Tag: flowerphotography

Photography Challenge Day 208: Spider webs

The winner of today’s photography challenge are spider webs. They were chosen mainly because I liked how all the water droplets looked on them in the fog.

Spiderweb

So one of the places I head every week to try to get pictures of the egrets, herons, and other birds is the dock. Every morning, there are numerous spiderwebs strung between the supports on the dock. Sometimes I see the spider on the web, but most often I just see the webs.

These two webs were pretty close together, and I liked how the water droplets clung to the silk strands of the web.

Spiderweb and flowers

Then I saw these pink/purple flowers that had a spiderweb woven between them, but again–I didn’t see the spider, just it’s web.

Spiderweb in a tree

Then as I was heading towards the other side of the lake, I noticed that there were several spiderwebs in the trees. They didn’t necessarily have water droplets sticking to them–they were insulated from that, but I liked how they looked.

Flowers, a web and it’s spider

So I didn’t realize that I actually managed to get a picture of a spider on it’s web while on my walk. I think at this time I was focused on the flowers, but also managed to get the picture of the orb spider on it’s web.

The seasons will soon be changing–Monday is the fall equinox (first day of fall), and that means that the temperatures will start to fall. Probably slowly for a month or so (we are talking climate change after all–and we still have quite a few flowers that haven’t opened yet on numerous Rose of Sharon bushes), and then quickly until we hit winter temperatures.

That means that the spiders are already starting to prepare for the next year–those that only live a year, are looking for mates, and then the females are looking for areas that will withstand the cold, winter temperatures so they can lay their eggs. The young spiders may or may not hatch, if they do–they’ll spend winter together and disperse in the spring; others will wait to hatch until the spring and then disperse to find new homes.

I think that I’ll continue taking pictures of the webs until they’re gone, and then I’ll keep an eye out for them in the spring. I’ll also keep an eye out in the spring for the wolf spiders that will be coming out of “hibernation” as well.

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Photography Challenge Day 198: The chives have flowered

So the winner of today’s photography challenge are the flowers of the chive plant, and the numerous different insects that have visited them so far.

One of the several stalks of chive flowers

There have been numerous different insects on the chive flowers so far, though I haven’t been keeping count (or actually watch for a specific amount of time).

One species of wasp on the flowers.

This summer I’ve seen a couple of different wasps, and some flies. I’m pretty sure that the butterflies are coming through–just not that often when I’m around with my camera.

Mating wasps on the flowers??

So it looks like some of the wasps were also potentially mating on the flowers as well–I thought that this was a really weird looking wasp. Once I got the pictures on the computer–it looks likes two wasps (or other flying insects) potentially were mating (or one was cannibalizing the other).

Butterfly on the flowers

Though this one butterfly did come through the yard on Saturday, and stopped on the flowers long enough for me to get a couple of pictures of it. I also think that this is the silvery checkerspot butterfly (more on this in another post).

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Photography Challenge Day 197: The plant optical illusion (short post)

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the Rose-of-Sharon in the backyard. I was spending time doing photography this afternoon and I liked the way that the flowers of the one Rose-of-Sharon looked.

It looks like Johnny/Number-5 to me…..

It wasn’t until I was reviewing the picture, that I realized it reminded me of Johnny/Number-5 from Short Circuit. If you’ve never seen the movie–you’re forgiven (I’ve aged myself with the reference).

The plot of the movie is a robot discovers self-awareness and consciousness after being struck by lightning. With a little help, it tries to evade being recaptured and reprogrammed while at the same time trying to prove “it’s alive” to its creator.

While the movie is over thirty years old, it is a wonderful movie–and if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it.

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Photography Challenge Day 188: Grasshopper hiding in the grass

The winner of today’s photography challenge is a grasshopper. I noticed this guy hanging out in the flowers of some grass (if I had to wager a bet—it is either switchgrass, or a close family member).

Grasshopper in the grass

So grasshoppers go through five different molts between hatching from the egg and the adult—but they look like an adult in each stage (just smaller and slightly weirder—as I shared some pictures of the younger nymphs earlier this summer).

This one was just chilling in the flowers, though I’m sure that if I got any closer it would have jumped towards other tall grasses in the area.

A little on the grass (as I’m going to say that I’m pretty sure that it is either switchgrass—or a close family member), it was probably thinking of chomping on. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial warm season grass that is native to North America. This is one of the many plants that is being groomed as potential biofuel plants. One of the main reason why it is being looked at: it isn’t part of the food chain for either humans or cattle (or other farm animals).

It can also grow in areas that other plants can’t—such as high salt, and brackish waters. It has a very good root system—so it can also work in erosion control as well. It comes back year after year—and before we started building cities and towns in the middle of the prairie—it was one of the major native grasses.

I actually worked with this grass during graduate school (it was the focus of my dissertation)—and I am always amazed to see how tall it grows in the wild (in the lab—it’s height is limited by either the growth chamber or being trimmed back in the greenhouses)—it can get up to six feet tall pretty quickly in some areas.

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Photography Challenge Day 171: Wisteria seed pods

The winner of today’s photography challenge are wisteria seed pods.

Wisteria seed pods

The wisteria is a climbing vine that is native to the eastern part of the United States. This flowering vine is actually a member of the pea family—which is one reason why it’s seed pods look like pea pods.

Though unlike peas—wisteria plants are poisonous, so it shouldn’t be planted in areas where child play, and shouldn’t be planted in areas where someone might accidentally pick the seed pods and eat the seeds.

We have the wisteria growing along the back fence, and I’ve been thinking of trying to start a new wisteria vine elsewhere in the yard—that way once it does flower (in ten to fifteen years), it can be seen closer to the house, and it may add value to the house whenever it comes time to sell. The only thing is—I’ve never tried to grow the plant before (the one we have, we got as a smaller plant from a friend who was thinning her’s out).

But I’m thinking that I’ll check on the wisteria over the next couple of months and maybe pick a seed pod or two, and see how many seeds are inside. Then I’ll dry them out, put them in an container for the winter and then try planting them somewhere in the spring. If nothing else, we’ll get some green growth going as the vines are suppose to start growing rapidly.

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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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