WPC: Surprise

Athyrium niponicum ‘Joy Ride’

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The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week invites us to explore the often overlooked details in form.  A ‘macro-lens view’ opens up new worlds of beauty.

Often, in the hurry of our daily lives, we glance around us and take the world into consciousness in chunks of meaning.  We register the traffic moving around us, the child moving towards us, the inventory of our fridge. Even in the garden, we register our landscape in chunks of form and color.

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It takes undistracted time to focus the lens of our mind on the tiniest of details, like the uncurling fronds opening on our ferns this week.  This annual springtime show might otherwise be overlooked as the garden explodes in color and fragrance.

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Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’

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Who can pass a fragrant Iris to contemplate a tiny fern?  Only the child or the gardener!  Our eyes train on those tiniest of details as we pace the paths of our garden each day, documenting what changes have unfolded since our last visit.

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Fiddlehead of Brilliance autumn fern

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I had a few minutes to wander this morning, camera in hand, as I waited for a friend’s arrival.  And although I couldn’t pass the Iris without capturing another shot or two, I also spent time with several of our ferns.

Jen kindly crafted a challenge this week especially for us craven gardeners, who must photograph our flowers in minute detail.  But because that was the model she set, I decided to leave flowers to others this time, (well, almost….) and instead focus on the elegant and fascinating details found only in the leaves of ferns.

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The Japanese Painted ferns, Athyrium niponicum, have just emerged from their winter dormancy.  Their fragile fronds disappear after a heavy frost each autumn, to reappear quite suddenly and surprisingly some warm spring day.

They are one of the most beautiful surprises our garden offers us each spring.  I realized today, in sharing our garden with friends, that we have something of a collection now of Athyrium niponicum cultivars.

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Athyrium ‘Branford Beauty’

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Not that I intended to make a collection of them, I simply like them and wanted to watch some of the different varieties grow out.  I have ordered a few, like A. ‘Joy Ride’, A. ‘Branford Beauty,’ and A. ‘Burgundy Lace’ from Plant Delights Nursery near Raleigh, NC, in years past.  They carry a staggering and surprisingly wonderful variety of ferns and other unusual perennials which do well in our Zone 7 climate.

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I am still lusting after A. ‘Lemon Cream,’ A. ‘Godzilla’ and A. ‘Thrill Seeker.’  And that lust will go unrequited for the foreseeable future, it seems, as their shipping charges just keep climbing each year.  Now that the minimum shipping charge is nearly $30, I am seeking out these wonderful cultivars locally, and asking our nearby nurseries to consider stocking these beautiful new varieties.

I was absolutely thrilled to find a beautiful pot of A. ‘Ghost’ at Green Planters, Inc., in Gloucester earlier this week.  I will be returning, as they carry a satisfying selection of native ferns in addition to their various Japanese Painted ferns and other cultivars.

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The best ferns in our garden, year round, are our Autumn Brilliance, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’.  Their tough, but graceful fronds weather sun, rain, drought wind and winter.  Who could ask for more?

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These sturdy clumps expand a bit each year, and each new year’s fronds seem a few inches taller than the last.  We’re not talking tree ferns, of course, but the older ferns make a substantial presence.  What I admire in these ferns is their wonderful bronze color as  new fronds emerge each spring.

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As each frond unfolds, the hairy brown fiddleheads relax into soft, shiny fresh rose-gold leaves.  It is quite a show and goes on for several weeks.  By mid-summer, each leaf will have relaxed further into a soft medium green.  It’s not until winter that the same fiddlehead brown begins to frost the edges of the mature fronds once again.

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It is the surprising beauty of leaves which carries our garden through the seasons.  Flowers come and go all too quickly.  They may delight with a bold color or enticing scent.  But flowers prove ephemeral by nature.

They are only there long enough to lure a bee, butterfly or hummingbird to pollinate them. so they can get down to their real business of seed production.  Even the hybrids seem confused on this point, and fade far too quickly despite their sterility.  Like kids gone off to college, what is left behind is none too pleasant to look at, oftentimes….

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But leaves prove their worth and loyalty; offering sum and substance, color, drama and incredible detail.

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Woodland Gnome 2017

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise!

 

Grace

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Graceful

Effortless harmony

Fluid movement

Elegance in motion.

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Graceful beauty

Attracts our notice…..

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Holds our attention;

Mesmerizes.

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A spontaneous meditation

On the beauty of this world,

Nature’s portal to peace:

Grace

May be found within

and without….

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Gracefully, gratefully,

We join the dance eternal.

We feel nature’s rhythms of wind and wing,

wobble and wave.

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Gracefully, we flow in at-oneness

with our world,

Breathing, becoming, bestowing,

Grace.

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Woodland Gnome 2017

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“Grace is what picks me up

and lifts my wings high above and I fly!

Grace always conquers!

Be graceful in everything;

in anger, in sadness,

in joy, in kindness, in unkindness,

retain grace with you!”


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C. JoyBell

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Graceful

Altered Perspective…. ?

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The world looks a bit odd in December, don’t you think?  The newly bare landscape can sometimes surprise and delight us.

Here are just a few clics I captured earlier this week.

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Can you figure out what you’re seeing?

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“Heresy is the eternal dawn, the morning star,

the glittering herald of the day.

Heresy is the last and best thought.

It is the perpetual New World, the unknown sea,

toward which the brave all sail.

It is the eternal horizon of progress.

Heresy extends the hospitalities of the brain to a new thought.

Heresy is a cradle; orthodoxy, a coffin.”

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Robert G. Ingersoll

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“Watching the infinite horizons gives you infinite dreams,

infinite ideas, infinite paths!

Choose a great target

and then you will see that great instruments will appear

for you to reach that target!”


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Mehmet Murat ildan

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“In the most surreal, the most joyful,

the most beautiful, the most intense,

the most alive moments of life,

you are absorbed into the horizon

which is at its most invisible,

elusive, perfect blend of sky and sea.”

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Connie Kerbs

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  New Horizon

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

Wednesday Vignettes: Transformation

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“Sorrow prepares you for joy.

It violently sweeps everything out of your house,

so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves

from the bough of your heart,

so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

It pulls up the rotten roots,

so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,

far better things will take their place.”

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Jalaluddin Rumi

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

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“When you become the image of your own imagination,
it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.”
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RuPaul

WPC: Mirror

August 19, 2016 birds 013

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“It is when you lose sight of yourself, that you lose your way.
To keep your truth in sight
you must keep yourself in sight
and the world to you should be a mirror to reflect to you your image;
the world should be a mirror that you reflect upon.”
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C. JoyBell C.

 

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Mirror

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

Nature Challenge Day 7: In Motion

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Everything we know, everything we dream, remains in motion. 

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Never a second of stillness or rest; every particle of our lives from the most distant star to the tiniest electron in our heart, remains dizzily spinning its dance of life.

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And so it is with every bird and fish, every drop of water, and everything green and growing. 

Our only response remains to dance along with life. 

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Some may wish to grasp the moment and hold it still; to stop time, if only for a little while. 

But if we ever succeed, we find that moment opening into a doorway to the deeper layers of life.  We pass through to some wider knowing, some greater vision.  But we remain in motion along the winding path of our being.

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And so we become ‘Lords and Ladies of the Dance,’ flowing along with the worlds we shape. 

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We hear the humming of insects, the crashing of waves, the crack of thunder, the whistling of wind, the call of geese, and a newborn’s cry as echoes of our own voice; the sound of life in motion.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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Blogging friend, Y., invited me to join the Seven Day Nature Challenge last Saturday from her new site, In the Zone.  I appreciate the invitation, as it has challenged me to find something to post each day over the last week.  I have enjoyed sharing some of the beauty of a Virginia May with everyone who visits Forest Garden.  And I’ve definitely enjoyed the daily exchange in comments with Y., and everyone else who has left a comment this week.

For this seventh day and last day of the challenge, I’ll invite you again to join in. This challenge has been out there for a while, and many nature photographers have already participated.  If you would like to take up the challenge, please accept in the comments and I’ll link back to you in a follow up post.

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May 29, 2016 white 002

 

 

Kaleidoscope World

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We returned to Jones Mill Pond this afternoon.  The swans were nowhere in sight, but the far bank shone with pale pink Mountain Laurel in full bloom.

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May has remained cool and wet; those rare days when we see the sun luring us outside to enjoy a few hours in the garden.  Abundant rain feeds abundant growth.  Every tree and shrub has cloaked itself in verdant leaves; fresh, vibrant, and lush.

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Wave after wave of spring blossoms linger in these moist and cool days, embellished with raindrops and growing to gigantic proportion.

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We feel surrounded by a Kaleidoscopic world of green.  Every stem and blade stretches itself from one hour to the next, as though this May will last forever.

Paths close with encroaching vegetation, all hard edges blurred by expanding green.

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The opposite shore glowed even on this dull day between rain showers.  The spongy ground sank beneath my every step as I clambered around the near bank of the pond, taking photos down the coves and hoping to catch a glimpse of the swans at rest.

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It was utterly silent; no croaking frogs or calling birds to break the spell.  We’d seen turtles along the way, driven from their usual spots by this morning’s torrential rains.

But none were visible at the pond.

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Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

Found along the way, near Jamestown, this wise old turtle held its ground as I took photos.

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Asclepias stands ready to feed hungry Monarch larvae.  Hundreds of flowers offer up their nectar filled blossoms.

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There is cover for every creeping, slithering, nesting and burrowing creature wanting a home.  But they did not show themselves this afternoon.  Maybe they had found other shelter, still waiting for the next shower they could feel drawing ever closer.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

~May 21, 2016 garden 020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Dinner: Transition

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“A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me

with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is

any more than he.”

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Walt Whitman

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“In all affairs

it’s a healthy thing now and then

to hang a question mark

on the things you have long taken for granted.”

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Bertrand Russell

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“In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.”

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Jeanette Winterson

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“Light precedes every transition.

Whether at the end of a tunnel,

through a crack in the door

or the flash of an idea,

it is always there,

heralding a new beginning.”

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Teresa Tsalaky

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“ ‘Siri, what is the meaning of life?’

She answers: ‘ To think about questions like this.’

Huh. Good one.”

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Kim Wright 

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

All photos at Jones Millpond from the Colonial Parkway in York County, Virginia

 

 

 

WPC: Symmetry

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

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Symmetry:  Balance, harmony, proportion, beauty.

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Begonia Rex

Begonia Rex

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Our understanding of symmetry grows as we observe how life unfurls itself in perfect patterns of color and form.

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Lady Fern

Lady Fern

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Intelligent design; organic evolution.

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Bird's Nest Fern

Bird’s Nest Fern

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 Coherence.

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The most advanced mathematics may be known from meditating on the intricacies of leaf and stem, limb and wing.

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The universal symphony finds its score in the unfolding of every spring and the dissolution of every autumn.  Symmetry is music made visible.

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Strawberry Begonia

Strawberry Begonia

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Maintaining symmetry within our own selves may be the key to our happiness.  We find wisdom in the balance

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Caladium

Caladium

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Seeing beyond symmetry to its essence may offer a glimpse of the infinite; and enfold us in the peace which passes our understanding.

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Begonia Rex

Begonia Rex

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The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Symmetry

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Woodland Gnome 2014-2015

 

Symmetry

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“Symmetry, as wide or as narrow as you may define its meaning,
is one idea by which man through the ages
has tried to comprehend and create order, beauty and perfection. “
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Hermann Weyl

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“No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry. All admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.
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All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.
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John Ruskin
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We have simply arrived too late in the history of the universe to see this primordial simplicity easily …
But although the symmetries are hidden from us, we can sense that they are latent in nature, governing everything about us.
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That’s the most exciting idea I know: that nature is much simpler
than it looks.
Nothing makes me more hopeful that our generation of human beings
may actually hold the key to the universe in our hands—
that perhaps in our lifetimes we may be able to tell why all of what we see in this immense universe of galaxies and particles is logically inevitable.
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Steven Weinberg
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“The most general law in nature is equity-
the principle of balance and symmetry
which guides the growth of forms along the lines
of the greatest structural efficiency.
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Herbert Read
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014
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June 10, 2014 wait for it 029

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