We’re languishing still in winter – short days, colder than normal temperatures, gray skies, brown ground.  This beautiful splash of purple iris caught my eye at the store last week.  Flowers! Color! Spring! – all in one compact bouquet.  It was an instant “shot” of what I needed.  The promise of spring is still ahead; yes, there will be blue skies, sunshine, the scents of spring, and the colors of flowers –  somewhere ahead of the snow expected later today.

Spring tulips aglow 12770_StaatsIn my longing for the colors of spring, I wandered into the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  My spirits rose as I took in the colors and smells of our long-awaited season of spring – an array of lilies, tulips, ranunculus, and daffodils.  Flowers the colors of the sun — the light of spring that we crave so much after the cold and white of winter.  From underneath these tulips the light from above made them glow and shimmer – an ephemeral hint at their fragility and short-lived life in the transition between winter and summer.

Yellow begonias 12626_StaatsAlthough it’s not here yet, spring is definitely around the corner.  After a wet snow on Friday, today is sunny and in the 50’s with much melting taking place.  Outside the grass is brown and the trees are bare.  But there’s a hope and promise of spring to come.  And that’s what these lovely yellow begonias seem to be saying –  spring’s colors and warmth will be here soon.  Green will appear in our landscape, the sun will generate warmth, and we will gladly move from winter to spring.

Dancing flowers at sunset 10273_StaatsI was recently out photographing before sunset.  What I was hoping would be a calm evening was developing into just the opposite.  The heat of the day and the increasing humidity were causing the wind to be quite blustery.  My first instinct was to turn around and go home, but instead I decided to go with it.  Silhouetting the flowers behind the glow of the western sky, and using a longer shutter speed, I let the flowers “dance” in front of the lens.  The more I watched, the more I enjoyed the unpredictable movement of the flowers.  The images seemed to take on a life of their own almost as if knowing that summer is fleeting and now’s the time to celebrate it.

Roses and petals_Staats-9986We’re in the height of rose season – their colors and scents abound.  We have a wonderful John Cabot climbing rose that blossoms out in profusion mid-June,  becoming engulfed in a riot of color.  I’ve had cuttings in almost every room of the house, and yet the bush itself remains full too.  The blooms hold for many days and then they drop their petals all around – a reminder of their beauty even as they move past their prime.

Mock Orange_Staats-9971Our warm sunny weather turned to mist and clouds yesterday morning, reminding me of my days living in the Pacific Northwest.  The dampness of the mist and rain held all the wonderful scents of late spring in the air.  I wandered our yard, enjoying the smells of the peonies and roses.  As I rounded a corner, I got a hint of orange.  Our mock orange bush has been flush with blossoms and is nearing the end of its bloom.  Although its colors aren’t as bright and showy as the peonies and roses, the white glimmered amidst the spring green under the gray skies.  Its delicate petals will fall for a few more days, and the green leaves will remain until next spring when we can once again marvel at its short burst of white blossoms and delicate smell.

Magnolia blossoms 9374_StaatsWith the warmth of the sun, our magnolia tree burst into bloom this past week.  The delicate white petals broke from the catkins that had kept them safe throughout the winter.  I spent a delightful evening photographing amongst the blossoms.  Not only was it a feast for my eyes, but I was treated to the wonderful sweet smell that they give off.  A slight breeze would stir and my senses were filled with the light aroma and the brightness of white surrounding me.  Perhaps what makes the magnolias so special to me is the brevity with which they are in full bloom.  As the week has passed, the wind and rain have already tossed many of the blossoms to the ground, and those that remain are no longer at their peak.  Soon the flowers will all be gone and the tree will be covered in green leaves.