Friday, September 27, 2013

Instant Snapshots in Time

Cleomi blooms in my family's yard in Mulberry Point, Guilford. Circa 1980. Click to enlarge these period shots, as always.

Aging Polaroids Fade to Painting-like Images

I recently found a small decorative covered tin full of old Polaroids and Kodak Instant Camera photos. They've faded, were fairly blurry to start with, but have a great charm to them. They're very particular snapshots in time of small details from my past. 

We had several different colors of Columbine, ranging from a dark red, to lavender to dark bluish-purple, and most of them had a variation with white, too. I transplanted them into every garden on the property, and we had more than twenty flowerbeds!
Another interesting shot of the Columbine. The depth of field in Polaroids can really give some artistic images. I miss using cameras like this on a daily basis.
Coral Bells and a vintage red bucket of hens-and-chickens. Purple Iris can be seen in the background. There were flowers everywhere in our yard, more flowers than grass.

Cut flowers in one of my Guilford apartments around 1985. this photo has aged into a painting just about!
My antique dolls in a Polaroid shot around 1985 in my Strawberry Hill apartment. I still have them, and their chairs, and almost everything else in these photos, lol.
My mom's Spirea bush circa 1980. It had a musky aroma, but the flowers were beautiful, a smoky-rose color that went with so many other brighter colors for balance. I used them in arrangements a lot.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Taking a Curtain Call: Last Minute Dahlia Beauty

"Opening Night from Backstage"—Shot just a few minutes ago in the garden. Perhaps he's singing a selection from Hello Dahlia. . .

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Volunteers' Verve: Surprise Tomatoes Thriving

To briefly recap, I wasn't going to grow any tomatoes this year. I spent a lot of money last year on twenty-four organic heirloom plants. I had 6-7 different varieties. Most withered and died. The plum tomatoes did really well, but it was too much work for too little reward. Now I hear we had a tomato blight last year. Oh, well! Back to this year—ALL sixteen of my current tomato plants came up on their own, right in the middle of where they were last year. Only problem was I had already planted 12 dahlias, 24 zinnias, a few Celosia, black-eyed Susans, cosmos, morning glories, and sunflowers. Most of the latter annuals were decimated by the spring rabbits and chipmunks, but the zinnias and dahlias remained. Above, San Marzano plum tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness.

Plum tomatoes taking on colors. Looks like a traffic light with red on top, yellow in the middle, and green at the bottom.

I call this my "wall of tomatoes." I pruned most of the lower leaves on all the plant a couple of weeks ago. I prune to just about the 4-foot level, allowing the fruit to get the most sun, The leaves at the top get plenty of sun to generate growth down the stems.

Beautiful San Marzano tomatoes best suited for sauce in my opinion. I don't find plum tomatoes that delicious raw. Big, fat, juicy Cherokee Purples, Brandywines, Celebrities, all delicious garden fresh and raw. But the sauce is just wonderful from plums.

The flowers at the top are still giving off new fruit. There are tomatoes from the 1-foot to the 5-foot level on every plant. I have eleven San Marzano plums, one yellow cherry, and four of the mystery round green tomatoes. I'm hoping they're Green Zebras, a variety that died early last year, only giving me one tomato.

This is the latest dahlia to bloom, "Midnight Dancer," a beautiful dark purple and dark red multi-petaled variety. It's just gorgeous. I'll have lots of photos of this plant in the future. Look at the clumps of green tomatoes in the background. Veggies and flowers grew together next to each other this year.

This is the mystery tomato variety. I have four of these plants, all clustered around where a Green Zebra was last year. Here's hoping! It's one of the sweetest tomatoes there is, but it's already late September and they're barely ripening. They still may be red tomatoes. We'll know soon enough  if they have another couple of weeks without a frost! I count more than one hundred green tomatoes.

Bonus Photo
This is a good view of Midnight Dancer, a dark red/dark purple, multipetaled dahlia. It has purple stems, too. I hope we have a few more weeks without frost so these dahlias can give some great flowers! They take so long to mature in Connecticut that they only have a few weeks of actual blossoming.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Just to my Left, Still Life in a Glass

This series of photographs began with a glance to my left as I was sitting at my desk working. I had thrown some very short nasturtiums from the garden into a short drinking glass—a nice, blue crystal glass, but a drinking glass nonetheless. Small air bubbles were forming in the water, the grain of the antique table it's resting on added to the color and texture, One of the blossoms was submerged and was forming bubbles around it, too. I took the camera and placed it right on the table with the lens at varying distances, sometimes right up to the glass. The camera was resting on the solid surface so it could be a slower exposure. I love the way every part of these images turned out, from the blurred areas to the most sharp. Bubbles became crystal pearls. I could see these enlarged and printed out as is. The impromptu arrangement, from above, is here, and all photos are clickable to enlarge. They look best big, lol!

Nasturtiums, Water-filled Blue Drinking Glass:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pretty Inside, Too

Just a few nasturtiums in a small drinking glass. on an antique wooden table. Simplicity and beauty often go together.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A "Jewel" of a Weed

This is the beautiful blossom of the perennial, indigenous Jewelweed plant so common all around New England. With all the big storms we've had in the past few years, knocking down shade-producing trees and flattening 15-foot high wild rose bushes, this perennial has been growing and spreading like crazy. We have hundreds of feet of this plant, almost 6-foot tall, lining the driveways and unmowed areas of Pink Gardens. The flowers are small, but beautifully shaped, almost Orchid-like. The stems are thick but soft, full of a "juice" that is a natural antidote for poison ivy and other skin rashes. It's almost a natural calamine lotion. You can just break a stem and rub it on your rash or cut down a bunch of them and chop it up in a blender making a salve.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And Now For Something Different . . .

For the past three nights, I've had a new "buddy" show up at Pink Gardens! This little frog has decided to jump up on the window closest to where I sit and just stare at me, lol. I live on the second floor, but there is a tree right on the corner of the porch roof, so I guess frogs climb trees. I think he must be attracted to the bugs that congregate outside this window because of the lights inside. I just wonder why after so many years living here, I've never had this happen before! At first it sounds like a suitor is throwing a pebble at my window, but no such luck, lol. It's just this happy-go-lucky frog looking for a night-time snack!

His coloring is so distinctive, as is the texture of his skin. I'm fascinated by the way his "fingers" act like suction cups, too, clinging to the smooth glass of the window. You just never know who's going to show up at Pink Gardens!