Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flowers on Black on a July evening

I set up black velvet against a trifold support and placed my camera on a tripod in front of this.  Several flowers from the garden were the subjects for the afternoon photo shoot. The sun was low around 6:30 and provided a warm glow to the day lilies, daisies, and petunias.  Here are some macro shots, some without adjustment and others with Photoshop artistic adds.

Japanese Garden and Poetry at the Johnson Museum

Yesterday, there was a poetry writing event in the Japanese Garden of the Johnson Museum in Ithaca.  What a lovely, inspiring site to meditate, reflect, and write!  Peter Fortunato led the group with some intro lines and we wrote and wrote.  I would not say I came up with any poetry, but it was fun, inspirational, and relaxing.  There is another session of poetry on July 25th if you are in the area and interested. Just call the museum.

Tree that came from Pennsylvania and was trimmed to appear as a Japanese tree

Moss on the floor under the tree

Stone representing one of the wise elders

Tiger Glen represented by stones collected in Connecticut for the project
Here are some photos I took while sitting there.  The story of Tiger Glen, after which Marc Keane designed the garden, is an interesting tale.  The following is from the Marc Keane website (

The Tiger Glen is the setting of a famous Chinese parable, often reproduced in Chinese and Japanese paintings. In the story three men, each of whom represents a philosophy or religion, experience a flash of enlightenment and mutual understanding. The story goes that Huiyuan, a Buddhist priest, lived in seclusion from society in his mountain temple, swearing never to leave its precincts by crossing the nearby Tiger Glen. One day, he was visited by two close friends: Tao Yuanming, a Confucianist, and Lu Xiujing, a Daoist. Late in the day, as he saw them off, Huiyuan was so lost in friendly conversation that he unwittingly crossed the Tiger Glen. At this, the three men broke out laughing, realizing true wisdom surpasses a strict adherence to dogma.

The Garden of the Tiger Glen, recreates the parable in abstract in the form of a sculptural garden. A simple field of green moss is split by a cleft that represents the glen. A “torrent” of small stones runs through the glen. Three upright boulders are set to evoke the three characters. They have qualities that are peaceful, sculptural and humorous all at once. Their position represents the moment of enlightenment in the story. One pine tree represents the deep mountains.

Although the historical parable urges understanding between three Asian religions, the garden can also be interpreted in broader terms to be promoting mutual understanding between any diverse groups. Right now in the world, there are any number of situations where diverse groups compete violently with each other. The message of the garden — that true wisdom is found beyond divergent philosophies — is a good one for people to contemplate as they sit with the garden.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peonies on Black

I think any flower looks great photographed with a black background.  I hang a piece of black velvet over a trifold upright on a table and wait for the afternoon sun to be perfect coming through the windows.  I prefer the natural light for these photographs.

I visited a friend's garden who has magnificent peonies, both of the tree version and the herbaceous. The rows and rows of peonies are magnificent.  I clipped a few samples and brought them home to photograph that afternoon.  Here is a selection from that "shoot".

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Meaning of Flowers: Iris

The Martha Young Garden at the Cornell Plantations is focused on the cultural meaning of flowers and has illustrations in the garden about the focus plants in the garden, with reflections on their meanings in many cultures.  The photos taken here were taken yesterday after the Cornell Reunion tour I gave to the class of 62 and 72.

Here is a passage from an on line site about the meaning of flowers, specifically the iris, which happens to be flowering in the garden.

History and Meaning of Iris
by Samantha Green

Primary Significance: With history dating back to Greek mythology, irises come in a rainbow of colors, the most popular being the deep blue variety. Their primary meanings include faith, hope, wisdom, courage, and admiration.

With striking uniqueness and beauty, irises have rich meanings, and when given as gifts, they can convey deep sentiments. With over 200 varieties in a wide spectrum of colors, the iris, which fittingly takes its name from the Greek word for "rainbow," can be found in virtually every part of the world, growing both naturally and in farms. While garden irises can come in any of these many varieties, the flower's cut versions are mostly blue (the most popular type), white, and yellow.
The iris's history is rich, dating back to Ancient Greek times when the Greek Goddess Iris, the messenger of the gods and the personification of the rainbow, acted as the link between heaven and earth. Purple irises were planted over the graves of women to summon the Goddess to guide the dead in their journey. Ancient Egyptian kings marveled in the iris's exotic nature, and drawings have been found of the flower in a number of Egyptian palaces. During the Middle Ages, the meaning of irises became linked to the French monarchy, and the Fleur-de-lis eventually became the recognized national symbol of France. From their earliest years, irises were used to make perfume and as a medicinal remedy. Today, they are primarily seen in gardens, in bouquets, and in the wild all over the world.
Through its intricate history, the meanings of the iris has come to include faith, hope, and wisdom. Depending on factors such as color and region, irises may bear additional meanings as well. In some parts of the world, the dark blue or purple iris can denote royalty, whereas the yellow iris can be a symbol of passion. Irises may also express courage and admiration.

Today, the iris is the state flower of Tennessee, and the Fleur-de-lis is the emblem for the city of New Orleans. Irises are cultivated all over the world, and they can be found naturally in Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, Asia, and North America.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dusk in Minns Gardens at Cornell

Last night, en route to a meeting of the Cayuga Nature Photographers, I stopped in the Minns gardens to take a couple photos with a point and shoot camera set on macro.  A bit dark, but some of the shots came out well.






Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cornell Botanical Gardens on 6.6.12

A must see is the huge flower of the Gigantic Magnolia flower that is in bloom on a tree in the Botanical Garden, right behind the Lewis Building.  Lewis himself obtained a seed for this tree in 1963 from its native habitat in the South.  The tree has survived here due to the micro climate of a protected area between the Lewis building and the Rhododendron Knoll.

In the Young garden, there are many different iris in bloom.  One can read about the cultural use of iris in the book provided in the garden. That is a nice touch for a visit.

Giant Magnolia








In the herb garden, there are three types of poppies in bloom.  Although it was mid day when I took these pictures and the wind was starting to ruffle the flowers, I was able to obtain some decent images.

In the garden on a sunny day

After several days of rain and cold, it was nice to get out into the garden again.  Lots of weeds have invaded many of the gardens.  The war on weeds begins!  Here are some early day photos of some of the blooming flowers.

Many plants have not been robust in their flowering. the iris produced on bloom and the peonies are pretty sparse this year. The early heat and then the frost might have had an impact.




garden on a hill




fox glove

pink peony