Monday, August 25, 2008


The other day, Jenn wondered what it might look like inside the sunflower blossom, and so this morning, I was able to catch a couple closer shots of this latest yellow mammoth, as context for this very busy bumbler. Each of them should get a bit bigger if you click.

I think one of the things that fascinates me about looking close at the sunflower is that you realize that what we think of as the flower is actually a whole garden of tiny flowers, arranged in a ring.

Those big yellow petals are like flags, landing strip markers...something to indicate to the pollinators that there's something wonderful here. It does seem there is never a sunflower without some busy bee digging diligently through it.

Just about every morning lately, the two Super Sweet 100 plants have been providing me a handful of tasty cherry tomatoes as a breakfast-y snack while I'm exploring the border. I think that's actually why I like having them out there. Convenient snacking while gardening.

I suppose there are worse reasons to choose a plant. When I am patient enough to let these little beauties get to that perfectly deep red shade, they are a rich sweet mouthful of Wow.

The portulaca isn't blooming quite as steadily as it had earlier in the season, though the six little plants I bought have grown into a lovely tangled cloud of succulent foliage around the base of my Flower sign.

Perhaps part of the problem is that they are now a bit shaded by giant sunflowers, corn, sulphur cosmos and cleome. But every now and then, there's a rosy little blossom to enjoy.

And in the category of Things For Enjoying, the clematis vine on the lamp post, which is now almost entirely a study in frilly seedheads, has this morning presented one more purply-blue flower.

One of the things I love best about August is that the dragonflies don't seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere. In July, they flit about, exploring the world, getting to know one another, eating their share of the more annoying insects. Dragonfly business. It's nearly impossible to get a good photo of them.

But then August arrives and I suppose we all slow down just a little, or want to. And if you want a good dragonfly photo, that's exactly what you have to do.

This little dragonfly perched on a dried daylily stalk along the walk in the back yard late this morning, seeming to enjoy a peaceful moment to soak in the warm sunshine.

It was one of those mornings where the sun seemed to come and go a little, fading now and then behind a bit of cloud, it's color and brightness ebbing and flooding like the wash of the tide. There was an easy rustle of trees and their leaves as the wind seemed to do the same thing, the tide becoming long, deep breaths.

Today, the dragonfly wasn't just enjoying a quiet August moment. I felt like he'd stopped by with a message for me. Something about being still and steady now and then, and remembering to take the time to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

And to breathe.


MartininBroda said...

“It was one of those mornings where … color and brightness ebbing and flooding like the wash of the tide.” This is quite wonderful written (even in the views from someone hardly understanding English).

Birdie said...

Your pictures, as always, are luminous. But I want to say that you paint a lovely picture with words like "rich sweet mouthful of Wow" and a recent favorite, "blue patches of hope" in the clouds. These phrases stick with me for their vivid eloquence.

Jenn Thorson said...

Oh gosh, what beautiful photos.

And imagine my delight to see those sunflowers today. I was unaware you actually took requests. :)

Java said...

Ah, beautiful!
I see something new every time I look at a dragonfly. I think it's because I haven't looked at the carefully before. I love the eyes on this one, particularly in this last photo. I saw one of those bubble cabin helicopters yesterday and it reminded me of a dragonfly.

Yes, Greg. Breathe. Good idea.

Doug Taron said...

Nice dragonfly photos. I think it's some kind of Meadowhawk (Sympetrum)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful captures of the dragonfly, Greg! Great close-up of the sunflower, too. I did the same thing and it's amazing how the different varieties each have their own pattern or layout.

I bet those breaths are getting deeper and deeper as you remain smoke-free!

Marc said...

Wow. The pictures of the dragonfly are beautiful.

Love the Brokeback on the playlist. I instantly recognized it without having to scroll - it's music you just don't forget.

dykewife said...

dragonflies are cool like that :) they're flying around rather leisurely here as well. (though not today since it's pouring rain) in fact, it wasn't until a few days ago when i saw my first one of the summer. it was flying slowly across our yard, a lovely huge black one with iridescent blue, green and red flashing in the sunlight.

i adore dragonflies.

tornwordo said...

Love the closeups and that last shot is amazing. Have you looked into selling your shots on stock photo?

The Hunky Gardener said...

I agree the whole ray and disk floret thing the sunflower has going on is cool. I did, however have a ray/disk floret flower I had to key during a taxonomy test. It was absolutely horrible! Even with the microscope it is tough to key out!

Curt Rogers said...

Ah, lovely. You know I have special place in my heart for the dragonflies. And what a beauty found you! Look at those gorgeous eyes!

What's the old Buddhist saying I strive daily to practice? "Don't just do something, stand there!"

Stand there and breath, my friend. Big deep lungfulls of the stuff, like you want to drown in it. And what a place to do it.

Wonder Man said...

your pics are really good, you should make a book or something

Butch said...

That tomato is starting to look real good. ;-)

The dragonflies are my favorite!!