Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scanning, Take One

I've entered a few GGW photo contests, and they're fun. I enjoy the critiques from the monthly judges. But next month's theme has had me worried: Bloom Scans. Until I started following GGW, I'd never heard of, or thought of, putting flowers through a scanner. But people apparently do it. I'm worried because this concept involves more than framing a picture. Now we're getting into floral arranging, something I've let Nature take care of until now.

Second problem: I don't have a scanner. I'm picturing snipping a bunch of flowers early in the morning, carting them to the office, and tying to look nonchalant while monopolizing the office scanner. Nope, that's not going to work.

I used to have a scanner. It still technically works, I suppose, but it is so old it is not compatible with my current computer operating system (which is itself several generations old). I also used to have a printer, a hand-me-down from my little sister. That one, too, still technically works, or would if I spent $70+ on new ink. I can buy a whole new printer for that price! One that uses cheaper ink.

So I did. I'm now the proud owner of an all-in-one device. I can print, copy, and scan. Wirelessly, too. Oooh, I'm caught up with the times now! First I made a print of one of my favorite pictures, the spring peas I posted back in January. Then I scanned a calendar photo I've had hanging on my fridge for years.

Then I went out in the rain to pick flowers.

That's when I realized the other problem with the Bloom Scan project: I need blooms to scan. My garden is looking a bit sparse right now. Should have bought that printer/scanner thingy months ago when I had lots of flowers. But I found some wilty morning glories and some boltonia. Here are my first two scans:

Yes, they need some work. And I need to learn something about display arranging. One thing I don't know how to fix: the parts pressed against the glass are in focus, but the rest is blurry. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harvest Time

Gardening Gone Wild challenged us to submit harvest photos for this month's Picture This contest.

Harvest photos? I don't have anything to harvest!

I am very proud of my few Sungold tomatoes - this is the most I've had ripe at one time, nearly enough for a snack for one person:

Unfortunately, my sparse tomatoes are hard to pick out in that busy background. A closer look didn't improve things much:

Next, I trotted of to the Sunday market. There's a place for harvests!

I came home with a bag full of apples, but not many pictures. I did see a warty pumpkin that made me smile:

and a basket full of hot peppers:

But I'm guessing the entries will be full of pumpkins and peppers, and my photos aren't good enough to stand out.

I had lunch at the Nature Conservancy. The park was full of winterberry holly waiting to fed the birds in the coming months. What makes foraging different from harvesting, I wondered? It didn't matter, the light wasn't right.

Home again, still with no usable photo.

Then I saw all the critters: bees, moths, and butterflies feasting on my Autumn Joy sedum. Now they were busy harvesting! But they wouldn't stay still long enough for documentation.

This bee on a purple coneflower did. I think he was having such a good time bathing in pollen he didn't care that I was so close. I hope he got some in his sacs so he could go home and share his harvest.

So this bee is my entry.

(I did have a somewhat-brilliant inspiration strike me this evening, but it was already too dark to execute. I may go out in the morning to try it anyway, just for fun.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Delayed September Blooms

OK, I'm so very late making this post that I had to backdate it. I didn't miss Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day by a day or two, but by nearly a week. I took the photos on time (the evening of the 14th), just never posted. I've been an anti-blogger lately. So here I am posting on the 21st (the last full day of summer) and pretending it's still the 15th.

On with the show! (What show there is, anyway)

I'm tired of having to show macro shots of my flowers. I want to have that sort of garden that I can show off in it's entirety, or at least in sweeping views. I'm not there yet. It's either bare, weedy, overgrown, dead, or all of the above.

Here's one view I can show. You still don't get to see much of what else is around, but at least there are multiple plants in the shot. Yes, it's the required Sedum 'Autumn Joy'. What September bloom post would be complete without it?

Moving down the side yard, here's a Helianthus bloom. They really brighten up the area:

Oh, yeah. I'm back in for the closeup. That's because this plant just doesn't behave. 8 ft tall spindly stems. Or would be 8 ft tall, except they flop all over the ground. Here, let me show you:

Across the path from the Helianthus, in the iris/daylily bed, are the mistflowers (Conoclinum [or is it Eupatorium?] coelestinum). These are suffering a bit for lack of water, but they spread nicely this year to help fill in a bare spot. I just hope they are well-behaved enough not to run my irises out of town.

And lest you think my only fall blooming plants are in the side beds, let's move on to the upper garden. Here the white (light pink?) Boltonia asteroides are a billowy cloud. They are sandwiched between the Thermopsis seedpods in the foreground and the Asclepias seedpods (producing their own puffiness) behind. Another floppy plant, I think the Boltonia would be better behaved if they were in full sun. Instead they lean toward the light.

Thanks for indulging me with my late, late post.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nine O'Clocks

They claim to be four o'clocks. I don't know anyone who has had open blooms at four o'clock in the afternoon. Then again, the name is not specific to afternoon. Perhaps it refers to 4am. I've never gotten up at 4am to see if the flowers are still open, but I bet they are. Mine seem to open after dark, so photography is difficult. This photo was taken one evening shortly past 11pm.

This is my first year with these plants. Mine are kind of spindly, but then I did plant them in the front border, where they get sun, sun, and more sun, and very little water or attention. The flowers are smaller than I expected. They may be hibiscus-shaped, but they are not hibiscus-sized. If I could get the plants to be bushier and full of blooms I think they would be nice, though. I've read that these form tubers that can be dug and stored over winter. I've not had much luck overwintering dahlia tubers, but maybe four nine o'clocks will be more forgiving.