A Summer Treasure HuntBy Timmy Jo Given (timmijo)
August 2, 2011
Blossoms are flourishing now! They are so beautiful that it's hard to resist taking a dozen shots of each one. But I must be practical; I can't hold onto this moment forever, although I wish I could. And when all is said and done, two or three quality photos are saved for showcasing the beauty of each flower and treasure that I find.
The zinnias planted from seed are in full bloom, gracing the corner of my hand-turned, laid-back flower bed. They are fun for a treasure seeker; have you ever noticed that each zinnia has little yellow stars in its center? I call that a treasure.
In addition, there are portulacas in my yard this summer. Another name for them is "moss rose", but in this case, they should be called "moss tulips".
This summer, I impulsively picked up four Phantom petunias at a produce stand. They were just begging to be bought and too unique to leave behind. Three were potted together, and the fourth was set in the ground. The cool part is that you never know if a new bloom will have mostly dark or light stripes until it opens.
I find this fascinating.Summer is a great time to set indoor plants outside for a season. So naturally I wanted to put my Commelinas together, nestling a pot of Purple Heart plant among Blue Dew plants outdoors. When they bloomed at the same time, it was another treasure to capture and save.
Although decorative flowers are the usual stars of the show, vegetables are no less impressive. It's wonderful to catch the first bush bean blossoms of the summer in what photographers refer to as "sweet light".
Okay. All this is not really unique, and my goal is to capture something unique. Digging a little deeper, and with a little undercover work (and with being in the right place at the right time), I came upon a grasshopper that just shed its exoskeleton. Wow!Grasshoppers try to hide from you by shimmying around the stalk on which they are clinging, first to one side, then to the other. This is amusing. They can't hide, really. But they try.
At the start of the season, I caught the little guy in the opening photo hiding in an orange daylily. Now that summer is in full swing, my little hopping friends are bigger and bolder and always make great subjects for a snapshot. They are compliant for a second, then they hop away. No problem. There are plenty more where that one came from.We all love to watch for a beautiful swallowtail or monarch to alight atop a flower for a special photograph, but skipper butterflies are just as fetching. Up close, the light brown one is adorable as he sips nectar with his "straw".
Skipper butterflies also come in the white-spotted variety. All types are special and fun to watch.
And how about this little bee with the chubby yellow thighs?
If I sit among the Rudbeckias, I am never far from one of these cute little fellas.
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the pièce de résistance: Where is it today? Wherefore art thou? Keep looking. If I stay out here long enough, I will surely find a masterpiece, that one special shot. Hey! I found something! Today's treasure is a Nursery Web spider (Pisaurina brevipes). Tomorrow, there will be another special treasure to photograph; I'm sure of it. After all, it's summer!
And so it goes, all summer long. Each morning I am drawn outdoors by the call of the precious and unique, afraid of missing it but enraptured in the wonder of it all.
Two problems, one solution: Houseplants fill your outside containers for summer by Sally G. Miller, 5/20/2011
Basic Garden Photography Tips and a Photo Contest by Melody Rose, 6/11/2011