Sunday, January 27, 2013

Summer Idylls

 The winter photo-file project continues here. The virtual recycle bin is filled, emptied and filled again , freeing disc space for upcoming summer travels. Cleaning picture files is a lot like cleaning the guest room closet ; you make headway for a while and then you find a box , open it and end up sitting on the floor surrounded by your past.  The project slows and suspends itself - the worker has become distracted. Similar diversions impede progress with the digital images.
 The photos on my external hard drive tell many stories, and for a gardener in January reliving summertime horticultural adventures keeps the gloom and cold at bay. One of my favorites is the story of Idyllunion.
 Once upon a time out in cyber space a group of gardeners were pulled into the orbit of GardenWeb, an online forum that goes back to early days of the internet, and soldiers on to this day. A conversational offshoot of the perennials discussion group evolved as the members became virtual friends , and these friends shared experiences that were often not garden related..but ulitimately it was  gardens and plants that bound the group together. In March of 2003 , one of the members casually started a new thread called "Idle Chatter". This simple act , performed years before I had ever read or participated in the forum, has enriched my life significantly. There were 101 posts in the thread, and our intrepid poster started another thread entitled 'Idle Chatter II '.Another hundred posts ensued, and another participant put up thread 3, "Idle Chatter III (Idyll?)" and  with this  the Idylls were born.
 New England was heavily represented , and in-person meetings began to be discussed, along with speculations about hatchet murderers and scam artists. Brave souls in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire reached out, and the bonds began to form.In the summer of 2004, the 1st Idyllunion took place in Michigan. There were three more annual IU's before I jumped on board in 2008 . As I was not present for numbers 1 through 4, I hereby present a few shots from Idyllunion 5. These photos are truly dreadful; it's a humbling experience to see what a piss-poor photographer I was in 2008.

 This is Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring New York, our first garden visit of our long weekend   along the Hudson. In spite of this somewhat uninspiring image, this garden is well worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

 The Climbery is a private garden that features one of the most extensive Clematis plantings I can recall seeing, and frankly I have no clue where we were. I was so excited to meet my Idyll friends for the first time I was pretty oblivious to the geography.

 The next day we headed to the big city from our base hotel in Tarrytown, and visited Wave Hill, which I have to say was my personal favorite from the trip .

 The second half of the day was spent at the New York Botanical Garden. As you would expect, it was extensive and beautifully done.

Our last day coincided with the Garden Conservancy Open Days in Westchester  County.  This, our last garden had some connection with the Garden Conservancy , but my memory fails me ...this was the potager, a very small portion of what was an extensive garden. Hoping one of my Idyll friends can fill in the blanks for me.

 Since this trip, we have been to Maine, Northern California, Buffalo, and the Pacific Northwest. The attendees have ebbed and flowed, but if I'm not mistaken, Sue over at Idyll Haven, has not missed one. This summer will be Idyllunion 10.  

 Stay tuned for chapter 6.....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

In the Rear View Mirror-10 Photos from 2012

 Les over at Tidewater Gardener posted a gentle challenge for fellow bloggers to post favorite images of 2012. This seemed like a fun and easy exercise, until I delved into my image files and found I had over 3,000 from 2012 alone. Part of my problem is the inability to dispassionately dispose of the marginal shots, and after installing new photo editing software this fall, I am using these to practice my still novice editing skills. At some point the external hard drive will run out of space and decisions will have to be made. For the time being I wallow in my crop tools, clarity, contrast, noise reduction etc.

 I took several road trips this year , and have selected photos from each.

My spring road trip was a short journey to UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. I took a couple hundred shots there, but I'm partial to this one. 

 In February I took  a Sunday morning drive to Bodega Bay, and as luck would have it , the skies were fairly clear and the Echiums were in full bloom.

 In April I spent a long weekend in the Monterey area , and could easily have posted all 10 photos from this trip. This combination was outside the Custom House  in the Monterey historic district.

Same trip, Pebble Beach. 

More near Pebble Beach.

 In July another road trip with garden friends, here is a photo I took at the fabulous Danger that turquoise pot !

At Dragonfly Farms on the Kitsap Penninsula Washington. 

 Eye popping color at Terra Nova .

My annual visit to Digging Dog Nursery...late afternoon light in the west facing borders.

Ok, so I went over the 10, but Les did too, so it's ok. Near Cabrillo Point Lighthouse in Mendocino County, same trip as above . This image has been 'manipulated' , but I quite like it.

Oh wait ! I almost forgot this one, a very pink building on the wharf at Monterey.

Ok, I'm done.