Next up, after the early daffodils, are the glory of the snow (Chionodoxa luciliae), this little bulb native to western Turkey. I have a pretty nice little bunch of them growing on the south end of the house, which warms up before other areas, which helps get them up early, as well. As you may know, I’m partial to blue flowers and these, although early and ephemeral, are some of my favorites. They are such a lovely color and in quantity are quite striking.
Monthly Archives: April 2015
Today the ‘Pink Giant’ Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) started blooming. This is a pale pink variety that I have growing amidst the pachysandra in the northeast corner of our front yard. In addition to being pink, as the name suggest ‘Pink Giant’ suggests, it is fairly tall for a Chionodoxa and holds its blooms above the pachysandra. Otherwise, it is similar to the blue flowers I posted a photo of for yesterday.
After what can only be described as a terrible drive down the beautiful I-95 corridor between D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, we had a very nice evening at the gallery where Dorothy has been working. Our friend Brian (son of friends Sid and Sherri) had a show at Gallery Edit in Richmond, mostly sculpture but there was one large painting in the collection. I took pictures of individual pieces when the gallery wasn’t filled with people but there were not a lot of times that was possible. He had a pretty good flow of folks throughout the evening. That’s Brian facing the camera in this photo. His web site is here: http://brianmenkis.com/
We drove back from Richmond this morning, having a much better time of it than the drive down yesterday. In the afternoon I went out back and took some pictures of a couple Lenten rose plants. This is one we put in when we first moved in and it’s doing really well (and probably needs to be dug up and divided). Lent is over and this plant has only just started blooming late this week, but we had snow later than is usual and that slowed it up a bit. In 2012 I have photos of this same plant blooming on February 19. Anyway, it’s blooming now and it’s lovely.
One of our favorite aspects of the celebration of Easter is the sunrise service at Fourth Presbyterian Church. For a long time Rock Creek didn’t have a sunrise service and in general doesn’t make as big a deal of Easter as some churches (and hardly mentions Palm Sunday at all). So, we go to the church where we met, and where Cathy’s mom still goes. Dorothy knows quite a few folks there, as well, having participated in their youth group quite a bit over the years.
Last year I set my alarm clock to the wrong time and we only got there as the service was almost over. Previous years we got it right and this year I got it right, again. It was a chilly 40°F this morning, which is cool but not really bitter and certainly not as cold as it has been in some previous years.
I only took a few pictures. It is a church service, after all. In the first few the sky is nearly black. A little later it was the most beautiful, luminous blue. This is one of the early pictures.
I already posted a photo from the sunrise service we went to this morning. After that we enjoyed talking with friends and having ham, deviled eggs (which, come to think of it, is a funny thing to have on Easter), and fruit. At 8:30 we went to the regular 8:00 a.m. service. I say regular but the orchestra does make it a bit more special.
After a nice lunch at home with roast lamb, potatoes, green bean casserole, and asparagus wrapped in bacon, we went to Cross Community Church, which is not the official name of the church plant that we’ve become involved in. After the service there, we all enjoyed the warm afternoon sunshine and I took a few pictures, including this one of Margaret, Cathy, and Dorothy.
After our brief Easter interlude, we now return to our regularly scheduled spring, already in progress. There are a few hyacinths in bloom in our back garden. I planted a dozen more last fall but those are a little behind, as bulbs tend to be their first year. The old plants are already blooming, though. There were originally three each of pink and yellow, although one of the yellows has died (or was dug up by a squirrel). This (for those of you viewing it in black and white) is a pink one.
Cathy and I stopped at the library this evening to drop off some books and pick up a few more. The library building was recently renovated (actually, totally rebuilt) and was closed from December 2010 through March 2014, which I think is a bit excessive even for a government project. The building is nice but at nearly $13 million, I suppose it should be.
What bothers me most about it is that although the size of the building was increased from 16,825 to 22,574 square feet, there seem to be fewer books that before the renovation. Not what I could have hoped for.
Do I sound like a grouch? Yes, I probably do. Sorry.
The early daffodils were up last week and lots of other things are starting to appear. The maple trees are blooming and leaves are starting to appear on willow trees. We had a fair amount of rain last night and it continued throughout most of the day. When I got home it had stopped raining quite so hard but everything was wet. Of course ”it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining violets.” And more daffodils. This is a daffodil called ‘Marieke’ and it’s one of the best. Of course, the rain does tend to knock it down a bit, but it’s still beautiful.
Dad would have been 88 today. This isn’t a photo taken today, obviously, and I do have a photo taken today to post a little later. This was taken by my mom in the summer of 1974, when we all hiked down the Grand Canyon. That was a pretty nice trip. In addition to the Grand Canyon, we did some hiking at Devil’s Postpile National Monument in northern California and spent some time on Spruce Mountain in northeastern Nevada.
I think about dad quite a bit but especially on dates like his birthday. Mom sent this photo around along with a few others from that trip. This year, I got an extra dose of thinking about dad because I got a text this morning from a good friend saying that his wife’s father had passed away this morning. This is not a club I look forward to welcoming anyone into, but it’s a place where we all get, eventually.
Dad, here’s to you.
We have some friends who work with international students at a medical school in Romania. We were fortunate enough to have Erin as Dorothy’s first grade teacher. For about seven years now, she and her husband, David, have lived and worked in Romania and their four children have lived more of their lives there than here. We got to visit with them briefly this evening at an open house and this is one of the photos I took. Two of these young women were students at the med school and are now living in this area. I don’t actually know them, except as friends of Dave and Erin, but I do like the picture, don’t you?
In the past I often got Scilla siberica confused with Chionodoxa forbesii (a.k.a. glory-of-the-snow). They really don’t look that much alike, except they are both small, ephemeral, blue flowered, perennial bulbs. The most obvious different, though, is that Scilla (or squill, not to be confused with Scylla) has downward facing flowers while Chionodoxa has mostly upward facing flowers. There are other more subtle differences. Seeing them side by side, you might wonder how anyone would mistake one for the other. In any case, I have them pretty well separated in my mind now.
Of course, deciding which of them I prefer is not so easy. They are both beautiful in their own way. I don’t suppose I have any great need to pick one over the other. I think both should be planted far more often than they are. They grow well, they are quite hardy, and they are beautiful. Do you need more than that? Well, if you do, how about the fact that Scilla siberica has blue pollen?
This is one of the daffodils we have growing in our front garden and it is one of my favorites. I planted it the first fall we lived in this house and it has done really well. Each year there are more flowers than the last. Daffodils are great—they are amazingly hardy, the squirrels don’t dig them up to eat the bulbs, and they bloom in ever increasing profusion every year. If you don’t have daffodils in your yard, then you should. That’s my opinion.
What a beautiful day it was today. We’ve had a bit of rain this week, and as pretty as that is, it was nice to have such a lovely, sunny day today. I got to spend it in a really lovely way, too. I spent about two hours getting caught up with a good friend over coffee (thanks, Erin, for loaning me Dave for a while). Then, in the afternoon Cathy and I went for a walk in Rock Creek Park.
We saw a few members of the insect family (I guess it’s a class, actually). There were some small butterflies about, mostly from the family Lycaenidae (this time, it really is a family), the blues, coppers, hairstreaks, and harvesters. We also saw a few of these bright, metalic, green beetles. It is a six-spotted tiger beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) and twice I was able to get close enough for a reasonable photograph.
The flowers we saw the most of were the marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris). They were out in great profusion. There were also a few blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis) and spring beauties (Claytonia virginica). We saw a lot of leaves of the yellow trout-lily (Erythronium americanum) but this is the only one that actually had a bloom on it sow far. Withing a week there should be hundreds of them along the banks of Rock Creek.
We celebrated a birthday with some new friends today. This is Susan, whose birthday it was, and Joel (sorry, I don’t know when his birthday is), and Ralda is photobombing on the left. It’s been great to get to know these folks and we look forward to getting to know everyone better going forward. Susan said she doesn’t like pictures of herself, but I hope she won’t mind this one. I think it turned out rather well.
What a beautiful afternoon it was. Windy and cool but nice and warm in the sun.
I didn’t really know Mr. Rohrer but I know one of his daughters and her family, including three of his eleven grandchildren, quite well. Today and today’s photograph is dedicated to the memory of this man. He and my dad were almost exactly the same age when they died (withing three days!) and he died on my dad’s birthday (as I mentioned on last Thursday’s post about my dad). I only met him a handful of times and I’m sorry that I cannot write anything nearly as beautiful as Ellen (one of those granddaughters) did on Instagram and Facebook, but I thought it fitting to pay tribute, anyway. To all who have lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, or grandparents, I mourn with you.
We had quite beautiful weather over the weekend. After the gorgeous but melancholy day yesterday, the rain we had today just seemed appropriate. I went out back when I got home from work and I took pictures of plants with water droplets on them, including this rose stem with the new growth of leaves that’s been growing strongly the last week and a half or so. This is a multiflora rose, or a natural hybrid with that as one parent. I dug it up in the woods near my office because it has the most lovely pink flowers. The canes don’t seem to be terribly long lived and last summer I spent a good while cutting dead wood out of it. This one does have some thorns on it and by the time I was done my arms were crisscrossed with scratches. Worth the effort, though.
The rain that was coming down yesterday and this morning stopped and by the time I got home from work the grass was dry enough to lie down on to take pictures (I know because that’s what I did when I got home). After taking some of violets growing in our lawn (“it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining violets”) I took a few of cherry blossoms. I noticed this visitor to some of the flowers and thought that would give it a bit of extra interest. So, a syrphid fly of the species Toxomerus marginatus. They are quite common but also fairly small (5 to 6mm in length) so they are easy to overlook. As Larvae they prey on aphids, thrips, and small caterpillars (i.e., plant pests).
If you don’t have any plans either this evening at 8:00, tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 or tomorrow evening at 7:00, consider coming out to the Olney Theatre for the Washington Christian Academy King’s Players presentation of Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories (dramatized by Christopher Sergel), Welcome to the Monkey House.
I was here taking pictures at the dress rehearsal yesterday and really enjoyed myself. It’s a little bit funny and a little bit social commentary. Overall, it’s an evening of thought provoking entertainment, wonderfully provided by some very talented youngsters.
Do you know any of these folks? If so, you really should come out and see them perform Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House tomorrow (Saturday). There are shows at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. and tickets will be available at the door.
Are you a fan of Vonnegut? I’m not sure that I am but that’s partly, I think, because I had to read some of his work in school. I know having to read something is supposed to get you over the reluctance to read it so that you are free to discover that you like it after all. For some it may have the opposite effect. It isn’t an insurmountable obstacle and I have come to appreciate Vonnegut but it takes more effort than with something I chose to read on my own.
After two days were I posted pictures touting the Washington Christian Academy play, I hesitated to post a third. On the other hand, I took over 1,000 more photos today before and during the two performances and I didn’t have a lot of time for much other photography. I took a few of the baseball and softball teams loading mulch in their annual mulch sale but the bulk of the day was spent at the Olney Theatre.
This picture was the last one I took at the theatre before heading to the cast party (to take more pictures, of course). It is of our good friends, Kristin, Porter, and Peter. Porter, a senior, has been a part of the theatre program at WCA throughout high school and will be sorely missed next year. His parents are justly proud.
With apologies to The Knack.
This is the corona (the central trumpet) of a daffodil called ‘Actaea’ that I have growing along our sidewalk out front. It is in the poeticus division (division 9), which are distinguished by their large white petals and small, dainty cups in contrasting colors. This one is particularly nice, with its large, nearly pure white petals and with such a bright corona.
I was coming back into my building early this afternoon when I spotted something out of place. In the lower right corner, just inside the metal frame against the large plate of tinted glass, was a blob. That’s all it really looked like at first. When I got closer, though, I noticed that this blob was a frog. I’m pretty sure it’s a common or eastern gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor). There is another very similar frog, the Cope’s gray tree frog (H. chrysoscelis) so I cannot say for sure, but this seems like a reasonable guess and the yellow patch on its legs (which you cannot see in this photo) means it is one of those two.
I moved him off the door so I wouldn’t be lying on the ground right there, keeping others from going in or coming out. The frog was very compliant and let me get quite close, as you can see.
I think I might have mentioned that I planted a few bulbs last fall. It’s something I do for Cathy’s birthday, which is in the late fall, but that she only really gets the reward from in the spring. Of course, it’s a cumulative thing, as the bulbs I plant come up year after year (or most do, there are a few that don’t last as long). I bought more than I actually got in the ground, unfortunately, which is a bit of a waste, but what I did plant are coming up and blooming.
This daffodil (Narcissus) is called ‘Falconet’ and I’m pretty pleased with it. Daffodils are classified into 13 divisions. Falconet is in division 8, the Tazetta daffodils, those which have the characteristics of the species Narcissus tazetta. They have fragrant flowers, with multiple (three to twenty) flowers per stem. Falconet, as you can see, is bright yellow with orange-red cups. It is also fairly tall, well over a foot, but on strong stems so they don’t seem to flop over, which I appreciate.
Cathy asked for some pictures of the flowers in our back yard today so I took some with her in them. The large shrub behind Cathy is a largish, white spiraea. I cut it back fairly hard every year after it blooms but it grows fairly vigorously.
On the ground behind her is pale blue forget-me-not (Myosotis sp.). It’s a relatively short lived perennial but it self-seeds so we’ve had them for a good while. They move about a bit, as the seeds grow near where the parent plants were but eventually the parents die and the whole patch has shifted.
Between Cathy and the tree is a spindly azalea that hasn’t started blooming yet. Just in front of Cathy there is a bed of periwinkle (Vinca minor) that is scattered with more pale blue flowers. In front of that is an area of lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), which is coming up but not yet blooming. Amid that there are white and purple hyacinths.
There are cherry blossoms and then there are cherry blossoms. These are cherry blossoms. In the wild, cherry species generally have simple, white flowers. As most of us know, there is some pink in the gene pool and that has been exploited by those willing to take the time. Most of the pink cherry blossoms you see are still fairly small, simple flowers but borne in such profusion that their small size and simplicity is not a real drawback. This cherry, however, it one I really like. The flowers are huge by comparison (two inches across), with lots of frilly petals. The tree is still covered in pink but I think that it has an edge. Unfortunately, I have no idea what cultivar this is. The tree was here when we bought the house.
This is a new daffodil for us this year, planted in the fall with a bunch of other things. This one is on the edge of the area cleared under the spruce tree in our front yard. We’re actually talking about what to do with that area, because the tree itself is not doing very well and should probably be cut down. It only has herbaceous perennials (including bulbs) under it, so I can probably do that at any time. I’m thinking I’ll plant some sort of flowering tree, but I haven’t decided what at this point.
Anyway, this daffodil is quite nice and I’m happy with it. The only defect (if you want to call it that) is that the flowers face mostly downward so they are a bit harder to see than on many of the other daffodils in our yard. I love the purity of the white and the brightness of the yellow, though.
We happened to be up in Baltimore today. Thankfully we were there either before the riots started or were in a different part of the city. We had been downtown before 9:00 a.m. and then headed over to Federal Hill. We walked around a bit and enjoyed the art around the American Visionary Art Museum. This is a portion of the glass mosaic on the south side of the building.
From there we went out to Fort McHenry. It was a little cool and windy today but nice and we enjoyed being outdoors. From Fort McHenry we went to Elkridge and had tacos from the R&R Taqueria—a little place in a gas station that makes righteous tacos. Certainly a better day that if we had been caught up in the mayhem that went down in the city.
Do you ever forget this stuff? It’s Myosotis (probably Myosotis sylvatica, but I’m not really sure). Also known as forget-me-not. It’s in full bloom in our garden right now and it’s quite lovely, producing a pale blue carpet in shady spaces. It was part of my back garden photo on Wednesday (April 22, 2015). As I mentioned at the time, it is a relatively short-lived perennial but it self-seeds to we’ve had a patch of it since Cathy planted it the fall we move in. We also have some now under the cherry tree on the side of the front yard. I don’t know that I could have too much of this. It will disappear shortly and will be forgotten (or not) until next spring.
I was going to post a straight-on shot of a bunch of flowers but decided I like the airiness of this shot better.
I was down at my mom’s house this evening, returning something and picking up something else. The camellias in the yard are finishing blooming. There are quite a few flowers but many of them are all brown around the edges. This one (on the left) is still in pretty good shape. I don’t know what name this one goes by. It’s on the end of the house, beside the chimney, which is a reasonably sheltered spot and it’s quite tall and narrow. I know he had a ‘Mrs. Lyman Clarke’ there a long time ago, but that one died. I have a small one on the front of our house and it made it through these last two winters, and I’m have hopes for it. But this one is an unknown (to me, at least). Pretty, though.
This is my last daffodil photo of the year, I promise. Well, I won’t actually promise but it’s pretty likely to be, anyway. Because they were planted only last fall, the new daffodils that I’ve photographed this spring have come up and bloomed a bit late. I expect them to be more “on schedule’ next year. This one, calle ‘Limbo’, was planted in two places in the back yard. I’m quite pleased with it. The petals are not as pure white as ‘Lemon Beauty’ that I photographed four days ago, but it’s a very pale yellow. It sets off the orange of the corona quite nicely, though, particularly when the sun is shining on it.
Alright, I admit it, I think I may have reached another low in terms of the pictures posted to my blog. I took a few pictures earlier this evening but there were not pictures I wanted to share with the world. When I got home, I decided to photograph this old first aid kit that I had taken out of our Honda. I’m glad it was in there last week, because I cut myself while doing a little demonstration at the school and bled pretty badly for a little while. We were out by the car because I had just shown the students how to change a tire and the first aid kit was handy. So, there’s the lesson for today. Always keep a small first aid kit in your car (along with the spare tire, jack, jumper cables, and flares.
Once again I have fallen behind in posting my “photo of the day.” This is being posted almost a week late. We had a bit of rain on the last day of April and I took some pictures of rain drops on my office window. I didn’t notice as I took them how dirty the windows are but I like the organic shapes of the drops of water and the upside down and out of focus images of the woods beyond my window that show up in each drop.