Monthly Archives: June 2014

Pink Multiflora Hybrid

Pink Multiflora Hybrid

Pink Multiflora Hybrid

The roses are really starting to bloom, finally. This is one that only blooms once during the year but it’s beautiful when it does. It also have very healthy, disease resistant foliage, so it looks pretty good the rest of the year, although it’s just green, of course. This is a found rose and seems to me to be mostly R. multiflora. The wonderful pink flowers, however, speak of some other genes in the mix. I think this rose might contribute to some interesting breeding work and for years I’ve considered it, but so far, haven’t actually done anything.

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Clematis

Clematis

Clematis

At the south end of the house I have a large trellis for a climbing rose. I thought the rose had died completely but it’s coming up from the ground and appears not to be the root stock (it’s blooming with the same flowers as the rose had in the past).

Also growing on the trellis is a clematis. It’s small as of yet, but doing well and has a good, sunny spot. I don’t know what variety this is, but it’s got very simple flowers with only four petals. Still, it has a very nice burgandy color.

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Ophthalmological Instruments

Ophthalmological Instruments

Ophthalmological Instruments

As many of you know, I had cataract surgery in my left eye yesterday. I had a follow-up appointment this morning and all seems to be going exactly as planned and hoped. Here are three instruments in the ophthalmologist’s office. On the left is a phoroptor, used to determine the eyeglass prescription needed. The instrument is familiar, even if the name isn’t. Then, in the middle, is a keratometer, which is used to determine the shape of the cornea. Finally, on the right is a slit lamp, used to examine eyes. I’ve spent a lot of time behind this last item over the last five years or so.

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Rose ‘New Dawn’

Rose ‘New Dawn’

Rose ‘New Dawn’

The wonderful, very light pink rose ‘New Dawn’ is in full bloom on our back fence. It’s partially obscured by the rugosa, ‘Roseraie De l’Hay’, which has grown up to about seven or eight feet tall. On either side of that, and just a little over top of it, however, ‘New Dawn’ is in full bloom.

Last year I posted a photograph of the rose ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’ growing in my cousin Lyn’s back garden. As I mentioned when I posted that picture, ‘New Dawn’ is a repeat flowering sport of ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’ found at Somerset Rose Nursery in 1930 and has the distinction of having been the first plant to receive a U.S. Plant Patent (it is plant patent #1) on 18 Aug 1931.

In addition to the flowers which are lovely, it has glossy, green leaves that are not bothered by black spot. That and the repeat flowering are enough by themselves to recommend a rose. I was given this by my friend and work colleague, Kamala, as a cutting from hers and I’m very grateful.

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Nick Weber’s Rose Garden

Nick Weber's Rose Garden

Nick Weber’s Rose Garden

As usual I was at Nick Weber’s Heritage Rosarium on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, but as I mentioned at the time, very little was in bloom. Because I was off work letting my eye recuperate from surgery most of this week, and because I was feeling well and it was a beautiful day, I visited again this morning. Even now it isn’t in full bloom, although much more than it was almost two weeks ago. When I compare this image to one taken from the same spot on May 28, 2011, I can see that it’s really only just starting to come into bloom.

Previous posts with photos from Nick’s rose garden are May 24, 2014, May 25, 2013, and May 26, 2012.

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The Fox Is Back

The Fox Is Back

The Fox Is Back

We’ve seen the fox a few times since the winter when I got pictures of two of them playing in the back yard. One of them, I’m pretty sure, was killed by a car. The other is still around and this morning was in our garden. From downstairs he (or she) could barely be seen. Cathy noticed him from upstairs. Occasionally he’d look around and I got a few pictures from the kitchen. After I had as good a picture as I was going to get, I went out the front door and slowly went around the side of the house. I was able to get a few pictures before I was seen. He looked right at me as I squeezed off two quick shots and then he was gone (like a shot).

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Graduation Day

Dorothy and Grandma C

Dorothy and Grandma C

I could post quite a few pictures for today but I’m going to limit myself to two. I took over 500, including multiple photos of each of Dorothy’s 21 classmates walking across the stage. I considered posting one of Dorothy receiving her diploma from Mr. Chamberlain or of Mr. Hawes moving her tassle from the right to the left of her mortarboard, but in the end I decided I’d post this one, of Dorothy and one of her two grandmas (who were both there).

WCA Graduates

WCA Graduates

After the graduation ceremony, we all went back to the school for a reception. The graduates came down the central staircase in the school (to live trumpet music), and they went out in front of the school for the traditional “hat throw.” I decided to go with a a wide angle lens shooting from near the ground, and I’m pretty happy with what I got.

Dorothy is a good student and we are very proud of her achievement. In some ways, celebrating high school graduation is a little like celebrating mile three in a marathon. Everyone is glad glad you made it this far, but you aren’t really nearing the finish line yet. On the other hand, the amount of growth between Kindergarten and 12th grade, at least for Dorothy and most of her friends, has been substantial. Well done!

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Acanthocephala Species

Acanthocephala Species

Acanthocephala Species

This is one of the Acanthocephala species, one of the leaf-footed bugs. I’m not sure which, although I’m leaning toward A. terminalis. It was on my pant leg but I wasn’t going to get a good picture of it while it was there, so I brushed it off into the grass. Then, of course, I got down on the ground and got as close to it as I could.

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Syrphid Fly

Syrphid Fly

Syrphid Fly

These little flies are all around but are very easy to go unnoticed. They are quite small and don’t bother people much. I think they’re pretty cool looking. In particular, I like the pattern on the abdomen. I don’t know how much variation there is in that pattern, or if it is reliable for identification of the species. There are over species 800 in eastern North America, so making a reliable ID takes more knowledge than I have.

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Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Dorothy spent much of the day at my mom’s house today and I went there to get her after work. I took a few pictures around the yard, including some of a clematis that looks very much like the one I have here (and which I posted a picture of recently). There was a grey catbird in the birdbath in the back yard and I was able to get close enough for a few good pictures before it flew up into the camellia bushes.

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Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

This squirrel was eating seeds off of the back patio this morning and didn’t run away when I came up to the glass door, so I was able to get a few pictures. Unfortunately I had the camera set wrong so these pictures are a bit grainy, but I’m still reasonably happy with them. I’m not a huge fan of squirrels, which are basically furry tailed rats, but they can be fun to watch. This is the melanistic form of the grey squirrel, which is very common in our area.

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Dorothy and Hannah

Dorothy and Hannah

Dorothy and Hannah

Dorothy’s good friend, Hannah, came over this evening to pick up something she had left in our car over the weekend and I took advantage of that and got a few pictures of her with Dorothy.

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Hose Faucet and Bricks

Hose Faucet and Bricks

Hose Faucet and Bricks

I enjoy little things. I suppose anyone who has been following my blog for any time already knows that. We were up in Olney for dinner this evening at our favorite little Thai place and had to wait a little while for a table (did I mention that it’s a little place?). I walked around outside a while looking for things to photograph. I like the simplicity of this picture and also the colors. It’s just a hose faucet in a brick wall, but we often forget how convenient life is, when we can get water practically anywhere, just by turning a knob. Life is good.

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Marigolds

Marigolds

Marigolds

It was a beautiful day again today. We’ve had more than our fair share, although I’m not complaining. It will be too hot for my liking all too soon, but for now, I’m enjoying what we’ve been given. We went to a small nursery this morning and bought quite a few annuals and a couple shrubs. This is part of their collection of marigolds, which basically filled a small greenhouse. I enjoyed the repetitive patterns and bright colors.

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Orange Asiatic Lilies

Orange Asiatic Lilies

Orange Asiatic Lilies

This is a very different photograph from yesterday’s, although the color is quite similar (and of course they are both of flowers). These bright orange Asiatic lilies are in a pot on our back patio and are quite happy and very cheerful. This is something we could have many more of and I wouldn’t complain. We should also get them in the ground, where I think they might do even better. They love the full sun they get on our patio and they repay that with a reflection of the sun’s heat in their vivid color.

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Sakura

Sakura, Japanese Restaurant

Sakura, Japanese Restaurant

It was a long day today, but we had a real treat in the evening. We got to see our friends, Jean, Lexi, and Karlee, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough. They drove here from Virginia, which is a serious undertaking, especially anywhere near rush hour. We went to Sakura, a Japanese restaurant in Olney, for dinner, and enjoyed the show. I was ready a few times when our chef lit things that he was cooking and this is the best of those pictures.

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Blackberry Lily Leaves

Blackberry Lily Leaves

Blackberry Lily Leaves

I’ve posted pictures of the flowers of the blackberry lily (it used to be called Belamcanda chinensis but in 2005 was renamed Iris domestica). This picture is of the leaves, which are very much like the leaves of the more familiar bearded iris. They are, if anything, even more compressed into a tight fan. I love the pattern of alternating leaves. We have a few of these now, in various places in the yard. We started with just one that we brought from our old house in a pot. Each year we scatter the seeds quite freely and a few have come up.

I recommend this plant if you want something a little different and that blooms a little later (early to mid July) than the other irises. The flowers are not large, only about and inch and a half or two inches across, but they are bright orange, speckled with red and are borne in happy profusion. The fruit are also attractive. The seeds are single seeded but they form in clusters, looking like huge blackberries, which is where the common name comes from.

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American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

The other day I posted a picture of a catbird in my mom’s bird bath. Since then I’ve been enjoying birds in ours, which is in the back yard, just outside our kitchen door. When I got home this evening there were some grackles in it but they flew off when I came into the kitchen. A little while later there was a catbird there. I went and got my camera and took some pictures but waited a while. I got a female cardinal picking up seeds off the patio as well as this American robin who came for a drink.

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Liquor Bottles

Liquor Bottles

Liquor Bottles

Cathy and I went out for a somewhat late dinner this evening. We decided on Branded 72, a barbecue place that used to be O’Brien’s. The barbecue is good. If you are trying to cut down on carbohydrates, your side order options are a bit restricted. Fortunately I actually like collard greens, although what I had left a bit to be desired. Certainly not as good as the ribs. The restaurant is divided into two sections and we were alone in our half. There was talking and laughter coming from the bar (the other side). This windowed wall separates the two halves of the place and I set my camera on the table so that the 1/3 second exposure wouldn’t be blurry.

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Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia Spiderwort)

Two pictures today for the price of one and hopefully worth the price of admission. I really like Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort). It’s a very vigorous grower but it doesn’t take over the garden. It’s very happy in our climate, not needing much in the way of special attention or soil conditions. And it blooms over a long period with deep, dark, slightly purple blue flowers. They open in the morning and in the evening are all closed up, only to be open again the next morning. I also love the the blue stamen hairs with the bright yellow anthers.

Honey Bee on Tradescantia Flowers

Honey Bee on Tradescantia Flowers

I went out to take pictures this morning and thought I’d get a view across the flowers, as in the first picture here. I think it turned out quite well and really shows the feathery stamen hairs well. They are unique, as far as I know, in that they change color to pink when when exposed to radiation. I don’t know how sensitive they are, so don’t know if they can act as a canary in a coal mine, but I think it’s a cool fact.

I also enjoyed watching a honey bee going from flower to flower, so figured I better get some pictures of that, as well, and I’m please with the results.

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Hydrangea ‘Big Smile’

Hydrangea 'Big Smile'

Hydrangea ‘Big Smile’

Last weekend we were at a garden center and I posted a picture from our trip that was of a sea of Marigold blossoms. We bought two hydrangeas that day and this is one of them. It is called ‘Big Smile’ and we really like the color of the flowers, with the deep blue of the central fertile flowers and the pink of the larger petals of the outer, sterile flowers. This picture hardly does them justice and I think they are even better from a little distance. It’s still sitting in its pot on our back patio, but it is intended for a partly shaded spot in the back border.

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Oenothera speciosa (Pink Evening Primrose)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink Evening Primrose)

Oenothera speciosa (Pink Evening Primrose)

It seems that as soon as I get caught up, or nearly caught up, something distracts me and I fall behind in posting again. So far I haven’t missed a day of taking a picture since I started, but that’s bound to happen at some point. Today (which was a week ago, relative to when I’m posting this), I took some close-up pictures of the evening primroses growing in front of our house. They are scattered around there and in the back border and are pretty little things, opening up as it gets cool in the evening and closing up in the heat of the next day.

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Rainbow Eye Patch

Dorothy with Rainbow Eye Patch

Dorothy with Rainbow Eye Patch

My mom has a few class prisms in her front window and in the afternoon, they cast various rainbows around the room. It’s especially nice when they happen to fall on someone, as here. Dorothy was sitting on the sofa with a rainbow on her face and let me take a dozen or so pictures, with various strengths of fill flash. This is the best of the bunch, balancing the lighting of her face with the brightness of the rainbow eye patch.

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Marigold

Marigold

Marigold

Ten days ago (Saturday, June 14, 2014) I posted a picture of marigolds. A week later (Saturday, June 21, 2014) I posted a picture of a hydrangea that we bought that day at the garden center. We also came home with a pretty good collection of annuals and among them was this marigold, which I think may be the same as those in that earlier picture. They sure are pretty little things and very eye catching. This is among the flowers that greet us as we come up to our house each evening. Nice.

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Abbie and Dorothy

Abbie and Dorothy

Abbie and Dorothy

It was the night of the annual Erick’s Hope benefit dinner this evening, at Mama Lucia’s. It’s a pretty good excuse to have a nice meal and the fact that we get to see a lot of friends doesn’t hurt. Normally we have our youth group Bible study on Wednesday evenings but I decided to encourage the youth to support Erick’s Hope, along with their families (and a lot of them did). This was the first time we’ve actually met Dorothy’s friend, Abbie, who joined us for dinner and shared this awesome pizza with Dorothy.

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Yellow Day Lily

Yellow Day Lily

Yellow Day Lily

The day lilies are blooming. This is one of the small, yellow varieties that seem to be all the rage these days. I think they bloom over a longer period than the standard, orange kind, which is probably enough to recommend them, although I do think I like the color of the orange better. Any color this time of year is welcome, though.

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Gwen’s Serious S’more

Gwen and Her Serious S'more

Gwen and Her Serious S’more

The youth group went on a camping trip this evening and, as far as I could tell, everyone had a good time. We got to our site in Pennsylvania in the late evening and got all the tents up before dark but it was dark by the time dinner was ready. After dinner, most people roasted marshmallows and made s’mores of various descriptions (some foregoing the chocolate, some the graham crackers, etc.).

Gwendolyn made the s’more to end all s’mores, with seven marshmallows, two chocolate bars and two entire graham crackers. Fortunately, she is young and fit and can afford the calories.

To answer the question you are thinking, yes, she ate the entire thing.

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Anna, Fiona, and Kimia

Anna, Fiona, and Kimia

Anna, Fiona, and Kimia

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I took the youth group camping (along with some other adults, I’m very happy to say). On Saturday we had a pretty leisurely time, canoeing, fishing (and a few folks learned to clean and fillet a fish), swimming, walking, etc.

Anna and Kimia took the canoe out with Fiona in between them. It wasn’t long after this that people started swimming. At that point, the canoe was upside down most of the time. But this is before that, when it was being used for it’s advertised purpose.

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Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose)

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose)

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose)

I thought I’d post a second picture from Saturday, because, well, just because. A while back I planted a bunch of species roses up at our place in Pennsylvania. A few of them are living and one or two doing very well. This is the healthiest of them and is a prairie rose, Rosa arkansana. It’s absolutely covered with flowers right now and is pretty impressive. It is a native of the central portion of the continent, from the central Canadian provinces south as far as Texas and New Mexico.

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Monarda (Bergamot)

Monarda (Bergamot)

Monarda (Bergamot)

In the back yard we have Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) and Monarda (bergamot) in bloom. The former is bright orange. This is the later, with it’s crown of fancifully shaped, tubular flowers. I love the look of these. They are so different from other flowers and really stand out as a bright spot in the garden. They are growing in the back, along the fence, and make quite a statement.

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Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed)

<em>Datura stramonium</em> (Jimson Weed)

Datura stramonium (Jimson Weed)

One of the most common of the “large weeds” we have in our yard is Jimson weed (Datura stramonium). It is pretty easy to spot, because if grows into a fairly large bush, surprisingly large for an annual. It has pretty, little, white flowers but it’s a mean plant in most other respects. First, it is covered with spines and you don’t want to be pulling it up without wearing substantial gloves. It’s also quite poisonous, containing dangerous levels of alkaloids. Because they have psychoactive effects and because they are also fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts, Jimson weed is responsible for hospitalizations and deaths each year. Just pull it up and get rid of it, folks.

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