I Love my Lytro

August 15, 2012

Exciting news, I was personally invited to take part in the first Lytro contest because of this photo of flags I took on Memorial Day.  Lytro published it on their Facebook page a few months back!  Click the link, wait for the photo to load, then click on different flags to alter the focus.

The butterfly photo above is the first of my Lytro entries and to help me win, you can vote for it at Lytro’s Photo Contest on Facebook.  You do want me to win, right?  You are entered to win a Lytro for yourself with each vote you cast.  You can only vote for each photo one time and only one photo per day.

What do I win?  Each week for seven weeks, five finalists will win a Lytro Accessories package (including new to the world accessories that are coming out later this year). One of those 35 finalists will win the Grand Prize – a Master Light Field Photography Lesson with Eric Cheng, Director of Photography at Lytro; plus FIVE cameras to give to my friends!

If you’re on Facebook, please help me win by voting here:  Lytro’s Photo Contest on Facebook  (at this time the contest is being held on Facebook, no other way to vote).  And, if you’ll share with your friends I’d really really appreciate it.  Your friends will also appreciate it if they win a Lytro!

We can enter photos daily and these are some of the others I’m considering.  If I were on WordPress.org instead of .com, you’d be able to click and refocus the photos here.  Alas, to do that you need to visit my Lytro Photo Page.

My Lytro was a Christmas gift, but I didn’t get it until April because they were manufactured and shipped slowly!  If you haven’t yet heard about it, go to Lytro.com for all the info, but essentially it captures the entire light field instead of a single plane.  The fun part is that you can refocus your photo after you upload it to your computer – and you can share it as an interactive photo online.

I hope you’ll vote vote for my Butterfly photo at the top of this post and as a result, I hope YOU are the winner of a new Lytro camera!


Chasing Butterflies

August 11, 2012

One of the hottest days of the year and I’m out in the sun chasing butterflies.  Why? Because it’s too hot to work.   Help me identify them!  Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly? on my pink butterfly bush.

There were at least two dozen butterflies in this section of my garden.  It was amazing and exciting and oh so much fun in spite of the heat.

Bumblebees rolling in pollen were irresistable while I waited for a butterfly to land!

I also saw but didn’t get good photos of (I think) Mormon Fritillary and maybe a Skipper.

Common Buckeye butterfly?  in my coreopsis.  I found a shadier spot for a minute…

…and on the Buddleia, back under the scorching sun.

Another bumblebee I couldn’t resist.

Hydaspe Fritillary butterfly?  on my pink butterfly magnet – I mean bush.

Hydaspe Fritillary butterfly?  Ruby Giant Echinacea.

My friend Laurie Miller made this sweet sign (along with a dozen others for me).  I love it.

Thanks for stopping by on this sizzling day!

Edit:  I forgot to include my Coolest Chasing Butterfly Lytro Photo.  When you see the photo, you can click on it to change the focus – go ahead, play with it!

Plant List Updates!

August 7, 2012

When I started this blog I had every intention of photographing and cataloging each and every plant in my garden.  As the years go by and I add to my collection of plants, I now see this as a daunting task.  I’ve had a page for My Plant List, listing all my plants in alphabetical order almost since the beginning.  If you haven’t noticed, I’ve finally begun adding sub-pages under it with photos of my plants!  Descriptions, growing conditions, etc. will have to wait for now while I finally begin adding photos.  Yay ME!   Above is a ‘Honeycomb’ Butterfly Bush, that you’ll also find on my new Shrubs and Trees page.

I think this is my favorite Heuchera ~ ‘Georgia Peach’.  You can also see it on my Perennials Page along with a host of other perennials!  Trust me, I have hundreds more to add….  Finding photos of all my plants is also forcing me to clean up the messy way I keep photos all over my computer – I am learning ‘o-r-g-a-n-i-z-a-t-i-o-n’!

This is my favorite Fritillaria ~ stenanthera, which you’ll find on the Fritillaria page under the Perennials Page.  It’s a ‘bulbous perennial’ and I wasn’t sure if I should have it stand alone or add a ‘Bulb’ page (which sounds horrific right now as there are SO MANY bulbs in my garden)…I can always rearrange later, right?

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Variegatus’ is on the Grasses page also under Perennials.  Many of my photos are detail shots because that’s how I love to capture plants.  Especially if they flower…unless the foliage is particularly interesting…and I can remember the name of the interesting foliage plant!

Speaking of foliage, Hosta ‘Aphrodite’ is on the Hostas Page…again, under Perennials.  Does it all make sense now?  I’d love to entertain your ideas on how I should list these extra plant pages!

‘Keeping up Appearances’, a Tall Bearded Iris is found on the Tall Bearded Iris page.  That’s actually the page I began with when my iris started blooming.  The next page I add will probably be day lilies since they’re blooming now and I’ve hovered over them with my camera for weeks!

Since I tend to ‘collect’ plants I don’t have ‘just one’ of hardly anything.  Eventually I’d like to separate out more sub-pages like the conifers from deciduous trees.  But for now, while sitting near the fan blowing cool air, escaping the hot August sun for a few hours I’ll just keep adding photos.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday was an exceptionally lovely day in the Trout Lake Valley with blue skies framing a majestic Mt. Adams.  My gardening mentor, Miriam invited me to join her on a self-guided tour of five Trout Lake gardens and I jumped at the chance, always looking for inspiration in another’s garden vision.  We picked up our mutual friend Jan whose garden could easily have been on this tour and headed out in Miriam’s convertible to enjoy the day.

Peck’s Perennial and Vegetable Garden was our first stop with the most amazing giant vegetable garden I’ve seen in a long time.  They plant continually for a constant source of fresh produce and it feeds their family all year.  Angela made me want to plant vegetables again while giving us a personal tour of her organic garden.

From the flyer:  The Peck Garden is seven years old and was designed by Angela.  The whole family pitches in to help with the yard work and harvest.  The perennial garden is a great space for family and friends while the vegetable garden is flourishing.  They use organic manure as fertilizer, but the manure had been composted, resulting in fewer weeds and more produce.  They also have a variety of fruit trees in the vegetable garden area and a hedge of raspberries.  They have a beautiful selection of roses, and rhododendrons dominate the front of the house.  This garden has a welcoming and friendly appearance reflecting the characteristics of the family that cares for it.

Tiffan’s Perennial Garden was our next stop and I must admit it was my favorite because of Donna’s colorful garden art and hand painted birdhouses throughout the garden.  We have similar tastes in plant material and she gave me  pink columbine seeds; PLUS offered LAVA ROCKS for my current project!  I’ll be back soon to pick up those rocks!!

From the flyer:  The Tiffan Family Garden was designed by Donna six years ago.  The garden has a fairly high maintenance level and the whole family works in the yard.  It is a perennial garden designed to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  There is also a vegetable garden, chicken coop and a variety of berries and fruit trees.  The layout of the garden was meant to be expanded over time; the oldest beds are the ones closest to the house and the rest were added later.  The vegetable garden is the newest section; it was added this year.  In the future they would like to add a gazebo and a pond.

Pearson’s Organic Garden and Orchard was our mid-way point and although it was wonderful, the fruit tower offered to guests was amazing!  As were the sunflowers and hollyhocks!  Laura was a delightful host and it felt spiritual standing in her 114 year old garden.

From the flyer:  The Pearson Garden is the oldest garden on the tour.  Started in 1898, it is still in use today.  Laura Pearson designed the vegetable garden and works very hard to keep up with the work.  She is the third generation gardener at the house, and the plants are flourishing.  She grows all of her potatoes, carrots, beets and many other vegetables.  Her orchard produces apples, pears, cherries, plums and Asian pears.  She stores her potatoes and apples in her fruit cellar which is under the house.  They also have a cider press in the cellar to make fresh apple cider all year long.  In the future, they would like to have a better composting system in the vegetable garden, to improve growth and cut down on weeds.

Allen’s Indoor Garden captured my heart with the whimsical touches added for Sharon’s grandchildren.  At this point we realized time was running out, and although we didn’t want to rush we didn’t spend as much time here as at the other gardens.   I loved how the horses came out and posed for me while we perused the garden.

From the flyer:  The four year old Allen Garden is every unique.  The main garden is actually indoors.  The house plants add color and fresh scent to the house and pool and are creative living decorations.   In the back of the house there is a children’s garden complete with a beanpole teepee, meandering paths and vibrant scents, perfect for the grandkids.  Both the garden and houseplants are cared for by Sharon Allen.  Eventually Sharon would like to have a whole yard landscaped for a natural look, with wildflower meadows and dry creek beds.  The goal is for a low maintenance garden with native plants and flowers.

Lambert’s Riverside Garden was our last stop with only thirty minutes left in the tour.  Char was so engaging and let us stay beyond the close of the tour, enjoying her river view, charming home and colorful, fragrant garden.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day of garden touring in the Trout Lake Valley.

From the flyer:  The Lambert Garden is nine years old and numerous people have had influence over the design.  The layout was planned by Brooks Heard, and a gentleman from Underwood made plant suggestions.  Lucinda Guilderhouse also made plant suggestions, but Char made all the final decisions.  The garden work is done by Char and her husband Jim, who work hard to keep their yard pristine.  This garden is one for relaxation and family.  The fragrant blooms attract bees and the lights create a magical feeling at night.  In the future Char would like to add a permanent greenhouse, raspberries and raised beds in a vegetable garden area.

At the Tiffan Garden, Donna had one plant that none of us could identify.  Do you know what this is?

Thanks for stopping by and taking the Trout Lake Garden Tour with me!


July Flowers

July 22, 2012

One of my favorites, Eremurus robustus (Foxtail Lily) grows about 8′ tall & signals the start of summer in my Pacific Northwest garden.

Leucanthemum superbum (Shasta Daisies) seem to jump up everywhere if I don’t keep my eye on them.

Allium ‘Hair’ is another favorite that adds whimsey to a bouquet of color.  They took awhile to spread, but are now interspersed throughout my garden.

Hot pink Yarrow adds giant sparks of color, and pulls up easily when it starts taking over.

Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’  is about to bloom.  It’s taken awhile to get started and deer love it.

What can I say about lilies…my favorites!  This is Lily lankongense ‘Angela North’.

Lily lankongense ‘Rosepoint Lace’.

Although not fragrant, I love this pale pink Asiatic lily as most of my Asiatics are red or yellow.

Eryngium amithystinum (Sea Holly) is taking over one section of my garden and hard to pull out!

Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) ready to open.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, another favorite is ready to open.  I’m trying to incorporate these into more sections of the garden.

Astrantia ‘Rose Symphony’ is so sweet, and finally starting to spread.

Rodgersia pinnata is another deer favorite so I think this is the first flower I’ve seen.

I love Peonies and have a small collection, but have forgotten the names of most.  This red with yellow center is very striking.

…As is this pink – also with yellow center

But I really love this pink and fluffy peony with very large blooms.

‘Bowl of Beauty’ was one of the first I planted in my garden.

Along with ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, another big beautiful fluffy bloom.

Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate it!

Backyard Bird Watching

June 30, 2012

My ‘Triple Splash’ birdbath is a focal point in this garden section where I love to sit and watch a ballet of birds.  When I turn the sprinklers on, the baths fill and our birds have a party.  Their songs fill our neighborhood.

As I was photographing my current garden project in progress, hummingbirds began buzzing by.  Maybe it was my pink shirt, but I changed my focus to them!  This little guy was enjoying nectar from a digitalis.

He then landed in my flowering cherry tree and posed for me for about two seconds….

….then buzzed back to another foxglove.  He almost blends in with the stem!

This sweet little chickadee was feeding babies…..

…..is there anything so sweet as the sound of baby birds when food arrives?

Sparrows are abundant now.  They chirp at me during my morning walk all the way down our road.

A Yulan Lily tree, right outside my kitchen window is a magnet for birds because it’s next to the feeders.

I love how sunlight can make a Pine siskin look so colorful.

Grouse are such funny birds.  They think if they don’t move I won’t see them.  I’m happy I could get so close.

Mama turkey clucks her chicks into being still and sitting low in the grass as I walk by.

She must have thought I was too close, all of a sudden they exploded up into nearby trees.

A family of Ravens has been quite vocal and staying close lately, drinking at our birdbaths.

I was thrilled to catch this one in flight!

My biggest thrill this month was a Western Tanager showing up at our birdbath.  I barely had time to grab my camera and shoot through the kitchen window.

He only stayed for these two shots…not the best, but I was happy to get them just the same!

Thanks for stopping by.  Oh, that project I’m working on?  I’m re-terracing my ‘Left Bank’ and will tell you about it soon!

Take a Hike

August 19, 2011

You wouldn’t know the path was there if you walked by too fast.  Or hadn’t lived here for awhile.

This shady little path meanders into the forest below my cabin.  I’ve hiked it for over 25 years and always find something new along the way out to the edge of my world.

The shady canopy opens to a field of sun at the lower edge of my property line.  Here, you’ll want to watch out for cobwebs, cow pies, and….

….bikers!  Yes, bikers.  During summer months the path is thick with bikers!  This part of the path belongs to my neighbors, the Kreps family who are wonderful about letting folks use it.

It’s a cow path in spring; I see hunters using it in the fall.  Me?  I traverse it year round.

Someone built this bridge a few years back making it easier to cross the spring creek, which is dry in summer.  We used to jump over it or walk across the rocks.

The path cuts right through a bramble patch.

The berries aren’t large, but provide food for bear and birds.  And sometimes me.

In about a half mile you’ll come to the edge of my world.  But keep going, there’s a better view around the next couple of bends.

Depending on the time of year we have excellent wildflower viewing opportunities.

One year I was surprised to find this bench put together exactly in the perfect viewing area.  It’s a big open hillside at the top of Burdoin Mountain.  I don’t know who built it, but I’m glad they did.  It’s a great resting spot and has an incredible vista.

From the bench you have an unobstructed view of Mt Hood…..

…and the Columbia River Gorge.  On a clearer day you can see forever, but today’s view was pretty nice.

Thanks for stopping by, I’m so happy to see you again!

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