Attracted

~

Distracted, or focused? A short walk outside, into the garden, is all it takes.

Whatever my purpose, I’m soon distracted by the life of the garden around me.  A bird zooms from shrub to limb.  A butterfly hovers, a rabbit skitters off for cover.  My eyes search out new growth and newly blooming flowers.  I check the progress of the season.

~

~

If momentarily distracted from the business of the day, my attention is re-focused on the beauties unfolding around me.

I make a quick observation of what needs to be done:  deadheading, staking, weeding, harvesting….

I can get lost in timeless loops of doing; of nurturing the many different growing things and buzzing things and skittering things and gliding things who animate this magical world outside our doors.

~

~

Each time I step outside the light has shifted, the players changed:  goldfinches, skinks, turtles, hawks, cardinals, swallowtails, caterpillars, dragonflies and toads.

Each passing day brings flowers budding or fading; new leaves unfurling; new stems materializing overnight.

~

~

The earth is wet, the earth is dry, the earth has covered itself with green or turned stubbornly hard and barren.

The unfolding drama of each day captures my attention entirely.

~

~

The phone may ring, and I may fish it out of my pocket with a muddy hand; and distractedly connect the call.  Or perhaps I’ll silence it and send the message to voicemail while I frame another shot.

Such concentration it takes, to capture it all as the light shifts and the wind blows and the butterflies float away a nanosecond before my shutter clicks.

~

~

I am hopelessly attracted by the wonder of it all.  I will wander the paths of our garden in sun or rain, dusk or broiling mid-day sun; the air so thick with summer that it is nearly liquid and dense with life.  The scent of ginger lilies permeates the evening breeze.

I hear the furtive rustling of a lizard behind a pot, or on the backside of a trunk; the call and response of crows; the sunset clicking of cardinals settling into their shelter as darkness falls; and bats re-claim the evening sky.

~

~

Photos By Woodland Gnome 2017
For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Ooh, Shiny!

~

~
“We are here to love.
Everything else is distraction.”
.
Scott Stabile

 

Leaf V: Transmutation

~

Sometime in the night, the muggy summer air hanging over our garden yesterday cooled.   We awoke this morning to cool, clear air; blue sky; and a welcome wetness everywhere.

~

~

Every leaf, every blade of grass, and every solid surface lay cloaked in sparkly drops of precious water.  Yesterday’s wet humidity condensed into this morning’s dew.

~

~

The elements of our world remain in constant flow, transmuting themselves from form to form.  Yesterday’s humidity may have been rolling in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico only a few days ago.  And it has already evaporated, reforming as mist in the huge clouds beginning to fill our mid-day sky.

~

~

Every element which makes up our world, and ourselves, remains in motion.  Things are always changing, always growing or dying back in the garden.  Flowers bloom, seeds form, and then the goldfinches and other birds turn up to feast on the seeds.

The water I patiently sprayed onto the garden last week soaked into the roots of the growing plants, and is now locked into each cell of the growing leaves and stems.  Water transformed into cellulose to fuel each plant’s growth.

Water was transmuted into a living plant, and may soon fuel the life of a hungry rabbit or deer.

~

~

Transmutation remains one of the immutable laws of life.  Every bit of energy transforms.  Every element endlessly transforms over eons of time.

Understanding this truth assures us of our own continuing transformation.  Nothing is ever truly lost, or gained; except, perhaps, wisdom.  We remain active participants in this eternal dance of life.

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome, 2017

*

For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Elemental

 

 

WPC: Elemental

~

For this week’s challenge, explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire.
How do you capture something invisible like air, or the movement of water? Or, more personally, is there a place you go to feel connected to the earth?
Take a moment to explore these elements, in or out of balance, together or individually, as you pick up your camera this week.”
~
~

The ancients teach us that originally there was only one energy, one creative force.  It was, even before the light.

And from its desire to know itself, everything else was created. Every thing we know was explosively generated from the one.

This original energy still animates everything, every element that is; even our own knowingness. 

The continual joy of creation comes from the interplay of all of the elements; every bit of fire and earth, water and air.   These essential elements structure even our own imagination.

~
~

Try to take away even one of the elements, and what is left? Some balance will be restored ….

Our life depends on the interplay of fire, water, air, minerals, and the unique animation we call spirit.

~
~
“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level,
that our separateness and isolation are an illusion.
We’re all made of the same thing—
the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.
I’d just never felt that knowledge in my bones until that moment,
there, with you, and it’s because of you.”
.
Blake Crouch
~
~

Every particle and spark is important; a part of the whole. Every one of us is important:  a part of the whole; elemental.

*
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Elemental

A Different Texture

~
“To develop a complete mind:
Study the science of art.
Study the art of science.
Develop your senses-
especially learn how to see.
Realize that everything
connects to everything else.”
.
Leonardo da Vinci
~
~
“All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions”
.
Leonardo da Vinci
~
~
“A painter should begin every canvas
with a wash of black,
because all things in nature are dark
except where exposed by the light.”
.
Leonardo da Vinci
~
~
“Wisdom is the daughter of experience”
.
Leonardo da Vinci
~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
*
For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Textures
“…focus on the tactile elements…”
~
~
“To become an artist you have to be curious.”
.
Leonardo da Vinci
~

Leaf IV: Satisfaction

~

Small things can bring great satisfaction.

~
~

Velvety, fragrant herbs offer leaves both beautiful and delicious.  I eat them mostly with my eyes, but both the sage and scented geranium can be used for cooking or for tea.  Many fry sage leaves in a little olive oil for a savory garnish.

~
~

Their volatile oils perfume the air on hot summer days.  Scented geraniums carry many sweet fragrances, from rose, to citrus, to mint. Their leaves may be large or small, serrated or smooth.  But all are wonderfully fragrant and hold their fragrance as they dry.

Rubbed against our skin, they protect us from mosquitoes as we work in the garden.

~
~

Brought indoors in a vase, their scent fills the room.  These exquisite leaves fill out a bouquet with summer flowers as beautifully as they fill a pot or a border in the garden.

They love the heat and take off when many other garden plants begin to wilt.   Site these beauties in full sun, and watch your satisfaction grow.

~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Satisfaction

~

Tri-color sage

~

Leaf:  Illumination
Leaf II:  Celebration
Leaf III: Decoration

 

Leaf III: Decoration

~

Unusual leaves bring great energy and interest to our garden.  Caladiums, like this C. ‘Gingerland’ offer a long lasting, bold accent in sun to partial shade.  Each leaf is unique, painted in clear bright color across its graceful, undulating form.

~

~

A pot filled with Caladiums can be stunning.  But mix Caladiums with ferns, vines or annuals for uniquely interesting arrangements.  ‘Gingerland’ was our first Caladium in leaf this year from the new batch ordered in April.

~

~

Caladiums also mix well with other Aroids, like Alocasia ‘Stingray.’  Their cultural needs are similar.  These C. ‘Sweet Carolina’ overwintered together with the Alocasia in their pot in our garage.  Heavy feeders, the more generous you can be with water and fertilizer, the larger and more lush they will grow.

~

~

Newer Caladium varieties can take more sun than you might imagine.  I had this pot of C. ‘Moonlight’ and C. ‘Desert Sunset’ in partial sun until our recent spell of hot, dry weather.  It is photographed here in deep shade, a temporary resting spot until the weather moderates.

We enjoy the beacon like effect of these luminous white leaves shining from a shady spot in the garden.

~

Alocasia ‘Frydek’

~

Alocasia have just appeared on the market in recent years.  This unusual tropical plant also grows from a tuber.  One of the first commonly available was Alocasia micholitziana.  A widely marketed cultivar is known as A. ‘Frydek’ or ‘African Mask’ or Alocasia Polly.

These ‘elephant ears’  are often sold as house plants, and do well in normal indoor conditions year round.  Sometimes they will go dormant and appear to die back.  Just be patient and keep the soil a little moist.  You will usually be rewarded with new leaves in a few weeks.

~

~

Alocasia are long-lived plants, which grow larger each season.  They enjoy a partially sunny spot in our summer garden.  Their deep green, substantial leaves last for months at a time.   Bring them indoors in winter, if only to a garage or basement, and you will be rewarded with additional years of beauty.

There are many new types of Alocasia on the market these days.  In addition to A. ‘Frydek’ and A. ‘Stingray,’ we also grow A. ‘Plumbea’ and A. ‘Sarian.’  

I recognized some plants at our local Trader Joe’s as unnamed Alocasia back in February, and bought two.  We kept them going in the dining room until it warmed enough to move them outdoors this spring.  they have put out prodigious growth and their leaves are now about 18″ long, each.

~

Begonia Rex with fern

~

Another genus with unusual and beautiful leaves, Begonia, also thrives in our summer garden.  Tropical, most varieties of Begonia enjoy heat and humidity.  Although they often pump out delicate flowers all summer long, we growth them mostly for their outrageous leaves.

~

Cane Begonia

~

Although not as large as Caladium or Alocasia leaves, some Begonia varieties have large, extravagantly marked and highly textured leaves.  B. ‘Gryphon’ appeared in local shops perhaps six years ago.  It will grow quite large by the end of summer, and the plants keep well from year to year.

~

A newly unfolding leaf on B. Gryphon.  The red fades to a more even green as each leaf matures, though the stems remain red.

~

B. ‘Gryphon’ can be propagated from stem or leaf petiole cuttings.  Simply stick a section of the trunk into a pot of moist soil, and wait.  I generally use a little rooting hormone on the cut end of the stem.  The stem will root in moist soil, with new growth appearing in just a few weeks in summer.  I overwintered a stem cutting in our garage last winter, and new growth appeared a few weeks after we put it outside this spring.

B. ‘Gryphon’ is grown for its beautiful leaves and tropical form.  It will eventually produce some small flowers in its second or third year.

~

~

Begonia Rex come in hundreds of varieties.  Their leaves are beautifully patterned.  I’m seeing these offered at big box stores in spring along with annuals and other shade perennials.  Although perennial, they are tender and won’t survive freezing temperatures outdoors.  I normally grow these in pots to keep from year to year.

They grow from rhizomes, and may appear to ‘die’ at times.  Often, the plant has gone dormant due to stress, and will begin to produce leaves again if given minimal care and warmth.

~

~

Begonias can be heavy feeders.  They like their soil to dry out a little before you water again, and thrive in bright shade.  They enjoy the humidity when placed under trees in our summer garden.

~

Begonia

~

Unusual and colorful leaves keep a garden fresh and fun.  Ours have the garden looking Fabulous this Friday!

Whether you have one wonderful pot of Caladiums, or a garden filled with striking foliage, you will soon be hooked.

When you realize how easy and resilient these plants can be for you to grow, and how long-lived and tough these tropical beauties become;  you may soon will find yourself collecting them, too.

~

Alocasia ‘Plumbea’

~

Woodland Gnome 2017

~

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Unusual

~

~

Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious, Let’s infect one another!

 

Collage: Hibiscus

~

Hibiscus flowers fill our garden each summer from July through September. 

~
~

Tree Hibiscus, also known as Hibiscus syriacus or Rose of Sharon; were first planted by earlier gardeners on this site.  Now they reseed themselves all over our garden.  Deciduous, their lean frames catch winter’s snow,  and hold seed filled pods to sustain our birds all winter.

Both leaves and flowers open a little late, but the flowers keep coming into September.  Butterflies, every sort of bee, and hummingbirds feast on their nectar from early July until autumn.

Rose of Sharon flowers remain fairly small, only a couple of inches across.  Our other perennial Hibiscus sport huge, saucer sized blossoms.

~
~

Native Hibiscus moscheutos, which grows wild in the marshes near us, grows rapidly once the weather warms in early summer.  Though its flowers are short lived, they keep coming over several weeks.  The dried seed pods linger into winter, when we finally cut back its woody stalks.

Beautiful swamp Hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus, will soon burst into bloom in our garden, sporting scarlet flowers on towering woody stems.

~

Hibiscus coccineus, another native Hibiscus, will bloom before the end of July. Its beautiful slender leaves gracefully clothe its tall stems. it will tower above the surrounding garden when it blooms.

~

These showy, generous blossoms blend into a collage of color in our garden, animated by the many pollinators buzzing from one to the other, sustained by their sweet nectar.

~
~
Woodland Gnome 2017
~
~
For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Collage

 

Sun Time

~

The sun marks the hours as it passes across our garden.  Ever changing light illuminates a little at a time, leaving all else in shade and shadow. 

~

~

Light dances through the leafy canopy of our forest garden, rays penetrating slowly, coaxing life to organize itself from seed and soil, water and air. 

~

~

It is the fire which enlivens this living alchemy. 

It is the Aten, the first and the last each day;

the one who reveals and conceals. 

~

~

Sunlight is time made visible.

~
~
Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
.

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Delta

“share a photograph that signifies transitions and change to you. …  explore the ways in which a single photograph can express time, while only showing us a small portion of any given moment.”

 

WPC: Transient

~

“The only way to make sense out of change

is to plunge into it, move with it,

and join the dance.”

.

Alan W. Watts

~

~

“Nothing endures but change.”

.

Heraclitus

~

~

“If a beautiful thing were to remain

beautiful for all eternity, I’d be glad,

but all the same I’d look

at it with a colder eye.

I’d say to myself: You can look

at it any time, it doesn’t have to be today.”

.

Hermann Hesse

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

.

“It is in changing that we find purpose.”

.

Heraclitus

~

Clematis ‘Violet Elizabeth’

~

For The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transient

~

Summer Garden: Shifting Focus

~

“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering.

After the wet spring, everything that could turn green

had outdone itself in greenness

and everything that could even dream of blooming

or blossoming was in bloom and blossom.

The sunlight was a benediction.”

.

Dan Simmons

~

Allium

~

“And so with the sunshine

and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees,

just as things grow in fast movies,

I had that familiar conviction

that life was beginning over again

with the summer.”

.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

~

~

“There’s this magical sense of possibility

that stretches like a bridge

between June and August.

A sense that anything can happen.”

.

Aimee Friedman

~

Carrot flower and Coreopsis

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

~

Clematis

~

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

.

Oscar Wilde

* * *

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Focus

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 528 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest