florals


It was a cool fall day as I drove past the last farmer’s market of the season and I couldn’t pass it up.  There was plenty of squash, apples, and all the cold-weather veggies available, but my eyes went straight for some colorful dahlias – probably the last ones of the season.  Their burst of color was a welcome sight and I knew there wouldn’t be anything else flowering until next spring.  They have brightened the house and caught my eye as I passed through the room they were in, each time being thankful for this one last bouquet of the fall.

I was driving down a county road and this old weathered building caught my eye.  I’m not sure if it was a barn or just a building. Time has taken its toll as the white paint is now chipped and fading.  The door on the end appears to have been cut out of the wood planks and the hinge is completely rusted as is the handle and the lock that is holding the door shut.  As I studied this building I saw something flit in front of my camera.  Amidst the purple asters and other flowers and grasses surrounding this building was a monarch butterfly landing, feeding, and moving on to another flower.  Although the building is presently abandoned and lifeless, keeping its story to itself, there was much life and activity going on all around it.

The nights have a bit of coolness to them now, and the sunshine isn’t quite as hot as it was earlier this month.  Our daylight is becoming noticeably shorter as we move closer to fall.  The skies are filled with Canada geese flying over, strengthening the wings of the young ones as they prepare for migrating south; their honking fills the air.  I noticed these sedum blossoms the other day with spots of color in them.  They too are responding to the fast approaching change in the seasons.

It’s a true summer’s day –  blue sky above with white patchy clouds, and the sun is beating down with its warmth.  We are driving along some county roads in northern Wisconsin.  We’ve passed fields of green soybeans and acres of corn, all thriving in spite of the late planting season and the copious amounts of rain this year.  But up ahead is a bright and welcome sight — at an intersection there is a sea of yellow on one side of the road.  It stretches off to the trees in the distance, and it is a glorious field of sunflowers.  Faces to the east, backlit by the sun, the large blossoms are nodding in the wind.  To me this is the epitome of summer, and I’ll soak it in to remember during the not-so-summery days that lie ahead.

As we enter the last third of summer, our lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin are starting to bloom with water lilies.  Looking across the water surface you can see areas of white and yellow.  We’ve seen muskrats enjoying a meal of water lilies, and deer will also wade into the water to graze on them.  This water lily is not endanger of being eaten as I photographed it at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park.  Like its “wild” relatives it was happy to open its petals to the bright sun and soak up the trailing end of summer.

Spring has arrived in the northwoods of Wisconsin.  Driving along a county road we saw (and avoided) many turtles in the road and beside it.   We also saw the lupine blooming in certain areas.  It’s low to the ground and the light needs to be from the right angle to see it’s lovely colors, otherwise it blends in with the grass, dirt and sand.  We rounded a corner and I admired a large patch of lupines, noting that I needed to return to photograph it.  As I was studying the flowers I looked beyond them and saw something looking back at me.  On the edge of the woods, blending in with the shadows, was a black bear.  He looked at me and then ambled back into the woods.  Needless to say, when I returned the next day to photograph the lovely flowers I was very aware of my surroundings.  A slight rustle in the woods and I stopped to see who or what it was.  This time it wasn’t my friend the bear, but it was only a squirrel.

Our landscape has been white for so very long that a bright burst of yellow is a true signal of spring.  I spent some time at the McNeely Conservatory where it is spring, under glass.  Yellow and red tulips, ranunculus, crocus, and daffodils are wonderful (and needed) reminders of the season of spring.  These yellow tulips were set off by the blue reflection of the sky in the water behind them.  Soon enough we will have spring outside too, and not need to go inside to experience it.

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