Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Busy as a . . .

Random cosmos picture. I just liked the color.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blooming in My Garden

I love the way this photo captures the moment when the flower-to-be is just peeking out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I have a new favorite garden. Chanticleer. Not sure what to expect from a “pleasure garden”, it was love at first sight. The gardens were enchanting despite the gray skies and intermittent downpours. If the gardens are this lovely this late in the season, then I can’t wait to see them in the spring and summer.

Photo of the Day

Dahlia in the Cutting Garden

I’m slowly being won over to dahlias. For many years, I’ve resisted them because of the work involved digging them up each fall and replanting them in the spring. The more I see of them on blogs and in person, the more tempted I am to try them.

I just loved this little spring house, photographing it from every conceivable angle and distance. It’s what I’ve been trying to do for years with the ugly shed in my backyard. The advantage here is full sun. My yard has mainly shade.

There were so many gorgeous trees.

Two views of the same garden.

You can see all of my photos of Chanticleer on Flickr.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blooming in My Garden

Anemone hupehensis ‘Prince Henry’

Isn't it amazing that fuzzy buds open and reveal this beautiful flower?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blooming in My Garden

Anemone Bud

I love the buds on the Anemone hupehensis ‘Prince Henry’ because they are fuzzy. I can't wait for the pink flowers.

Tagetes erecta 'Sunset Giants mix'

I've never been a big fan of marigolds. These were billed as heirloom by Burpee although no introduction date was provided to back up that claim. But who could resist a description that included mention of Gertrude Jekyll and her preference for drifts of tall marigolds in the middle or back of her borders? I have been very pleased with these and will be planting them again.

Rose Hip

The multitude of blossoms on my Seven Sisters rose have been replaced by a multitude of rose hips. Surprisingly, to date, nothing has been snacking on them.

Zinnia elegans 'Scarlet King'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blooming in My Garden

Anemone bud

My one truly hardy chrysanthemum is starting to bloom. Like the zinnias, I am documenting the buds opening.

Who is that in the web? The hunter or the hunted?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Blooming in My Garden

Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’

Aster novae-angliae ‘Purple Dome’

I'm so thrilled to see my New England Aster blooming. I've been trying to grow them from bare roots ordered from various catalogs for many years. Last year, I bought a plant from Well Sweep Herb Farm. I've had my fingers crossed all summer that it would bloom. It didn't disappoint.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Straw Hats Face-off in a Bake-off!

Hageman Farm, a nineteenth century farmhouse preserved by The Meadows Foundation, held their first annual Fall Festival today. In keeping with the autumnal theme and heirloom apples that were offered to the public to try, an Apple Pie Tasting Contest was held. The chairperson of the committee that oversees Hageman Farm, who happens to be our very own Headhatter, invited her fellow Straw Hat Society members who co-blog at The Wooden Spoon, to participate.

“A” and I jumped at the chance to show off our culinary talents. Get the results of the contest and our apple pie recipes over at The Wooden Spoon.

Hageman Farm

I was invited to participate in an apple pie contest today (more on that in my next post) at the Hageman Farm, a nineteenth century farmhouse preserved by The Meadows Foundation as part of their first annual Fall Festival. While waiting for the judging to begin, I wandered around the site taking photographs.

I could go on and on about the wonderful restoration work that has been done on the farmhouse and is going on in the cow barn, but instead I found myself drawn towards the structures and parts of structures that hadn’t been restored. The hand-hewn beams, stone foundations, old tools and ironwork called out to me as if begging to tell their stories of the people who had built this place and used these buildings and tools.

Those stories weren’t all recorded well today. I am still struggling with my new camera. Each shoot shows more of what it can do and what I need to learn to get more out of it. One story did come out well resulting in the Photo of the Day:

Here are a few more of my favorite shots from today.

This shot would have been in the running for Photo of the Day if it had been straight. At first I was disappointed by the intrusion of the tree branches but after further consideration decided that they added rather than detracted from the picture. I love the geometric patterns and the wonderful blue of the sky. It is a blue that you only see in the autumn.

I’m going to have to start carrying around a cheat sheet of settings for various lighting situations. I know that there is a way to have photographed this with more light in the room and the ugly scenery in the window blurred. I’ve lightened this up a little in Photoshop. It was a gorgeous setting.

Fellow Straw-hatter, “A”, pointed out this grasshopper to me. Too bad that the flower he was resting on wasn’t more attractive. The zinnias in the borders along the walk were incredible. I hope that the caretaker of the property will tell me what mix he uses.

You can see all of my photos of Hageman Farm on Flickr.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blooming in My Garden








Spider on Lavender

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September in The Gardens

Look up the word blowzy in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of the Display Gardens at Rutgers Gardens in September. Still colorful, the formerly neat beds overflow onto the lawn. Once straight stalks are now bent under the weight of a summer’s worth of flowers. There is color everywhere. It’s as if the entire garden is desperately trying to hold off the inexorable march of the season towards the killing frosts of fall.

I brought my camera with me today to try and capture the glory of the gardens in September. After I had done some much needed work on my plot, of course. The cleome, now gone to seed, was removed and the cosmos, calendula and marigolds deadheaded to prolong their flowering for as long as possible. Then it was off to enjoy and record the late season beauty.

First, I give you the Photo of the Day:

Lion's Tail

I love the strong verticals set off by the horizontal leaves. The flowers haven’t opened yet so their vivid orange is just a splash of color amongst the bright green of the foliage.

Backgrounds are a big problem for me at home where my yard is enclosed by an ugly chainlink fence. Because my property is so small, it’s virtually impossible to take photos without the fence making an unwelcome appearance in the rear. When I am shooting in a garden other than my own, I have a bad habit of overlooking the background when concentrating on a particular plant. Today, I made a point of experimenting with various backgrounds.

Not bad, but the background is too busy. Let’s try another angle.

Nope, that looks lopsided. Too busy on one side.

Okay, that’s better although I’ve lost the emphasis on the grass. I do like that background.

Another assignment that I gave myself was to avoid photos like this:

I caught that one in time to be able to take another one without the offending branch:

I missed this one:

But caught this one:

Last week, I checked out a wonderful book on digital photography from my local library, The Betterphoto Guide to Digital Photography. I’ll do a full review of it when my own copy arrives from Amazon.com. While I’m waiting for it, I tried some of the techniques I read about.

Turn around. The author recommends when shooting, turning around to see what’s behind you. In this case, I always shoot this arbor looking in towards the Log Cabin. Today, I tried shooting it looking out from the Log Cabin.

My first photos included the branch as a framing device, another recommendation. I wasn’t happy with the result, so I moved forward to eliminate the branch.

My subsequent photos used the path to draw the viewer into the scene as suggested in the chapters on composition.

On my way in to The Gardens, I saw stands of golden rod along the entry road. On my way out, I spent some time photographing them using different apertures, focal lengths and shutter speeds.

You can see all of the pictures I took today on Flickr.