My rhododendron is blooming. It’s blindingly pink when the sun shines on it. So welcome.
Yesterday they were all just slightly opened buds, like the first one, now they are popping open.
I’ve been running out of time to post, but not to photograph. I’ll have to double up some days to catch up on the photos.
I like tulips of any sort, but most of mine have been eaten by small burrowing creatures or the bunnies who come to visit in spring. I quit replanting them in my yard, but this one single tulip continues to sprout and bloom each spring. Its leaves are smaller and shorter than the others, and the flower itself is as well, so perhaps it’s camouflaged by the ivy for long enough to actually make a showing. It’s just a tiny little thing too, just like a small cordial glass. Studying the red veins fading out into the petal never ceases to amaze me.
The lilacs I planted “temporarily” by my gate and side window about 20 years ago have become rather permanent, and despite being damaged by heavy snow have gracefully curved over my gate and the path to my back yard like a dappled green tunnel full of heavenly scent. I’ve never seen it bloom like this, but it’s only just begun–in a few days there won’t be any green in this photo. But no matter, once they began to bloom I could smell lilacs even with the windows closed. Spring is here.
I’ve never seen another dogwood like this one except out in the woods here in western Pennsylvania, which is where I found it. With friends, I was exploring an old abandoned farm that had been sold for development. A long row of blooming daffodils lined the driveway, leading us to the spot where the house had been; only an open rectangle of grass was left, but it was surrounded by forsythia and roses and lilacs and Star of Bethlehem spilling around in the grass and many, many more plants which would have bloomed all through the growing season. Someone had loved growing things and so did we, so we took what we could to preserve their memory knowing they’d only be plowed under.
Off in the woods, irregular clouds of white blossoms lit the shadows along what had been roads or paths to outbuildings, and we found lovely native dogwoods with the largest flowers I’ve ever seen, at least four inches across with creamy ridged petals and the characteristic divot at the end of each. What had been but a twig growing on a hillside in the woods is now a full and fervent tree with white flowers in spring, dense green leaves all summer, bright red fruits in late summer and red-violet leaves in fall. Who could improve on that?
One year as it bloomed I saw it at night, a hazy glowing shape, the light of spring that could not be extinguished even by darkness. Hence, this poem.
The dogwoods are blooming up and down my street.
The breaking of the cold,
The unusually warm, brilliant spring day
Has brought my neighbors out to wash cars and cut grass.
Like the returning birds
Their conversations drift and circle from yard to yard
And cross the street on capricious breezes;
We have been put away all winter
Like articles of summer clothing
Our potential at rest,
Yet now, even at night,
Pale, airy clouds of blossoms
Hover in the darkness all over the neighborhood.
Dogwoods ©2005 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
I read this poem as part of my very first poetry reading and art exhibit at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, “Paths I Have Walked”.
In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar; Dogwoods and Road Trip, Late July, Western Pennsylvania were both chosen as two of the first entries and led to my annual poetry readings—more on that below.
Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.
I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry
Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski
FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA
People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.
Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.
Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.
All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.
Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.
$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).
About the books and the poetry readings
My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.
In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.
My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.
Nothing says spring is here like visiting a greenhouse, especially one where they started nearly all the annual flowers and vegetables themselves. And nothing says summer is on its way like a cluster of colorful gerbera daisies. I was there for vegetables, but I couldn’t keep away, they look like happy balloons. My only defense is to take lots of photos. This is at Bedner’s Farm Market, a place I’ve been visiting since I could barely see over the tables of vegetables.
Just one more colorful photo of snapdragons.
The pear trees are blooming on Carnegie’s Main Street again, and though each year looks like the previous years I still can’t help myself from photographing and sketching the sight. This is one of the reference photos for my sketch, a bright late afternoon though a little bit overcast.
One of my favorite paintings of Carnegie, and also a favorite of others is also from this time of the year, and I realized as the pear trees began this year that I painted it ten years ago. It is called, not surprisingly, “Pear Trees on Main Street” and you can see it here where it is the signature image for my series “My Home Town”. Can’t wait to finish the new one.
And you can also see a slideshow of photos of the pear trees blooming on Main Street. It’s really quite a sight.
Nothing says “good morning” like yellow flowers in first light. These are a few of the turnip flowers I didn’t trim yesterday for a bouquet.
Finally my pear tree is blooming. the blossoms are actually pure white, but I liked this creamy tone in dappled sun, early.
We had a bit of sun this morning, and these daffodils were singing their song until the storm got to them.
These two crocuses finally bloomed today, but the sun only came out for a few minutes and it was then dark and overcast and they closed again, as they do on dark days. I was waiting for the sun again, but it didn’t happen. Still, I want to commemorate the first day for these two, some of the oldest plants in my yard.
The first things to bloom in the yard this spring (2010), these two crocuses go forth together. These crocuses are especially tiny with flowers just about a half-inch across. I’ve never seen another like them, as tiny with narrow, grassy foliage. They bloom days before any of the other crocuses in my yard and many yards as well.
I’m not sure after all these years, but I think an older neighbor shared them with me along with several other bulbs. I treasure the plants I’ve been given by older gardening friends, many of whom had no one else to share with. Now they are gone, but what they shared with me, both the living plants and the living memories, remain.
The daffodils sprouted—today! I saw the leaf litter was lifted a bit yesterday, but no trace of green. Today, the sun touched the tips; the crocused, squills and tulips had also pushed aside the leaves but none looked so much like fingers reaching for the light as the new daffodils.
A row of sunflowers turn their faces to the ground at the end of their season.
Lunaria for the full moon.
Honesty for its pure white color.
Money plant because we can all use a little extra now and then, and if we can grow it in the backyard, so much the better.
This plant has self-seeded since the first year I was here and planted some seeds in a flower bed. Now it comes up wherever it pleases and most of the time I let it because it’s so beautiful with spring’s pink or white phlox-like blossoms, and in the autumn when the seed pods dry and I peel them away to reveal the transparent pearly white membrane that once held the seeds apart in the pod.
At other times it really looks like an undesirable, its first-year floret of leaves resembling a thistle without the thorns, and in the time between blossom and seed looking like a struggling half-hybrid.
It is officially called Lunaria because of its color and shape resemblance to the moon, but every popular plant picks up familiar names.
So I have harvested this year’s money from the back yard and placed some for display and shared more this friends. That can’t be too bad either.
A few last flowers unfold on a slightly warmer, sunny November afternoon.
Known for blooming in May and June along with the forget-me-nots and buttercups, clematis likes cooler weather and each fall, after the burning heat of late summer has browned most of the vine’s leaves, the rains of September and cooler nights of October revive the new growth and a few buds form and bloom, bringing a touch of spring color, albeit a bit faded, to the autumn garden.
Better late than never. Take the risk.
Houses are tightly packed here; the parking lot was at one point a home as well. The weathered concrete sidewalk sprouts autumn wildflowers.
The pink pasture rose blooms again in autumn, surrounded by so many buds it will be November before they are all done. I was lucky to find it in such magical light at an angle that caught the shadows of the buds on the outside of the flower, showing through the translucent petals.
Purchase a print in a variety of styles and sizes or a greeting card from my Fine Art America profile: Bloom Again In Autumn
The morning glories are still blooming and in noonday sun add a big splash of color. Of course, I desaturated anything that wasn’t morning glories, but that was my impression of them.
The white Rose of Sharon flowers always reminded me of an old-fashioned bonnet or frilly hat, here caught the morning after a rain with water droplets weighing down the petals.
Who doesn’t welcome the sight of a brilliant pink rose on a dark autumn day?
Catching such voluptuous raindrops as these is a rare event—it either has to be right after the rain has stopped (falling raindrops will blur the photo with movement) or a day where rain falls intermittently and the humidity remains high so the raindrops don’t evaporate.
In either case, it’s generally pretty dark and overcast so all those lovely raindrops have few highlights, and shadows are saturated.
In this case, between the showers, the sky brightened enough to pick up each and every droplet, and to highlight the brilliant pink of this rose on one of my neighbor’s rose bushes. It had rained so hard that the water was even pooling in between the petals.
Raindrops on roses…and for my feline-oriented friends, we all know the next line!
One of my pink geraniums catches the late afternoon sun. Over the years these pink geraniums, kept in the basement over winter and set outside in spring to flourish another year, have each changed color, fading to palest petal pink or deepening to magenta, another to a bright coral. This one retained some of the deeper pink veins on the petals along with a blush of deep pink fading to the top, , but edged with the finest line of deep pink, which makes the florets appear deep and lush, yet lacy. Any cuttings I take will likely not look like this, but will take on their own identity.
I walked to my destinations today, and always find the most interesting photo subjects when on foot; I’m lucky I got to where I was going.
This alley backs buildings that are mostly older homes made into ill-kept rentals; landscaping is not maintained, nor are fences, garages, back porches, etc. I often find the detritus of everyday life interesting strewn around in the tall grass of an uncut back yard, piles of stuff can amount to modern sculpture and a leaning twisted gate is always an interesting subject from any angle.
But this September the good old-fashioned purple morning glories that spring up seemingly from nowhere decided to decorate the place, and up and down the alley they had twined on fences, trees, tall weeds, parked vehicles, bicycles, everything that had stood still for at least three weeks was festooned in dense garlands of heart-shaped green leaves and twirling, reaching stems sending out individual questing purple trumpets until finally, today, they bloomed in earnest.
She’s resting her head on one of the posts along Main Street, making a striking image of contrasting colors. Was this sunflower ready to lie down and become bird food…or did she have a little too good of a time on Saturday night?