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Posts tagged “wildflowers

Touched

honeysuckle berries
honeysuckle berries

Touched

…by a sunny winter afternoon.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Rising Up to Meet You

photo of flower seed head
photo of flower seed head

Rising Up to Meet You

Still,
in midwinter,
I will rise to meet you
though my stem be bent and brittle
for where we touch
there will be spring.

poem copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Just a draft of verse in contemplation of this weathered wildflower which blooms so fiery red in summer.

Or…

What strange sun is this
found in tatters of winter
holding memories of summer.

It’s an empty seed cluster from monarda, or bee balm, just happened to be touched by late afternoon sun while the snow beneath it was in shadow, its bent stem a blur beneath it.

Bee Balm with Bee

Bee Balm with Bee

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


The Light in the Darkness

Oh

Oh

FOR THIS LAST SUNDAY before the end of the year I thought I’d share some observations brought to mind by the darkness of the season, the solstice when the sun is less and less, each day shorter, some very old part of our brain senses imminent danger then by a miracle the light returns and we celebrate. In these darkening days it’s easy to curse the darkness and miss the delicate beauty only found at this time. I took my walk to Main Street for errands and found a wonderland one heavy, dark, overcast day in a place I had thought so familiar. I called it my “gray day walk” as a shorthand for those moments of exploration when time stood still for me, unexpected on a busy afternoon.

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I have had far worse days. Overwhelmed by the demands of commercial work as my customers and I prepared for the holidays along with merchandise orders and custom portraits and my own preparations for ending the year and beginning the next as a small business, I left the house at 4:00 p.m. destined for the post office and bank just before they closed.

Winter Lilies

Winter Lilies

Though I had walked this half mile route from my home to Main Street for years, I had lately been driving, using the need to save time or the awkwardness of a pile of packages as an excuse for wasting gas and a chance at exercise and fresh air. The day was hardly inspiring—five days prior to the winter solstice the days were frighteningly short, sunset less than an hour away, and in a series of heavy dark days typical of this area in late autumn and early winter, dense pasty clouds hanging low overhead and so dark it had felt like dusk at noon, and now some of the street lights on Main Street were already alight. I nearly always take photos on these walks, and while I laid the strap of my camera bag over my shoulder I was glad that, for once, I would probably not find anything to photograph and take time from my day in conditions like these.

Exotic

Exotic

Traffic was heavy so I took my route under the bridge, next to the creek where traffic noises faded and birds sang, a trickling sound as water flowed smoothly past over the rocks in the shallow waterway. And in the dim and fading light a world so familiar at first appeared dark and nearly colorless until my eyes adjusted to the light and found such wonders among the wildflowers along the way, standing upright though dried and every shade of brown and tan and umber I found fantastical birds, abstract sculptures, amazing complex patters among the dried flower heads, exposed and broken seed pods, leaves clinging curled to stems.

Frozen Flowers

Frozen Flowers

I could not stop for the post office and bank both closed at 4:30, so I walked as fast as I could with my camera bag on one shoulder and a large canvas bag of packages on the other so that I could amble back through this wonderland on my way back to my neighborhood. The light was so dim then, as the time approached sunset within minutes, that I had to set the ISO of my camera on 800 to get anything but vague images floating in sepia darkness, even with all my settings to admit as much light as possible.

Portrait

Portrait

These plants had sprung up from seeds tossed here on the wind and water, carried by birds and people walking past, sprouted in spring, housed birds and insects in summer, borne their flowers in summer and fall. I had walked among them many times with my camera and sketchpad, I knew where each stood, when they bloomed, their botanical names and history, I looked for them each year and anticipated the best times to compose the images I visualized, but this was a gift in its unfamiliarity.

Grass

Grass

Now, after several frosts, autumn storms and snow, the weak parts had been stripped away and the strongest parts of them were burnished by adversity and stood dignified in the dimness, with just enough sheen to highlight their most interesting shapes, textures and combined patterns.

Soft Pattern

Soft Pattern

The background now, rather than the usual details of other plants and flowers, was darkness, the more perfect to silhouette each delicate construction as if in a gallery featuring the finest art.

The Empire Shriveled

The Empire Shriveled

Milkweed pods became flocks of fantastical birds, or individual exotic species clinging to stems. Tightly curled dried flowers or clusters of puffy seeds set loose, sere and twisted leaves and flowers of another time. Even the holiday decorations in a shop front, capturing the blue from the late afternoon light with highlights from the store within echoed the shapes and patterns of the natural forms outdoors, as the raindrops that would soon fall.

Warm and Cool

Warm and Cool

I arrived home with dirty shoes from walking in mud, and dirty knees from kneeling in wet grass, bits of leaves and stems and seeds flocked with frills to carry them on the wind on my skirt and jacket, in my hair, on my bags, souvenirs of a timeless magic, both in letting go of the time of day, and letting go of time altogether for that period. I only let go and rejoined the day because it was too dark to photograph any longer.

Patterns and Transparencies

Patterns and Transparencies

I am grateful to this gift of creative vision that releases me from everyday cares for just a short time, exercises those aesthetic senses and relaxes the overused worry lines, and gives me these wonderful gifts of images to share, just for noticing the inspiration was there.

There is always something new to learn about the things we think we know well. Never forget that when the light seems dim there is much to be seen with the heart, and when adversity has taken away the quick and obvious beauty, the strongest parts remain, dignified in their naked and twisted strength.

Armor

Armor

This was also published on www.TheCreativeCat.net.

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This post is part of Inspire Me Monday on Create With Joy.

Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Winter Lilies

seed pods
seed pods

Winter Lilies

These delicately fluted flowers are actually the opened seed pods from evening primrose, a native wildflower. Also from my gray day walk.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Exotic

milkweed pod
milkweed pod

Exotic

Insect? Bird? Prehistoric creature? Alien? Another from yesterday’s gray day photo shoot.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Oh

photo of milkweed pods
photo of milkweed pods

Oh

That was my reaction.

The days have been very dark lately, as is often the case in these last days of autumn when night comes early. But fog and heavy overcast have left the days nearly monochromatic, or in the gray and sepia duotone I find so familiar in conditions like these. I took a walk to the post office and bank in the late afternoon, within an hour of sunset, but even with the light fog, overcast and depending day, I knew I’d find the beauty in the day, emerging from the mist, washed in delicate highlights, familiar things looking completely foreign, taken out of their own context.

This is a cluster of milkweed pods. They look like something that came from outer space in the best of times, but especially against the muted background their slightly rough and ridged surface, elongated shape and smooth opening where the seeds are still escaping they truly look like alien constructions. Put a bunch of them together at the end of a long and curving stem and we know the aliens have landed, and possibly one of their birds has come to light on a stem, or a group have clustered together to survey this strange new world.

These grow on the sloping bank along Chartiers Creek. I was actually under the bridge with four lanes of traffic overhead, using my telephoto lens to capture them growing from the rip rap, or the covering of large stones and pieces of broken concrete that hold the creek bank in place during high water events, and could not get closer than five feet away. I walked in a semi-circle to get the best angle of this alien object and this was my favorite.

I hope to have the time to share some of the others of these photos of the milkweed pods, and I’ll also be sharing some of the other treasures from my walk today, one-quarter mile down and one-quarter mile back, and less than an hour of completely enthralling creative study of various grasses, curled and dry queen anne’s lace, empty evening primrose seed pods, a bird’s nest, textures and patterns, the water of the creek. But the day was so dark that I had to have my camera set on 800ISO and used many manual settings, and even then I have to adjust the shots to appear as they did to my eye but they are all a little grainy and delicate. But I only came home because it got dark.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Almost Missed

wild grapes
wild grapes

Grapes 1

When the tiny green grapes began to turn dusky purple and the leaves to gold, I envisioned an image of them in their contrasting and complementary brilliance, sunny, glowing gold and rich purple. Each day I took more and more photos hoping to find that vision.

wild grapes

Grapes 2

It was not to be. Grape leaves tend to fall before they turn yellow, and are burnished with brown and gray as well. The sun was not going to wash these leaves and grapes at the right angle for the image I wanted. But in the process I took a lot of photos that I didn’t even notice were truly descriptive of the change.

wild grapes

Grapes 3

Transitions, poem in progress

I was looking so hard for what I wanted
I forgot what I was looking for
and found what was there
tiny purple grapes
in dusky skins
amid their glowing autumn foliage,
the natural end
of what I had begun.

wild grapes

Grapes 4

Sometimes I can let go of all my expectations before I begin a creative venture. Perhaps sometimes I need to work my way through my expectations and come out the other end without them.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Starry

purple asters
purple asters

Asters on Parade

It’s time for the autumn asters to bloom in earnest. These pale violet asters appear along the road, at the edge of woods, , along a fence, even in your garden if you haven’t pulled everything that’s not what you’ve planted. They’ve been growing there, quietly, all summer long, and now that nearly all else is done, and before the riot of autumn leaves, the asters add their grace. Migrating birds and butterflies depend on them for a meal while traveling, bees make their last honey from their pollen. Celebrate this bounty.

This photo was taken on ISO100 Kodak color print film (don’t remember the brand) with my Pentax K-1000 fully manual SLR, 50mm lens with 1.5X adapter. Now when I look back at many of these photos I see the reddish cast in the prints. I really have to get a film scanner.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Backlit Bouquet

wildflowers in evening woods
wildflowers in evening woods

Backlit Bouquet

I photographed this scene for the obliquely backlit combination of bold yellow coneflower and delicate wormwood, but all the varied patterns and shades of green in the background, silhouettes, shadows, blurs and bokeh, were too interesting to crop out.

Your beauty
delicate, ephemeral, eternal;

had I not chanced by
as setting sun journeyed deep into the autumn woods
to touch your face
you would still have been
as beautiful.

verse ©2014 Bernadette  E. Kazmarski

That is the first draft of a new poem, written just now after I posted this photo. We’ll see what it develops into some time in the future.

September 7: I have an edited version of this poem in progress…once I’d written the rest, I found I just didn’t need those two first lines, they felt heavy and formal, and without them I found I could reorganize the lines of the poem, especially that really long one that I couldn’t split before. I also changed the word “journeyed” to “reached” because it was more of what I’d intended, remembering the sunlight that day as it moved down toward the horizon and reached and touched different spots deep in the woods. Added a comma too.

Had I not chanced by
as setting sun
reached deep into the autumn woods

to touch your face,
you would still have been
as beautiful.

 

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Vitis Riparia

Tiny Grapes
Tiny Grapes

Tiny Grapes

One of our native grapes, hardy stock that can grow to the tops of the tallest trees, the fruits are usually eaten by birds before we humans can pick them. Generally I clear the grapevines off my trees and shrubs and make baskets and wreaths and garlands from them. These grew up the neighbor’s pussy willow and and came to hang in front of my bathroom window, the one with the view of the valley. I had decided to cut the vine and pull it down until I saw these tiny grapes earlier this summer. I was so enchanted I decided I’d just watch them to see what they would do. Stay tuned.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Evening Flowers, What a Nice Event

The flowers on my table gently touched by evening light.
The flowers on my table gently touched by evening light.

The flowers on my table gently touched by evening light.

The sales were good, and the contacts I’ve made too, but the best part was meeting people who recognized the trail they know and love right where it happens, and letting people know that art can happen in unexpected places.

As I’d mentioned, I’d wanted to host the show at the event to be sure the people who used the trail, who typically attend the trail’s annual fundraiser, would see and enjoy it. And for the number of people who stopped to look at “The Rope Swing”, and then came in and recognized even more, it was highly successful. I heard stories about the swing, and many people recognized the sites of several of the works and told me exactly where that was so I know they’ve walked the trail and the woods as much as I have. I also had the opportunity to tell people I’d done about half of the works right there on the trail, not home in my studio. People don’t always realize that artists often work on site, “Even in the snow?” Sure, I said. That’s how I capture the essence of the scene. A painting is not just what you see, it’s also what you hear and smell and touch and taste, and being there while you work gets it all into the painting.

Art booth in festival

My booth on Saturday.

We often don’t find the things most familiar to us very inspiring simply because we are so accustomed to seeing them, and often don’t “see” them at all anymore. The fact that I found the trail and surrounding area, their neighborhood, the place they called home, to be an inspiring subject for art made a lot of people smile and comment that was why they liked it too, that was why they’d moved there.

Best of all were the kids’ assessments of my art, these paintings of the places they played, the places they’d remember all their lives. “Your stuff is pretty good,” they said. “This is really nice art,” looking serious and nodding their heads. They were serious, and I took it as a compliment. A big compliment. Coming from a ten-year-old boy or a couple of 14-year-old girls, that was huge. I hope one or more of them take a new look at this beautiful place when considering photography or painting.

I wish I’d had the chance to photograph people browsing my art, but I’m kind of glad I just didn’t have the time to.

Me smiling at my flowers as I'm identifying them.

Me smiling at my flowers as I’m identifying them.

And I also had a number of friends visit me, and a few who helped me set up and who I could also share a few favorite places with, namely the site with the rope swing, which was directly behind my booth in the woods. One couple came with me to fill my vintage kettle with water for the wildflowers I would gather to have in my display, and on the way there and back walking through the woods I showed them the rope swing and proceeded to identify all the wildflowers around us, walking encyclopedia as I can be.

Walking along the trail through a spot of sunlight.

Walking along the trail through a spot of sunlight.

It occurred to me then that it would be nice to have some photos of me walking through the woods with wildflowers. We didn’t really have time when we got back to my booth so I let it go, but decided today how much I’d like to have some photos of that walk and asked if they would mind coming back and taking a few photos since they knew the walk we’d taken and what I’d looked like, and the type of photos I wanted.

Walking between two tall maples, like the entrance to an enchanted place.

Walking between two tall maples, like the entrance to an enchanted place.

Michelle agreed, so I donned the same clothes as yesterday and we got a few nice photos. And who knows, they may be paintings as well some day. But at least I know what I look like!

 

Thanks, Michelle!

Thanks, Michelle!

Because it was so hot and humid and I didn’t want to greet visitors covered in sweat I wore a silk skirt and a lightweight cotton camisole. That worked well, but the effect of humidity on my hair made it totally frizz, even after a recent henna and olive oil treatment. Ah, summer.

Read more about my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Take a look at paintings from this exhibit.

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If you are interested in purchasing this painting or any other originals I have posted here on Today, please contact me. I will also have prints of this painting after the exhibit.


Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

wildflowers
wildflowers

Wildflowers of a Summer Evening

Some flowers are spent, some are fully leafed and petalled and colorful. I posted a slide show to my “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed” collection, a hillside of wildflowers taken in warm evening sunlight at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township in early August a few years ago. The memory of these flowers warmed me in the cold snowy months of winter, and while I’ve used a few here and there in designing one thing or another I’ve never decided what to do with the collection.

Though I used my Pentax K10D, for the lens I used my favorite non-digital 35mm fixed-focus lens with the 1.5X converter which shortens the depth of field allowing me to focus on just one insect if I choose; this lens is probably 30 years old, but it never fails me. In this way, I can manage the foreground and background and simply focus on one object, and I can achieve those lovely random abstract effects with lighting and shapes.

A slide show, even without music, will have to do for now.

The flowers you see are echinacea or purple coneflower, and its rarer cousin yellow coneflower, wingstem, Virginia stickseed, fleabane, black-eyed susan, Queen Anne’s lace, catnip, goldenrod, ragweed, and curled dock. Some are in seed already, but they add their drama to the mix.

Please enjoy the show. You can click here to bring it up as a flash slideshow or visit “Wildflowers of the Lower Chartiers Watershed”, scroll down and choose Wildflowers for a Summer Evening, and be sure to take the time to enjoy a few others as well.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Where Humans Fail, Nature Succeeds

queen anne's lace and thistle
queen anne's lace and thistle

Regal and pure

A house slowly falls to pieces with no human care, comes down by human hand or gravity, an empty lot welcoming plastic bottles and fast food bags and old mattresses, fossilizing in its decay like the root of a missing tooth among a row.

Queen anne's Lace

Nodding flowers

Nature steps in to work her magic on a blighted space, putting roots into what must be broken down, and festive leaves covering the unsightly, and then above all the magic of flowers, like a fresh snowfall indiscriminately covering everything evenly, with a blanket of security.

Queen anne's Lace

Along the walk.

This was so breathtakingly beautifu.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Poem for Sunday: Road Trip, Late July, Western Pennsylvania

Fence with queen anne's lace
Fence with queen anne's lace

Queen Anne’s Lace

I’m a little late with this, considering it’s August, but July slipped by so quickly—and even in August, you’ll see these same things. A little trip on the highway on a perfectly beautiful summer day brought this all back.

Road Trip, Late July, Western Pennsylvania

Green, green waves ahead
diminishing to blue over the northern horizon
exalted rises and shadowed valleys gradually made plain
to rolling hills and misted hollows
interstate unrolled as ribbon
around hill and following valley,
signs noting unseen destinations
bearing hopeful small town names:
“Freedom”
“Prosperity”
“Harmony”
little hamlets of Pennsylvania coal being crushed to diamonds,
glittering in the vales;
a gauze curtain of rain shower flows across hills
soaking opposite side of road
but the sun shines brightly ahead,
occasionally a sudden cluster of official orange obstructions
gives instructions to change directions
slowing pace to allow a close and careful study
of native plants along the roadside,
a stately brick farmhouse, a skull with empty windows, abandoned,
its outbuildings only roofs in the tall grass
as if melting back into the earth from whence they were created;
then a curving exit that leaves the noise of four lanes behind a rise,
a sojourn on a quiet two-lane three-digit backroad,
once the lifeline before the interstate, now empty;
clusters of buildings at intersections, one traffic light flashing yellow,
old farms and equipment,
rusted industrial structures,
a field gone entirely to Queen Anne’s Lace,
some cows on a hillside,
and everywhere roadside stands
celebrate the first flush of mid-summer bounty;
collect loose change from pockets and floor of car
and with the dole,
buy fresh homegrown sweet corn to feed thy soul.

Poem © 2006, B. E. Kazmarski

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.


poetry book

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).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

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.


Colored Lights

buttercups and forget me nots
buttercups and forget me nots

Colored Lights

They are just about gone, but I couldn’t pass up one last photo of my favorite combination in my back yard each spring, the buttercups and forget-me-nots.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Dame’s Rocket

pink wildflower
pink wildflower

Dame’s Rocket

I’d always known this wildflower by this name but I might prefer a few others I’ve come to know: damask violet, dame’s violet, night-scented gilliflower and summer lilac, the first two for its typical shades of intense violet and the last two for its intense scent at evening. I’d also always confused it was tall phlox, also a wildflower that blooms a little later with a few weeks of overlap, until I realized the rocket has four petals on its cruciferous flowers and is a brassica, related to wild and cultivated mustards as well as broccoli and collard greens. Below is a close-up of flowers and stems, and possibly between the photo above and the photo below you can see the reason for calling it “rocket”, though I think that is more for its relation to eruca sativa or in Italian rucola, what we know today as rocket, or arugula.

pink wildflower

A closeup

I had also always thought of it as a native wildflower until I learned it was another passenger on European ships, whether intentionally or accidentally, coming over with crop seeds, yet often the migrants would bring the seeds of their favorite blooming plants so that the new world would seem more familiar, more like home.

And that scent; this is one thing we lose when we grow only hybrid cultivated flowers. Nothing smells like a wildflower, like “night-scented gilliflower” or like tall phlox that has to work so hard to bring pollinators into its flowers to ensure the next generation.

I’d been driving past this little detention pond at the intersection of two roads, and where normally it’s just an overgrown pattern of greens and textures, each spring at this time it literally bursts into bloom another possible use of the word “rocket”.

pink wildflower

A whole lot of it.

 

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Periwinkle Blue

periwinkle, creeping myrtle
periwinkle, creeping myrtle

Periwinkle

More things are blooming each day. The Periwinkle sent up a few test flowers a couple of weeks ago and now it’s blooming in areas I forgot it was growing.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Welcome Friends

violets
violets

Wild Violets

Suddenly large areas of my garden are awash in purple and green.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Forget Me Not

The first forget-me-nots.
The first forget-me-nots.

The first forget-me-nots.

The first forget-me-nots are blooming in the back yard, their leaves nipped by a freeze last week, but while they’re later than usual and seem sparse and faded, before long the back yard will be a sea of blue.

Here’s a post from this date in 2011…

forget-me-nots

Forget Me Not

The forget-me-nots have suddenly begun blooming, responding to a few slightly warmer days and lots of rain, sprouting stalks whose growth can be measured in the course of one day, the round green buds popping open to revel the perfect five-petaled blue flower with its yellow center.

The overnight rain still clings to their leaves and stems and one drop hangs suspended from the edge of a tiny round petal.

And as the flower implores, I remember past springs and my yard a sea of blue as I had let them naturalize, and I remember past gardens and cats who spent the days outside with me and all the pleasant memories from 20 years in my little back yard.

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Blowing Away

dried wormwood
dried wormwood

Blowing Away

An early spring snow storm is moving in; the afternoon was breezy, pushing against the thickets of dried wormwood along the creek, whistling among the stems and spreading their aromatic scent about the banks in a cleansing way, the sky hazy overcast.

It seems people forget other recent long and difficult winters. We’ve had snow on March 25 before this year! Just last year a fairly good snow fell on the pussy willows with their catkins already burst: Unconcerned, 2013.

Snow falls on the catkins

Unconcerned

Of course, in other years…Blossoms at Night, 2012

Pear Trees at Night

Blossoms at Night

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern

A songbird nest, filled only with cold snow, is snugly held not only in the reaching twigs of Japanese knotweed along the creek but also in the overall crisscross pattern the branches make from a certain angle.

Right on both sides of the solstice, the days seem uniformly short and the nights long, and often the weather, however it chooses to express itself, is incessant as we take on a holding pattern as well.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Ripe Purple

poke berries
poke berries

Pokeberries

The pokeberries are ripe in my garden—but they aren’t something I planted, nor will I harvest and eat them! American Pokeberries, Phytolacca americana, are a the fruit of a native wild plant that is nearly entirely quite toxic to humans and animals, yet prepared and eaten properly are nutritious and even healing, and also make an interesting red dye. It’s a matter of learning about the plant and being careful, something humans had learned to be over millennia or they would simply die. But cooking and rinsing the young leaves, only young leaves, no stems, several times produces “poke salad” which you may have read about in pioneer or southern cultural novels. The berry pulp has toxins but the seeds are the highly toxic part, so carefully cooking the berries without crushing or softening the seeds produces a pretty red dye, though it’s not as intense a color as you would expect, nor very long-lasting.

The pokeberries show up in my garden courtesy of the birds. They can eat the berry, but the seed is toxic to them as well, so they carefully eat the berry and swallow the whole thing, excreting the seed with a proper amount of fertilizer to give it a good start when it sprouts the next year. These seeds are favorites of cardinals, catbirds and mockingbirds, so if you want to invite those species to your yard you can carefully bring home a bunch of purple pokeberries, preferrably in a container so you don’t get any juices on your hands, and just bury them stem and all in a spot you’d like them to grow. Hopefully next spring you’ll see vibrant but simple green leaves with red stems emerge from the soil.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


This Week’s Wildflowers

queen anne's lace and goldenrod
This Week's Wildflowers

This Week’s Wildflowers

I gathered some of autumn’s best Queen Anne’s Lace and goldenrod from the woods the other day and placed them in the vase that hangs on my decorative wooden chair in the front yard–only geraniums sit there.

I had my camera set on ISO 800 and with the manual f-stop all the way open, which gave me a quite grainy and somewhat underexposed and unbalanced photo, even with the f all the way up. I decided to go with what it started and apply a diffuse glow filter.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Faces in the Woods

woodland sunflowers
woodland sunflowers

Faces in the Woods

I looked up and this cheerful little family of woodland sunflowers greeted me in a clearing in the woods.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.