The monthly Picture This Photo Contest sponsored by Gardening Gone Wild has the theme Abundant Harvest. I can’t say we currently have sufficient output from the vegetable garden to qualify for abundant harvest. I could harvest all those Cosmos that I pictured in my previous post but that seems a bit wasteful — to pick all those flowers just for a photo op. So instead, consistent with the GGW guidance, I explored some of our previous harvests.
I went through our many picking basket shots
and the various apple baskets
and the many flower bouquets
and even the wild wineberries that we harvest.
I even looked at the fiddlehead fern salad that we enjoyed in Boston
but I found nothing that so profoundly expressed the theme of Abundant Harvest as this image from the Lake Market in Calcutta. This will be my submission to the October Photo Contest…
To fully appreciate this scene you have to understand that these vegetables arrive in the middle of the Calcutta metropolis from market gardens in the suburbs only by a difficult early morning journey (the traffic is incredible) and then they will all be sold that day (forget about refrigeration) for use later the same day. While Calcutta may not be on everyone’s tour list for the first trip to India I guarantee that a visit to Lake Market will make you think carefully about what you have gained and what you have lost with the demise of the farm/market economy. Most of the crop land around Calcutta is incredibly productive with as many as three crops a year. We toured one farm that was about as big as our own 7 acres and it made us think twice to realize how many people were supported by the same quantity of land in the suburbs of populous Calcutta.
Today is GB Bloom Day for October, a tradition started by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. I took a brief walkabout yesterday and noted there were indeed still some flowers doing their best to have us take notice before the anticipated freeze that should come in about a week or so if the weather is on schedule. Place of honor has to go to the Cosmos.
The bees are very fond of the Cosmos (of course they don’t have as much to choose from as the season runs down.
And other annuals like Zinnias and Marigolds are still very much in play.
The Dahlias are at their best in the Fall. These colorful flowers are better and better right up until frost.
I’ll have to see if I can see the label on this one when it’s daylight (*Jonathan says it’s Gallery Pablo and I believe that’s right).
The cyclamens that we bought from Seneca Hills last Spring are also looking better as the season progresses. All three plants purchased have come into flower.
The surprise for us this week was the Pineapple Sage that Beth planted last Spring in the herb garden. It’s supposed to take a long time to flower and it did. But it’s a very nice flower once it comes.
Aside from the blooms, we also had a butterfly visitor that I hadn’t noticed before flying through the orchard. It’s name really is the Question Mark — that’s not a stand-in for not knowing the name.
The season is well marked by that Sugar Maple that I mentioned earlier. This tree almost died in our front yard, exposed to the winter winds. When I moved it to the forest (dragged by a logging chain because it was quite big even then), it prospered.
Another sign of Fall is the steady stream of honkers passing overhead. The Canada Geese are abundant over at Lilypons where I returned again this week looking for bird pictures after last weeks successful visit.
This supermacro photo of the center of a Gaillardia flower is a birthday gift for Tuna. She is the queen of small things and has taught me to appreciate objects like the tiny Epimedium flowers that my aged eyes might otherwise have missed. Indeed I’ve found whole new worlds of beauty within the objects that I might otherwise pass by. Included with the gift of this photo is the software that I used to create it. Or at least the recommendation that Tuna should cash the check that we are sending and consider using it to purchase the Helicon Focus software that lets you combine pictures taken at different planes of focus in order to create a picture with extremely sharp focus over the whole image. This is particularly useful for macro photography but also applies to landscape photography when you want to maintain both near and far objects in focus. The company makes a complete working version of the software available for 30 days.
Other samples of my experimentations on Macros using this approach are shown below:
Happy Birthday Tuna!
I went to Lilypons yesterday with photography in mind. I expected that with all of their ponds I might see some water birds. They have about 250 acres of ponds and water gardens and specialize in water plants and fish. The visit more than filled my expectations. I walked around the outer perimeter just exploring what is at times almost a tropical path with water on both sides of the walk (Lilypons abuts the Monocacy River). The first thing that struck me were the incredible flocks of Tree Swallows.
They were continually swooping and diving above the various ponds, even going into the water to grab insects. I have never seen so many swallows at once. On the far side of the property there were many, many Tree Swallows sitting on the telephone wires.
Along the ponds were numerous wildflowers, such as Ironweed.
And of course Goldenrod.
The real surprise that awaited was on the far side of the ponds where I came upon this Great Blue Heron.
At first as I began taking pictures and walking toward the Heron I thought he was going to leave at any moment. Then I began to think he was accustomed to people. It turned out that he was much more interested in his dinner than in this slow moving photographer. All of a sudden he tensed and darted downward grabbing a good sized snake. I barely had the presence of mind to grab a photo.
I followed him around to the next pond over where he took his prize. He then proceeded to eat the snake by swallowing it whole. This is more difficult that you would think when you don’t have any hands…
Of course Lilypons doesn’t exist just to keep photographers happy. They also sell water plants and fish. They have sample gardens and ponds set up and publish a catalog as well. But I will be back to take pictures again in the future.
Ok, Jonathan came through with the correct ID of this lovely late Fall Sunflower that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. It’s one of the Blooms of Bressingham introductions and a fine one indeed. This is much more compact than the parent plants, only about 3 ‘ tall.
Not only did Jonathan correctly identify the plant from the description I posted but I found the label this morning that verified his ID. So I think he wins the first division of the plant next season…
Another Blooms of Bressingham plant that has done well for us this year is the Geranium ‘Rozanne’.
These spreading ground huggers started flowering in the Spring and have never stopped.
I also should have shared a picture of the Bishop of Llandaff Dahlias that have been a real treat for late Summer and Fall. Thanks to Jonathan for these.
We’re going through the last burst of flowering around here as the weather has been delightful — 70’s in the daytime and 50 at night. We could still use a bit more water but at these temperatures it’s not so bad. Probably the flowers capturing my eye the most at the moment are from a late purchase last year.
I’m not sure what these are anymore. The leaves are very narrow for a Helianthus but they seem quite late for a Heliopsis. In either case they are flowering up a storm right now and they are covered with buds. The buds have a very characteristic way of unrolling which I should recognize — anyway it looks familiar.
Of course in the Fall you expect to see Chysanthemums and they are certainly performing up to snuff.
I also found the New England Aster to be especially pretty this year. That purple/violet has way of electrifying the portion of the garden they inhabit.
And it’s hard not to sing praises to the Dahlias in the Fall. Even those in the garden where I no longer remember what the names are.
It’s also a time to be grateful for the younger me who planted a Viburnum by the deck twenty years ago (I think it’s Viburnum wrightii).
And then we have the more recent addition of a tiny Sedum forest in the rock garden.
Of course we are not the only ones planting on this property. The volunteer goldenrod plants are particularly spectacular at this time of year. The bees and other insects pleasure in the intricate yellow blooms.
Which Goldenrod this is will have to be subject of a separate post because there are a fair number that grow in Maryland.
The butterflies are still playing hereabouts. This cute little Skipper stopped by the Cosmos plantings but didn’t leave a detailed card with his name on it.
And nearby there was a spider that would be happy to dine on smaller insects.
Again the weather has been joyful and our froggie couple has been cuddling together watching the Fall flowers develop. May you enjoy the season as much as we have…