Fabulous Friday: Summer Rain

Colocasia ‘Black Coral’ glows after a rain shower.


As the early summer rain continues to fall in fits, drizzles and passing storms, I am enjoying a rare quiet day at home, chased inside from any major gardening tasks by the weather.  The forays outside have been brief thus far today, and usually ended with me left feeling soggy from the humidity or a sudden shower.


Ferns and hardy Begonias enjoy our damp weather.


I woke this morning concerned about all of the little plants in their nursery pots, still waiting to be planted out.  I thought of how soggy their roots must be and rushed outside to move them as needed and empty standing water that had collected overnight.

Soggy roots can mean sudden death for many plants that need a bit of air in their soil.  That set me to puttering about with pots and baskets and a few strategic transplanting jobs.


Rose scented Pelargonium likes room for its roots to breathe.


I am especially concerned for the Caladiums still growing on in their bins.  It is one of those tasks that gets more difficult the longer one procrastinates.  While I wait for the new ones, ordered this spring to emerge, the ones grown from over-wintered bulbs have gotten huge and leggy; their roots entangled.  But the wet soil and frequent showers give me reason to wait another day for more transplanting.



What won’t wait is our annual dance with the bamboo grove in the ravine.  Bamboo is considered a grass, but what a stubborn and determined force of nature it as proven to be in our garden!  Though we didn’t plant it, we admire it and appreciate its beauty.

But that beauty is expected to stay within reasonable bounds.  The bamboo disagrees, determinedly marching up the slope of our garden towards the house.  It sends out small scouting sprouts ahead of its main force.  We must stay on top of these year round, as they seek to colonize every bed and pathway.  The bamboo’s main assault begins in late April, as its new stalks emerge.



We allow a certain number of these to grow each spring, and it seems that we give up another few feet of garden to the ‘bamboo forest’ with each passing year.  What would happen if we were away in May?  Could we find the house when we returned?

Every day we seek out and remove the new bamboo stalks growing in spots we cannot allow.  The squirrels appreciate our efforts, and feast on the broken shoots we leave for them.



And so it was that we were out early this morning, me with the pots and saucers, and attacking the new bamboo that emerged over night.  This constant stream of moisture has encouraged its audacity.

As we made another tour of the garden during a break in the rain this afternoon, my partner called me over to see one of our garden visitors.


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She was hiding under a very large sage plant.  At least I hope she was hiding, and had not dug a nest to lay her eggs.

The turtles like our garden.  We find them resting in the greenness of forgotten places, and try to always give them their peace.  They repay us by eating their share of bugs each day.



But just as I settled in to re-plant another pot or two with Caladiums, the brief sunshine was blotted out by another passing, rain soaked cloud.  Large cold drops of rain splattered down much quicker than I expected, leaving me all wet once again.



And so there is nothing to do but enjoy the luxury of a rainy afternoon indoors.  The coffee is made, and I’ll soon be off to enjoy a good book with the cat curled up by my feet.



Woodland Gnome 2018


Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious; let’s infect one another!

WPC: From Every Angle

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Photography teaches the great life lesson to examine things from many different angles.


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What we perceive from a single point of view rarely gives us enough information.  We need to not only look more closely, we often need to come at a thing from a different place, too.


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But of course it takes time; and it requires a certain flexibility of mind.

I began taking photos when I was given an old Brownie camera in the late 60s.  I was just starting grade school, and the camera went with me on a field trip to Maymont Park in Richmond.  I had great fun that spring day exploring the park with  my classmates, and taking photos to record it all.  That was probably my first real photo outing, and the little black and white photos were precious to me for a long time.


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But in those days, children weren’t encouraged to take a lot of photos.  The pictures were expensive to develop, and kids aren’t always the best photographers.  A gift of film from my parents was a rare treat.

Eventually, I grew into better and better cameras with lots of lenses and filters, settings and gizmos.  Each shot was carefully planned.  But what I gained in technique, I often lost in spontaneity.


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Most kids today have their own digital camera built into their phones.  Every kid can be a photographer, and there is no expense for film and processing to serve as an obstacle to exploring the world through photos.  Taking photos has become a part of daily life.

I wonder whether this freedom to photograph and explore with digital photography changes how today’s kids see their world?


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I was thrilled to use my first digital camera.   A memory chip gives one the freedom to take photo after photo of an interesting subject without counting frames.  It allows us to explore a subject in depth; to probe, to experiment, to tell a story; and to simply play.


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We can consider our world from every angle, and perhaps broaden our understanding in the process.


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Woodland Gnome 2015

For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle


Turtles of Virginia


One Word Photo Challenge: Gold

One Word Photo Challenge:  Golden Turtle


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Our Eastern Box turtles have remained in the garden this week.

This one was enjoying the cool shade of our butterfly garden, and its mate was nearby in some tall grass.

I found them while watering, weeding  and trimming earlier today, a golden opportunity to enjoy the wild creatures who live here with us.


Bits of dirt from my weeding landed on this poor fellow's shell.  I heard him moving at my feet, and managed to  take his photo, and move out of the bed, without causing him any further disturbance.

Bits of dirt from my weeding landed on this poor fellow’s shell. I heard him moving at my feet, and managed to take his photo, and move out of the bed, without causing him any further disturbance.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


With appreciation  to Jennifer Nichole Wells for her One World Photo Challenge: Gold

Turtles in Our Garden

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A slight movement under the Coreopsis caught my eye this morning while I as watering in the lower garden.

Moving closer, bright orange markings moved slowly between the leaves.  I quietly approached and saw a good sized turtle lumbering across the wet Earth.

I wanted photos to share with you, and made a quick trip back inside for my little camera.

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Now, if you’ve ever tried to photograph a moving turtle crawling under the foliage of a flowerbed you understand the challenge I faced.

And so I silently walked around the perimeter of the bed looking for an intelligible angle for the shot.

But, something was odd.  Body parts weren’t where body parts would be expected to be on such a simple creature.

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Slowly I realized this wasn’t one turtle hiding from my lens, but two!

I had intruded upon a couple of turtles seeking a private interlude between the Coreopsis and the Salvia.

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So, having been raised with manners, I backed away, powered down the camera, and stashed it in a pocket while I returned to watering…. elsewhere.

Eventually I dragged the hose back uphill and headed for the long butterfly garden.  Newly planted Basil would appreciate some moisture in the soil before the heat of the day set in.

But once again, something orange was moving beneath the foliage.

And once again, I turned off the water and silently moved in for a closer look.

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Another turtle!  Which, of course, meant more turtle photos this morning.  My reward for kindness and discretion, no doubt.

We’ve been finding Eastern Box turtles in this garden from time to time.

There was the tiny guy in early spring burrowed in the hillside where I was weeding.

I gently moved him out of the bed and into a wooded area… only to find him returned to his burrow an hour later.

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My partner has found turtles on this bank several times when he’s been out mowing and trimming.   We leave them be, or gently move them out of harm’s way whenever we find them in garden or street.

Eliza Waters also encountered a wood turtle this weekend, in her garden, and took some wonderful photos of the large female she found.  Please visit her post for more information on the meaning of turtles.

It must be the season when turtles allow themselves to be seen…..

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And we appreciate all who come to the garden to help us along with tending it.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

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