June 22, 2011

I Waited All Winter for This

The light this June has been frustrating.  When it rained it was dark.  When it stopped raining it was gray and gloomy.  When the sun came out it was filtered in a high white haze.  On the rare day the sky had any blue in it, the gardens were drooping from too much rain, or the blooms had passed.  My camera is confused and annoyed with the settings I am trying to make it use. 

But I waited all winter for this.

So --- light be damned, who cares about the white sky or the droop or the flat light.  There are treasures to be captured out there, awash in a weird glare:

Veronicas ('Royal Candles') are marching in front of the sundrops.

'Husker's Red' penstemon has the prettiest white blooms on wine colored stems.  They mix with yellow coreopsis.

Sunny yellow sundrops (Oenothera tetragona) are spreading from just a few plants last year.  They peek over the deep purple 'May Night' salvia, which is still blooming as spring moves into summer.

Baptisia alba is tall and willowy and the white blooms arch.  Not like a bushy blue baptisia at all, this white false indigo is open and carries curvy spires on tall stalks.

St. Johnswort (Hypericum 'Albury Purple') wears silver raindrops like jewels on its foliage, and then adds golden yellow blooming sunbursts just for effect.

Sweetbay magnolia, Magnolia virginiana 'Jim Wilson' blooms outside my bedroom window, but is still holding back its promised lemony scent.  It smells like nothing, but delights even so.

Blueberries have bloomed and are setting fruit, but these are not blueberries.  They are the flowers of Zenobia pulverulenta, a related plant with translucent glaucus foliage and the cutest little white bells.

I waited all winter.  The early morning shadows call to me to come outside, so I must go now and fiddle with the camera settings, trying to compensate for the light, the flatness and the white sky and haze.  It all still gives me pleasure.


  1. Laurie, I sympathize with you on the weather and squeezing in getting photos between raindrops. I luckily had a day for just that, but take your attitude of damn the bland sky. The blooms wait for no one. I wanted to get my sundrops in full bloom, but I bet I go out today and the storm got them first. Nice combo with the Veronica. Mine is yet in bloom, so that combo does not work in my garden.

  2. Perhaps some things are not meant to be captured by the camera. One must just soak them into the photo album of the mind. It is quite frustrating trying to capture these exquisite moments in the garden. You do such a good job.

  3. Your last photo is amazing, Laurrie. It reminds me of what a garden eventually looks like!

  4. It doesn't matter what the light was, it is all beautiful.

  5. Well worth the wait, I say.

  6. You've got so many wonderful blooms Laurrie. No wonder you couldn't wait to photograph them. I love all the yellow flowers with the purples. Very eye catching.

  7. The light in the last photo is beautiful...especially love how you've captured it in the leaves to the right.

    The post the other day of the coneflowers in vases was an exercise in learning to take photos indoors...the light is so harsh right now that I'm having to learn some new techniques to get some good shots. For me, it beats getting up at the crack of dawn to get some pictures!

  8. Well worth the long wait, Laurrie! I didn't realize Baptisia 'Alba' had such a different shape than the purple one--it's beautiful.

  9. Well the light looks glorious in your last photo! I wonder if your Baptisia alba is pendula ~ the names keep changing but there used to be subspecies of alba and that was one of them. My Baptisia alba has flower stalks that stand up like the blue ones. I like your alba a lot. It looks like it's embracing the other flowers.

    The Zenobia is lovely. It really does remind of a miniature blueberry.

    Love the pictures of the Sweetbay and the St. John's Wort.

  10. Donna, getting photos this spring has been such a challenge all over the northeast!

    Lisa, thanks. There are so many shots that must stay in my memory only, with no photographic evidence.

    Wendy, I did like the way the last photo came out.

    Gardener on Sherlock, thanks so much!

    Joene, spring does make the long winter wait bearable.

    Marguerite, the purple and yellow are a happy accident, not planned.

    Cat, you do such wonders with light in your photos. I have a long way to go.

    Rose, The baptisia alba is a very different form, and as Sweetbay suggests in the next comment, it is likely the subspecies pendula.

    Sweetbay, I did look up the baptisia that I have, and it is pendula, you were right. I didn't realize there is a white baptisia that has the normal upright flowers.

  11. Despite your frustrations with the light, your photos show a colourful and beautiful array of blooms. The Veronicas are stunning, as are those Oenotheras. Loved your last shot of the garden bathed in morning light.

  12. It has been a bit gray this spring but I just pretend I am gardening in England which I have always wanted to do so it satisfies that need. Have you ever seen plants as lush as this year?

  13. Bernie, thanks. The light is what it is, so the photos are at least accurate!

    Layanee, "a bit gray this spring" is an understatement! But it is way better than hot, dry drought.

  14. Laurrie, It was worth the long wait. I admired St John's Wart in the nursery the other day. Now I wished I had bought a plant. I like the way that you caught the water drops of the leaves. I think I might have to get some of that Baptisa Alba too. Very pretty!!

  15. Jennifer, the white baptisia is alba pendula, so if you do look for it, be sure to get the pendula variety. There is a more traditionally upright white baptisia that is just alba.


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