Rich and I visited three different gardens recently. This past Sunday we spent several hours at Chanticleer (once the home of the Rosengartens), a 47-acre estate located in Radnor, PA, of which some 35 acres are open to the public. The literature says it “has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America,” and it’s totally worth the $10 per person fee to enter the grounds. There are gorgeous gardens, including a teacup garden and a pond garden, lovely paths to walk, and some 5,000+ plants to peruse. I particularly liked the “Ruin and Garvel” garden. Here are a few of the photos from the day.
I suspect we will return again, as I know there is more for us to explore. Visit their website for more information.
This weekend I went to several outdoor places to photograph primarily butterflies. I’ll post some images from those adventures in the coming days. However, I did want to post this guy. Many times when I’m out photographing, I see these gorgeous yellow birds — American Goldfinches — which I learned happens to be the state bird of NJ (along with Iowa and Washington). These birds are incredibly active, jumping and flying at the smallest hint of movement. Generally I can only take pictures from afar. However, yesterday as I was standing and scoping out the area, I realized it was sitting on a cone flower not far from me. I very slowly raised my camera and starting taking pictures. I managed to take about 15 shots — looking left, looking right, looking over its shoulder, and feeding off the flower.
I took these photos at the Grounds for Sculpture in central, NJ.
A few of the water lily pictures I took while in Central Park with Louis Kettle, Derry’s nephew from London who is currently visiting the US. I have lots of pictures of our adventure, some that I’ll be posting soon.
Summer started yesterday, and today in central NJ was another day of very hot, sunny weather. I love it.
To celebrate, I took a little time to visit a nearby garden. While there were no butterflies, there was plenty of open blooms, gorgeous color, and blue skies.
I needed to visit the hospital complex again today for various matters regarding my mother-in-law and her ongoing medical issues. I took along my camera just in case I spotted anything interesting to photograph. A nice surprise was finding another area with poppies in bloom! Yipee!!
Yesterday evening I returned to the hospital grounds to take more poppy pictures. I thought I’d have plenty of time to take more pictures as it appeared there were many unopened blooms. However, the bulk of them were gone! So many of the unopened blooms were drooped over and look finished. It was quite a surprise and another lesson in the “do it while you can” category of life.
This time last year I was in England with my mom showing her the sights with Derry. The decision to take her then was a good one as one year later things have certainly changed. First, I highly doubt I could have done a fraction of the travel I did last year because of my back problems and, most sadly, Derry’s dad is no longer alive (the though of which continues to deeply sadden me). In short, when opportunity presents itself, and if you have the means and motive, go for it. It something I need to tell myself regularly as, tick tick tick, life changes fast, and regrets can pile up.
On a good note, I’m almost finished with my 12 x 12 inch piece for the 8 That Create group. The theme for an upcoming show is fashion, and my piece is based on the pages of a past Vogue magazine. I have a few more rows of french knots to add, and then I should be squaring off and finishing it. All in all, a good weekend, despite the back woes!
After visiting my mother-in-law at a hospital facility in Princeton-Plainsboro today, I decided to take some photographs of poppies on the nearby grounds. The flowers looked beautiful in the sunlight, and I found it very soothing. However, someone called the police on me! Luckily, all went well — although it was sort of funny when he thought I said I was photographing puppies rather than poppies (at least I said “photographing” rather than “shooting”). I might use some of the photos as a basis for some watercolor paintings.
Last weekend Rich and I visited a zoo about an hour plus away from us. We generally go to relax some, and I like taking pictures if anything catches my eye. I mostly get a kick out of the various birds strutting around — although some of the roosters are way too loud. I shot the photos of the animals above through a fence using a small f-stop. I wrote how I did this — or lens aperture — a couple years ago; you can read it here.
There’s nothing like a rainbow to end a day!
November 6th was our last evening in the Keys. While having dinner, we watched the sun set. The following morning we drove back to Ft. Lauderdale, flew to Philly, and drove back home in NJ. It was a lovely vacation, but it’s now time to move into some new work. I have many new quilt-related ideas in my head. I also used some of my gift cards to buy a lot of new art supplies (not like I need more). Now, hopefully, all of that inspiration will flow into some new art.
Back in Tavernier, we next headed to The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Key Largo. The center rehabilitates wild birds that have been injured. It also attracts a lot of birds that are healthy — especially during bird feeding time. The Center relies on donations. Sadly there is talk of closing the Center, which has been in operation for over 25 years, because of lack of donations. If you’d like to help the Center, donations can be sent to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, 93600 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037 or to the Special Birds Only Account at First State Bank, 41 Jolly Roger Dr., Key Largo, FL 33037. If you can offer other help, please call 305- 852-3186.
I took this photo through a fence so it’s a bit blurry.
While subtle, the image on the right is a digitally altered version of the image on the left.
The image on the right is also digitally altered. I have some fabric that I painted in similar colors. Hmmm … I just may have the two meet.