Friday, December 24, 2010

Today (Christmas Eve) was the official holiday; I watered for a couple of hours by myself

It was fun..... hey, it's Christmas Eve!. Brad left very good instructions regarding his material; a good example for the rest of us. So I watered the Tree Ferns and a few other things here and there. It was calming work. I had lists for later in the day; there were a few things still to be bought, and wrapped, and cooked but everything was under control so I just enjoyed the plants. The flowers at the bottom belong to Sansevieria cylindrica, or one of its close allies. Usually it flowers on the floor, not up on a bench, so I don't ofen get so close to the flowers themselves. They're nice!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cornus officinalis seeds and cones of Cedrus libani var. stenocoma: cool stuff on George's desk

I was just admiring Cornus officinalis a few weeks ago for it's exfoliating bark and look, George has collected seed from a plant in the Dogwood Collections. This variety of Cedar is more cold hardy than most so they'll use it as underatock for grafting; they're all compatible for grafting purposes.

You don;t usually see the Capitol Columns or the Washington Monument from these angles

But hey sometimes you aren't quite positioned the way you might want to be regarding a given situation; you can still take a look. The sideview of the Columns is from just across the road from the Fern Valley Prairie. The cityscape is from the top of Mount Hamilton. Mount Hamilton is not a mountain by any standard, but is a respectable forested hill; the Azalea collection lives on the lower and middle slopes on the south, east, and north sides. Trails and a road (off limits to vehicular traffic) lead to the summit and it's worth a walk for the city views. I took this photograph through an opening in the canopy, but this time of year, with no leaves on the trees, you can get 360 degrees of view. The skies have a distinctively winter look.

The first time I can consciously remember seeing this sky was in November of 1961. I was a cub scout and our pack had the honor of raising the flags that circle the Washington Monument. I didn't actually remember the date, but I do remember that we raised the flags to the top of the pole and then lowered them to half mast in honor of the death of Sam Rayburn, Texas Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives. So it must have been 1961, just a tad over 49 years ago.

I've edited thousands of photographs and, though I never end up using the option, it's hard for me to resist trying "autocorrect" or it's equivalent; I like to see what a "computer" would do to my picture without my guidance. So I take a look and then undo and go whatever route I go. "Autocorrect" always wants to add green to a winter sky, actually the whole picture. I guess it misses the chlorophylliferous tint that's not suffusing the world this time of year. So do I.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Camellia petelotii var. petelotii flower

The Golden Camellia has flowered for us before Christmas in what's basically our Zone 9 house. I left a few in the "Zone 8" house and their buds are still tight.

Ilex (serrata x verticillata) 'Sparkleberry'

Big plant alongside the road in the Holly Magnolia Collection.

I missed the Solstice eclipse and the moon was back to full power by 6:30 a.m.

Actually this picture is out of sequence; I took it yesterday morning (technically less than 24 hours ago). If I were the kind of person who cheated, I could have photoshopped the eclipse, but hey, I'm not that technologically adept, er, I don't do that kind of thing. I missed the solstice eclipse by sleeping through my alarm after 2 days of being violently ill. Oh well, I guess there'll be another one in 400-500 years.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brookside Gardens Holiday Light Display

We went to Brookside (one of my favorite public gardens) to celebrate the Solstice. It was, as always, breathtaking. They seem to have just about finished converting to LED's; colors are much better. We interrupted a television crew in the middle picture but they continued cheerfully.

a few flowers on this Plumeria in Polyhouse 7

There's just something about Plumeria flowers, beyond the fragrance I mean. I think I like the simplicity of their form and the way the pink suffused the petals and the gold at the base of the petals. la la la.

Salvia involucrata: not another salvia!

This is actually a different accession of a species I photographed earlier and the flowers are a bit lighter in color. After posting this I went to see the Holiday LIght Display at Brookside Gardens. Oddly, they had, in the conservatory, high potted specimens of this very salvia. It was too dark to photograph them but I enjoyed to coincidence anyway.

The Hollies in the Holly Magnolia Collection seemed happy to see some sun today

Leaf Team did leaf removal there yesterday and I think it made 'em feel better about themselves.