Pink Flowering Dogwood

Pink Flowering Dogwood

Pink Flowering Dogwood

This pink flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is in front of our house and it’s coming into full bloom. I really love pink dogwoods, although they don’t do as well these days because of anthracnose and the dogwood borer, one of which I photographed on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. It’s a pretty little thing but they do significant damage to this pretty, native tree. There are not reliably pink kousa dogwoods (Cornus kousa) and they have fewer pests, at least so far. They bloom later and have pretty fruit. I’d also like to get a Cornel cherry (Cornus mas), which has small, yellow flowers a bit earlier than the flowering dogwood.

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Kaien

Kaien

Kaien

Pictures of smiling, happy babies are great, of course, but there’s something about a baby making a less peaceful expression that I really love. I’m not saying I want babies to cry and of course I try to make them happy when they do. But crying happens. It’s a fact of life.

The family we here for dinner this evening and I took a bunch of pictures and a few short videos. Kaien was in a good mood most of the evening and he’s a pretty easy going little boy. Later on he was getting tired or hungry or something and was a little less happy and that’s when I took this one. I wish I had been a bit farther away or had a shorter lens on the camera so I could have gotten his whole head in the frame. He was wiggling about and my tracking was a little behind. I caught the expression, though, and I think that’s the main thing. You get what you can when you can. I certainly didn’t have time to go rummaging through my camera bag. I love this look.

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Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)

Cathy and I went for a walk in the early afternoon. You might think that working at the same company we’d see a lot of each other during the day but in fact, we don’t. We work in different buildings, for one thing, on a campus that isn’t exactly sprawling but which includes six buildings. Mine if on the north end of the campus, separated from the others by a pond. We walked across West Montgomery Avenue to a larger pond today and that’s where I took this photo, of a Canada goose (Branta canadensis).

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Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-Me-Not)

Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-Me-Not)

Myosotis sylvatica (Forget-Me-Not)

We’re coming into the period with the most blooms now, and it’s the time of year when I get lots of pictures and have a hard time picking which to post. I got some pictures of a Camellia japonica called ‘Dad’s Pink’ growing beside my garage. I also got pictures of the cherry tree that’s also on that end of the yard. But the picture for today is of forget-me-not flowers (Myosotis sylvatica), growing in the back yard. There were quite a few of them in years past but they are short lived perennials and tend to migrate across an area, growing where they haven’t grown and not renewing themselves as much were they were. These are out in the grass and will need to be moved or they will get mown before too long.

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Narcissus ‘Suzy’

Narcissus 'Suzy'

Narcissus ‘Suzy’

Here’s another daffodil (all of which are varieties of the genus Narcissus). This one is called ‘Suzy’ and it’s a really nice little thing. I planted them in the fall of 2014 so this is their third spring. Actually, I’m not sure if they are ‘Suzy’ or if they are ‘Falconet’. The two varieties are quite similar in appearance but ‘Falconet’ has multiple flowers per stem. I can’t find the paper where I wrote down which I planted where that fall, though, so I may be wrong. In any case, they are quite pretty and I’m happy to have them growing in two places in the back yard.

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Narcissus ‘Pipit’

Narcissus 'Pipit'

Narcissus ‘Pipit’

This is a really find daffodil and I recommend it highly. It doesn’t have really large flowers but what it lacks in individual flower size it more than makes up for in bloom count. I planted these in 2009 around a large oak tree in the front of our yard. The oak was dying and has since been removed but the bulbs continue to thrive. I really should get some more of these, although there are lots of other varieties that I could try. These are somewhat variable. The corona (the cup in the center) is somewhat yellow in these but in others it is nearly as white as the base of the surrounding outer perianth (the six ‘regular’ petals).

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Papaver nudicaule ‘Spring Fever Orange’

Papaver nudicaule 'Spring Fever Orange'

Papaver nudicaule ‘Spring Fever Orange’

It was an absolutely glorious day out today so when we got home from church we wanted to do something outdoors. We were tired, though, so decided against doing more yard work. That isn’t to say that we’re all done, by any means, but the yard and garden is in better shape than it’s been this early for many years. We went to Stadler Nursery in Laytonsville and looked at plants and flowers, thinking about what we might get to add to our garden. I took some pictures, mostly things I thought looked nice rather than those I was particularly interested in buying. This Icelandic poppy was quite amazing in its orangeness.

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Camellia japonica

<em>Camellia japonica</em>

Camellia japonica

I was down at mom’s today to have lunch with her and with my cousin Dana, his wife Barbara, and Seth. It was a beautiful, clear day and when I went outside to take pictures of the camellias that are in full bloom, I thought I really should get one against the sky. So, that’s what you get, a big, bold, red Camellia japonica against the blue, spring sky. I don’t remember for sure what camellia this is. Perhaps mom remembers. As tomorrow would have been dad’s 90th birthday, though, I think this is an appropriate day to celebrate his remembrance through the camellias he planted. Thanks, dad. It’s been more than seven years and I still miss you every single day.

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Becky, Steven, and Titus

Becky, Steven, and Titus

Becky, Steven, and Titus

I took another boatload of pictures at the play this evening. Most of those won’t mean much unless you where there and if you were there, then you already saw it. Also, unless I posted the entire cast again, I’d have to pick a picture of one or two people and leave out all the rest. Well, I guess that’s what I’ve done but instead of going with a picture of students, I decided to post this one of Becky, the fearless director of the WCA play. If you’ve ever been involved in high school drama (as if you had to put on a play to get drama in high school!) then you know how much work it is. Imagine doing that with a toddler in tow. But she pulled it off, with the help of a wonderful assistant director, student assistant director, and a host of others. Well done.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

<em>The Importance of Being Earnest</em>, Cast and Crew

The Importance of Being Earnest, Cast and Crew

Becky and the WCA King’s Players put on an excellent performance of The Importance of Being Earnest this evening. As in previous years, I took a few pictures before, during, and after the show. This was taken just before the doors opened this evening to let in the enthusiastic audience. If you know the story, they you know how funny it is. If you don’t, then you should take a look at one of the movie adaptations made over the years. I haven’t actually seen the recent one, but the 1952 version is quite good. Every year we get the final high school performance of another batch of seniors and like most years, it will be sad to not have them available next year. At the same time, of course, it would be more sad if they didn’t graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives.

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Tulip

Tulip

Tulip

I’ve bought a large number of bulbs a few times since we moved to our current house and twice I’ve received a bonus of five tulip bulbs from the place I ordered them. Tulips are not generally as long lived as daffodils, in my experience, but then, my experience is fairly limited. I planted the ten that I’ve received in one area and this year five of them bloomed. Obviously this is one. While I have a lot of daffodils and quite a few other, smaller bulbs, I do confess to liking the view straight down into a tulip flower.

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Clouds and Trees

Clouds and Trees

Clouds and Trees

I was stopped at a traffic light and looking in front of my I saw these trees with clouds behind them. At first I though about getting my camera out but then figured I didn’t really have time. By the time I realized I probably did have time, I only was able to get off one quick picture as traffic started moving again. The alignment isn’t quite what I would have liked. If I had been slightly back from my position the clouds would have been slightly higher, but it’s not like I could move back to get a better angle. Anyway, pretty spring clouds on a lovely day.

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Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica

Scilla siberica, sometimes known as Siberian squill, is a small bulb native to southern Russia. It is notable for its ability to grow under black walnut trees, which is useful if you have a black walnut and are looking for things to plant under it. I don’t but I still love this spring ephemeral. It is similar to the related Chionodoxa forbesii but the flowers on that are turned upright while Scilla’s face down. It was getting late in the evening when I took this (6:55 PM) and although the camera was steady (on a bean bag), there was a slight breeze moving the flowers around a little.

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CCR Picnic

Jenny

Jenny

It was a really lovely day today, sunny but cool with just the hint of a breeze. A perfect day for the first church picnic of 2017. And that’s what we had. With the change of our service time from 11:00 to 10:30, we finished earlier than we have in the past. That also contributed to a smooth flow from church to picnic. I hadn’t had time last night to make anything so Cathy ran out to buy some fried chicken right after church and got back as folks were starting to go through the line.

As I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn, I took a few pictures. Most of them were of kids playing on the swings and slides of the playground outside the Rockville Senior Center. But I took some of the grown-ups, as well. This first one here is of Jenny, a relatively new friend and member of our congregation. It’s been nice getting to know her and it was extra special today to meet her younger brother, Tom, who arrived yesterday for a short visit.

Josh

Josh

The other picture is of Josh, whom I’ve known for a pretty good while now. I’ve gotten to know him a lot better over the last 18 months or so and it’s been a joy. In addition to working with the youth at the church, he’s just begun classes in pursuit of an M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary. It’s going to be a busy few years.

I’ve posted a picture of Josh once before. That one, last December, was with his sweet girlfriend, Lizzy. She was also at the picnic but didn’t happen to be with Josh when I took this, or I might have posted another of the two of them. They sure look good together.

After the picnic I expected to come home and crash but it was so lovely outdoors that Cathy and I did some more work in the yard and garden. We’ve got most of the flower beds ready for this year’s growth and the back yard in particular looks a little naked. Now it’s a matter of waiting for things to come up.

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Muscari

Muscari

Muscari

I don’t know that we’re finished with frost for the spring, but it is definitely spring. It was very pleasant out today and Cathy and I got a lot done. Over the winter we generally leave last year’s stalks and seeds of Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Verbena, etc. for the birds. It’s time to tidy up the yard, though, in preparation for this year’s growth. I used a hedge trimmer to cut them all down near the ground and we cleaned up most of the garden in back and a little of what’s needed out front. After most of that was done I took a break and spent some time photographing flowers. These Muscari are growing under a cherry tree at the north end of our front yard.

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Tsai-Hong and Kaien

Tsai-Hong and Kaien

Tsai-Hong and Kaien

We gathered for a family dinner this evening and as usual since late December, the star of the show was Kaien, now a little over three months old. Most everyone got a chance to hold him and he’s so good-natured that it was a nice time. There are other things going on, of course, and if you know then you know. If you don’t know I won’t bother you with it. Suffice it to say that it was a bittersweet gathering but one I’m glad we had. We’ll be doing that as much as we can for as long as we can. Anyway, here’s grandma with her precious little one.

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Spiraea japonica

Spiraea japonica

Spiraea japonica

This largish Spiraea japonica was in our back yard when we bought the house. Every few years I cut it back quite hard and it rewards us with a wonderful show of airy, white blossoms each spring. There’s actually a cherry seedling growing up through the middle of it, which I need to chop down one of these days, but that’s neither here nor there. The small white flowers are pretty on their own but of course it’s the effect of a seven foot shrub covered in them that’s the real show. Aside from the occasional once over with a hedge trimmer, it takes virtually no work at all.

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Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodil

It’s high daffodil season and the big boys are out, shining in the morning sun. Unfortunately this one was taken in the afternoon, so it’s not in full sun in the picture, but still pretty nice. These were planted the fall we moved into the house and so they’ve been blooming for ten years now. What was individual tufts of daffodils has become a single, large clump and has spread a bit, as well. They are not actually the most reliable bloomers. If the spring is too wet they won’t all open properly but this year has been quite good for them and they’re looking mighty fine.

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Grass

Grass

Grass

I’ve been over to one of the other buildings on campus a fair amount lately, for teleconferences with our client, working through the transfer of a system from our server to theirs. It’s dragged on longer than seems like it should have done but we will see it through. One nice thing has been that I’ve had more opportunities to walk through the woods between the two buildings. It’s the more direct but slightly slower route. Of course stopping to take pictures slows it further. The seed-head of this grass was shining in the afternoon light and I thought it looked nice. I’d be curious to know what you see in this image (beyond the literal, of course).

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Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

Chionodoxa forbesii 'Pink Giant'

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

This pink glory of the snow had started to bloom before our late snow and I was a little afraid that they were not going to come back from that. I shouldn’t have worried, as they are apparently made of sterner stuff. These are quite tall for Chionodoxa, although that isn’t saying much. They are tall enough to hold their flowers above the top of the pachysandra among which they are planted. They came back after the snow and are quite lovely. The regular, blue Chionodoxa forbesii growing nearby are also doing quite well and happily blooming now that the snow has gone.

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