Posted tagged ‘spring’

Beauty Within and Without – Visiting the Franciscan Monastery

November 21, 2015

In Northeast Washington DC, in the Brookland neighborhood, sits the lovely Franciscan Monastery.  Earlier this week, a group from my camera club took a field trip there.

Although I had been to the Monastery before, it was only in springtime, and I didn’t venture inside.  That time of year, tulips are lavishly planted on the grounds and around all parts of the garden areas.

Franciscan Monastery_20140428_0094

A statue of Mary, arms full of flowers, in the lower level of the gardens, the week before Easter.

Franciscan Monastery

More tulips near the Church, with the Rosary Portico in the background.

On my more recent visit, although there were still a few roses in bloom here and there near the Portico, most of the visual interest outside the Basilica came from the Rosary Portico, the statuary, and magnificent trees in the last stages of fall color.

FranciscanMonastery_20151116_0026

A magnificent oak (I couldn’t identify the kind) serves as a backdrop for the Rosary Portico, which frames the main area surrounding the Basilica, and the Ascension Chapel (right background).

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The Rosary Portico contains plaques (not visible here) with the text of the Hail Mary shown in nearly two hundred ancient and modern languages.

Around the corner from the Basilica, planted next to a stone building that was closed when we visited, I spotted what seemed to be Ilex verticillata (winterberry) shrubs in fall color, still hanging on to their berries.

Franciscan Monastery

Ilex verticillata with berries. Guess the birds hadn’t discovered these yet!

Eventually we made our way into the Basilica and before starting to photograph, had a fascinating tour about the history of the building – including a walk through some catacomb areas. Then we re-emerged into the sun-lit interior, where for an hour we were allowed to photograph to our heart’s content, using tripods as we looked for large vistas and small detail images. Hope you enjoy what I came home with.

For more information on the Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan monastery, visit its website or read more about it in Wikipedia.

The Guests That Won’t Leave the Garden

June 12, 2015

Now that I can work in the garden again, I am overwhelmed. Spring’s abundant rains here have encouraged lush new growth not only of hydrangea buds (which were sadly absent last year)

Hydrangea 'All Summer Beauty,'

Hydrangea ‘All Summer Beauty’ began to bud last week.

but also of what I call “garden rogues” – plants I planted in small numbers (or not at all) which have become travelers all over my garden. There used to be a modest bed in my side yard between my arbor and a thriving Styrax tree, originally planted with selected shrubs and hostas, Carex, a few Heuchera, and a couple of toad lilies purchased from a local nursery. The other day I photographed it stuffed full of those plants and a million ‘volunteers.’

Mayhem in the borderl

Mayhem in the border

The toad lilies have gaily seeded themselves everywhere, as have a species Geranium (G. maculatum). Both have the good grace to be easy to remove (once the temps drop below 92, I’ll think about it . . .). What bugs me most is the constant proliferation of spiderwort (Tradescantia), which spreads by runners all over the damned place. It’s the blue-flowered perennial below. You can’t get rid of it without digging out the roots, which is an almost impossible task. I’ve settled for cutting it back at the base, knowing it will come back.

Tradescantia (spiderwort) and Indian pink have spread in this border without any encouragement from me.

Tradescantia (spiderwort) and Indian pink have spread in this border without any encouragement from me.

I’m happier about the spread of the Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica), shown above with the red blooms. I ordered three plants of it many years ago from an online nursery. Today I find it throughout the garden. It likes shade – what a surprise to see such a strong red color in a shade garden!

Felix-femina 'Lady in Red'

‘Lady in Red’ fern has red stems.

Another perennial with a little red in it that has spread unexpectedly in my garden is the fern ‘Lady in Red’ (Athyrium felix-femina ‘Lady in Red’). It was a new introduction when I splurged on it (having lots of deer who wander through the garden has increased my interest in and respect for ferns, which they avoid). But now I’ve found it a hundred feet away from where I first planted it. No problem for me.

Other plants I’ve been happy to see self-seed in my garden include dwarf goats-beard (Aruncus aesthusifolius), another stalwart for the shade, and – to my great delight – the lacecap hydrangea H. macrophylla ‘Blue Billows,’ which has appeared in two locations other than the two where I originally planted it. Now there’s a real bargain.

 

Hydrangea serrata 'Blue Billows'

‘Blue Billows’ in my back yard, with ferns and a variegated boxwood in the background.

 

A Spring Visit to Chanticleer

July 4, 2014

In May, I was able to make an all too brief visit to Chanticleer Garden on my way to a law school graduation farther north. The day was alternately sunny and cloudy, providing both opportunities and challenges for me as I roamed the grounds. I’ve written about Chanticleer in the spring before, so here I’m sharing only the newest images. As any devotee of this garden knows, however, Chanticleer is always evolving and there’s always something new to discover and photograph. My favorite image from the trip is at the end of the gallery. I was thrilled recently when one of my nieces saw it on my business Facebook page, and asked for a print of it. Hope you like it too.

 

Chanticleer Garden

The arbor at the bottom of the Gravel Garden, which overlooks the Pond Garden and the Great Lawn, is rich with wisteria and alliums in the foreground.

70 Days of Photos

June 6, 2014

As most of you know, I’ve spent most of my time behind the lens capturing garden images. Loving gardens and wanting to capture them on film (and later, digitally) is what propelled me into my current profession as a photographer. And since I retired from designing gardens in late December, I’ve been delighted to continue photographing them for other designers and garden owners. In March, however, fueled by lots of non-garden photography while I was in Cuba, I enrolled in a workshop run by local fine-arts photographer and teacher Colleen Henderson that required participants to commit to taking photographs every day. For us, that amounts to a total of seventy days (the workshop ends tomorrow). Regardless of where we were, what the weather was like, whether we had a tripod or not, we agreed to pull out our cameras (DSLR, point-and-shoot, or iPhone) and capture an image (or more) to share on a private Facebook group page. There are many such “photo a day” projects – if you Google the phrase you’ll find links to many websites, Facebook pages and blogs exploring that theme. Today I’m going to share a range of photos from those I took. These are flower or garden-themed, although in fact the majority of the images I took weren’t taken in gardens. And in the next post, when I show more of the images, I’ll share what I think I learned from this exercise, which was a real eye-opener and an inspiring process.

Bartholdi Park

May 9, 2014

Several weeks ago, my “photo a day” group took a field trip down to the area around the Mall and some of the surrounding museums. Lately I have been shooting subjects other than gardens, but I was delighted when our workshop teacher, Colleen Henderson, introduced me to Bartholdi Park.

Situated across from (and technically part of) the US Botanic Garden, Bartholdi Park  is almost two acres in size and was recently renovated. If you work in the area, you should find your way to it as a place to escape the goings-on on Capitol Hill – there are benches, walkways, and a “Fountain of Water and Light.” I wasn’t there long enough to explore all of it, but look forward to returning. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photos I took before returning to capture architecture and shadows around the Mall.

Celebrating Chanticleer Again

June 28, 2013

This week my computer crashed, taking with it temporary access to my Charleston photos, with which I had planned to entertain my readers for this post. While I’m waiting on a replacement computer, I hope you won’t mind this re-post of some of my favorite photos of Chanticleer, set to music.

And now for something different. Last year I put together a photo essay for my camera club’s spring program, featuring images taken over the years at Chanticleer Garden. Here’s the chance for you to see it too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it and sharing it with other friends. Thank you, YouTube.

Magnolia Plantation and Cemetery

June 14, 2013

Our Charleston workshop began on a chilly, damp day at Magnolia Plantation, a short ride from our hotel. We were there when the gates opened at 8 am. Unlike my last visit, the cold spring weather had delayed blooms on most of the azaleas. So we set out to find other scenes to capture.

Magnolia Plantation, Charleston SC

The “plantation” building at Magnolia Plantation, seen from a distance, with a borrowed 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Thanks, Alan!

As you can see, most of the deciduous trees hadn’t broken bud yet. The exceptions were some wonderful crabapples (I think), like those barely visible on the left side of the photo above. Behind the plantation, tucked away in a hidden nook, I found some others.

Charleston, Magnolia Plantation

A fall of crabapple blossoms, in two colors, behind Magnolia Plantation

Azaleas were just starting to bloom.

Charleston, Magnolia Cemetery

Pink azaleas were among the few in bloom at Magnolia Plantation

Charleston, Magnolia Plantation

The Oak Allee at Magnolia Plantation, with the single azalea in bloom I could find near it.

Charleston, Magnolia Plantation

Fire-engine-red azaleas begged to be photographed, so I obliged.

Later that week, we visited another destination with ‘Magnolia’ in its name – Magnolia Cemetery. Some of the graves date back to the 1700’s, and the general feeling is one of mystery (aided by the huge live oaks dripping in Spanish moss). Some of my fellow workshop members broke out their infrared cameras once the sun got high; not having one, I tried to stick to less sunny areas but the light was tough.

Charleston, Magnolia Cemetery

A quiet dirt path leading through the cemetery

The ironwork around the gravesites was intricate and impressive. Rusted, too.

Charleston, Magnolia Cemetery

Beautiful rusted ironwork surrounded the gravesites of Confederate soldiers at Magnolia Cemetery.

But my favorite image is probably this one, with the river in the background and a mysterious stone obelisk anchoring the right side of the photo, balancing the graves to the left.

Charleston, Magnolia Cemetery

Early morning sun illuminates the surroundings at Magnolia Cemetery.

For more of Magnolia Plantation, visit my 2010 post, Charleston Redux – Magnolia Plantation.


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