This is a cactus blossom from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. They bloom for a short time every summer. I felt fortunate to be there when this was flowering.
I’ve got a new edition of Happiness Cards with some new images along with old favorites. I’ll be showing all 30 over the next month. Here’s the first:
They’re my favorite flowers today because I’ve been photographing them every weekend, but probably it will be begonias next. I’m fickle when it comes to flower favorites.
Did you know that these beautiful flowers are the national flower of Mexico and the City Flower of Seattle? The ancient Aztecs used the tubers as food and the stems as siphons and straws. In fact, the Aztec name for dahlias translates to “water cane.”
“If you’re lucky enough to have them growing in your garden, Sunset Western Garden Book recommends cutting them for indoor enjoyment early in the morning or evening. Placing them into into 2″ to 3″ of hot water and leaving them there until the water cools will prolong their life.
Dahlias most need good soil, adequate space (depending on variety), low nitrogen fertilizer and staking. But if you have them growing in your garden in the Northern Hemisphere it will soon be time to prepare the tubers for winter.
Some dahlia trees have been found that are 20 feet high! There is some dispute as to who named the plant, but no argument about its being named after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist who studied with Carl Lineaus.
These photographs were taken at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and more can be seen on my website, www.happinesscards.net. Copyright Connie Fledderjohann, 2015
I grew up in Southern California where wildfires were common during the dry summer months. When I was 9 or t0 a large fire came close enough to the small town where my family and I lived that we could see the orange flames eating up the chaparral as well as a nearby botanic garden. I’d been to the gardens on a school field trip and remember feeling sad that the beautiful plants and flowers were being destroyed.
Scene at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Now I find myself living no more than 5 miles from The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens where I have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of photos. In thinking about my good fortune I wondered how long gardens like this have been around and where they are today. Here’s what I discovered:
Although the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans cultivated gardens it wasn’t until the 16th century that something like our modern botanic gardens appeared. Gardens were established in monasteries, to identify medicinal properties of plants and to glorify God.
With worldwide exploration exploding during the same era, the explorers brought back specimens of plants never seen before in Europe. Gardens were set up to receive and cultivate these new discoveries and turn them into commercial enterprises where possible.
Today many universities maintain gardens for research and education, the oldest in the English speaking world at Oxford University (established 1651.)
According to Wikipedia there are currently 1775 botanic gardens and arboreta worldwide with more in the planning and development stage. Their stated purpose is research, conservation and education.
We have a National Botanical Garden in Washington, DC on the capitol grounds. Congress authorized its development in 1816 with strong support from Washington, Jefferson and Madison. It has been in continuous operation since 1850.
Botanical gardens are great destinations for vacationers. A list of gardens in the U.S. can be had here. Some of them are free and others charge an admission fee, but either way they can be a welcome stopover for weary travelers.
I’ve just been through 5 weeks of hell since my computer refused to turn on. You can read about my troubles elsewhere. Today I’m recognizing the positive things that resulted from all the drama. And there were good things!
I made the mistake of not taking a class about basic computer information when I first began using one. I plowed ahead, not really knowing what I was doing, and I lost my early photographs somewhere in the bowels of the now defunct machine.
When everything was loaded from my old hard drive onto my new computer recently, photos showed up I hadn’t seen in years. In looking at the previously lost pictures I realized I’d been more experimental and creative in my early work than any photography I’ve done in the past few years.
I was hijacked by compliments and positive feedback, and I repeated what I knew others liked. Big danger for any creative person.
I remember having all kinds of fun with camera movement and rotation when taking these shots. Sometimes I used the light box to lay the flowers on, but more often I took photos. at the local botanical gardens.
Even though I wouldn’t want to go through the last 5 weeks again I’m grateful it happened.
Those of you who know me, or are familiar with my photographs, know that one of my favorite flowers is the calla or more commonly known as the calla lily. (Botanical name is Zantedeschia) It’s not actually a lily which is why they are often referred to as “callas.”
I’ve been drawn to the elegance of these flowers for some time and have shot many photos of them. Here are a few of my calla photographs:
Wish I could say I’m free of fleas, but no such luck. I’m going to do a second round of bombing next week. Do you suppose that word, “bombing” will alert Homeland Security? I can imagine the Tweet, “83 year-old woman arrested on suspicion of terrorism.” Maybe they’ll send a drone and drop a real bomb on my house. I’d even welcome that if it would get rid of my problem, but like the cockroaches, the fleas would probably survive.
My weekly pilgrimage to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens helps keep me sane. Here are a couple of recent photographs I shot there.