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

 

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Sunday Dinner: Sunlight

August 13, 2016 morning garden 032

~

“The awakening is the purpose.

The awakening of the fact that in essence

we are light, we are love.

Each cell of our body,

each cell and molecule of everything.

The power source that runs all life is light.

So to awaken to that knowledge,

and to desire to operate in that realm,

and to believe that it is possible,

are all factors that will put you there.”

.

Dolores Cannon

~

August 13, 2016 morning garden 030

~

“Being the light of the world

is about being a broken, exploding, scarred star

and shining a light of hope and inspiration

to everyone around you.”

.

Ricky Maye

~

August 13, 2016 morning garden 052

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

~

August 13, 2016 morning garden 033

~

“Once in a while you get shown the light

in the strangest of places,

if you look at it right.”

.

Grateful Dead

~

August 13, 2016 morning garden 035

Wordless Wednesday

July 1, 2015 garden at dusk 010~

“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.”

Paul Valéry

~

July 1, 2015 garden at dusk 008~

Woodland Gnome 2015

~

July 1, 2015 garden at dusk 012

Lavender Lovers

August 19, 2014 lavender 016

 

When Jennifer issued her One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender this morning, I headed out between showers to capture a few photos of our lavender flowers in the garden.

We have been admiring the lavender Rose of Sharon from the living room windows.

 

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

In fact the hummingbirds have been hovering near them them all morning between the showers, and we enjoy watching them come and go.

But I suspected there might be other lavender flowers blooming this morning, if only I’d go out and notice them.

Chocolate mint in bloom

Chocolate mint in bloom

How does one draw a firm line between what is lavender and what is blue or pink?

There are so many shades, and all shine differently depending on the light.

Salvia nemerosa with Artemesia

Salvia nemerosa with Artemesia

 

Soon I was straying off the patio and into the wet grass, following the trail of lavender flowers through the garden.

August 19, 2014 lavender 011

And despite the wet, overcast weather, the garden was still buzzing with hungry creatures flying from flower to flower.

August 19, 2014 lavender 019

Perhaps moving a bit more slowly today, they seemed not to mind  me closing in with the camera to capture their portraits.

I wonder how these flowers appear to our bees, and to our dragonflies.

Bumblebee on Joe Pye Weed

Bumblebee on Joe Pye Weed

 

Do their compound eyes see these colors even more intensely than ours?

Can they see flowers in ways we can only dream them?

A butterfly shares the Joe Pye Weed blossoms with the bee.

A moth shares the Joe Pye Weed blossoms with the bee.

What must it be like to spend one’s entire lifetime in pursuit of flowers, and the sweet nectar and pollen they hold?  Might bees, like whales and dolphins, have a level of intelligence in advance of our own?

We have learned much about bees, and their language of dance, in recent years.  

Now scientists have learned they can be trained, even more quickly than dogs, to sniff out certain odors.

August 19, 2014 lavender 017

New technologies are in development which use trained bees to sniff out drugs and other substances.  It is all quite amazing to realize that bees can communicate with us in so many ways.

The low hum of their contented buzzing filled our garden this morning, much like the hum of a cat’s purr.

Hearing from friends across the country that bees are scarce in some gardens this summer, we feel special appreciation for the bees who choose to visit ours.

 

August 19, 2014 lavender 001

Another vital link in the web of life which brings food to our own table, we  appreciate the lives of bees;

and all of the other small creatures who spend their lives in pursuit of nectar, moving from flower to flower in the garden.

 

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender… Forest Garden

More One Word Photo Challenge: Lavender photos

 

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

July 13, 2014 029

These beautiful dragonflies, living in our garden, look metallic.

I wonder sometimes whether they might be tiny drones made to look like dragonflies.  One reads about these things.

This same dragonfly, or its twin, landed right beside me on a plant stake yesterday morning while I was watering on the patio.

Tame as a companion cat, it sat peacefully as I admired it and encouraged it to eat plenty of bugs that day.  It never moved until I turned away, and then only to continue its swooping aerial dance around the garden.

 

July 4, 2014 After Arthur 136

 

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2014

With Appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her

One Word Photo Challenge: Bronze

A “Dirty Hands” Garden Club

Colocasia, "Blue Hawaii"

Colocasia, “Blue Hawaii”

~

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

~

July 19, 2014 Container 044

A gift of Glads, from a sister gardener…

~

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

~

Bumblebee on Lantana

Bumblebee on Lantana

 

~

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

~

 

Bumblebee on Basil

Bumblebee on Basil

~

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

~

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

Tiger Swallowtail on Echinacea

~

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

~

 

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

Eastern Redbud Tree seedpods

~

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

~

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

Blue dragonfly on Lantana

~

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

~

Rooted Begonia cutting

Rooted Begonia cutting resting on a bowl of Pitcherplants

~

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

~

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.

~

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

~

Native Hibiscus

Native Hibiscus

~

(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.)

~

July 20, 2014 hummingbird 010

~

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

~

July 19, 2014 Container 051

~

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

~

July 20, 2014 butterflies 001

~

If this invitation speaks to you,
Perhaps we can work together,
From wherever we might find ourselves
Around the globe.
~

July 19, 2014 Container 023

~

We can each put our hands in the dirt
and create a garden,

~

July 19, 2014 Container 025

~

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

~

July 19, 2014 Container 024

~

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

~

Words and Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
~
Canna

Canna

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

June 27, 2014 garden 038

Contrast– The art of bringing unlike things together

with an intent to heighten the appreciation of each element.

June 27, 2014 garden 005

Contrast is an essential principle of good design, whether we are cooking a meal, decorating a room, building  a life, or constructing a garden.

We enjoy sweet with salty; creamy with bitter… 

 

June 27, 2014 garden 006

We bring disparate elements together in fresh ways so the element of surprise wakes us up, invites us to see what might otherwise be overlooked.

Contrast jars us into thinking, sometimes.   It invites us to make choices; to see the relative values of things.

 

June 27, 2014 garden 019

Our garden is one of sharp contrast:  We move from cool shade to bright sun in  a single step.

We have areas of dense growth and areas of lawn.  Areas carefully curated, and areas sown by nature.

 

June 27, 2014 garden 010

Skillful contrast helps us frame  the view to tell our story.

 

June 27, 2014 garden 020

 

“Happiness ain’t a thing in itself;

it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant.

And so, as soon as the novelty is over

and the force of the contrast dulled,

it ain’t happiness any longer,

and you have to get something fresh.”

 

Mark Twain

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Contrast

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

June 27, 2014 garden 009

Butterflies, Dragonflies, and Bumblebees

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 016

Eliza Waters is a wonderful advocate for wild creatures of all sorts, but she has a special interest in Monarch butterflies.

We have been corresponding this spring about the plight of the Monarch.  She has been involved in creating habitat for them.  And she responded to the post with photos of a Monarch  we found near Yorktown, Virginia, in late May.

May 23, 2014 Mountain Laurel 035

We found this Monarch on May 23, 2014. There was no sign of Monarchs today, sadly.

Eliza asked, earlier today, whether we had found any eggs or signs of Monarch larvae on the Milkweed by the pond where we have been watching for butterflies.

So my partner and I returned this evening, to see what we might see.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 006

We found the Milkweed plants just covered in bumblebees, feasting on their tiny flowers just as the flowers were opening.  And the bumblebees were so blissed out on the wonderful nectar, they were totally oblivious to my presence.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 007

Just inches away, they continued to feed while I took photos.

But in the entire time we explored, there was only one small butterfly or moth.  I don’t know its name, but suspect it is a moth.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 004

Not a single Monarch to be found.  And at Eliza’s suggestion, I searched for signs of eggs or larvae on the Milkweed plants.

I”m so sorry to say that I couldn’t locate either.  The Milkweed leaves look pristine- no larval munching.  I checked the closest Milkweed plants and found no eggs, either.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 010

Perhaps the Monarch did lay her eggs on one of these plants closer to the pond; one I didn’t climb down the bank to inspect.  Let us hope that is the case.

And we’ll continue to check back from time to time to see what evidence we may find as the summer unfolds.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 017

Today we were happy to find a brilliant blue dragonfly.

He was quite happy to sit still while I snapped off several portraits of him.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 014

He was watching me, but didn’t even flinch until I moved away.  He was a great sport, and I appreciate his patience.

The swans have moved on, too.  But we found Egrets wading further down the road.

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 023

Early summer brings such a pageant of life to our community.

We enjoy the staccato music of the frogs and the basso continuo buzzing of bees under the melody of birds calling to one another.

So much life, and such beauty.

All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

June 5, 2014 dragonfly 026

A Beautiful Cool, Wet, August Day

On a beautiful, wet, cool day in August, the dragonflies, hummingbird moths, and butterflies are having a hard time keeping to their usual routine.   With skies heavy and grey, rain showers coming more than going, its a tough day for all beings with wings.

Aug 6 2013 dragonfly 002This beautiful Libellula luctuosa found a secure spot to wait out the weather this afternoon in the ginger lilies.  Usually camera shy and full of pep, this beautiful dragonfly clung to his wet leaf and allowed us to come close enough to appreciate his beauty.   The bright white spots mid-wing telegraph that he is a male, and the steel blue sheen of his body shows he is an adult.  The garden is alive with dragonflies of all colors and sizes this year.  This King Skimmer was kind to stay still long enough for me to get a clear photo to share.

Photo by Woodland Gnome

Beautiful Bees and Flutterbys

Bees are always welcome in my garden for their wonderful buzzing and their help in pollination.  We have many different sorts of bees zooming around with the dragonflies, butterflies, and the humming birds.  Here are a few who stayed still long enough for me to get their photos.  The shrub “bones” of this garden are … Continue reading

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