Tag: flowerphotography

Photography Challenge Day 143: the rose and I do miss gardening

Today’s winner is the red rose. We have a climbing rose vine on the side of the house, that seems to grow taller each year.

With the way the weather is going, the rose vine actually flowers in early to mid spring, and is done by the time the summer temperatures hit. Some years are better than others in terms of how many roses bloom on the vine, and whether or not I remember to get out and get a picture of them.

Red rose

This particular rose vine has flowers that are both red and then ones that are on the pinker side of things (or that may be how the light was reflecting off of them as I was taking the picture).

The roses do attract the bees during the early months of spring before other plants are even thinking of flowering.

The rose vines

Did you know that there are over 300 different species of roses, with thousands of different cultivars (which is a plant variety that has be produced in cultivation by selective breeding—usually for color, texture, or some other physical property).

We use to have smaller rose bushes in the backyard–but the Saint Bernard didn’t like where I had planted them, and she pulled them up. The bush only survived getting replanted twice before it died. One thing I might do when I move is start a small garden in pots and maybe look into have a mini rose bush in my kitchen or living room (depending on which room gets more sun).

Having plants (gardening) is one way of naturally dealing with, and lowering stress and anxiety levels. While everyone can’t have a full size garden in the middle of the city–there are community garden areas (I saw one or two out in Boston), and I’d guess even having small potted plants in the apartment can help deal and lower stress and anxiety levels. If nothing else–they’re pretty to look at.

What I’m thinking of doing is an small herb garden, have a few flowering plants, and then some cacti as well. I just want to make sure that I will be in a place long enough to enjoy the benefits of getting the plants (it would be a pain to start having plants only to give them away if I have to move long distance again–I don’t think they’d survive the move).

But that is still at least eight to ten months out–what I can do now is try to clear out the front garden, so that flowers and bulbs can be planted in the fall. The flowers would give immediate color, and the bulbs if they survive the winter–flowers and color in the spring, summer, and maybe fall. This will be something to do in the earlier hours of the morning on the weekends (at least until the heat index is below 95 by 3:00PM).

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Photography Challenge Day 142: The coral (or trumpet) honeysuckle

Today’s winner of the color/flower photography challenge is the orange-red honeysuckle flower. The name honeysuckle refers to members of the genus Lonicera, which include arching shrubs or twining vines (though most species are vines).

This particular type of honeysuckle I see on my walks around Boomer Lake, and also up at the bus stop in the mornings. They are definitely more of the twining vines than arching shrubs. I’m pretty sure that this is the coral or trumpet honeysuckle, with how the flowers look like mini-trumpets.

Trumpet honeysuckle growing at Boomer Lake.

These plants are native to the northern hemisphere (so this includes any country/land mass that is north of the equator). To date there have been ~180 different species identified throughout the northern hemisphere, with over half the species being found in China.

I love the flowers as they are nice and fragrant, and bring back childhood memories of picking flowers and sucking the nectar out of them. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies that also like to drink the nectar as well. Though I do see some bees around the backyard honeysuckle in early spring when they’re just started to flower.

The trumpet honeysuckle is a native species to the eastern parts of the United States. There are several different cultivars of the plant that have been grown and selected for their variation in flower colors. Depending on where they’re growing in the US, they can be considered either evergreen (in the warmer climates) or deciduous (in the colder climates), this also can result in their flowers being pollinated from mid-spring through the fall by hummingbirds and various insects.

One thing I didn’t realize (or more accurately haven’t thought of) is that they also produce fruit. The honeysuckle fruit can be either a spherical or elongated berry that can be either red, blue, or black in color. While the most of the fruits are non-edible for humans, they are edible for wildlife—which allows for the spread of the plants (which is one of the numerous ways that plants ensure their survival).

I’m going to have to try and be on the lookout for the berries this fall—not to eat, but to photograph.

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Photography Challenge Day 141: The yellow-red iris

So continuing with a combination (flower and color) scheme today–the winner is the yellow-red bearded iris that we have in the front yard. We have them planted in a couple of different areas in the front yard, but only one actually flowered this year (the rest just showed the leaves).

Yellow-red iris

So the name iris–actually refers to both the flower and the genus Iris (which has somewhere between 260 and 300 different species within). The origin of the genus name comes from the Greek goddess of the rainbow–Iris.

I’ve realized over the past few years that I have probably planted them in the wrong areas of the yard (they’re all currently under trees), to where they aren’t getting that much direct sunlight.

The one that flowered this year, it did get direct sun during the day off and on (depending on how the leaves were coming out on the trees). The ones that were planted in the other front garden, they’re in total shade. I may have to go out in the spring and dig them up and replant them in a more sunny area of the yard.

Hopefully if they’re replanted in sunnier spots, they’ll flower and attract the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Gardening is something that I enjoy doing (when it doesn’t feel like a million degrees outside), and maybe just maybe I need to start trying to make it a priority again (even if it’s small container gardening to begin with).

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Photography Challenge Day 140: Little blue flowers

So I decided that I would try switch things up and may start a theme for this week in terms of my photography challenge. I just haven’t quite decided if the theme is going to be flowers, colors, or maybe both.

Therefore the winner of today’s photography challenge is the little blue flower I noticed on some of the ground cover in the backyard.

Partial blue flower on some of the ground cover.

So I’ve realized that I’m not the greatest gardener or botanist in the world. When I decided to share this particular photo, I knew that I needed to know more about particular ground cover that it was a part of–so I turned to google.

Well, it is going to take me awhile to figure out the specific type of ground cover that we have in different parts of the yard. We’ve been calling it ‘periwinkle’, and that turns out to be the wrong name for the plant. Our other ground cover, ‘vinca’, is actually known as ‘periwinkle’ due to the color of it’s flowers. So our actual ‘periwinkle’ hasn’t started to flower yet.

This ground cover is actually an perennial that popped up in the yard years ago, and comes back every year. I actually need to move some of it to an area where we really don’t have anything growing and see if it will 1) take, and then 2) come back the following year.

Even these little blue flowers are important for the bees–it gives them food, and they help pollinate other similar plants (as I have no idea of this particular ground cover self pollinates or not). I actually saw some bees in the yard today–so that made my day.

I miss the days when I would walk past a holly bush and see them swarmed with honey and bumble bees. Now I feel like maybe things will turn out if I can see just a small handful during the week.

So the theme for the week’s photographs will be either color, flower, or both (it will depend on my mood and what I manage to photograph).

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Photography Challenge Day 64: The ornamental onion has flowered

Today’s winner of the photography challenge is the ornamental onion that we have planted in the yard. Luckily it is a perennial and comes back year after year—though if I’m still around in the fall I might try to get some more bulbs and plant some more. That way next spring/summer can have others come up with hopefully different colors.

One of the ornamental onions has flowered

These flowers are actually numerous small flowers that together look to make a larger “flower” that will hopefully attract some honeybees to the yard.

Close-up of an ornamental onion flower’s flower

These plants are nice to plant in areas that you want to deter rodents (for us—that’s mainly the moles, as the squirrels give the dogs exercise and rabbits know not to come into the yard), as most rodents don’t care for the taste of onions.

So in the fall if I remember to get some more bulbs (and if I’m still at home) I’m going to plant them in other areas of the yard to help deter the moles out of the backyard. I will also get some more daffodil bulbs and plant those as well (since they’re also a nice mole determent). But spring is here to stay and I’m sure that summer will be knocking at the door anytime.

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Photography Challenge Day 58: The “prickly” bush has flowered.

So today’s photograph is of tiny yellow flowers on a bush in the backyard. We planted this bush about fifteen years ago or so (it was one of the many holes that the dogs dug and we plopped a plant into), and truthfully I’ve forgotten what the actual name of the plant is–we just call it the “prickly” bush.

You can’t see in the photo, but it also has numerous thorns on each and every limb, and if you even brush past it–it feels like the prick of a small needle.

The tiny yellow-red flowers on the “prickly” bush have opened.

The bush has numerous small yellow-red flowers opening this week, and I was happy that I was able to get a close up of flowers–they’re actually quite smaller and hard to normally see. The bush also has reddish green leaves, that once the heat of the summer hits, they’ll start falling off before coming back in the fall–to only fall off again in the winter.

One nice thing about the bush is that the birds use it as a “staging” area while they wait for their turn at the feeder which is nearby. So there are usually numerous sparrows and finches flying in and out of the bush during the day.

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International Plant Appreciation Day and Photography Challenge Day 55

So today is international plant appreciation day, so I’m taking time to appreciation some plants that most people get rid of in their yards—the misfits, the unloved, the weeds or more appropriately the wildflowers.

Some people consider wildflowers to be weeds because they pop up wherever they want—not necessarily where humans would like them to be, and not all of them actually produce pretty flowers—some do, but others do not. They also can spread throughout a yard as well, at times out competing the grass for nutrients and that is one reason why people don’t like them.

So one of the plants that we allow to grow within the backyard is Creeping Charlie, though we do try to stay on top of it and pull about half out every other week, so we have ground cover, but it isn’t totally taking over the yard.

Flowering Creepy Charlie

Creeping Charlie has several other names that it goes by including ground ivy, gill-over-the-ground, alehoof, tunhoot, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin. It is a member of the mint family, and is a perennial (meaning it will come back year after year) evergreen creeper.

The flowers of Creeping Charlie can range from blue to bluish-violet to lavender and usually flowers in the spring. While the plant can be considered an weed, there numerous insects that feed off of the plant including several different species of bees—so to help the bee population—don’t get rid of the Creeping Charlie in your yard.

The other photo is of pretty white flower of another yard “weed”. This one has been a little harder to identify because if you google “weeds with white flowers in Oklahoma” you get pictures of weeds with flowers—but only about ten to fifteen percent of the flowers are white, and then none of them look to be the same shape as the one in my picture.

So this one will remain unnamed for now until I can figure it out.

The white flowers of another “weed” in the yard.

So in terms of plant appreciation day—if it weren’t for plants there wouldn’t be life on the planet. They are the ones that fix carbon dioxide and release the oxygen that we breathe—so it is important to make sure that there are plants (especially trees) around to do this—or no life. They’re also important part of our diets, and we use them to provide shade, help reduce noise, provide privacy, use in erosion control, modify temperatures, and help reduce wind damage.

So remember even when life gets crazy to stop and enjoy the beauty of the plants around us—because if they disappear—we won’t be far behind.

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The wisteria is flowering: Photography Challenge Day 52

Today’s photograph is of the blossoming wisteria in the backyard. Luckily I backed up quickly before taking this picture–as there as a wasp climbing around on the flowers just a few moments ago. I’m not scared (or allergic) to them–but I also don’t want to irritate them. Now back to the flowers.

The name wisteria encompasses a genus of flowering plants that are actually members of the legume family—Fabaceae.

This genus of plants expands by twining their stems around available support—other plants, power lines, fences, and so forth. While the main stem can provide initial support, as the plant grows, its limbs start twining around sturdy non-moving objects in the immediate vicinity.

Other interesting facts about wisterias:

Flowering can be either from early spring (for some Asian species) to mid to late summer for some of the American species.

The seeds that are produced in the late fall, are in pods—but like numerous plants are poisonous to those who ingest them.

They can grow in poor quality soil, but will take off in fertile, moist, well-drained soils. The best areas of the yard are those that can get full sun at least part of the day.

They don’t need extra nitrogen added to the soil, due to their symbiotic relationships with bacteria in their roots (they house nitrogen fixing bacteria in nodules in their roots). The bacteria get a “safe” place to live, and the plant gets some extra nutrients from what the bacteria generates.

Depending on how the plant was grown (seed, taken as a cutting, or grafted) will also impact on how long it will take for the plant to reach maturity for flowering; this can be anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisteria

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Photography Challenge Day 46: Magnolia flowers

Flowers on a magnolia tree

Today’s photograph (and short post) is brought to you by the flowering magnolia trees on campus.

These magnolia trees actually lose their leaves every year–which is one reason why at times I forget that they have gorgeous flowers in the spring. The flowers are all a nice dark lavender color and the leaves area also starting to pop out as well. Half the time I’m calling these tulip trees–because the flowers do resemble tulips–but on a tree.

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