Fabulous Friday: Lushness

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It is simply fabulous to notice winter’s bare vines and stems suddenly cloaked in soft new leaves.  Emerging leaves look soft and moist; their colors nearly translucent.

These grapevines cover the rails of our porch, and a Clematis grows entwined with them.   Soft and pliable now, these new green vines will harden by summer’s end.

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Even as much of the country still measures their snow in feet, spring melts into summer here in coastal Virginia.  It is fabulously lush and lovely here on this last Friday of April. 

If spring has not yet found your garden, I trust its lush beauty will soon touch you, too.

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Peony with emerging Monarda and rose leaves

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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I’ve  set an intention to find some wonderful, beautiful, and happiness inducing thing to photograph each Friday.   If you’re moved to find something Fabulous to share on Fridays as well, please tag your post “Fabulous Friday” and link your post back to mine. 

Happiness is contagious!  Let’s infect one another!

 

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Portraits: May Flowers

R. 'Crown Princess Margareta'

R. ‘Crown Princess Margareta’

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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in-

-what more could he ask?

A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

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Victor Hugo

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The first of summer's perennial Geraniums bloom alongside the last of winter's Hellebores.

The first of summer’s perennial Geraniums bloom alongside the last of winter’s Hellebores.

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Photographing flowers in the garden, for me, is like taking photos of much loved children, favorite pets, and well loved vistas from one’s own front porch.  It is a gesture of love and appreciation; a desire to capture the magic of a  moment in time. 

These portraits transform a fleeting moment into something tangible to keep, to share, and to return to in the depths of winter.

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Are they fairies dancing at dusk? No, the strawberry begonias, Saxifraga stolonifera, have finally bloomed.

Are they fairies dancing at dusk? No, the strawberry begonias, Saxifraga stolonifera, finally have bloomed.  Their evergreen leaves persisted through every kind of weather this winter to cover themselves in flowers in May.

 

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“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Peony

Peony

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Edna expresses perfectly how I feel about our flowers.  Lovely as they are in the garden, I’m always sad to cut them and bring them indoors.  I still do it occasionally, and have posted photos of flower filled vases from time to time. 

As much as I admire flowers arranged and elevated as objects d’arte, I love them best still growing in the garden; pulsing with life, feeding the pollinators, and moving with the wind and sun.  I would rather photograph our flowers than cut them….

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Comphrey

Comphrey

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“People from a planet without flowers

would think we must be mad with joy the whole time

to have such things about us.”

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Iris Murdoch

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Iris 'Immortality' with Comphrey.

Iris ‘Immortality’ with Comphrey.

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“A weed is but an unloved flower.”

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Perennial Geranium is a North American native plant and oh so useful and reliable in the garden. What a perfect shade of blue!

Perennial Geranium is a North American native plant and oh so useful and reliable in the garden. What a perfect shade of blue!

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What is the difference between a flower and a weed?  Only how much it is valued, and whether it is welcomed by the gardener.  Some of Europe’s most admired landscape architects are showing us how native plants may be incorporated into our gardens as treasured ornamentals.  I’m thinking of Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury, whose book Planting:  A New Perspective I’ve been reading this month.  I’ll devote a post to this book one day soon, but now I’m still digesting it. 

Their book challenges all of us to take a fresh look at those shrubs, flowers and grasses we’ve mentally discarded as not being up to our horticultural standard for beauty.  Perhaps there is something there of value after all; something which allows us to create a new sort of garden which manages itself, remains beautiful through all the seasons, and requires less water, fertilizer, time and investment from the gardener…..

Something hardy, simple and beautiful to bring us joy….

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This Iris, 'Secret Rites,' is new to the garden this season. Certainly not a native plant, it is a tough and reliable perennial. Oudolph and Kingsbury rely on these tough German bearded Iris in many of their designs.

This Iris, ‘Secret Rites,’ is new to the garden this season. Certainly not a native plant, it is a tough and reliable perennial. Oudolph and Kingsbury rely on tough German bearded Iris in many of their designs.

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“Nobody sees a flower – really –

it is so small it takes time –

we haven’t time –

and to see takes time,

like to have a friend takes time.”

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Georgia O’Keeffe

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These yellow Iris grow wild along marshes and creeks in our area, as well as in our garden. They go on year after year with minimal care and maximum beauty.

These yellow  flag Iris grow wild along marshes and creeks in our area, as well as in our garden. They go on year after year with minimal care and maximum beauty. 

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Photography, like other art forms, is practiced as a joyful expression and as a discipline.  There is no harsh connotation to ‘discipline’ here; only that one takes photos intentionally, thoughtfully, and regularly.  Making photos on an almost daily basis allows me to slow down and see our garden in a particular way that I wouldn’t, if not through the camera’s lens. 

Working with the photos later at the computer:  cropping, adjusting the contrast and light, meditating on the captured forms; allows me to see each flower, leaf and horizon with a different focus that I do in daily passing.  I see more deeply perhaps.  Certainly with more concentration than when I’m distracted by a buzzing insect or by the tasks remaining on my daily list. 

Framing the subject, cropping out the extraneous, taking time to appreciate those small details builds appreciation and familiarity.  Like inviting a friend for tea, one takes the time to concentrate, appreciate, listen, and love.  The relationship transforms from acquaintance to co-conspirator in this mystery of life.

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Tea roses

Tea roses

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“I must have flowers, always, and always.”

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Claude Monet

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R., 'Lichfield Angel'

R., ‘Lichfield Angel’

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Perhaps Monet and I could have been friends, since I share his passion for beauty, flowers, and evolving gardens.  As passionate about gardening as about painting, Monet found happiness with both. 

Without his talent for painting, I content myself with making portraits of our garden with my little camera.  But like Monet, “I must have flowers, always, always…. “

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R. 'Lady of Shallott'

R. ‘Lady of Shallott’

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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May 13, 2016 Begonias 007

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“God will reward you,’ he said.

‘You must be an angel since you care for flowers.”

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Victor Hugo

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May 13, 2016 Begonias 040

 

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