SPIDERWORT – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day

They are true blue, but for some reason no matter what camera I use, show up as purple. Something about the way the light hits it. I finally got them back to their natural color, which is a rich, cornflower blue.



MAYFLOWER – Flower of the Day

One of the great things about using the internet is learning stuff. Cee mentioned that Columbine is Colorado’s state flower … which made me wonder what our Massachusetts’ state flower might be.


Turns out to be the Mayflower. Yes, just like the name of the boat that landed in Plymouth. Though I’m pretty sure it didn’t land on the rock or it would have crashed, so I’m assuming they anchored and went ashore in a more normal way.

Mayflowers – in May!

Meanwhile, though, I have tons of Mayflowers in our yard. They are wild, so they cover the grass, usually together with our first flock of dandelions. It makes a very pretty purple and yellow carpet in the early part of spring.

More Mayflowers
I was told that this is another kind of Mayflower

Late April typically, though it was May this year because of the cold weather that wouldn’t leave. Not to mention the wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Or, what we like to call “our miserable weather.”

Mayflowers and pink-eyed grass

Nothing stops those wildflowers, though. We didn’t get the usually thatch of dandelions and Mayflower, but we got them. This time, fewer dandelions and more Mayflowers.


I must admit, this is the most amazing bloom I’ve ever gotten from any of my cacti. Not only are there a lot of flowers — new flowers replacing earlier flowers — but the flowering is lasting a long time.

This morning, while I was fixing my coffee and toast, I realized there was sunshine in the dining room. For the first time in weeks, the cacti were brightly lit. I was torn. Eat my warm toast  –or take pictures of flowers.

Of course I took the pictures because you can make toast any time, but sunlight on flowers is a brief moment. Later, my toast was cold but the pictures came out great. All that bright sunlight let me get some use out of my macro lens.

Macros are such weird lenses. They either do amazing, fantastic work … or they make you crazy with frustration. This was one of the good days. I used a different kinds of processing to catch both the colors and the complexity of the blooms.

Flower of the Day



Usually, my Christmas cactus blooms like mad around Thanksgiving, but this year, they looked limp and miserable.

I realized I had done the one single thing that you can’t do to a cactus: I over-watered it. Not by a lot, mind you. A little bit. I let the earth stay moist instead of letting it get dusty dry, which is what you need to do to bring them into flower.

When they failed to flower at Christmas, I stood in front of my mirror and yelled at me. I told me to “PUT DOWN THE WATERING CAN.” I did.

For the past week, I’ve been watching the buds come out on the cactus. Red and dark pink — on the same plant. That’s new. Usually I get just one color per blooming. Most of them are still unopened, but we’re going away for the next few days. I’m afraid i may miss the main blooming, so I shot pictures today, just in case.

I should have used my macro lens, but I didn’t … just a more or less standard f1.7 “normal.” They are still pretty. I’ll try to grab a few more shots tomorrow.


Through frost and drought, downpour and bright sunlight. Hot and cold, the mums are still shining bright. If any flower is indestructible, mums are the ones.


Amazing, our roses are also still blooming. They look a bit rough around the edges, but they certainly are hardy!

For now, though, the leaves are grabbing the spotlight. It’s hard to look at anything else!

Flower of the Day


I forget birthdays and other occasions. Not just other people’s birthdays. I have been known to miss my own and only realize a few days later that it had passed. Oops. Usually, I remember our anniversary. Last year was our 25th and it being one of those milestone years, we were both aware of it.

Unlike this year.

I have our anniversary marked in our shared Google calendar so that I get a notification a day in advance. So when an email showed up saying “Happy Anniversary Marilyn & Garry,” I said “Oh.”




I knew yesterday was the fourteenth thus making today the fifteenth. I knew our anniversary is the fifteenth of September … yet somehow, I didn’t connect the dots. The pieces of information lived in my brain, separately. Until I saw the email.

“Garry,” I said. “It’s our anniversary tomorrow.”

He got that look that husbands get when they figure they have just made some terrible mistake, a combination of guilt and fear.

“I only realized it now because it popped up in my email,” I said. “I put it in our calendar. You would have seen it when you turned on your computer.”

“I thought I’d really blown it.”

“Well, you weren’t alone. We both blew it.”

“I remembered last year,” he pointed out.

“I know.” I thought awhile. “We don’t have any money, but we could go out for dinner if we put it on a credit card. If you’d like.” I was thinking how glad I was that I had bought him his gift a while ago and being me, already given it to him. I’m such a child about gifts. I can’t wait. I have to give them immediately.

So today is our anniversary. Yay. Another year. We are both hitting milestone birthdays in the spring, so I doubt we’ll forget them.

With a little luck, the chrysanthemums will bloom tomorrow. I’m pretty sure they, at least, will remember the day.



Every year, no matter how broke we are — and this year we are broker than usual — I find a way to buy a couple of pots of hanging fuchsias. I can no longer do the bending and digging required by a “real” garden, but a couple of hanging plants added to my indoor plants (one gigantic dracaena marginata, two Christmas cacti, and a very healthy aloe vera) is manageable.

macro fuchsia july 2015 - 29
Fuchsias – from July 2015

Fuchsias make me happy. They are elegant, easy keepers. Give them the right light (bright shade and a bit of dappled sunlight) with plenty of water and they will bloom their hearts out from May through October. If you live on the west coast, they might bloom all year.


Last year’s fuchsias were deep mauve and purple. Aside from being magnificent, they were easy to shoot with the macro lens. Those dark, rich colors provided edges which the auto-focus could find quickly.

This year, I chose a different color set. Pink and rose and white … and my macro lens is having the devil’s own time finding edges on which to focus. If you have never used a “real” macro lens, let me explain that it’s different. Not only does it shoot very close, but it also doubles as a portrait lens. On my Olympus, in macro mode it can shoot almost from inside the flower. But otherwise, it is a 60mm lens that in 35mm translates to 120mm, or the long end of portrait (or the short end of telephoto).


This is useful a lot of the time. For a fixed focal length lens, it can go a lot of places and adapt (f2.8) to many varied lighting situations.


But the lens and camera do not necessarily understand what you want to do. There’s isn’t a “switch” that tells it to shoot close, or far. It makes up its own mind about this stuff based on its sensors. To say that a macro lens can be a challenge to focus where you want it to focus is an understatement. It is less than happy with my fuchsias this year — and I’m feeling more like a camera wrangler and less like a photographer.

But I got pictures. For fuchsia fans, I think both of these pots are a mix of cultivars … between one and three “types” per pot. I’ll know more a little later in the season, but it’s sure to make the pictures more interesting.

Daily Prompt – Flourish

Flowers of the Day – Fuchsias