Are you tired of flowers? This set were sent from a florist. There’s a story. Ha! A patient’s family sent them to the office. I had the brilliant notion to invite two families to dinner the previous Saturday. That would be dinner for twelve. I had offered to cook. Yup! I was gonna do it. And then the call came. I had an emergency operation – an acoustic neuroma. They are tricky delicate operations that required the operating microscope and long hours of careful dissection around the nerve and brainstem. Yup, tricky and delicate. I’d draw out this story but long about dinnertime – say about 5PM – I had my operating room nurse call home and inform my wife I’d be a bit longer – say several more hours. Needless to say, my wife had already made Plan B. Everyone went out instead. I finished up around 8PM and could probably have made it to the restaurant. But I chickened out and had dinner nearby with my PA (assistant).
We’re almost at the punchline. After the surgery an anxious family heard the story of the harrowing operation in which we saved their loved one and preserved brain function so that the young man could live on for many more years. I also told them the story of the aborted dinner. The next Tuesday, these enormous roses arrived during my office hours. I would have difficulty explaining how large they were (bigger than my fist – that would be a 7 ½ size surgical glove). I can only say they were the largest blooms I have ever seen. Ok, I’m a guy. What do you do? Take ‘em home to your wife and apologize for messing up dinner the previous weekend. Right! I didn’t tell her the roses were from the family. I told her I’d gotten them (I left out the “how”) and brought them home. The story and apology would’ve worked except that the nurses ratted me out at the Christmas party nine months later. Nurses! They have a long memory. Be nice to them.
I’ve got this plant that produced two flowers. Yes, I could count ‘em. The first fell off. It just broke off its stem and fell to the driveway below. The second survived to bloom more than two weeks. That’s nice. It sat a bit beneath another container. The stem was so long the blossom crowded against the container above. Got the picture? You could congratulate me for staging a spectacular image of this flower. Thank you in advance. However, it was a serendipitous shot. The shadow from the container above darkened the background while the low morning sun from the east provided the rim lighting. And, with everything else digital these days, I shot multiples of this flower. This was the shot that you see. In the days of “slides” I would have surely missed this one. As with everything else lately, I was redundant in order to capture the moment. I shoot till I’m satisfied except that sometimes I don’t know what I’ve got till I edit. It makes me an amateur. But sometimes even a blind squirrel gets a nut.
The best flowers in my yard are the ones I never planted. They just came with the property and grow unassisted and unbidden. I have chives. They bloom in the late spring. Would you believe that? There’s an actual flower there. I can see real flower parts. And the wild iris? Well, that’s at least what I’m calling it. They grew too. They don’t last long. The rabbits don’t seem to give them any notice. They are water tolerant. The whole area was flooded with the rain for about a week. They will come again in a year. And I can enjoy them without any fuss whatsoever. Yay!
I used to hold the camera to my eye, look through the viewfinder, compose, adjust the settings, and shoot. Point and shoot has liberated me. Autofocus, auto exposure, and auto ISO have made it a virtual breeze. There are a high percentage of misses and out of focus shots. But, the payoff is good too. Forget straight horizons. The image is way more interesting if the picture is angled. Break the rules. You still have to know the rules to break them wisely. I do get some interesting shots. The good news is that I am not static and am still learning. Are you?
What was I thinking when I included this trio? Not much to see or admire. Useless shots abound. They don’t look good when I shoot them and rarely surprise me when I reject them. There’s no point of interest and the color is monotonous. It is a view of the back yard only a mother would love.
It’s not so much that you take pictures. I take the same ones. Not really. Confused? What I’m trying to say is that I take pictures that work for me. The subject may change. But, there are poses that work. I experiment. Digital allows me to do this relatively easily. Lately, what I realize is that I zoom a little closer. I pay attention to distracting backgrounds. Mostly, what I have posted of late are images that are straight from the camera without too much manipulation. That’s pretty good. I kind of plan it out that way. It’s been working.
I did container gardening in Manhattan for many years. A very nice flaky flute playing gardener planted our deck one year. He played ‘happy birthday’ on his flute for Dave. It was just before his birthday April 30. I never saw him again but the lesson took. The main thing I remember is, “Plants like to be crowded in containers.” So, I do it with whatever is available. What grows? From place to place and year to year it varies. Begonias were my bugaboo last year. All summer long I lamented that they were scrawny. But, this year is a whole new year. Too many fine shots, too little space. If you look closely the detail is good. Otherwise enjoy the color. I expect the containers will be the best ever this year.
What to plant? Whatever you like. Annuals are just one and done.. But they are showy. Perennials? They come back year after year. The cold may be too much for them to survive containers. And in the lawn beds, the rabbits and deer may find them to be a banquet. It’s a balance. Fox urine is overrated.
It’s always a guessing game. Plants don’t winter over. Or they fail to thrive. Roses: Ugh! Mine have been sickly. I tried fairy roses. They are ever blooming and get to be very large bushes. Nope. Lily? The rabbits loved them. Wisteria? They are a work in progress. I’ve got a balcony in the front of the house that only a mother could love. F-ugly. It’s always fun to experiment. You go to Lowe’s – (we don’t Home Depot (Republican) any more) – you pick your palette, and then you plant away.
That gardener so many years back – he planted a rhododendron that blooms every year on Dave’s birthday. As far as I know it survived the container for more than thirty years and is now living a fine life of retirement in the ground on Long Island…. I hope.
We come to New Castle (est 1651) because it retains its colonial charm in its old homes and cobblestone streets. I shouldn’t say too much. It’s been our secret. Our favorite restaurant was mentioned in Delaware magazine. Fortunately, it didn’t work and we can still get a reservation with relative ease. And all of this explanation is just an excuse to show off more flower photos. It’s kind of like hiding the peas in the mashed potatoes.
I gave you the name of the town, not the restaurant. That’s for you to investigate. It’s still charming. We don’t have to try hard for a reservation.
Yellow magnolias. This time of the year we all see the pink ones. Yellow is definitely in the minority. Do you actually notice? I didn’t. Then, our guide pointed it out. Oh. Well, okay! And blues flowers are rare too. Why? They just are. …even though they look blue to me too?
The wise and wonderful internet says: There is no true blue pigment in plants, so plants don’t have a direct way of making a blue color. Blue is even more rare in foliage than it is in flowers.
I realize that I’m overstaying my welcome. And less is more. However, I’m also lazy. I can edit and cull the duds. After that there are still a lot of good images that are in danger of staying hidden on my hard drive forever. So…
Jules hated my early digital work. Well, she hated that the prints were distinct and she could tell what was computer printed and what got printed in the darkroom. My neighbor who hated the water running kind of put an end to running the water all night. Meanwhile digital got better. Ironically, both she and Dave now shoot mostly on their iPhone. Film is dead. Kodak’s gone. Real movies for commercial release are being shot with iPhone. Why? … ’cause they can. That tiny little lens does good. I like my “real” camera. It does good too. Better?
Another tree? How about some pansies? I think in color. Black and white is awesome. It’s just that I think in color. I shot black and white film, and I developed and printed it. Then I did the same with color slides. Phewf! That was hard. The Kodak instructions called for temperature tolerance of +/- .1 degree. That’s a tenth of a degree! I was a chem major and had the thermometers to measure. But a water bath? Ha! Try doing that in your bathroom tub and sink. Then I got the means to afford a real darkroom. That all worked until my neighbor complained about the water running at 3AM. Hey, I was a night owl! He was a grouch? Was it him or me? I guess I must credit him with ushering (shoving unwillingly) me into digital.