SUMMER GARDEN NOSTALGIA

Summer afternoons can evoke a certain dreamy nostalgia.

I was feeling it recently, and remembering a public garden I used to haunt. Snug Harbor Botanical Garden, in the New York City borough of Staten Island, is a somewhat forgotten place, being overshadowed by major institutions like the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the New York Botanical Garden.

It’s a gem though.

Never crowded, it sits on the grounds of an old sailor’s home and contains a wide variety of gardens – a rose garden, perennial borders, fish ponds with tropical plants set around them in the summer, a greenhouse and wonderful old trees, an herb garden, a white garden enclosed by old trellis, a pleached hornbeam allee…and that’s not to mention the impressive Chinese Scholar’s Garden and an Italianate garden.

Here is a selection of images from a landscape I came to love, taken from 2008- 2011.

I’ll save the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Italianate Gardens and glass house for another time…

 

 

So many photographs. And there are many more. I spent many hours with my camera at Snug Harbor.

For those who like naming things, here are some names:

1) A clematis in the White Garden

2) Can’t remember the name of this pretty white flower

3) Rose

4) One of the old homes on the grounds, now sometimes used for photo shoots

5) Hosta, Hakone grass and other foliage plants make one of many wonderful compositions in the perennial garden

6) Cotinus, or Smoke tree, with leaf shadows in late afternoon sunlight

7) Crinum asiaticum, a tropical spider lily grown each year and set in containers outside the greenhouse

8) Walkway after heavy rain, planted with annuals and tropicals

9) Praying mantis with Joe

10) Praying mantis with asters

11) Japanese anemone in the White Garden

12) Hakone grass

13) Hakone grass going to seed

14) Spider lily (Crinum asiaticum)

15) Brugmansia – also called Angel’s trumpets, they provide a spectacular display in large containers each summer.

16) Clematis gone to seed in the White Garden

17) Poppy pods!

18) Peonies after a storm

19) Peony

20) Water lily – Nymphaea sp.

21) Fall color in the garden

22) Brugmansias – how I love them!

23) Fallen petals

24) Late summer border composition – Smoke tree, Perovskia (Russian sage), Yarrow, Bergamot

25) The Rose Garden, early September

26) Clematis on the trellis

27) Grasses in fall

28) Fallen petals in spring

29) The peached allee of hornbeam, a repsite on hot days

30) Quarter moon under a crooked tree

31) A resident Mallard pair

PATTERNS

This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge  is Pattern.  It’s everywhere.

Ponder this:

Does the key to the ubiquity of patterns in our world lie within our perceiving brain, or outside of us? Both? Is there any way to know?

And this:

“How is it that a man made, artificial, technological system is behaving like a natural system?  The more efficient it becomes, the more it looks like nature…”  From a video by Jason Silva called, TO UNDERSTAND IS TO PERCEIVE PATTERNS.

Watch it – it’s only 105 seconds long, and it will set your brain spinning.

Read about Jason Silva, who’s been called and “Idea DJ” whose short videos are “shots of philosophical espresso.”  Hey, no wonder I liked that video!

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Patterns have always motivated artists. Whether you locate them inside your perceiving brain, or outside in “nature”  (however you define that), they’re ubiquitous.   I need to narrow down this vast subject, so I’ve chosen patterns in leaves and branches, because they have interested me as long as I can remember.  I’ve abstracted these photographs in Photoshop, mostly using the Posterize and Cutout filters. It’s clear that the patterns I perceived here are at least partly inside my head.  I suspect some will resonate with patterns in your head, too.

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More PATTERNS await discovery at the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

To spin your mind harder, try googling “Pattern perception brain” and then add “Philosophy.”  The two links below look interesting, but it’s warm and sunny out, it’s spring, and I think my brain’s telling me it’s had enough of the computer screen. For now.

http://nivea.psycho.univ-paris5.fr/Synthese/MyinFinal.html

http://www.newdualism.org/papers/J.Smythies/Perception_1-1.htm

Gray Day, Greenhouse

These photos were taken at the University of Washington Greenhouse, a facility primarily used for research. A local photography club I belong to made an arrangement with the manager, and we had a few hours amidst the collections on Sunday. The actual research areas were off limits.

The orchid on the top is Epidendrum nocturnum. The bottom orchid is a Bulbophyllum orchid; I don’t know which one. And the third photo is Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, an epiphytic plant that anyone who’s spent time in America’s southeast knows well. I intentionally moved the camera on a long shutter speed for the second shot.

It was good to let gray skies disappear and lose myself in the tropics…a poor person’s vacation.

SONY DSC

I can’t resist adding a few more – the greenhouse door from the inside;

a water lily (Nymphaea caerulea);

intertwined tropical leaves;

one of many hungry Nepenthes, a carnivorous plant fed with leftover caterpillars from research projects;

a posy of candy-colored Passionflowers floated in a bowl of water (like what my grandmother used to do with her rhodos!);

and a large tropical leaf shot from underneath (yes, the black dot is a bug). They maintain a very delicate balance in the greenhouse. Hopefully there are not so many pests that plants are destroyed, but not so few that bugs are absent. Natural pest control, not the sterile conditions that heavy use of chemical pest deterrents would create, is the goal.

Stark Silhouettes

This week’s Photo Challenge from WordPress:  Silhouettes.  “The proper definition of a silhouette is ‘the outline of a body viewed as circumscribing a mass.’ In photography, often we achieve that effect by putting light behind the object whose silhouette we want to capture, effectively darkening out the features of the subject instead of highlighting them.”

In my mind, a silhouette is not necessarily a “body” and not always a dark object against a lighter background.

You might agree after you scroll through to the end…

In Philadelphia, a statue of a Civil War hero (Union side, of course) points the way amidst a jumble of architectural styles.

In New York City, the Prince Street Station has wonderful public art on a MUCH smaller scale – a series of silhouettes of  people going about daily life, exactly like you see in the neighborhood.

Here, a homeless person, a yoga student and a musician –

And here, a workman and a smoker – an activity now practiced only outdoors, but be careful, not everywhere!

http://www.metro.us/newyork/local/article/1154466–thank-you-for-not-smoking

A biker snaps the sunset in New York’s Battery Park.

In another borough,

a look up at dusk reveals the beautifully twisted structure of a tree:

Near the west coast,

fog and rain are

closing in

on Hurricane Ridge

in Olympic State Park:

And back in New York, in the forgotten borough of Staten Island, a reverse silhouette –

a Brugmansia blossom hangs

in perfect balance

at Snug Harbor Botanical Garden.

More bloggers have posted their silhouettes here:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/