Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf. ~Albert Schweitzer
Each day brings more plants into leaf and flower. As I wander through the woods and gardens each morning, I realize that it wasn’t just color that I missed in this long winter past. It was the amazing cornucopia of shape and form that emerges from the trees and shrubs, the miracle of plants springing up from the bare earth in fresh new clothes. The early morning light gets caught in the shape and trembling of leaf and flower and I get lost in the looking. Enjoy.
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way. ~lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, from “Oklahoma!”
I’ve spent the early hours of the past few mornings in the garden, with the moments between weeding and planting spent enjoying the sparkle of early morning light. The woods are showing a soft green blush of unfurling leaves as the garden begins its April bloom cycle. Yesterday morning a golden shimmer of light reflected on dewy flowers; this morning the almost full moon still hung in the morning sky while the birds sang their dawn chorus. I couldn’t help myself – I broke into song with them. “Oh What a Beautiful Morning!” is a personal favorite of mine and it seemed so descriptive of the moment. “All the sounds of the earth are like music” – who knew Oscar was so poetic?
Here are a few images from the late April garden. Enjoy!
We are fortunate to have the Phipps Conservatory, a wonderful glass house, in the heart of Pittsburgh. A visit to Phipps in the dead of winter is a treat for the senses, and members can take a tripod for photography early on Sunday mornings. Last Sunday, my friend Suzan and I indulged in a ninety minute whirlwind of intense picture taking amid the tropical splendor of an orchid show. Not only was this a great winter interlude, it was also an opportunity for me to give my new camera a workout and test the waters for the equipment I may need for my A Year in Penn’s Woods project. The challenge of taking photos with limited space in which to maneuver a tripod and varied sources of light was useful in determining what worked with my current camera gear and what needed to be changed. I’m convinced that a few more trips to this warm green space filled with flowers will be required to continue my research this winter
Enjoy the tour of my morning in the tropics.
A first look at the tower of orchids in the Palm Court
Pink orchid spray below the tower
A tiny orchid along the path
The green path leading to the orchid room
Two Chihuly glass bowls
Maidenhair ferns line the path in the Fern Room
Moss and ferns add texture
Brilliant aloe and orchid flowers in the Orchid Room
Showy orchid flowers
Cream and magenta orchid
Spidery shaped orchid
Rich brown tones in orchid
Lady slipper orchid
Chilhuly Glass flames stand guard along the path
More Chihuly glass bowls
Deep rose magenta orchid
A tiny Phipps Conservatory in the railroad garden
A stream in the railroad garden
Grand orchid display in the Sunken Garden
White orchids are a feature in the Sunken Garden
Chihuly glass sun in the Desert Room
Blush pink spray of orchids
Blush pink orchid blossom
What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like if I lived in a country where winter is a matter of a few chilly days and a few weeks’ rain; where the sun is never far away, and the flowers bloom all year long? ~ Anna Neagle
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. William Wordsworth
As daylily season winds down, I spend each morning removing spent blooms and reflecting on how new blossoms turn towards the light. When I first began gardening, I was dismayed to find that the daffodils and daylilies I had planted along the paths turned to face the sun but often faced away from garden visitors. It was like being in a hall before the concert starts and looking at the back of everyone’s head and an empty stage. It took a while to get the hang of planting flowers with faces in the right spot, often with a sturdy shrub at their backs, so that they turned towards the light and the garden visitor.
I cannot help but see the metaphor of this, of trying to find one’s place in life, preferably with a friend at one’s back, so that it is easier to face the light. As always, the garden teaches me a gentle lesson. Here are a few photos of daylilies and other flowers with faces as the garden nears the end of the July flower extravaganza. Enjoy!
To see more photos of light in nature, visit Carol’s Light Words and Robin’s Life in the Bogs; Kerry has a wonderful series of light filled photos of the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks of Utah in his Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog. I will be taking a two week vacation from the blogging world; I look forward to catching up in August, the first anniversary of this blog.