Monthly Archives: May 2012

Aquilegia ‘Biedermeier’

Aquilegia (Columbine)

Aquilegia ‘Biedermeier’

As you can see from the flower in the background, this particular flower has faded a bit from the bright blue-purple it was. I still think it’s a wonderful shape and pattern, though.

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“Interfaces and Abstract Classes”

Sarah, Hannah, Dorothy, Jenny, Gwendolyn, Ellen, and Katie

Sarah, Hannah, Dorothy, Jenny, Gwendolyn, Ellen, and Katie

The kids gathered for X-Factor at church this evening and heard an interesting presentation titled “Interfaces and Abstract Classes.” Well done, Jeff, an interesting approach. Early in the evening I took this picture of some of the girls: Sarah, Hannah, Dorothy, Jenny, Gwendolyn, Ellen, and Katie. It has nothing in particular to do with Jeff’s talk. It does, however, picture seven different implementations of the “pretty girl” class.

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Neighborhood Colors

I went for a short walk in the neighborhood when I got home today. I walked around two blocks and stopped to take pictures a few times, mostly of flowers and in all cases of colors. Here’s a selection. The irises were all in Mark and Kathy’s yard. Mark invited me to the back when I told him what I was looking for. The clematis were growing on mail box and lamp post, respectively. I also took some of rhododendron flowers but I wasn’t happy with them so I left them out, although that would have added a bright red to the collection.

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Ralph’s Garden

Zéphirine Drouhin and Clematis

Zéphirine Drouhin and Clematis

It’s a bit early for roses to be blooming but it’s been that sort of a spring. I have a couple roses that have flowers up against the house. One rose, ‘Roseraie De l’Hay’ is about to start blooming. Ralph, on the other hand has quite a few already out in his back yard.

Back about ten years ago (I don’t remember precisely) he asked me what roses he should plant and I gave him a list of six or seven to choose from. Instead of choosing, though, he planted them all. They are mostly doing very well and a couple are quite huge. This one is ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ and it’s a very nice Bourbon rose bred by Bizot in France in 1868. If you are looking for a good, reliable rose with an amazing, damask fragrance, this may be the rose for you. It does suffer pretty badly from blackspot and will be mostly leafless by the end of the summer but it grows so vigorously that it doesn’t seem to do any lasting harm.

The roses are the cerise-pink flowers whilte the white flowers are clematis, which is a very good companion to roses.

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Maureen and Julia

Maureen and Julia

Maureen and Julia

We have quite a few friends whose children are or have been home-schooled. Maureen is one such parent and her daughter, Julia, is a good friend of Dorothy’s. They are among our favorite people on the planet (I might go so far as to say the solar system). Their home-school association has a formal every year and Dorothy went this year. They had a fun time getting ready and Cathy and I went to take pictures before they left for the event.

There was a picture of Dorothy, Julia, and Rachel doing the “I’m a Little Teapot” thing, which was very funny but it was out of focus so I decided to go with this glamour shot instead.

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Andrew

Andrew

Andrew

Some kids get all the luck. If both your parents are attractive, you have a good chance of being attractive yourself. Of course, there are attractive people who are not photogenic and photogenic people who are not traditionally attractive. Then, there are what I call “the beautiful people.” These are people who look good in every situation. If his parent and his sisters are any indication, this is a little boy destined to be one of “the beautiful people.”

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Here Come The Roses

Champneys’ Pink Cluster

Champneys’ Pink Cluster

Roses are about to appear in force. The rugosa in the back yard is blooming but I haven’t gotten a good picture of it yet. This is ‘Champneys’ Pink Cluster’, a Noisette bred by Champneys (U.S.A.) in 1811. It is growing on the south end of our house and is a very upright plant. I have it tied to the trellis that Keven helped me put up two years ago. It’s the smaller of the two roses there. The other completely covers the 10 by 12 foot trellis and hangs off of both sides. That’s starting to bloom, as well and I’ll try to get a good picture of that soon.

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Dorothy Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Dorothy's New Shoes

Dorothy's New Shoes

I don’t know that she actually needed them but she bought them, anyway. Nice.

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Iris ‘Eye Of The Tiger’

Dutch Iris 'Eye of the Tiger'

Dutch Iris ‘Eye of the Tiger’

A few years ago I planted a few of these Dutch irises called ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ in the front of our house, along the sidewalk. Dutch irises are actually hybrids of the Spanish iris (Iris xiphium) and the Morocco iris (Iris tingitana) but are often called Iris x hollandica. I think they’re awesome.

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‘Vette

Corvettes

Corvettes

Last month I posted a rather pedestrian photo of a line of Camrys. Question: Can a photo of cars be pedestrian? What if the photo was taken from the window of a car? Anyway…

Today, after a short visit to the orthodontist and then another brief visit at Einstein’s we stopped and I took a few pictures of a line of Corvettes. Yes, that’s better.

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Red Admiral

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

As I was getting out of my car at work today, this Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) was fluttering around. It landed almost at my feet and stayed there long enough for me to grab my camera and take a few pictures.

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Kendra’s Trumpet

Kendra's Trumpet

Kendra's Trumpet

Dorothy’s friend Kendra came over this evening and played music together, Dorothy on the piano and Kendra on her trumpet. They weren’t tuned together very well but other than that it was nice. Dorothy’s writing a song and they worked out a trumpet part.

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Multiflora Rose

Pink Multiflora Rose

Pink Multiflora Rose

Last year in my Project 365 I posted a picture of this rose on Day 142, May 22, 2011. I know that you have to be a bit daft to actually plant a multiflora rose, particularly in a small garden. The great English rosarian, Graham Stuart Thomas, says in The Graham Stuart Thomas Rose Book (Sagapress, 1994):

It can best be described as an arching shrub, although its shoots will ramble into trees as high as 20 feet. Normally it makes a dense thicket of interlacing lax shoots, much like a blackberry. So dense is it, indeed, that when planted closely as a hedge it is rabbit-proof, and so thickly do its stems grow that it is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and also in Britain as a roadside plant, for its resilient thicket can hold a car which runs off the road. What a use for a rose! On the other hand, how lucky we are to be able to provide so pretty and sweet a shrub for such a use. It is claimed in America that it is “horse high, bull strong and goat tight.

Pink Multiflora Rose

Pink Multiflora Rose

Thomas, of course, was a rose person. How bad can any rose be? On the other hand, Michael A. Dirr is a more general horticulturalist. He has a little different opinion of R. multiflora in his well respected, 1,187 page Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Fifth Edition, Stipes Publishing, 1998).

Under the heading “Habit” he says, “A fountain with long, slender, recurving branches; eventually forming an impenetrable tangle of brush suitable only for burning.” About its growth rate he says, “fast; too fast for most farmers who have this species in their fields.” His description for “Culture” is, “Same as described under R. rugosa although this species is more invasive; tolerates dry heavy soils very well.”

Pink Multiflora Rose

Pink Multiflora Rose

He goes on with an entry for “Landscape Value” of “None in the residential landscape; has received a lot of attention for conservation purposes; makes a good place for all the ‘critters’ to hide, yet can be a real nuisance for the birds deposit the seeds in fence rows and open areas, and soon one has a jungle; use this species with the knowledge that none of your gardening friends in the immediate vicinity will ever speak to you again.” Finally, he gives the following “Additional Notes.” “Utilized as an understock for budding the highly domesticated selections. Another species that appears resistant to black-spot and the typical rose diseases. I cannot overemphasize the invasive and greedy nature of this species. Have observed entire pastures/fields invaded and captured by the plant.”

Pink Multiflora Rose

Pink Multiflora Rose

Having said all that, I’m a fan of places for all the critters to hide. Also, this pink sport or more likely a natural hybrid, was growing at the edge of the woods near my office. I dug up a small piece and within a month all that was growing there had been sprayed and killed. Some would argue that I should have let it all be killed but this pink version, which is very similar in almost every way to the species, seemed worth keeping. The difference it in the flowers — they are larger than the species, as well as being a beautiful, dainty pink. There are somewhat fewer of them, but still enough. The leaves seem entirely free of rust, mildew, and black-spot.

Actually, my ultimate goal is to try to produce a tetraploid version of this diploid rose. That would be valuable for hybridizing, because some many important roses are tetraploid. Whether I can actually do that remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’ll continue to prune this hard, trying to keep it contained, and I’ll do it with the knowledge that none of my gardening friends in the immediate vicinity will ever speak to me again.

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Diner

Diner

Diner

We had dinner with Cathy’s mom at a Thai restaurant this evening, beating the Mother’s Day rush. I really like the lighting, the colors, and the chrome of this diner a couple doors up, though. It isn’t an old or historic diner and in fact it just changed ownership. Still, it looks pretty cool.

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Geum

For a long time we’ve gone to Thanksgiving Farms on Mother’s Day so that Cathy could buy plants for the yard and for containers on the patio. We didn’t go last year, although I don’t remember why. Dorothy was away for the weekend and we didn’t have any plans so we decided to make the trek. It’s about 40 miles but it’s such a nice place and they have things we don’t see anywhere else. I brought my camera and took quite a few pictures but I especially noticed these three flowers, since they are all geum. They are so different from each other but each is pretty in its own way.

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Ghost Car

Ghost Car

Ghost Car

It isn’t a great picture but I never promised great pictures. I was waiting at a light on the way home and decided to see if I could get a good blur from the cars going across in front of me. If I had taken this picture about a half a second later I’d have gotten a police car with its lights flashing. Oh well.

I also took some pictures of Dorothy and some of her friends but I’ll post a couple of those on Facebook for those of you who see my pictures there.

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Kousa Dogwood

Kousa Dogwood

Kousa Dogwood

The Cornus kousa (Japanese dogwood) is in bloom and I love these trees. Personally I think they are nicer in almost every way to the native C. florida (the flowering dogwood). There aren’t as many good pink varieties, of course, but it’s a handsomer tree with interesting bark and less bothered by anthracnose. The fruit is interesting, as well, although I guess if it were dropping on my patio I would prefer the smaller fruit of the native. Kousa also blooms much later, obviously, which I suppose is a downside, since there is so much else blooming right now. This is one of a bunch growing around my office building.

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Spring Fall Color

Maple Leaf

Maple Leaf

It’s like fall color in the spring. This little maple leaf was on the ground in our back yard and I liked the color when the sun shone through it. Needless to say, I had my camera with me so I took a picture. What a beautiful day.

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“I Love Your Face”

Decorated Art Room

Decorated Art Room

Dorothy and some of her friends stayed a little while after school yesterday to decorate the art room with a few post-it notes. Each one says “I Love Your Face” on it. It was impossible to show all of them (there are over 2,000!) in one picture but this gives you a pretty good idea of what the entire room looked like. Well done, girls.

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Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Blue-eyed Grass)

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Blue-eyed Grass)

Sisyrinchium angustifolium (Blue-eyed Grass)

I went out into the back yard after work today and took some pictures of the tiny blue-eyed grass flowers. They are in abundance right now but the individual flowers don’t stay open for long, opening and closing each morning and evening. I got this one before it shut for the night. We only planted a few of these but they have come up in other places around the yard. I wouldn’t describe them as aggressive but we will need to start pulling them up before too long so we aren’t overrun. If any of our friends would like one, let us know and we might dig one up for you.

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Leucauge venusta (Orchard Orbweaver)

Leucauge venusta (Orchard Orbweaver)

Leucauge venusta (Orchard Orbweaver)

I came home and took some pictures of flowers in the yard (see the previous post) but then I came across this spider, hovering over some iris leaves. Each time I moved my tripod a little closer and bumped the web supporting leaves the spider fled to the side but she came back and took up her post again after a little while. I’d like to have gotten a bit closer still, but this is the best I could do without disturbing her web (which I didn’t want to do — spiders are our friends!).

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Kayte Grace In Concert

Kayte Grace

Kayte Grace

WCA alumna Kayte Grace came with her band to give us a concert at the school. I was particularly pleased because Dorothy was roped (I mean encouraged) into being one of the opening acts. She sang a song she wrote and, at the risk of sounding like the stereotypical dad, I think she did a pretty darn good job. Happily I recorded Dorothy but she’d kill me if I posted that here but fear not, because you get a picture of the lovely and extremely talented Kayte Grace. If you’d like to hear her music, you can start at http://www.kaytegracemusic.com/. Her music is also available on iTunes and Amazon.

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A Day At The Races

Potomac Hunt Races

Potomac Hunt Races

Were were invited by our good friends, the Glenns, to come to the Potomac Hunt Races today. The weather was wonderful and the horses were fast. Actually, I have no idea how they compare to any other horses. We aren’t really in the horsey set and I don’t think I’m often described as being racy. Anyway, we enjoyed sitting in the shade of the canopy and eating a nice picnic lunch with friends. It’s always nice to see them and we don’t as often as we’d like. Little Elsie and Benton are certainly growing and are as cute as ever. We also met the Elkans, a name we’ve heard but never had faces to associate.

Potomac Hunt Races

Potomac Hunt Races

I was able to get some nice action shots showing the horses with all four feet off the ground. Of course I was trying to blur them, so I used a much slower shutter speed than I could have done. Photographic technology has come a little way in the last 140 years, I’d say.

From Wikipedia: In 1872, the former governor of California Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, hired Eadweard Muybridge for some photographic studies. He had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day — whether all four feet of a horse were off the ground at the same time while trotting. The same question had arisen about the actions of horses during a gallop. The human eye could not break down the action at the quick gaits of the trot and gallop. Up until this time, most artists painted horses at a trot with one foot always on the ground; and at a full gallop with the front legs extended forward and the hind legs extended to the rear, and all feet off the ground. Stanford sided with the assertion of “unsupported transit” in the trot and gallop, and decided to have it proven scientifically. Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.

Potomac Hunt Races

Potomac Hunt Races

In 1872, Muybridge settled Stanford’s question with a single photographic negative showing his Standardbred trotting horse Occident airborne at the trot. This negative was lost, but the image survives through woodcuts made at the time (the technology for printed reproductions of photographs was still being developed). He later did additional studies, as well as improving his camera for quicker shutter speed and faster film emulsions. By 1878, spurred on by Stanford to expand the experiments, Muybridge had successfully photographed a horse at a trot; lantern slides have survived of this later work. Scientific American was among the publications at the time that carried reports of Muybridge’s groundbreaking images.

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Securigera varia (Crown Vetch)

Securigera varia (Crown Vetch)

Securigera varia (Crown Vetch)

I was waiting to be picked up from work today and went out into the drizzle to take a few pictures. There is crown vetch growing here and there in the wild places near my office building and I took this of the leaves with water beaded up on it. It’s name comes from the flower clusters which (when not weighted down with rain) are neat, little crowns. The fact that it’s so common has a lot to do with it being planted for erosion control along highways.

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Asclepias curassavica (Mexican Butterfly Weed)

Asclepias curassavica (Mexican Butterfly Weed)

Asclepias curassavica (Mexican Butterfly Weed)

I really like Asclepias (butterfly weed) species and we bought a little more this spring to go with what we already have. It’s still in its pot, sitting on our driveway, which seems to always have plants waiting to be planted.

Update: I labeled this Asclepias tuberosa without really thinking. We have a few of that plant growing and I just assumed this was more of the same. It isn’t. This is Asclepias curassavica instead. It’s still a butterfly weed but now, more specifically Mexican Butterfly Weed. I have changed the title and the photo caption.

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Air Ducts As Art

Air Ducts As Art

Air Ducts As Art

OK, maybe art is too strong a word here. Perhaps air ducts as design elements. Anyway, I went out to lunch with a couple friends from work today and noticed the nicely painted air ducts overhead. Anyone know where this is?

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Poecilocapsus lineatus (Four-lined Plant Bug)

Poecilocapsus lineatus (Four-lined Plant Bug)

Poecilocapsus lineatus (Four-lined Plant Bug)

We’ve noticed that some of our plants are showing signs of attack. At least some of the damage is caused by a great many of these little critters. The four-lined plant bug has a fairly short life span and only produces one generation per year, so their damage is caused during a relatively short period. The plants seem to mostly recover and should be fine again before too long. Still, it’s a nuisance.

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Voices in the Tempest

Dorothy

Dorothy

The Music Guild performed the songs from their recently released CD this evening. That includes Dorothy playing and singing her song, Voices in the Tempest, with Lizzie, Carrie, and Ben singing harmony, Paul and Lexi on guitar and Alex on Drums. They did a wonderful job and Dorothy sounded as good as you’d expect me to say she did anyway. I recorded all the songs from the event and took a bunch of pictures, as well. This one of Dorothy was taken during practice. Sadly, I can’t record video and take stills at the same time.

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Nick Weber’s Roses

Rose ‘Playboy”

Rose ‘Playboy”

Every year I look forward to visiting Nick’s garden when he opens it to the public. It’s very interesting how different it is from year to year. Last spring the roses were early. This year they were earlier still. Many rose bushes had completely finished blooming. Of course, there are some that typically bloom later and it was a rare treat to see those in bloom this time. There were enough still fresh that I was able to get a few good pictures. This one is a floribunda called ‘Playboy’ Bred by Alec Cocker (Scotland, 1976). Alas, I was only able to stay for a little while, but I was happy to have that. Thank you Nick and Roseanne!

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Dorothy and Hannah

Dorothy and Hannah

Dorothy and Hannah

In general I try not to repeat pictures too often and I’d say that in general, I’m successful in that. When it comes to people pictures, especially “friends of Dorothy” pictures, I’m more likely to repeat because there is a somewhat limited pool of subjects. The number is reduced when you filter out those I don’t often get to photograph (often because they hate having their picture taken). I also try to get permission from Dorothy to post any picture she’s in and often she doesn’t like them (the pictures, not her friends). Anyway, I took her to see her good friend Hannah this afternoon and as I hadn’t taken any pictures yet today, I asked if I could take a few of them. This is the best of what I took. A little fill flash would not have gone amiss but it turned out well, anyway. Want to know the secret to good people pictures? “Only take pictures of attractive people.”

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Briggs and Stratton

Briggs and Stratton

Briggs and Stratton

When we moved into out current house in 2006 I decided it was time to retire the lawn mower we had been using at our old house. It was 12 years old and had served faithfully with very little trouble. For the new mower, I thought I’d try a Toro. I can’t say I’m particularly impressed. The engine itself hasn’t had any trouble and I hate to say it’s time for a new one but the rest of the mower could be more robust. The drive transaxle gave up a few years ago. I bought a new one and replaced it and I thought that was going to be the worst of things. Well, a few short years later and it looks like it’s gone again. I don’t really want to keep replacing that. Also, now the bolt the holds the handle to the chassis has come out and disappeared somewhere in the yard. So, I decided to cut my losses and start over. I’m sure there are other people with stories exactly opposite to mine but I’ve gone back to Craftsman. Sorry Toro.

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Glass Bricks

Glass Bricks

Glass Bricks

These are glass bricks that form a divider in the local Cheeburger Cheeburger. I like the patterns in them, which are given depth by the light coming from outside as well as the colored interior lighting.

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Back to Basics

Bass Guitar

Bass Guitar

Sometimes you have to stop and get back to basics. That is, to the basis of this whole blogging experiment. So, what’s more basic than a bass? I guess I could have gone fishing.

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Edumacated Garduates

Congratulations Garduates!

Congratulations Garduates!

Caption Contest…

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Lilies in May

Lilies

Lilies

As everything else this spring, the lilies are ahead of their normal schedule. Our first two flowers are officially open in May. While I can’t say I’ve kept careful records over the years, I’m pretty sure that’s unusual. These are relatively short plants growing in a container on our back patio. Cathy picked off little bulbils from some my dad planted in his yard and these grew from that. Bulbils are little bulblets that grow in the leaf axils of some lilies.

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Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky

I asked a friend at work for a ride to pick up my car from the shop this afternoon. I was outside a couple minutes before she was and I took a few pictures while I waited. The sky was a beautiful, brilliant blue and the green on the trees complemented it wonderfully. Then I noticed the reflection of the sky and trees in her black SUV. I love the richness of the colors in this picture. It’s nice that she keeps her car so clean.

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