Oh, the beauty of fall!  On what might have been one of the last truly warm days of fall – blue sky, a warm breeze, and 70 degrees – I walked through Como Park.  I was not alone, as there were people walking, biking, running, meandering –  anything to soak up the glorious day.  The sunshine brought out the colors of the sky and grass and the flaming red of this tree by the Frog Pond.  Now we hunker down for a cold front and snow flurries, thankful for the recent memory of a beautiful day.

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.

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.

One of my favorite places at Como Park is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and one of my favorite rooms in the conservatory is the palm room.  The central, tallest room has a 64′ tall dome that’s visible throughout the park.  Within the room are palms of all types, some nearly 100 years old.  Below the peak of the dome is a bronze sculpture titled “Crest of the Wave,”  created by Harriet Frishmuth in 1925.  Its grace and upward motion leads your eyes up to the very top of the dome, celebrating the spaciousness and the beauty of the glass surrounding the room.  Whether daytime or nighttime, the view is wonderful!

Spring and Easter – all at the same time.  Bright colors, light colors, the colors of spring.  This flowering crabapple bonsai seemed to sum up the season and the day.   Wishing you the bright colors and warmth and joy of spring and Easter!

fern-design-14021_staatsI spent a couple of hours this morning at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  The flowers were beautiful and the rain gradually cleared away while I was there.  But today I was seeing lines, rather than colorful flowers.  I spotted this fern near a window.  Gracefully it arched upward, and its tips hung down and even swirled over itself.  I walked around the fern and photographed many of the branches.  And then I saw this one as I was looking down.  Its green color was complimented by the flooring stones and it spread and twirled below where I stood.  For some reason this image became all about the simplicity, the lines, the colors, and the gracefulness of the fern.

McNelly Conservatory after fresh snowfall_Staats12062Friday morning we awoke to a fresh snowfall.  The dingy remnants of the earlier snow were whitened, the snow that fell overnight lay coating the trees, the wind was still, and the temperature was hovering around freezing –  all the elements of a perfect snowfall.  As I headed out the door to work, I made a “scheduled” detour to Como Park and the McNeely Conservatory.  The lights inside the conservatory gave off a warm glow to the glass in contrast to the blue and white of the snow.  And the snow-covered trees were sentinels of the beauty of this winter morning.  In the stillness and beauty of the early morning it was just me photographing, and the snowplow driver clearing the roads and paths in the park.