December 20, 2010

Top Ten Photos from VW Garden 2010

These are some of my favorite photos from my garden this year. I also want to share a few things I've learned from studying photography. Above is a shot of dogwood blooms (Cornis florida) from the spring.

Here are the amazingly true blue flowers of 'June to Remember' siberian iris. Photography has taught me to look for and appreciate the beautiful parts of a scene, even if there are some parts that don't look great. That definitely describes my garden - partly pretty, partly not, depending on the time of year.

People also have their good angles and not so good angles. This applies to photos and personalities. If you look for the negative, you'll always find some, but you can always find some good, too. This photo shows the english rose 'William Shakespeare 2000'.

I knew almost nothing about photography when I started this blog almost three years ago. But it's amazing what you can learn when you put your mind to it! So don't be afraid to learn something new. Above is a 'Stargazer' oriental lily.

Sometimes simple is beautiful. Here are the leaves of 'Blue Angel' hosta. The leaves aren't as showy as a flower, but I love the way their shapes flow and the water droplets sparkle.

Flowers are fleeting, and waiting too long to get out to the garden with the camera means that I'll miss out on some beautiful blooms (or cute bees). Childhood is fleeting, too. I need to remember to pause and appreciate the wonderful things about my children at each age, because soon they'll move on. This flower is a 'Giggles' dahlia.

Here is a 'Blue Mirror' delphinium. I especially appreciate true blue flowers because they're rare in the garden.

Above is a photo of 'Pink Double Delight' coneflowers. The flower shape changes as it ages, but each stage is beautiful in its own way. If only us women could believe that about ourselves!

Wacky and unusual plants, like this corkscrew rush (Juncus spiralis), make the garden more fun.

Photography has taught me that good light is magical. The midday sun is harsh and bleaches the color out of flowers. Early morning or sunset light is more gentle and allows the flowers and colors to really shine.

To help them shine, children (and the rest of us) need gentle encouragement and not harsh criticism. So I'm especially thankful for the many kind comments left on this blog. I wish you a wonderful holiday season. I'll start posting again in January.
And here you thought I couldn't count . . . it was really hard to pick just ten, so I cheated and included an extra photo.

December 15, 2010

Amaryllis Blooming & Igloo Building

The amaryllis (is the plural amarylli?) and the igloo have been the stars around here lately. Above is 'Zombie', a striking coral-pink double amaryllis from Van Engelen.

It has been so fun to watch the show on my kitchen windowsill. First one bloom opens, then more and more.

I shot pictures with the cloudy sky as a backdrop. I thought having three blooms on one stalk open all at once was beautiful . . . .

. . . and then a few days later a second stalk opened up three more just beneath the first.

One of the three bulbs the arrived in the mail is obviously not 'Zombie', but it doesn't look like anything else on the Van Engelen website, either.

I didn't mind getting a surprise, though. The stalk on this one is very short and the flowers are so sweet, don't you think?

Finally, here is a shot of the new garden structure that my husband built, with my son posing in front. It was tall enough for me to stand up inside, and my adventurous husband was planning to sleep inside one night (that's what people do around Spokane for fun in the winter, didn't you know?). Unfortunately warmer weather and rain began to melt the igloo immediately after it was finished, and now it's just a small pile of snow in the grass. R.I.P.

December 7, 2010

A Few English Roses

Thank heaven the garden is asleep right now, as there's too much to do in preparation for the holidays without adding gardening chores to the list. This week I'm just posting a few pictures of David Austin's english roses. Above is 'Sister Elizabeth'.

'Claire Austin' is touted as the best white english rose to date, but my young plants are still getting established. They put out a few blooms last summer but I hope for a better show next year.

Warm pink 'Princess Alexandra of Kent' has a hefty bloom with a soft, old rose scent.

Here is 'Lady Emma Hamilton', a delightfully fragrant rose with beautiful sunset coloring.

Finally, this is tiny 'Francine Austin', with sprays of sweet little white roses touched with blush pink. You'll notice the aphids on the bud to the right. I didn't use any pesticides on the roses this year. Occasionally I used the hose to spray off heavy aphids, but that was all. And the plants did just fine!