It’s a little bit funny. I don’t think that I’d be interested in a Corvette even if I could afford to be. On the other hand, I think they make good photographic subjects. I happened to be passing Criswell Chevrolet this morning and decided to stop to take a few photos. Partly it’s because they have a nice, curving line of them along the road. I suppose their bright colors and sleek lines also contributes. Anyway, this photo is a bit more red than I remember the car actually being, which seemed more orange but perhaps that was because of the deep, dark red car that was next in line.
Monthly Archives: April 2013
When I started this project I said that I couldn’t promise that any of the photographs I took would be worth anything. I flatter myself that there have been some pretty good photos among the considerable amount of chaff. I’ve taken and used my camera in places I never thought to take it before — the dentist office, getting a CT scan, the grocery store — but I recognize that some days it just doesn’t work out.
Frankly, my life is pretty pedestrian and the pictures I take are for the most part pretty run of the mill. Today, I was in my office all day. I looked up and it was 6:10 and I had to be set up for a Skype-based interview at 7:00. I rushed home to get my computer and then to the church and by the time we were done it was after 9:00. I took this picture on the way home. I think it’s safe to say that this one lives down to my promise of not being worth much. But, I took a picture today, my 826th consecutive day taking a picture.
It’s true that I’m not a huge hyacinth fan. Still, I have to admit being cheered by these this year. It’s really only the smell I object to, I don’t mind the flowers themselves. I found their fragrance to be overpowering, though, and it’s not something I’d willingly bring into my house. In the yard, however, where you don’t notice the smell so much, I have no objection to them.
These were planted, along with some crocuses and daffodils, the fall after we moved into our house. They were given to me by friends for taking family pictures for them, and I enjoy them each spring. Erin and David, if you see this, I hope you still enjoy the photographs. Of course, there are more of you now. The crocuses are still blooming — the purple are done for the year but the white soldier on — and the daffodils are just about to open. Spring is here, although it was in the 20s this morning and it’s suppose to be cold the next few nights.
I’ve posted pictures of the dark claret colored Lenten rose before but this is the first time for this flower. We got three plants from Brady last fall, when they were being dug up to be replaced at her work. I planted two along the back fence and they are both blooming now. At first I thought they were going to be plain white but they are not, they have a nice bit of color and I’m very happy to have them. Thanks, Brady.
It’s been a while since I put up a picture of Cathy, so I thought I would, today. We were dropping Dorothy off at a friends house and we got there shortly before the friend got home. As we waited I took a couple pictures of Dorothy and Cathy. This is one of them.
I picked up Dorothy this morning in Bethesda and we stopped briefly at Balducci’s, in Wildwood. I don’t shop there often, or we’d be broke, but it’s fun to go there once in a while. I do splurge and buy some expensive cheeses from time to time. Today, I got a little Stilton, some red Leicestershire, and some cheese called Jasper Hill Landaff, which I knew nothing about. It is made from raw cow’s milk and comes from Landaff Creamery on Springvale Farm in Landaff, NH. I took a few pictures while we were in Balducci’s, including this one of the “stinky cheese section.”
What a beautiful spring day we had today. On the way out this morning I stopped to take some pictures of daffodils blooming on either side of the walk. Then later I stopped to pick up Dorothy and took more pictures of flowers there. The first is looking down on a spike of purple hyacinth flowers. I took more from the side but they look pretty much the same as the pink flowers I posted a photo of recently. I thought this different angle would be more interesting. I also like the intense blue toward the middle of the cluster of flowers.
The second picture is of a flowering quince (one of the three Chaenomeles species, not to be confused with the proper quince, Cydonia oblonga). This is just starting to bloom and has lots of small, pink flowers that are quite pretty. I was out without my tripod, so this isn’t as sharp as it might be, but probably good enough for jazz. This is a nice shrub to grow for early spring color. I personally get tired of all the yellow forsythia and would welcome more of this.
Finally, we have the tiny flowers of a heath plant. Heath and heather are quite similar, with heather having smaller scale-like leaves. They both have tiny flowers of white, pink, or purple. Some of the heath species bloom in the winter, and they bloom for a fairly long period, which is nice. This one is actually past it’s peak of blooming.
Both heath and heather (Calluna vulgaris) are calcifuges (plants that do not tolerate alkaline soil). Like azaleas, they thrive in places with low pH and in fact most will not grow if the pH is greater than 6.5. I’d be curious to know if the deer bother them. If you have deer in your garden and you grow either heath or heather, let me know in the comments.
Thank you, Maureen and Bob, for sharing your garden with us today.
What would spring be without daffodils? Summer, I guess. They are out in force now, including the bigger varieties that are so wonderfully cheerful. These are along our front walk and are called ‘Marieke’ and are in division 1, the trumpet daffodils. This is, I suppose, what most people think of when you say daffodil. Big, bold, bright, yellow trumpets happily gazing into the sun on a cool spring morning. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I picked Dorothy up this evening, as on most Tuesday’s, at Julia’s house. Also as usual, I took a few pictures. Justin was there, so I took some of him. Our favorite, though, was this picture of Maureen. I confess that this is semi-posed. One of us, Dorothy I think, said something and she made that expression. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with my camera so I asked her to to it again. Normally I would not post a picture like this but I asked for permission and she gave it gladly. What a sport.
Maureen said the caption should be, “I could have saved how much on my car insurance?”
After a few weeks of wonderfully cool spring-like weather, we’ve moved to summer heat. It was over 90°F today, which I don’t appreciate even in the summer, much less a week after we were having nights in the 20s. Cathy and I went for a walk today, partway around the block our office is on. I took some pictures of the Bradford pears that are blooming, as well as some early cherry blossoms.
Are you tired of daffodils or daffodil pictures? Not me. I love them all. Big and bold or tiny and delicate, all yellow or mixed shades, they are all wonderful.
This is another daffodil growing along the walk to our front door. I love the pure white of the outer petals as well as the deep orange corona (the trumpet). Very cheerful and happy and reliable. There are more blooms each year, which is one more thing to love about daffodils.
Yet another daffodil. This one is a beautiful poeticus daffodil called ‘Actaea’. The poeticus division (division 9) are distinguished by their large white petals and small, dainty cups in contrasting colors.
These start to bloom between four days and a week later than the big yellow daffodil ‘Marieke’ that I photographed on April 8. They are in the same bed, along the walk to our front door.
What a beautiful Saturday it was today. The sky was a beautiful blue, it was cool but not cold, and it was just lovely all around. We need a bit more rain, really, but I don’t mind if that holds off for weekdays.
This is a camellia I bought and planted last spring, called ‘Dad’s Pink’. It’s not one that my dad ever grew but with that name, it still reminds me of him. It’s not even three feet tall but it’s covered with dozens of pink striped flowers.
One branch seems to have reverted to some less fancy form, with pure red flowers, although they are still of the same formal double type.
This morning the spiraea has burst into bloom. In fact, a lot of things have burst into bloom. We have a cherry tree that started blooming in the last day or so but it’s already losing petals. That tree is actually dying, losing one main branch each year for the last three years. The largest to die so far is gone now, leaving basically two more and it’s over. I’m planning to put in a replacement—an apple—later this spring. I bought two apples, Goldrush and Arkansas Black. As for the spiraea, it’s a splash of white in the darkest part of our yard and very happy. I love that up close the flowers have tiny bits of green. These flowers are between five and eight millimeters across.
When we bought our house almost seven years ago I said I’d really like to take out the two trees in the middle of the back yard. They are poorly placed and the larger of them, in particular, makes me nervous every time the wind gets strong. If it were to fall, it would definitely fall toward the house and it would do serious damage. This morning they came down. This is one of the crew up in the tree cutting off a largish limb. This was taken from out front, looking over the top of the house as I left for work.
I like trees, really I do. But when it comes to small, suburban yards, they need to be the right trees in the right place. If I had a couple acres (or more), I’d be planting trees. But this huge tree this close to the house was an issue.
I still haven’t found my garden drawing that tells me exactly what is where so all I can tell you is that this is one of Muscari armeniacum, M. neglectum, or M. latifolium. My memory says it’s M. armeniacum but that’s a pretty unreliable source, I’m afraid. This is growing on the north end of our front yard, under a dying cherry tree. It’s a very nice little shade garden, particularly in the spring. Each year we replace a little more of the pachysandra with a few other things, so it’s getting to have a bit more interest in the summer and fall, as well.
I love these little flowers and should plant more. I have some growing along the front edge of the bed that borders the walk to our front door but it’s not as noticeable because it’s growing in with the pachysandra. Did I mention we have a lot of pachysandra? Anyway, more grape hyacinths would always be welcome, as far as I’m concerned. I think I need to plant a bunch more bulbs this fall.
The WCA play is this Friday and Saturday. This week they are practicing at the theatre all week so I came a little early to pick up Dorothy. This is the cast and crew gathered on the stage for some general instruction and comments before they called it a day.
I’m posting this a bit late, after the performances have actually happened, so I won’t bother to invite you to the show. If you came, you know how much fun it was. If you didn’t, you’ll want to plan on being there next year for whatever they get up to.
Flowers are nice, of course, but even leaves can be beautiful. I love the variety of leaf shapes, the patterns of their veins, and the different greens created by the light shining through leaves.
This is the leaf of an oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) that I planted a few years ago. It’s still getting established, really, but is doing quite well. The leaves are a beautiful green now and all summer and then turn the most gorgeous burgundy or claret color in the fall. It doesn’t have the showy pink or blue flowers of the bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) but it makes up for it with its leaves, as far as I’m concerned. It also takes virtually no care and doesn’t die back so hard in cold winters.
Welcome to spring.
The school play opened this evening and Dorothy was pretty well represented, friend and family wise, in the audience. I was there to take pictures and took just over 600 pictures during the show, as well as some before and after. This picture, taken after the show, is of Dorothy and her two grandmothers. Dorothy did well in her part as Gretel and was very glad that she didn’t have to stand in for Goldilocks, who was not feeling at all well. Special thanks to Lauren, who did take on that role and did a terrific job.
We spent the better part of the day at the Olney Theatre today, leaving home at about 11:00 AM and not getting home again after the cast party until after midnight. The two performances of The Princess Who Had No Name, by Brian Taylor, went very well and without any drama. Well, there was drama, but only the intended drama.
This is the cast and a nicer bunch of kids would be hard to find. Sure, they can be loud and the can certainly be silly. All in all, I enjoyed my afternoon with them. That’s not to say (1,600+ photos later) I wasn’t glad when it was over.
After our busy Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at the Olney Theatre (and longer than that for the cast and crew of the play), it was nice to have an afternoon at home. When I got home from church I changed into my gardening clothes and planted two apple trees. The first is ‘Arkansas Black’, a dark red apple that is a late maturing variety. The second, which matures even later than ‘Arkansas Black’, is called ‘Goldrush’, a golden apple with a red blush.
As I was working on the deer protection for Goldrush, a brown-headed cowbird came to the bird bath not eight feet away from me. I stood quietly and watched until it flew up into a tree. Then I went and got my camera. When I came back out the bird wasn’t quite so bold as before but did perch in a nearby dogwood tree, close enough that I got a few good pictures.
I’m almost certain that this is a seedling that just happened to grow where it did. It’s planted way too close to the house to have been planned. It has pretty flowers but it’s just in the wrong place even for a small tree. I’ve planted a tall, narrow camellia near it (but not so close to the house) and once that gets established I’ll take out the dogwood. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the lightly shaded flowers on the dogwood. I’d say it’s got a good three or four more years before I even think of cutting it down. Slowly but surely (well, slowly, anyway) the yard is coming together.
We have a fair amount of this around our house, all escaped from pots. It really has done well for itself and in fact, has gotten a little out of control. We are starting to be a bit more aggressive in cutting it back. When it’s blooming, though, it’s hard not to like it. The flowers are just like the more pedestrian Vinca minor (periwinkle) except considerably larger.
Dorothy’s good friend, Hannah, was very excited today because she had her braces taken off. She never really stopped smiling because of her braces, at least not so far as I could tell. But, she came home with Dorothy today and was in a very buoyant mood.
I asked if I could take her picture and she obliged, as you can see. Very nice smile, young lady (or “not-daughter,” as I call her).
To add to the excitement, Cathy asked me today if I could remember the name of someone who was in the school play in 2006. I could not but Dorothy remembered it right away — ah, to have a young, uncrowded brain. Before we asked Dorothy, though, and in the hope that I had labeled a photograph with the name, I went back to March 2006 and found pictures but none with the name.
The exciting thing, though, was that I came across the second picture posted here. It is a picture of Hannah, taken on March 10, 2006. I frankly didn’t have any memory of taking that. Dorothy and Hannah only really became good friends in the last two years or so. I have known that she’s been at the school longer than we have, so it’s not so surprising that she’s in a picture but it’s a pretty good picture, not just a face in a crowd.
This was taken on the lower school’s History Night, sitting on the grass waiting for her mom (or whoever), with her very good friend, Michelle, of whom I also took a photograph.
She hasn’t really changed all that much. I mean, she’s seven years older. But some people when I see pictures from seven years ago I have a hard time recognizing them. Not Hannah.
I’ve been meaning to take pictures of these for a while now but keep, well, forgetting. Ironic, no? Myosotis arvensis, otherwise known as forget-me-not, is an annual. Our little patch of them has been moving a little each year as it reseeds itself but so far has managed to be happy and healthy each year.
The flowers begin as a slightly purplish blue but quickly fade to a pure, sky blue with a bright yellow circle in the middle. As they age, the circle turns white, before the flower fades and falls. In mass, they are quite impressive but I like the flowers close up, like this.
We don’t have a lot of tulips in our yard. They aren’t as reliably long-lived as many other bulbs and I like to plant things that are going to be around and that don’t take a lot of care. I do have a few red tulips that were added to my order for ordering so much each of a couple years. In 2009 I ordered and planted six of these Tulipa acuminata ‘Fireflame Tulip’ bulbs. Two of them are in bloom now and add a nice splash of yellow to the garden.
Dorothy’s school prom was this evening and she was part of a group that went together. Because we have a nice wood in our neighborhood, we decided to go take some pictures there. This is one of a couple bridges we went over and I took quite a few pictures of the kids on and under it. This picture in particular is a favorite of mine, mostly because of the hijinks of Joseph, who is on the left, and also in the middle, and finally again on the right. Fun times.
From left to right: Joseph, Cat, Michelle, Dorothy, Porter, Joseph, Hannah, Maggie, Elijah, and Joseph.
I think if I were to breed hostas and came up with one worth to be sold, I’d name it ‘La Vista Baby’. Since I don’t breed hostas, I’m unlikely to ever actually get the chance, so I’ll satisfy myself with posting the joke here for the loyal few who follow my daily photographic journey.
This picture is of a very small hosta called ‘Mouse Ears’ and we have two of them growing in pots outside our front door. Our beloved white-tailed deer dearly love hosta, as a salad green. We’ve had some plants trimmed off at ground level. These are so small that they can’t take much of that, so we have them close enough to the house that they are reasonably safe. Cute little things, especially when the first come up.
We’ve been needing rain for a while now so I was quite happy to wake up to a wet morning. The bright morning light, coming through the clouds, was lighting up water droplets on the rose outside our front door (Perle d’Or). Its leaves are a bright, fresh green and the water only serves to create more shades. I also love the red rachis and midrib on these compound leaves.
Rainy days are often the prettiest days and this morning certainly bears that out. Hopefully we’ll get a good, soaking rain.
Well, yesterday I commented that I wanted a good, soaking rain. We are getting it and it is lovely. It was still wet this morning so you get to see another picture of water droplets on leaves. This time, the leaves are the long, strap-like leaves of daffodils. The flowers are gone (from these, anyway, there’s one variety still finishing up its blooming) and it’s time for the leaves to do their job of converting light energy into chemical energy, which can be stored in the bulbs for next years blooming. In terms of this photograph, I like that there are water droplets clinging not only to the top surface of the leaves but to the edges, as well.