention it has thorns?

Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns,
be happy that the thorn bush has roses.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Bit of Color

Orange Cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus)

I captured this beauty when we wandered through the demonstration garden at the fair. Mother Nature sure knows how to play with color.

Speaking of color, if any of you live in or near Orange County and enjoy art, the exhibit "Illumination: The Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, Agnes Martin, and Florence Miller Pierce" currently at the Orange County Museum of Art is exquisite. I have always admired Georgia O'Keeffe's work, but Agnes Pelton is now my favorite artist. She was an interesting, very spiritual woman and her paintings truly define the word "illumination."

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sierra flowers

I experienced a couple new flowers during my trip (and please let me know if I have misidentified them)...

Nevada goldenrod (Solidago spectabilis)

Oregon checker mallow (Sidalcea oregana)

They make a nice meadow bouquet!

This one I always liked when I was little...

Ranger's buttons (Sphenosciadium capitellatum)

And let's not forget this treasure I stumbled upon in the garden; the good old daisy knows how to compete for attention.

Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing, those which average eyes would see as fixed and still.

~ Rumi

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation in the Sierra Nevada

I've been astonishingly busy with mundane things since coming home from my mini-vacation. I have finally managed to pull a few photos to share. This trip was mostly about my dog Rusty. Since he has cancer and only a limited amount of time left on this planet, I decided he needed some time in the mountains. Even though I haven't lived there for years, the Sierras are still the place I feel most at home and at peace. And what better place for a dog to enjoy hiking, canoeing, wading, rock climbing? It had been too long since we'd had the opportunity for such things. All of us benefitted from the fresh air, cool, crisp water, brief rainstorms, and lazy afternoons with the sound of aspens in the breeze...

Lake Mary, Mammoth Lakes, California

Stump & Roots, Lake Mary

Twin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes, California

Serene Lake, Rock Creek Canyon

Serene Lake, Rock Creek Canyon

"I want that piece of bark, but I don't want to get wet..."

"I can almost taste it!"

"Mommy, this is rather nice..."

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~ John Muir

Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm Back!

I was gone for five days for some fun in the mountains and have spent a few more days getting caught up on life's daily chores. I'll post some photos from my trip later.

Most important is to share these treasures that arrived in the mail while I was gone. I ordered one of Marianne's beautiful mandala cards (it has dragonflies—how could I resist?), and being the special person that she is, she included a couple extra treats: a bookmark with a collage of her mandalas, and a bright, cheerful ATC! Isn't it all gorgeous?!

I'm not sure how she knew I have a particular fondness for the yin yang symbol—she's amazingly perceptive. Anyway, I just wanted to say "thank you" publicly and share the beauty of her work. My desk is a much brighter place!