Spider Flower

Cleome I found this beauty among the hundreds of colored plants in my wife's flower garden(s). The unusual structure of the flower head caught my eye: beautiful shades of lavender petals standing on spider legs surrounding the deep purple stamen at the top of a 5' tall stem. And a funny name to boot: Cleome … Continue reading Spider Flower

April Snow

Frosted Leaf Just when I thought we had seen the "last gasp" of Ole Man Winter, we get five inches of heavy wet snow. The flower beds had been cleaned of mulch and winter debris, flowers blooming, trees were leafing out, the grass was emerald green and recently mowed, and spring vegetables had been seeded … Continue reading April Snow

Clemantis

Clemantis We are barely three weeks into the winter season and I'm sick of it already. Three measurable snow falls and three days of single digit temps was a brutal wake-up call. The fields are brown, the trees are bare, the nights are long, the fireplace broken in, the garden a distant memory, the bird … Continue reading Clemantis

Sunflowers

40 acres of sunflowers On US 136 five miles west of Fairbury, Nebraska, I found a sea of sunflowers in full bloom. Three feet tall, standing shoulder to shoulder, soaking up the bright sun with hardly a cloud in the sky. Pollinators were gorging themselves. It was a great day to be a sunflower! Thought … Continue reading Sunflowers

Sunflower

Giant Sunflower Sunflowers are in full bloom, peak time for butterflies and Nature's warning that the lazy hazy days of summer are numbered. The first plant to show up in my new "prairie" this year was a volunteer sunflower -- center stage, like it was the star of the show. Not knowing if anything else … Continue reading Sunflower

Monet’s House & Garden

Monet's House and Garden Two surprises awaited me when I visited Claude Monet's house and gardens in Giverny, France. One, his house was much bigger than I thought it would be -- a mansion for the times he lived, and two, his gardens were less formal than imagined. Mid summer was the perfect time to … Continue reading Monet’s House & Garden

Mystery Plant

The blue and reds are so vibrant on this plant, it caught my eye from across the conservatory.  The plant was screaming, "Come take my picture!"  (I never know if the closed quotation mark comes before or after the punctuation ending a sentence.) I found this in the Des Moines Botanical Gardens.  The spiked "branches" … Continue reading Mystery Plant

Coneflower

Mid-September, and we're getting pretty close to the end of late summer blooms, but these Coneflowers still look pretty good. Taken at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE.   Thought for the Day:  I hate flowers -- I paint them because they're cheaper than models and don't move.                   … Continue reading Coneflower

Palm Frond

An unusual (Wow!  Three "u"s in a 7-letter word!) palm tree thrives in the conservatory at Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens.   Its fronds (leaves) are a dirty gray color, like unpolished silverware covered with dust.  There is no sheen whatsoever on the fronds, on either side. From underneath, the shaded areas are almost black, which provides a … Continue reading Palm Frond

Sunken Garden

Robert Buchart, pioneer in the growing cement industry, opened a limestone quarry in 1904.  As the limestone deposits depleted, Robert's wife, Jennie, hauled in tons of topsoil from their nearby farm to plant flowers.  She was determined to turn the giant eyesore into something of beauty. Exotic plants from all over the world were imported.  … Continue reading Sunken Garden

Painted Ladies

Often mistaken for Monarch Butterflies, the Painted Lady is a little smaller and not quite as vibrant. The Boltonia bushes in our backyard were blanketed with Painted Lady butterflies this fall.  Swarms of them were our guests for 2-3 weeks, which is amazing since their lifespan is not much longer than that. We were blessed … Continue reading Painted Ladies

Scale

In two previous posts (Sequoia National Park and Giant Sequoia Trees), I've written about the Giant Sequoia trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains, trying to demonstrate just how large these trees can be. I've shown them with other objects, a building and parked cars, in hopes of providing a reference to relative size of a … Continue reading Scale

Giant Sequoia Trees

The Sequoia tree is so large that getting a photo of the entire tree is impossible without a wide-angle lens.  I used a 16 mm wide-angle lens on this shot, but still had to back up about 100 yards to get them all in.   And these are young trees. Sequoias are a separate and … Continue reading Giant Sequoia Trees

Two Ladies and a Rose

I like flowers.  I like all plants, especially those you can eat, and not-so-much those that make you itch or sneeze.  Like this yellow rose, e.g; beautiful, gorgeous, a sight to behold. But there is a limit to how long I can stare at one plant.  Not so with the "plant ladies", who stood in one … Continue reading Two Ladies and a Rose

Seed Pod

I captured this lone milkweed towering above the dying prairie grass in the late fall.  The native tall grasses that survive the blistering heat of Midwest summers were drying up after reaching heights of 4 to 6' and falling over from their own weight.   Milkweed was about the only thing standing that altered my … Continue reading Seed Pod

Mysterious Beauty

I found this little beauty along the path around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.   The uneven change in fall color caught my eye. Standing about 10-12" tall, I have no idea what it is.   If you can identify this plant, please let me know.  Thanks. Thought for the Day: … Continue reading Mysterious Beauty