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.


A SECOND ORCHID – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day

There are several more buds close to blooming and at least two more sprigs are up and growing, gradually uncurling. I think I will have quite a few orchids before all is said and done. 

Garry went and sniffed them today. I was just wondering if they smell as good as they look. I’m so allergic I can’t smell anything, but Garry said he couldn’t smell anything much either.

I love my orchids, but other than the difficulty of getting them to bloom, why do we grow them? They aren’t more beautiful than other flowers, although I think they last rather longer than most flowers.

I’m just enjoying the blooming when I never expected them to sprout, much less bloom. 

GIANT THISTLES – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day 

They just showed up in my garden a few years ago. The leaves looked like thistle leaves, but rather huge. Eventually, the flower popped up and it looked like a thistle — but huge.

I discovered, after minimal research, that these flowers are called “Giant Thistles” because they look exactly like thistles, but are much bigger. Unlike regular thistles, they have no thorns.

The bees love them, so I love them too. They have been spreading around the garden for several years.

ORCHIDS AND OPTICS – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – Orchids!

When Garry got the orchids for his birthday last year, I was dubious about ever seeing a new flower. Since the other plants in the pot were healthy, I put the pot by the French doors in the dining room. Watered them when dry and hoped for the best.

The window faces northeast so it gets sunlight in the morning for a couple of hours. Long before noon, the sun has moved on.

The window is bright but rarely sunny. Oddly, these bright but not sunny windows have been the best areas for growing flowering plants. I have to be very careful how often I water the plants. Under-watering a plant is almost always better than over-watering. This probably sounds backward, but potted plants hate mud.

So. When I walked into the dining room this morning and realized “There’s an orchid blooming,”  I had to grab a camera. I went to the macro lens on the OM-D, but I wasn’t happy with the pictures.

I eventually decided to use the tiny Pentax Q and its “normal” 8.5mm f1.8 lens. The lens is fast and shoots tightly.

Optics can get kind of weird.

For example, the 45mm lens on my Olympus camera is considered – more or less – the equivalent of a 90mm “portrait” lens on a full-size DSLR. Except optics are optics, so a 45mm lens is never a 90mm lens. It may look like it, or more to the point, frame like a 90mm, but optically, it will be a 45mm lens. Optics are optics. You can’t rewrite the code. An 8.5mm “normal” lens on the tiny Pentax, while the sort of equivalent to a 50mm lens on a DSLR is still an 8.5mm lens.

When someone first explained this to me, my brain did a full double twirl in my head. Optics aren’t like software. You can’t rewrite the code. There are absolutes involved in grinding glass for lenses, whether they are for your glasses or your camera. These optics don’t change. The may appear to change, but the original optics are always there.

If this makes no sense to you, that’s okay. Just trust me. It’s true whether the lens is on a camera, a telephone, your binoculars, or your eyeglasses.

That’s my strange, but weirdly useful information of the day. It also explains why I chose to use an 8.5mm “normal” lens on the Pentax Q rather than a different, equally fast (or even faster) lens on the OM-D. Because an 8.5mm lens will always focus close, much like a macro. It will be distorted along the outside of the barrel, but you can get right up to the flower which I hoped would help me get better color.

The pictures I took with the macro lens were too soft and yellow. Pictures using the Pentax were perfect. And about the optics? Although you can get extremely close using the little lens, the pictures don’t look like macros. Because they aren’t.

COLUMBINE BLOOMING – Marilyn Armstrong

Flower of the Day – Columbine Blooming

We had one sunny day and the columbine bloomed. It is still blooming and this, being a relatively long-lived flower, will continue blooming for at least another week.


Flowers of the Day and Probably for the Summer

Every summer, I hang two pots on the deck. I used to hand two fuchsias and some begonias in the corners, but for the past few years, no one is growing fuchsia, so it has been some form of begonia.

This year, it’s on trailing geranium and a lovely pink begonia. I miss the fuchsia and don’t understand why no one is growing them. Someone said they went out of style.

Went out of style? How does something that beautiful “go out of style”? And the fuchsia were very popular with the hummingbirds. I hope they will like these flowers half as well.

One geranium

It was a cool but pleasant day, so while Garry was out — little did I know he was busy taking pictures too. I took a some macros of the hanging pots on the deck and got a few of the lilacs. It’s hard to get the lilacs. They are way high up off the ground. It’s easier for me to shoot them from the deck with a really long lens.

I guess we’ll have to do some work on the lilacs to make them come back a bit lower to the ground!

Two geranium

The weather was so bad this winter, I almost gave up photography, but Garry went out there and took tons of them. He came in frozen solid, but he had pictures.

Pink begonias

After the March storms, he put the camera down and seemed to have no interest in shooting anything. I think he was tired. He made up for it today.

More pink begonias

We both did, actually. Between the two of us, this was a solid 300 shot day, most of them from Garry. But these are mine. It’s definitely macro time!

Deck flowers 2018

I don’t put up so many flowers these days. It’s hard for me to lift the watering can up over my head, so two pots generally suffice. But if someone would please grow some fuchsia, I’d make the sacrifice!