I stopped at Lake Needwood on the way home today. It was a beautiful afternoon, although a bit warm for my taste. I walked around to a point point eastern shore near where there is an old beaver dam. There is no evidence that there are any beavers around any more, although the dam is in reasonable shape, considering. It’s been there since before the aerial photos used in Google’s map were taken. I got some nice photos of this eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus). I tried to get pictures of the swallows flying over the water but they were moving too fast and I really wasn’t set up for that sort of photography. I got some pictures of dragonflies, as well, and one that was good enough to use to identify a female common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas).
We’ve had coral bells (Heuchera sanguinea) growing in our garden and in containers pretty much since we have been able to have a garden. It’s not the sturdiest of plants and we’ve had to replace them from time to time. I may be forgetting something but I think this is currently our only plant, growing in a container in the driveway. It’s fairly happy, probably because the containers get watered more regularly throughout the summer than the in-ground plantings. Also, although this gets a bit of direct morning sun, it’s in bright, open shade by early afternoon so it doesn’t bake. It seems to be happy and it blooms quite freely, which is nice.
This isn’t as sharp a picture as I’d like but it’s what I was able to get today. Actually, I got pictures of three different birds today. This one, of a brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) in the birdbath, a Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), and a House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). The wren picture is sharper but I thought I had a better chance of re-photographing the wren, so I went with this one. The lack of sharpness is partially due to the low light and the fact that I had to crop the image to get this close, but a small part is due to the movement of the bird. As you can see by the water droplets in the air all around the bird, it is shaking water off of itself, taking a bath.
On Sunday, as I mentioned, we went to Stadler Nursery in Laytonsville. Cathy bought a few things, including two Cleome plants, one white and one very pale pink. The white one, shown here, is called ‘Senorita Blanca’ and the other is ‘Senorita Mi Amor’. We’ve had Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’ in the past and these are (I assume) related plants with different coloration. My understanding is that they are sterile and will not self-seed, which is both good and bad. Annuals that do self-seed can become a real nuisance and get out of control. But some, if they only just manage to hold on, are really nice. Nigela is a good example of the latter. In our experience, it just self-seeds enough that we have it for a few years before needing to plant more. Other annuals, of course, go totally native and sterile plants are a real boon.
I’ve posted pictures of this fern before and I’ll probably do so again. It’s a pretty fern and worth growing, if you have any interest in ferns. I actually have it in a less than ideal spot that gets pretty much full sun from about noon onwards. It would be happier in full shade. The Missouri Botanical Garden page on this plant says, “High summer heat may cause fronds to brown by mid to late summer, particularly if good soil moisture is not maintained and/or plants are grown in too much sun.” Yep, that happens here. I really need to move it, or at least take a piece or two of it to grow in a better location. It does amazingly well in the sun, but it could be so much happier.
After church Cathy and I went to Stadler Nursury in Laytonsville. On the way we happened to pass the Montgomery County Agricultural Farm Park. There were three large birds walking across the grass a little way in from the entrance and it was three female turkeys. I pulled in but they had moved into the deep grass before I was able to get my camera out and get a picture of them. They would have been small in the picture, anyway. When we went to turn around a little further in this male tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) was sitting on the sign just outside Cathy’s window. I got the camera ready and was able to get two pictures before he flew off. What a pretty little bird.
I really like roses and I’ve posted photos of them here fairly often, trying to get each of my roses featured at least once a year. I also like to visit my friend Nick, who often opens his rose garden on Memorial Day weekend. He didn’t this year, for personal reasons, but I thought I’d post a rose photo, anyway. The rose that’s blooming that I haven’t featured yet this year is a landscape rose that our neighbor gave me a few years ago. It’s growing in a nice, sunny spot behind our garage and is quite happy there, blooming profusely (as you can see). I’m not as big a fan of these roses as I might be, mainly because they have little to no fragrance. But I can’t fault them in terms of blooming and ease of care. If you want a rose that will bloom all summer and which you can basically ignore, this is probably the rose for you. They really are quite spectacular when they really get going.
Dorothy got home yesterday and this evening we had the rest of the local family over for Indian carry-out. That’s one of our go-to meals and it doesn’t disappoint. For dessert, though, we went further east and I made mango with sticky rice. It’s actually pretty easy to make, although it’s taken me a while to get the proportion of coconut milk to sugar to rice where I want it. Having the right rice is fairly important, but in this area there are so many good Asian supermarkets that’s not a problem. And I bought a box of mangos. Each person gets about half of one but there are more in the box, if they care to cut one up.
We were in the dining room finishing up dinner this evening. Dorothy has gotten home and I fixed Thai curry for her (and all of us). Dorothy noticed this deer walking across the back yard and I grabbed my camera. I figured that when I opened the back door she would run off but she only seemed mildly interested in my presence. At first she was behind a big bush but she wondered out and I was able to get a few pictures. Then she sauntered back across the lawn and into the neighbor’s yard.
Allium moly, commonly known as golden garlic, is a pretty, ornamental flowering onion with bright yellow flowers. I have this growing long side our front walk, although it has been surrounded by other plants so it isn’t as prominent as it was when it was first planted. I really should have more of this. It blooms after the majority of bulbs are done, so helps fill a gap in the blooming cycle. It’s also a lovely, bright yellow, which is hard to miss. I have it growing next to a small Siberian iris called ‘Eric the Red’ and the two go very well together, with purple and yellowing being a really good combination. They are also on the small side for their respective genuses. Highly recommended.
About a month ago a pair of American robins (Turdus migratorius) built a next under our front porch. I tried to discourage them, but they kept at it. I realized it was pointless to resist and they are almost done with it now, in any case. They flew off whenever we went in or out of the house, of course, but now the chicks are about two weeks old and ready to fledge. In fact, I took this picture in the morning with all three chicks in the nest. When I came home later today there was one standing on the edge of the nest and the other two had flown. Later in the evening the third was gone, as well, and the next has been abandoned, having served its purpose.
We drove home from Massachusetts today. Nine and a half hours isn’t a bad amount of time for the 475 mile trip, but with only two stops, it really shouldn’t have taken so long. We had to detour twice to get around significant problems, once near Sturbridge, in Massachusetts and then at the 95, 295, 495 interchange on the western shore of the Delaware River, after crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There was no getting around the traffic getting onto the George Washington Bridge, crossing the Hudson. The stop and go traffic, however, gave me the opportunity to take a few photos as we got onto and crossed the bridge.
As the weekend wound down, we had a busy but nice Sunday. After church we had a very nice lunch with Emiko and her family at a house they had rented for the weekend. It was really nice to get to know them a bit better. After that we returned to the art gallery to dismantle Dorothy’s installation. Before taking it down I took a series of photographs of various parts of the piece. I have overall views taken two weeks ago but I wasn’t able to get many closeups then. With a tripod and a bit of time, I was able to get them, some from the top of a scaffolding, so I wasn’t looking up from the floor. Then we pulled all the pins and collected the various pictures, booklets, and related paraphernalia that made up much of the piece. The painted portions will be painted over, of course. If you were not able to see it, I’m sorry, it is gone forever.
But not without photographic evidence.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, Dorothy graduated from college this weekend. We arrived in the rain at about 2:30 on yesterday (Friday) and after a little while went to the Baccalaureate service from 5:00 to 6:30 or so. When we came out, the sky had cleared and it was cool and quite beautiful out. We had been invited to dinner at the home of one of Dorothy’s friends and that was a really nice time, relaxing and comfortable, eating pizza out of their boxes, as it was meant to be eaten.
Today, the sky remained clear and cloudless. In fact, if anything, it was a little too warm and we all got a bit of sunburn. But it was a glorious day for an outdoor graduation ceremony. The students went across the stage in groups, alphabetically by their departments. The Art Department was first, and Dorothy was the fourth graduating senior to cross the stage. She was met there by our friend, Doug, who was there as a member of the Board of Trustees. He stayed long enough to walk off the stage with Dorothy before heading to the airport to catch his flight home.
Of course, one problem with being right at the beginning of the ceremony is that the rest of the time you don’t really have anything to do. That’s not to say I didn’t take any more pictures, of course, because we’ve gotten to know some of Dorothy’s friends and I tried to get pictures of them crossing the stage, as well. I got some good pictures (as well as plenty that aren’t all that great) but I did my best. The sun was pretty intense, which made it a little harder. After the 180 minute program, there was a serious amount of milling about and a lot more opportunity for pictures of Dorothy with her friends. It took us all a little while to find each other but eventually we managed it. First up is this picture of Dorothy with her mom, who is obviously and rightly proud of Dorothy for all she’s done in the four years she’s been at Gordon.
As an art major, obviously the Art Department played a significant role for her. I know she’ll keep in touch with a lot of her friends but it’s less likely that she’ll be actively in touch with her three art professors. Nevertheless, I wanted to get a picture of her with them. She had asked about the stoles that many graduates were given to wear. She was told that the art students could were stoles if they made them. As you can see, they made them for professors James Zingarelli, Bruce Herman, and David West, as well.
After the pictures with her professors, we took quite a few with Dorothy’s friends, as you might expect. Jonathan, on the right in this photo, lived with us the summer before last. It was nice to be able to watch him graduate and especially nice to meet his parents, who came all the way from Malaysia, arriving just in time for yesterday’s service. Andrew and Dorothy have been very good friends and together form the musical team known as Kinsman.
This picture of Dorothy with Rachel and Taylor sort of goes with the previous one. Rachel is engaged to Andrew and their wedding is in two weeks. Dorothy will be there for that and is one of Rachel’s bridesmaids. Taylor and Jonathan are dating, as well. We’ve only recently gotten to know Andrew, Rachel, and Taylor very well in the last year, but are glad to know them and feel like Dorothy has some really high quality friends.
Eventually we left the campus and headed back to the house where Dorothy lived this year. Sadly, the school is selling Dexter house, so they will be the last cohort of students to live there. Needless to say, there was joy and sadness as they said farewell to each other. They are headed in all different directions, both in the short term and the long term. One is leaving for Israel tomorrow, another for Iceland. I don’t know where all the others are going next but this was a really tight-knit group and I won’t be surprised if they join up as a group in the years ahead.
Finally we went to a party given by the local families of a few of Dorothy’s friends. Bob and Barb hosted and there were a lot of students there with their families. It was a casual affair with plenty to eat and lots to talk about. I especially enjoyed getting to know the parents of a few of Dorothy’s friends, some of whom I’d have to describe as “our people.” This is a time of transition and that can be scary and uncertain, but one thing is sure. Dorothy went to college with a lot of the same worries she’s facing now and has come away with a really wonderful group of friends, some of whom I suspect will be friends for life. I certainly hope so.
It was a busy, tiring, beautiful, exciting, long, day. Congratulations, Dorothy!
P.S. I didn’t take that last picture. Just saying.
We drove up to Massachusetts again, having been there two weeks ago for Dorothy’s art show. This time it’s her graduation and it is just Cathy and me, without Dorothy’s grandmothers. We had traffic problems around Boston, with rain and accidents on I95 but we left early enough that we were here in plenty of time for the Baccalaureate service held this evening from 5:00 to 6:30. We had good seats in the front row of the balcony and I took a few pictures. The candle lighting portion of the service was particularly nice, which is what is shown here.
This is one of three peonies that I planted in 2014, named ‘Coral Sunset’ that are growing will in the back garden. I’m a big fan of peonies and if I had a lot of space I might devote and entire garden room to them. There are both herbaceous and woody stemmed peonies and the are both worth growing. They do take a while to get established but they don’t really require much care. The reward in the huge, brightly colored flowers every spring. There is a nice peony garden at Seneca Creek State Park, if you are interested. I haven’t had a chance to go this year and it isn’t looking like I will, but it’s worth a peek, if you can get there when they are in bloom.
In the continuing series of roses, this is one of my favorites. I’m down from a high of 13 roses in the garden to 5. One of those, Crépuscule, was nearly killed a few years ago after being by far the largest rose I had, covering a 20 foot trellis on the south end of the house. This on, a small china rose called Perle d’Or is growing just outside our front door. It lost a few canes to the cold this winter but is in full bloom now, really showing off and giving off a wonderful fragrance.
We’re coming up to the peak of rose season. Many roses bloom all summer, of course, and we naturally love that about them. But even those that repeat bloom start the season with the best display of the year. This rose, a Noisette rose bred by Champneys in 1811, is a reliable repeat bloomer but it is getting set to be absolutely covered with flowers. It is growing on the south end of our house where it gets plenty of sun and seems to be fairly happy. We need to work to keep the bindweed off of it, but other than that, it requires little care. And such a pretty little thing.
Years ago we bought a Dodge Grand Caravan from our mechanic. He had bought it from a couple that we happen to know when they decided not to pay for a new transmission. Eddie put in a new transmission and then sold the van to us. At the time it had about 115,000 miles. As you can see, it now has 270,000 isn’t bad on that second transmission. That’s not to say we haven’t put more into it, of course. In fact, it’s getting pretty near the time when it’s casting too much to keep going. Pretty son we’ll need to replace it. But I’m happy t have reached this “milestone.”
We took our annual Mother’s Day outing to the garden center today for Cathy to buy the annuals that she’ll plant around our yard and garden. After a hot and clear day yesterday it was quite cool and rainy today. When we got to Fehr’s Nursery in Burtonsville we were the only customers there. Others came and went while we were there, though, and considering the weather, they were doing pretty good business. Much of what Cathy was shopping for is in their greenhouses, so the rain didn’t really affect us too much. I did what I usually do in these situations, wander around with my camera and take pictures of flowers. I was taking pictures of these flats of red-flowered begonias when Cathy happened to come by, so I got this picture of her in front of them.