For the Weekly Photo challenge of Minimalist, I chose 3 plant photos I took the other day at the Franklin Park Conservatory. I don’t really think of plants as being minimalistic because they are quite the opposite. But I decided these compositions suited the theme, at least that was my intention. Minimalism conjures up thoughts of cold and hard, yet clean. At least to me. Perhaps the forms speak louder than words.
I chose this photo for my weekly photo challenge of “Angular” because while purpose of the photo was to capture the bloom of the Christmas Cactus before it opened all the way (it looked quite like a graceful flamingo to me), the confluence of the tip of the bloom exactly in line with the edge of its container, with the accidental geometric background was delightful to me. My eye gets pulled in a few directions, my mind wonders about the intent and the purpose; and the angles, normally harsh and cold, are soft like the petals of the flower. I like it.
I found this lovely wine at the grocery store and liked it because it had a beautiful painted label. It also had a plantable flower tag with seeds embedded in it around it’s neck. The wine was delicious, lucky for me. I have saved the bottle and rooted a plant in. It was just too pretty to recycle. As with most labels, my choice of buying is really in the quality of the design. It could be the greatest wine in the world, but if the label is not appealing, then I don’t buy it. I chose this photo for the Weekly Photo Challenge. This photo has quite a bit of information in it, other than the letters on the bottle. You can see me, the roots, the back of my house, the label, and the reflection of the sky. If you ever see this bottle of wine, buy it!
Spring has begun and I have been planting new flowers and fruits, as well as three plants of brussels sprouts. (I also got a bunch of veggie and flower seeds but have yet to begin sprouting them. Eek). These beautiful flowers are all Ranunculus (meaning “little frog” in latin, supposedly because they like damp conditions). We have had a couple of rainy days, and what better time than to photograph raindrops on the flowers? None! The basic ranunculus is also known as buttercup and is poisonous, so don’t eat it or rub it on you. Folklore of the flower is below; funny we always held up dandelions to our chins claiming you like butter if it reflects yellow.
Folklore (taken straight from http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/ranunculus_acris.htm)
Is said to give a brighter yellow colour to butter. On May Day, the Irish used to rub buttercups onto cows udders, a tradition to supposedly encourage milk production. In some places, this tradition continues.
If a buttercup held beneath your chin casts a reflection against the flesh, you are fond of butter.
Victorians believed it stood for ingratitude and childishness. Some folklore believes yellow to be an evil colour and, hence, gives the plant an evil side.
The African Violet (Saintpaulia) is a good plant to raise your green thumb awareness. They need a little thoughtfulness regarding how they need to be treated, and if done right (and it isn’t hard) they will reward you with much love, color, and sweetness. Water from the bottom (or at least under the leaves), well-drained, but not dry. Do not get the leaves wet as they will show discoloration. Most of my other plants are super hardy, so if I can care for an african violet, so can you! I just make sure they are not overly wet or overly dry. I keep it by my kitchen sink so I see it often. If I put it somewhere out of sight (and what would be the point of that?) I would forget and it would be compost.
I have a Christmas Cactus that is really old. I think I got it around 1998 as a gift. It is still in its original plastic pot. It could use a new home badly. It is completely lopsided, and this year only has one bloom. A brave little soldier. I can’t say why I haven’t repotted it. Maybe I am a little afraid of it breaking. I see new beautiful ones in the store, but I will not buy one until I give this one some love. I sometimes see them out on the curb after the holidays with the discarded trees and garland. I hate seeing that. It makes me very sad. Next time I see a Christmas Cactus I am going to save it from its death. I think they have the most exquisite blooms. I love the elegance they have, soft, sheer petals that somehow resemble shrimp to me. Mine has a pretty pink stamen that looks like a hand reaching out. I used my preview window, tripod, 100mm Macro Canon lens (which is awesome btw) and cable release to shoot these macro images. It is way better that holding your breath trying to not move.
This is a cactus, well, probably a succulent, at the Franklin Park Conservatory. I think this is a good example of how the field of view can change the same shot. While the top is attractive, merely because the plant is, the second shot is much more dramatic and pleasing to the eye. The shot goes from, “And here we see the plant in its habitat” to “I would love that in my home”. Especially if it was in a cool purple frame!
On Saturday morning, I (and my children) got to go to a wonderful exhibit of the American Daffodil Society. People from all over the country displayed their finest Daffodil Specimens. Of the many things I did not know about daffodil’s are that there are over 17,000 varieties! I suppose like any subject, once you delve into it, you learn things are not as simple as they might seem. I have noticed different colors of daffodils around in the springtime, but I really assumed that they were “new” types, hybrids cultivated from the old yellow kind. I still have some beautiful daffodils my mother planted over 25 years ago, and I guess I always figured that was the standard. I cannot give you the history of the daffodil (you can google that) but I can share a few of my photos. I got to enjoy varieties that have been around since the turn of the century (the former century) and there was even a flower that has been around since before 1777. Most of the “Historic” Daffodils were not plain yellow. Hmm, not hard to learn something new everyday! So, how does this relate to Change? Change of how one thinks about things. Change of varieties, hybridizing, growth. Change of the seasons. Daffodils representing the emergence of Spring!
Last year I had 1 milkweed plant grow in my garden. It is a really cool plant, very not “weedy”. This year, I have 9. They grow tall, with smooth leaves that stick out horizontally. Very graceful. The flowers are exciting and the seed pods are super cool. The plants are visited by lots of different bugs, but this morning I noticed something under one of the leaves. I found a cicada shell on one of the stalks a few weeks ago. Upon closer inspection it was a monarch caterpillar!!!!!!! The whole reason for leaving my friends the milkweed in my yard. YEA!!! I have a butterfly bush next to the milkweed. He is still out there hanging out (I just checked). I am so happy! My garden gets so many fun guests, but I am more than thrilled about this one. I hope the Monarch can survive the human race. I won’t go all melancholy here, but I do hope we can quell the extinction of so much flora and fauna. Anyway, below are: Milkweed flowers (a good example of the different stages), milkweed pods, my front yard (yes, it needs some TLC, but it has been too hot for me, and I refuse to hire weed people this year), 😉 and finally the cicada shell. I am still trying to photograph a live cicada, but they take off before I get a shot off.