January 20, 2013

Photo Gardening

In winter, gardening does not stop in northern climates. It moves indoors and onto the laptop. My winter garden lives and grows and thrives on Aperture.

Where is yours? Blooming in Photoshop? Growing on Picasa?

In my photo garden I can look at last season's Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' which is just a tiny blob of foliage in my garden, and . . .

. . . . in a couple clicks I can grow it into a mature, spreading specimen like the star magnolia behind my friend Jane's post lamp. This kind of gardening doesn't take twenty years, it takes a click or two.

In my photo garden I can admire the wintry architectural branches of a New Jersey Tea plant, Ceanothus americanus, and then . . . .

. . .  in several clicks I can grow it backward into a fat shrub with white pompoms that drive the bees craaaazy. Photo gardening can reverse the seasons. Easily.

Photo gardening means I can enjoy the funny explosions of blooms on Virginia sweetspire, Itea virginiana 'Henry's Garnet' and just a moment later . . .

. . . . I can enjoy its fall color, the clearest garnet red I have ever seen.

When I photo garden I can even replant dead plants. After their untimely demise, I can put plants back in the beds they grew in years ago. How cool is that?

This redbud, Cercis reniformis 'Oklahoma' was decapitated in a 2011 storm and had to be removed, but this winter I can enjoy it all over again in my photo garden.

In my photo garden there are no nasty voles eating the roots of plants from below, toppling them over, and my dwarf Gingko biloba 'Spring Grove' still lives, with roots intact and miniature gingko leaves making delicate fans.

I can grow purple coneflowers in my photo garden just by clicking on them. It's so easy. Never mind that Echinacea purpurea 'Pink Double Delight' succumbed after a few years to something chompy and disappeared. In my photo garden I still grow it, and grow it well.

There are no bad bugs in my photo garden, and no deer at all. Sometimes it threatens to rain . . .

. . . but it never hails, there is no wind damage, and after it rains, my photo garden sparkles.

In many ways photo gardening is more rewarding than what I do in spring and summer. I certainly don't sweat so much. The fear of tick bites and knee damage is minimal. When I photo garden I am less likely to get dirt all over everything, although cookie crumbs in the keyboard have been an annoying problem.

I really do enjoy watching my small, newly planted shrubs and trees morph into mature specimens in just a click or two. My smokebush, Cotinus coggygria 'Grace' looks like this now. . .

. . .  but in my photo garden it becomes this quite easily, looking just like my friend Sharon's mature smokebush that it took her years to grow.

Is your photo garden growing well this winter?

 

40 comments:

  1. I am gardening in Zoom Browser. You have captured so creatively how many of us do tend our gardens during winter when there is hardly a reminder of a presence that is there all through the growing season.Seeing your pictures makes me itchy for the season to begin. Love that photo of the sky just before a storm. So dramatic.

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    1. Lisa, Happy winter gardening! Click away and enjoy your photos from inside a warm cozy house.

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  2. Echinacea 'Pink Double Delight' certainly are cheerful little things. And of course the lovely Sourwood...

    Last weekend I reorganized all my pictures into more specific folders. Being able to relive past garden seasons in January does make winter much more tolerable. Currently I'm shopping for a new camera and would like to learn how to use it on other than "auto" settings. Perhaps next winter I'll have better quality photos to peruse.

    Garden catalogs are beginning to arrive as well. It won't be long until we're back out there marveling at our early spring bulbs and spring ephemerals.

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    1. Sue, Looking at photos makes the gardener want better equipment -- it's as bad as plant lust. Happy camera shopping!

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  3. haha - Yes! I photo garden all the time, but especially in winter. There's nothing better than reliving spring when everything outside is dormant!

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    1. HolleyGarden, looking over last year's photos is the best antidote to cold weather.

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  4. If my garden looked like yours I would be doing that all the time! I have a ways to go!! Your plant selections are wonderful..the colors are just down right spectacular! I have noted several of your shrubs for my back yard garden.

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    1. Nicole, I am so glad I can inspire another gardener. Thanks!

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  5. Ceanothus americanus, my new favorite plant! Its never really jumped out at me until I saw that picture of it in bloom in your garden. Not many growers carry it down here and the stock I brought in last year retailed fairly high for a 3 gallon. I'm going to have to suck it up now and put down the money, wow!

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    1. Rob, so glad you're getting the Ceanothus americanus! It was a slow starter for me, it took three years before it looked good, and I lost one of the three I planted. The stems are brittle and break off easily, especially in winter. You don't want to be fussing around it too much. Some companions planted nearby help buttress it.

      But it is well worth it now that they have matured and any breakage is less noticeable on the fuller shrubs (also I'm hoping with maturity it will be sturdier). They do form nicely shaped mounds now. The bees love this plant and the pom poms are like miniature lilac blossoms!

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  6. Voles ate your gingko! the nerve. I'd like to photoshop that smokebush into my yard, what a beauty.

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    1. Marguerite, I was so sad to lose the gingko. It was the littlest thing, a real dwarf, and even the leaves were tiny versions of a real gingko tree. I might try growing it again.

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  7. I actually don't spend much time perusing old photos. It just makes me miss my garden even more. But I do pop in to visit the garden through Picasa when I look for specific photos for my posts. My sweetspire is never as red as yours. I have the dwarf variety. Harumph!

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    1. Tammy, My sweetspire is still young -- I wonder if it keeps its fall color as it ages? And you said flowering drops off unless you prune yours, but I haven't seen that yet either. I wonder if it is the variety I have, or the conditions, or age.

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  8. 'Henry's Garnet' is amazing. The New Jersey Tea as well.

    I look through pictures in the winter because I always have a backlog, and it's great color therapy to see the spring and summer garden during the winter.

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    1. Sweetbay, an enormous backlog is actually the reason I go through all my photos -- so many to sort! But it's wonderful to revisit the garden as I sort through them.

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  9. i love the Redbud and the Sourwood. Great trees! Nice pictures too.
    I realize that I need more pictures of my gardens. i spend so much of the season getting photos of broken,damaged, and diseased trees that i forget to get the other side of things as well.

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    1. Forest Keeper. Your really do need to start photographing the successes. You have to document problems for your work, but you must also see such a great number of beauties. Get that camera focused on the good stuff!

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  10. Laurrie, I think you're really onto something here, but you've missed the full potential. We could stop gardening in the real world altogether, and just photogarden! We could use Pinterest and all sorts of other photo resources as well as our own, photoshop things just where we want them and voila! No cold, heat, flies, weeds, backaches...
    Cookie crumbs in the keyboard seem a small inconvenience by comparison with twigs in the hair.What do you say? Are you with me?

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    1. Lyn, I am completely in!! Love your idea. Sometimes I do worry, though, that I like photos of my garden better than I like being in it. . . mainly because the photos can be perfect versions of what is really a mess out there. And don't get me started on the unreal perfection of Pinterest pictures. . . . we all need to relax and enjoy "real" life and messy gardens : )

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  11. What a fabulous idea! My flowers float across my computer screen as screensavers and sometimes I stop what I'm doing just to watch them go by. In the summer we don't always have the time to stop and fully admire how well our plants are doing, how beautiful the blossoms are. You are completely right, winter is the perfect time for photo gardening :)

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    1. Rosemary, it is hard in the fullness of summer to appreciate it all. In winter I can go through each garden and every plant and really appreciate them!

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  12. You're so right! I find myself randomly browsing through old photos...sometimes I'm amazed at just how different the garden looks from season to season.

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    1. Scott, I always think I will remember the details of what is going on in summer, but I don't. So it's good to see the pictures and be reminded of it all. And I do love comparing season to season!

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  13. Just wanted to say that I was at your other blog and your space looks awesome! So digging those birds and love that blue wing chair!

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    1. Nicole, Ha! Thanks!! I don't usually do any house furnishing posts, except occasionally on my journal blog. I'm glad you saw it and like the new look. I like it a lot.

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  14. So funny how our locale determines when we photo garden. Most of mine is done in the high heat of summer when I go back and dream about the beauty of fall and spring and even winter! During summer there are a few plants that are just hitting their stride but most are just trying to get by. I remember the post about your beautiful redbud being beheaded...still makes me sad as I know it does you too.

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    1. Cat, you are completely reversed, with mid summer being your downtime. Whatever season we spend away from the garden, our photos help us keep enjoying it until it's nice enough to go back outside.

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  15. I have old photos, of course, and like to look at them and remember how my garden was, changed and is now. You garden in photos is pretty but we all know it needs garden work every day.

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    1. Nadezda, that is the best part about photo gardening -- you can go back many years and see how much it has changed over time, and how all our work has made an impact!

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  16. If only we could also photograph the fragrance of lavender and roses, and the birdsong...

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    1. Hover Boo, I know, I know! And the feel of gentle breezes and the warmth of soft sunshine . . . sigh.

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  17. Photo gardening really is an inspired idea! It's like Colorforms for grown-ups. Finally I can have the perfect garden I've been dreaming of. Just take a little of 2009, mix it with the best of 2011, etc. etc.

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    1. Sarah, I love that - Colorforms for grown ups! I do find that I can mix years (2010 was the best year in my garden according to my photos) and get a perfect vignette that way.

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  18. Amazing garden! Truly, that's beautiful. I wish I could get mine to that standard. Luckily, it's all good, I'm getting better all the time.

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    1. Calgary, thanks! It is a constant effort to improve, and each season proves that.

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  19. Wow! I love that smokebush! Your photo garden is amazing, but your real garden is even better, for it has breezes and sounds and fragrance and a good chunk of your soul. Your photo garden is a terrific pastime to get you through the doldrums of winter, but I'm afraid it is a little bit selfish, while your real garden is shared with all sorts of creatures, whether you like it or not!

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    1. Deborah, so true. The real experience of a garden is nothing like a static two dimensional photo. The photo may be a perfect version, or even a time capsule version, but the real thing is so much richer and diverse and wonderful!

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  20. One of the great things about a photo garden is that it is probably the only real "low maintenance" garden. I am ashamed to say that I have yet to dive into my archives of images "weed" out the duds and reduce the file sizes of the best shots for the internet.
    As well as enjoying plants anew, looking at photographs are a great way to assess what worked and what didn't. Every year I plan to take candid shots and make notes for the following spring...then I never get around to it. Perhaps that should be one of my garden goals for this year.
    Love the New Jersey Tea plant, Ceanothus americanus!

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    1. Jennifer, it's actually quite a bit of work to categorize and weed out all the photos taken over a season. But it's a great way to while away winter. Your photos are always so beautiful, I don't know how you could weed out any of yours!

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