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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Christmas in July

While it might be July, this is the time of year to think about making those stunning bouquets of Lunaria (aka Money Plant, Honesty Plant).

Lunaria is a biennial that self sows itself quite nicely in my garden. It's actually one of the very few plants that I already found growing here when we first moved to this property.

In spring Lunaria has lovely purple blooms but now it has dingy brown seed heads.

The seed heads are actually three paper thin, translucent pieces. Only the two outermost layers are dingy in color.

If you gently rub your thumb and forefinger back and forth over the seed head the outer sheath will slide right off, exposing the seeds. There are seeds on both the front and back so make sure you get them all.

After you've removed both outer sides and collected the seeds you are left with a wonderfully luminous pod.

This photo was taken two years ago. It's so simple to just gather up a bunch of dried Lunaria stalks and put them in a vase for a flower arrangement.

The reason for my title "Christmas in July"? These arrangements will hold for a long time and look lovely with your holiday decorations.

For a similar post with more information you can visit me at Old Country Gardens and type in Lunaria in the search bar at the top.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eye Candy

Today's post doesn't have a specific theme. As I was going through my photos I found a few that I just wanted to share with you.

This is a close up of Ricinus communis (Castor Bean), a highly poisonous plant but oh so beautiful!

A shot in the herb garden at Bridge Gardens in Bridgehampton NY. Don't know how I missed this one when writing about it the other day!

Another close-up shot of an herb, this time it's Borage which I've grown in my own garden many times and miss desperately now!

What a great color combination! The bean is a Hyacinth bean (to see what I'm going in my own garden with Hyacinth beans hop over to my Old Country Gardens blog). The other flower is a Clematis but I don't know the variety name.

Final shot, another great color combination! I love the dusky purple Sedum combined with the hot bloom on the daylily 'Open Hearth' and the foamy chartreuse blooms on the Alchemilla mollis (ladies mantle).

Ok, out to the garden to water some more...wouldn't it be nice to have gentle showers from 2:00am until 4:00am? A gardeners dream :-)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crop & Stop

Ok, this is going to be fun!

Now some people might think I'm a total nerd but I had such a blast sitting here playing with photos I took this past Thursday at Bridge Gardens. I usually just clean my photos up a bit, rarely do I play with any special effects. My favorite tool is crop, it's just too cool to be able to take a photo and make it something totally different by eliminating something and highlighting something else.

For instance, this first shot is a mass of Echinacea (one of my favorite flowers for photography). The color variations in this planting takes my breath away.

My first crop attempt was a simple horizontal one, it brings more cones into view and some nice bees too.

A vertical crop can be extremely exciting. I've made a number of bookmarks out of vertical shots like these. I know I had a post about it somewhere but just can't seem to find it...duh, I just remembered I have a search box.

If you want to see how I make bookmarks out of garden photos just go to my other blog Old Country Gardens and type in bookmark in the search box.

Echinops ritro is another great flower for photographs. I shot a few of them while standing in front of this clump.

Here's a crop from one of those photos...I'm so in love with this that I made it my screen saver! I think that's the rear view of that bee but doesn't it look like it's smiling?

Other plants are harder to photograph. This teasel was a toughie and cropping it made all the difference in the world.

Sometimes while cropping you find something totally unexpected. Years ago I took a photo in the Carolinas of a really cool looking insect. Although I didn't notice the insects while I was taking this photo, I found them while playing with my crop feature. Anybody know what these are?

Ornamental pepper blooms are lovely, I had to get down on my hands and knees and shoot upwards here.

Finally, I just had to add another Echinacea (cone flower). They are just so magical much fun to photograph! If you want to see more photos that I took at Bridge Gardens you'll find them at Old Country Gardens.

Today is sunny and HOT so no photos today...think I'll go jump in the pool instead.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eat Bran...

Backlogged! After being a total computer idiot, I'm finally back on-line here only to find that I'm totally backed up with images and thoughts I'd like to post (hence the title of this missive).

Here on Long Island we've been experiencing a brutal summer. Too much heat, too little rain (almost none for that matter except for the little coming down right now). Not even enough cloud cover to shoot many photos.

But having said all that, there's always something about the garden that just takes my breath away.

Hydrangeas are incredibly happy here on Long Island. My soil is very acidic so the blues are what I get. Who's complaining? Not me! By the way, the yellow bloom is Lysamachia japonica.

Skies so blue and a few wispy clouds. Great pool weather but we need rain! cool, so white, so pristine! The lavender variety hasn't even budded yet, something to look forward to.

Don't forget, even if the light conditions aren't perfect to take great shots, keep taking photos and add your notes on them. I always forget that this clump of Liatris is white. Now if I want to dig it up next spring and I actually have the forethought to look through my photos I'll be able to identify which clump is the white one.

Hope to be back regularly now ;-)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Computer Woes

Hi all,

Wish I could show you some lovely photos of my garden...yes, I've been taking them. Just having some computer woes with my laptop (where I have my photos stored).

Only able to post right now from such an old desktop computer that I have to pedal it like a bicycle to keep it going ;-)

I'll be back as soon as somebody comes and rescues me!