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Purple Pansies

November 1, 2016

My pansies are happy where I planted them. Even the deadheaded blossoms that I toss into the birdbath appear pleased.

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Autumn

September 22, 2016

 

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Pace

September 2, 2016

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My first excursion with the Sierra Light Photography Meetup was…well…venturesome. To recap from the last newsletter issue, this is a new Meetup Group for “anyone who has a desire to learn more about their camera and search for beautiful landscape images to capture with like-minded photographers of all levels.”

Five of us carpooled from Jackson. I sat in the front passenger seat to minimize car sickness. Halfway to Winnemucca Lake, the driver ahead of us pulled into the slow lane and then sped up when we passed. Our driver wanted a little victory and met the challenge. Watching the car beside me, the tires traveled so fast each seemed to spin the wrong way. I’m guessing 90 – 100 mph.

The moment I said a silent prayer,  our driver backed off.

Then, in the middle of town, he floored the accelerator, crossed the double line, and leaned around me to send a dirty look toward the other driver.

Fortunately, he didn’t pursue us.

Eight more photographers joined us at the Winnemucca parking lot; friendly folks with classy lenses and tripods. My little point-and-shoot camera looked like a plastic toy. We left on foot for the lake, for that perfect landscape, and instructional tips from our leader.

 

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Four miles in, I never saw them again.

I stayed behind with two others whose knees couldn’t endure further hiking. Excuse welcomed. My lungs couldn’t handle the altitude. So we headed back. There were plenty of August wildflowers and green vegetation on the trail. But most were off the path, across the creek, or along a steep hillside, too far to capture with my restricted lens.

I did manage to maneuver behind a redwood where a huge mushroom grew beneath a beautiful red flower that I have not been able to identify.

 

 

Alongside the rocky trail were Fireweed (left) and Aster.

 

 

The gentleman who stayed behind shared his lunch, and before giving me a ride back to my car in Jackson, I left a note on the other driver’s windshield.

Will I go to another Sierra Light Photography Meetup?

Yes. In my own car.

At my own pace.

Will I have a pro camera and lens?

Sigh.

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The Upside during Hard Times

July 25, 2016

A lot happened after the last post from guest writer Heidi Gaul. Those challenging times are over, I hope. Since I am practicing “no complaining” I’ll share the upside of gardening during the past weeks.

When I visited a dear friend in Shenandoah Valley, I took three photographs. Usually, when I’m in a beautiful garden, like my friend’s, I can’t stop taking pictures. But we don’t see each other often and she is such a lovely person, that I wanted to spend the short visit with her.

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During the past weeks, I managed to stop in at the local garden center, twice, at Lowes. The first time, I didn’t buy anything, but found their large selection of succulents impressive.

 

The second time at Lowes, I bought a flat of annual vinca.

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The flowerbed is small, and has a split personality. Plants love the north half of the bed, but not the south half. Even though I amended the soil, studied the water intake and sun exposure, I lost six or eight vincas. Those remaining are much smaller than the ones in the photo, planted on the north half. I can’t figure out the problem. But I know from past experiences, I’ll find plants that will thrive throughout the flowerbed.

Everything works out, eventually, even in the garden.

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A Rose By Any Other Name

June 6, 2016

By Heidi Gaul

I love roses, any kind of rose, be it an Old Word variety, a creeper, a climber, a tea rose or a floribunda. But my devotion to these beautiful blooms doesn’t mean they all return the affection. Miniature roses and tree roses are a mystery I haven’t yet been able to solve. I am convinced they begin their death march during the drive home from the nursery.

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Give me a hardy showstopper like Jackson & Perkins’ Cherry Parfait Grandiflora,

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or Weeks’ About Face Grandiflora, and I’m fine.

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Jackson & Perkins’ Julia Child (known as the Absolutely Fabulous in the U.K.) is another sturdy, gorgeous favorite of mine. This floribunda delivers “bouquets” in the prettiest shade of yellow, and though the fragrance is delicate, it is divine.

In the Northwest where I live, one of my biggest challenges is black spot and I fight it diligently with powder and systemics. I’m curious—what is your favorite rose and why? What threats to your roses do you battle?

Heidi Gaul is an avid gardener, writer, and winner of the Cascade Award 2015- Devotionals. http://www.heidigaul.com/

Photography by David Gaul.

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Protecting the Garden: A Dog’s Tale

May 29, 2016

Awakened by a noise, the sleeping dog jolted. He sat erect and stiff with a low growl in his throat. His head jerked to the right. Something in the shadows had moved. The dog lunged across the grasses and ran into the jungle like the wolfdog in his dreams.

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He followed an unfamiliar scent and treaded around the bottlebrush, rustling the foliage. Delicate red spikes dropped, sticking to his fur. A hummingbird dived in for nectar. The dog growled at the intrusion and tuned away.

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He sniffed along a path between Santa Barbara Daisies

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and whimsical Love-in-a-Mist.

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The dog, still a wolfdog in his mind, confidently moved alongside the butterfly bushes, purple clusters dangling over hydrangea blooms.

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Bored, he settled among the shadows and guarded the jungle entrance, satisfied his courage and colossal statue had banished the unseen intruder.

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Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp.): full sun; zones 5-10, spring bloomer, attracts butterflies

Dwarf Callistemon (bottlebrush): full sun, zones 8-9, 12-24, spring bloomer, draught tolerate

Santa Barbara Daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus): full sun/light shade, zone vary by species, annual, blooms spring – fall

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascene): sun-partial shade, all zones, annual, blooms late spring/early summer, reseeds

Hydrangea: full sun on coast, partial shade inland, zone vary by species, late spring/late summer/early fall

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One of the Best Blogging Days

May 8, 2016

One of the best blogging days is when I get to wish all the wonderful Moms around the world

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Happy Mother’s Day.

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