“Autumn is the season of seeds, from acorns to grape seeds to windblown fluff from milkweed, goldenrod, and fireweed. If no one eats a seed, does it automatically grow into a new plant next spring? What is inside a seed? How does it all work? Does it all work, or is there a lot of wastefulness? These are good questions.”
“Gardeners, as a caste, are usually grateful for blessings. Indeed, it is wonderful how little it takes to make a gardener happy. A rooted sprig of some uncommonly pretty goldenrod will do….”
I often overlook goldenrod when I’m out in the neighborhood plant-hunting, but it got my attention recently. Some of goldenrod’s best blooming takes place in late September through mid-October here in the southeast, and a couple of weeks ago I happened on the mix of goldenrod and coneflower (or black-eyed Susan) featured in the first galleries below. Because we’d had some colder nights, much of the growth behind the goldenrod was starting to turn dark aqua-green, so perhaps that gave the goldenrod an extra punch to my eye, and made the yellow and gold in it and the coneflower look especially fine in the foreground.
Anemone — a tiny flower with perfectly-shaped spherical unopened buds — is always a delight to come across, and photographs nicely close up. The purple/violet color — contrasting with the orange and light green center of the flower — was especially vibrant on these late-bloomers; and even though the petals are a bit ragged around the edges, they still, in my opinion, look pretty good!
See! the lark starts up from his bed in the meadow there, Breaking the gossamer threads and the nets of dew, And flashing adown the river, a flame of blue! The kingfisher flies like an arrow, and wounds the air.
And the sense of my life is sweet! though I know that the end is nigh: For the ruin and rain of winter will shortly come, The lily will lose its gold, and the chestnut-bloom In billows of red and white on the grass will lie.
And even the light of the sun will fade at the last, And the leaves will fall, and the birds will hasten away, And I will be left in the snow of a flowerless day….
This post marks the last of my spring and summer photographs for 2022 — about 240 photos from my gardens, and about 480 from my ‘hood (mostly Oakland Cemetery’s gardens but also Grant Park’s Grant Park). Since I use Lightroom to organize my photo projects — and separate the projects by year and season — I thought it was fun to compare this year to last year, and found that I posted almost (within 10 percent of) the same number of photos as 2021. Weird, that, because in my imagination I thought I had posted a lot less this year… but I guess not! I’m blogging at a pace of six to eight posts a month — each with new photographs and many with new writing — which seems to keep me at a reasonable balance between maintaining a site and regular life.
A heightened level of new fall color has blanketed my city over the past couple of weeks, presenting between bouts of rain when the sun comes out. While some of the first-turning, more boring leaves had hit the ground early, Japanese and other maples in particular are just now absolutely glowing in red, orange, and yellow — waiting patiently for someone’s (I wonder whose!) camera. Late season flower-bloomers like mums, daisies, coneflowers, goldenrod, and anemone, however, have recently been photographed and are in my “to be processed” Lightroom collections. My back yard is covered with discarded oak leaves from my neighbor’s tree to the height of the dog’s knees, demanding (but not yet getting any) attention. At the same time — with Thanksgiving under our belts (so to speak!) — the boxes of Christmas decorations have been dragged from their oh-so-tight storage spaces and are strewn about the house in various states of disorganization. Is this what multitasking is supposed to be for? I always thought that concept was strange; I mean: isn’t it true that only one thing gets done at a time? Those decorations — as I write this — aren’t putting up themselves!
I treated myself to a second Christmas tree for my home office this year — a six-foot slim or pencil tree, as they’re often called — and stood it up a couple of weeks ago shortly after it was delivered (I couldn’t resist!), then festooned it with a few hundred multicolored lights and a delightful batch of red, green, and gold shatterproof ornaments. The Dog — or The Photographer on his behalf — is a big fan of shatterproof ornaments because one of us likes to walk by the tree and bat at the low-hanging glitterlicious objects with his paw. For some reason he believes that’s forbidden, even though I’ve never reacted or tried to correct him for doing it. Funny how they know such things, isn’t it?
I often see him out of the corner of my eye when I’m at my desk as he does this: he sneaks forward one step at a time, checks to see if I’m looking, takes another step or two until an ornament’s within reach, checks on me again and if I don’t make direct eye contact taps it with his paw to get it swaying… then rests on his haunches to marvel at the motion he’s made. I’ve tried to take a few photos to catch the little elf in action — but me picking up the camera he thinks is a signal we’re going outside, so he races to the back door before I can get the shot. Ah, well, we’ll keep trying; and since we bought the tree so we’d have something new to photograph (and play with!), we may still manage a shot of the pup pawing its decorations over the holidays.
(Haha! True story: as I was proofreading this post, he tried it again: snuck up to the tree and glanced toward me, but I looked right back at him and I swear he pulled a guilty face then ran into the kitchen for a drink of water. Dog-crime makes a canine very thirsty, apparently!)
“‘For all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honorable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in blood.’
“So wrote Herman Melville in the forty-second chapter of Moby-Dick. Entitled ‘The Whiteness of the Whale,’ the passage is a veritable homily on the troubling, bisected symbolism of this color. Because of its link with light, white has laid deep roots in the human psyche and, like anything divine, can simultaneously inspire awe and instill terror in the human heart….
“White has long been intricately connected with money and power. Fabrics, including wool and cotton, had to be heavily processed in order to appear white. Only the very wealthy, supported by battalions of staff, could afford to keep the fresh lace and linen cuffs, ruffs and cravats worn in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries pristine. This connection still holds true.”
These white variations — this one is called “Dipladenia Rio White” — start out with a light pink tint as you can see in the first image below. The blooms contrast nicely with the dark green leaves and vines, and it seems that the white varieties produce more flowers than the other colors I’ve grown… though this might be just a coincidence.
Like the red ones, the opened flower has a bright yellow center, one that — when it captures early morning or late afternoon light at a low angle — shows off an iridescent glow. That glow is most apparent in the last seven photos in this series, which I photographed about a half-hour before sunset.