Wordless Wednesday

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“Drinking the energy of the universe
Breathing along with the Cosmos
With each breath
I am reborn
Into a brand new existence.”

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Ilchi Lee

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“All differences in this world are of degree,

and not of kind,

because oneness is the secret of everything.”

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Swami Vivekananda

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“The thing is that this life is so precious and mysterious,

I don’t know what to say about it most of the time.

Words are like birds, passing through the trackless sky.

The dog barking, the sound of the purling stream,

the wind among the weeping willow trees:

how are these not right off the tongue of the Buddha?”

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Lama Surya Das

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Photos by Woodland  Gnome 2015

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Birthday Portraits: Snapping Turtles

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We were in the midst of watering the garden yesterday morning when my partner spotted it, barely visible against the blacktopped street.

But my partner has a special knack for spotting anomalies,  and the tiny turtle, craning his neck around this way and that for a  complete view of his newly found world, caught his attention.

He called me over, and together we decided to lift the little one out of the street, back into the garden.

Barely more than an inch from one end of its sculpted grey shell to the other, this one had just arrived to the world of sunlight.

Once set down under the shrubs, he quickly disappeared into the dried leaves.

 

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We both returned to our tasks, murmuring our appreciation for this little turtle and our good wishes for his survival.

But then tiny turtle reappeared, running across the mulch from one bed to the next.

Or was it another one?  This one was moving so fast it was hard to tell.

 

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But when we spotted a third, and then a fourth; we realized that a nest of turtle eggs must have opened somewhere in the garden.  The search was on.

And it didn’t take long to spot a fifth turtle, just appeared near a small hole under our Hibiscus.

 

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The hole wasn’t two inches across, nestled near the stems and well hidden in the mulch.

But careful observation soon revealed a tiny head, and two tiny eyes adjusting to sunlight for the first time.

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Watering now on hold, I settled in near the hole, camera focused, hoping to photograph the moment when this little guy crawled out into the world.

But these creatures are smarter than you might expect. 

And he was very aware of the great human giants too near beside  his sipapu.  And cautiously, he waited. 

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Too long, because soon another head popped up behind him.  There was obviously a que of turtles waiting below.

So Mr. Cautious dropped back into the hole, and Ms. Adventurous took his place at the opening; weighing her options.

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I kept the camera focused and ready, taking birthday portraits from time to time, but waiting for the moment of emergence.

My partner suggested that I needed to back off.  My body suggested I not stay bent in position  too long.

And Ms. Adventurous suggested she had all day long to begin her journey.

We chatted.  We both encouraged her, and gave her lots of parental advice about staying in the garden, and hiding well, and how she would find plenty to eat here.

Listening attentively, she still waited.  And yet another head appeared.  My partner wandered away, and I moved back a ways further  from the hole, and slightly out of their line of sight.

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A birth must not be rushed, and patience finally was rewarded as Ms. Courageous climbed the rest of the way up onto the soft mulch.

Her grey eyes took in her new, bright surroundings, and her gigantic human companion, before she took off running across the mulch.

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Each turtle headed in a different direction, but all must have had some sense of the pond at the bottom of the hill, waiting for them.

 

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I left the rest of the turtles in peace to emerge in their own time.

We kept encountering our tiny turtles throughout the day.  When we spotted them on the driveway later, we moved them to safer spots in the garden.

Found later on the driveway, my partner moved this turtle to the safety of a pot so I could take another photo.

Found later on the driveway, my partner moved this turtle to the safety of a pot so I could take another photo.

These are snapping turtles, Chelydra serpentina, common throughout Virginia.

We spot them from time to time in the garden and throughout the community.

Although their reputation is fierce, we must have uncommonly gentle ones here.

We’ve never encountered an aggressive one.

 

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The baby turtles disappeared as suddenly and mysteriously as they appeared.

We hope they found their way down to the ravine and pond, where they can hunt and find shelter.  There are plenty of wild spaces for them to live and grow in safety.  As omnivores, there will be plenty for them to eat year round.

It will be at least a dozen years before these turtles reach maturity, and they may still inhabit the garden a century from now.  Turtles are extremely long lived, if they reach maturity, with very few predators.

We’ll have our eye out for them, now.

This Box Turtle was waiting for me in the lower garden when I arrived, later, to water.

This Box Turtle was waiting for me in the lower garden when I arrived, later, to water.

 

They can join the box turtles and the blue tailed skinks; the toads and tree frogs, as welcome denizens of our Forest Garden.

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Toad, found laying her eggs in the garden yesterday morning.

Toad, found laying her eggs in the garden yesterday morning.

One Word Photo Challenge: Chartreuse

Gloriosa Lilies

Gloriosa Lilies

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Whether golden tinged green,

Or green faded towards yellow;

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Chartreuse glows like chlorophyll infused sunlight.

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Dill in bloom

Dill in bloom

 

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Named for a French mountain monastery where monks make herbal infused liqueur;

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Perennial Begonia, planted last autumn as cuttings, fills this bowl.

Perennial Begonia, planted last autumn as cuttings, fills this bowl with Creeping Jenny.

 

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even this botanical liqueur comes in a greener variety (more potent)

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Autumn "Brilliance" Fern

Autumn “Brilliance” Fern

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and a milder, sweeter yellow golden variety.

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Coleus

Coleus

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“Chartreuse” is the given name of a family of colors, more than any one particular shade.

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Coleus

Coleus

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Sometimes fashionable, sometimes not;

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An acquired taste, perhaps,

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Rose scented Pelargonium with Colocasia

Rose scented Pelargonium with Colocasia

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Which can light up the garden, on even grey and cloudy days,

 

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Chartreuse.

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Geranium

Geranium

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

And her One Word Photo Challenge:   Chartreuse

A “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii"

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii”

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I would love to join  a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club;
One whose members know more about fertilizers
Than they do about wines…

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A gift of Glads, from a sister gardener…

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I’d want our meetings spent wandering through nurseries,
Learning from  expert gardeners,
Or building community gardens…

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Bumblebee on Lantana

Bumblebee on Lantana

 

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Not frittered away in chit chat over hors d’oeuvres .

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Bumblebee on Basil

Bumblebee on Basil

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And all of us would be at least a little expert in something,
Glad to share what we’ve learned;

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Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

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And we all would love putting our hands in the dirt
To help something grow.

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Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

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My club would collect species, not dues;
Re-build ecosystems rather than plant ivy and  box.

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Blue dragonfly on Lantana

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

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We “dirty hands” gardeners can band together
In spirit, if not in four walls.
We can share plants and insights,
Instigate, propagate, and appreciate;

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Rooted Begonia cutting

Rooted Begonia cutting resting on a bowl of Pitcherplants

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Perhaps we can even help rehabilitate 
Some sterile lawn somewhere
Into something which nurtures beauty
And feeds souls….

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A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

A gift of Siberian Iris, from Barbara, growing in a new section of the garden.

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Others can judge flowers,
Decorate homes at Christmas
And organize tours.
These things are needed, too.

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Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus

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(But I would rather be out in the garden;
Where cardinals preside over the morning meeting,
And  hummingbirds are our special guests for the day.
The daily agenda ranges from watering to transplanting;
From pruning to watching for turtles and dragonflies.)

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We  wear our muddy shoes and well worn gloves with pride,
Our spades and pruners always close at hand.

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We converse with Nature,
And re-build the web strand by strand,
Plant by plant.

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If this invitation speaks to you,
Perhaps we can work together,
From wherever we might find ourselves
Around the globe.
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We can each put our hands in the dirt
and create a garden,

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Nurture Beauty,
And restore health and vitality to our Earth, together.

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Does a “Dirty Hands” Garden Club
Appeal to you?

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
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Canna

Canna

One Word Photo Challenge: Aqua

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Aqua,

Where water filled sky meets sky filled water.

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Bluish-Greenish-Blue-

Constant color of life and living,

Cool, damp, new growth -giving…

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A color to sip in long, cool droughts.

Peaceful, Silent, Sustaining

Aqua.

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Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

For her One Word Photo Challenge:  Aqua

July 20, 2014 butterflies 049

WPC: Container I

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Some people believe that agriculture allowed the Genesis of human civilization millennia ago.  I beg to differ…

Actually, it was containers.

Once we humans have a place to put something, and a way to move it from here to there, we begin to collect; and to accumulate.  And civilization as we know it is born…

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So containers are the basic building blocks of our modern, civilized lives.  Think about it-

What is a home, a car, a pantry, or even a shoe… but a specialized container?

I have a special affinity for containers. 

Maybe it’s because my mother spent several years as a Tupperware dealer when she needed a flexible schedule for a while.   She always loved Tupperware, and selling it gave her the opportunity to add to her collection and set aside a kitchen full of Tupperware for each of us kids to have one day.

I still keep my flour in an ancient Tupperware container inherited from my grandmother.

And the sugar keeps forever in the 70’s era avocado green Tupperware my mother set aside for me all those years ago.

Still, I drive my partner nuts by saving many of the “disposable” containers which pass through our lives.

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These frozen yogurt containers have a thousand alternative uses…

Like catching the tiny blue tailed lizard who somehow got into our home earlier today.  He was skittering across the living room floor when I spotted him this afternoon.

Fortunately for him, our cat was sunning himself out on the deck.

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After several tries, this little guy trusted me enough to cooperate in the delicate task of catching him, lifting him from the floor, and taking him back outside where he can catch his dinner.

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Once outside, he was kind enough to allow a photo-op before disappearing behind the pots of our container garden on the patio.

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Where would we be without our containers? 

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Container

WPC: Container II

WPC: Container III

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