What is a rose without its fragrance? Just another flower – with thorns! – perhaps. I cannot think of a rose separated from its distinctive scent. That was why, when I had the chance to have a little flower garden and to indulge my dream of having a rose garden (still a dream!), scent was a big consideration in my choice.
I think that there are about 16 rose plants in the garden, all in varying degree of health. I humor myself by blaming our heavy clay soil for the roses’ poor performance. While all of the roses are beautiful, some of them simply stand out because they have a head turning fragrance. Here are five of the most fragrant roses in our garden:
5. Oklahoma Rose
4. Tamora Rose
3. Peace Roses
I cannot decide between the next two, so I declare it a tie –
2-1. Velvet Fragrance
I can assure you, that all of the roses, especially Velvet Fragrance and Frederic Mistral, will stand a smell test anywhere. Their sweet perfume will stand out anywhere. As for the yellow rose above, it is Golden Celebration. It is milder than the five mentioned above but is very especial for being yellow. 🙂
On the ground by the parking lot of Bridgewater State University near the Science building, these yellow flowers, Lotus Corniculatus or simply, Birdsfoot Trefoil, abound. Bees, tiny butterflies, and other insects were busy drinking from these flowers nectar. These plants are perrenials, accordingly, in northern areas like MA, I suppose, they also go dormant during winter.
Apart from providing food for animals in the wild, Bird’s-Foot Trefoil, are used as ground cover and animal feed. On the other hand, they can also be invasive and harmful to other plants.
While in a walk in the woods of Borderland State Park in early July, my eyes were caught by waxy white flowers not taller than 4 inches off the ground. It was the first time that I ever saw such a plant. They grew in the shady undergrowth of the forests and was likely to be obscured by decaying leaves on the ground.
When I looked it up on Google, I was first given the very useful answer – Plant. The more helpful sites, however, identified it as Indian Pipe, also known as Ghost Plant, also known as Corpse Plant. I thought it was a kind of fungi, but it turned out to be a plant, in the blueberry family at that. The plant has no chlorophyll and does not need light to grow, apparently. Thus, it can grow in the dark. According to one source, Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for October 2002, the presence of this plant indicates that the area is very rich with nutrients. Venerable Wikipedia says that “it is generally scarce or rare in occurrence”.
Check out the sources for interesting information about this plant.
Apart from warmer temperatures and prettier sights, one of the main reasons I so look forward to spring is being able to garden again. As the weather warms, I begin to think of plants I want to have in the garden in addition to our staples: tomatoes, herbs, and pepper. This year, we got broccoli, chard, kale that survived winter, lettuce, and zucchini.
Prior to planting, my husband and older children tilled the garden soil. We also added composted manure and epsom salt. Then the fun part began: selecting the plants, digging the dirt, and planting. I gave the plants what I thought was enough space. Unfortunately, I always underestimate how big each plant can grow. Perhaps, it is the combination of good soil and plant-suitable weather, the plants on the ground are lush and healthy. The zucchini plants are producing well – something that had not happened before. On the other hand, the cucumbers are vigorous and invading the tomatoes’ and peppers’ territories.
The soil (and weather) must have been that good that the Golden Celebration rose that I moved from our flower garden where it was struggling to stay alive, is also doing well even if it has asparagus, zucchini, and cucumber for company. I am just so glad that it is alive and healthier. I have never seen this plant with this many stems and leaves.
The vegetables are flowering and already showing little fruits. Weather and other conditions permitting, I am looking forward to a fruitful summer and even fall.
My main dilemma when I walk in the woods is deciding where to look: up, down, all around? On our recent trek to Borderland State Park on Friday, a red mushroom along the path caught my eye.
On the other side of the path, another variety was in full bloom. It was then that I decided to focus on mushrooms (more or less) during that walk.
After all, there had been a lot of rain in the previous days, the ground was in fact quite damp during our walk, and it was humid – just the perfect conditions for mushrooms to shoot out.
While I was not a mycologist, and could not identify the edible from the non-edible, even toxic varieties, I was certainly beside myself with excitement to see the park and the undergrowth loaded with mushrooms of different kinds. I was fairly sure, however, that the colorful ones were not good for eating.
For this post, I tried to group together mushrooms that look alike to me. Feel free to give me a feedback about the correctness of the grouping. Descriptions (and even identification, Google permitting) of the mushrooms as I have observed them in the wild were also provided in the captions.
Unfortunately, because I was taking pictures as fast as I could so that my family would not leave me behind and because I did not photograph the bottom of the mushrooms, I could not provide a better description of the species posted here.
I saw and took pictures of many other mushroom variety. However, they did not turn out well. And I am sure there were many other types that I saw but did not think of as mushrooms, and many more in the deep woods.
I hope you enjoyed this mushroom gallery. Please feel free to identify the varieties you find here. Thank you.
This is a shot of the arched stone steps in the garden of the Ames Mansion in what is now known as Borderland State Park in Easton, MA. I took this picture on a cloudy Friday mid-morning using my Huawei Honor phone 5. Going up, the steps lead to an open field bordered by deciduous trees. The area where I was at was a little sunken garden with rock walls and a little garden fountain.
I used picmonkey to edit the original photo. As I am much taken with the light at the top of the steps, I highlighted that by using the sunglow effect. I used the ombre effect to darken the sides a bit more.
I don’t know about you, but I am utterly fascinated by reflections. Whenever we pass by a body of water clearly reflecting the world around and above it, I always feel a little regret that we could not stop the car to take pictures. There is something magical with reflections that is as soothing as they are beautiful.
It is no surprise then that my favorite places to visit should have a body of water. I am happiest when the water is clear and still for those mirror images that, to me, are so appealing. Recently, we discovered this wildlife refuge nearby that not only offered tree-shade meandering paths but also a riverwalk. As you may have guesses, I took a lot of pictures of the trees reflected in the water. The photos were taken on different occasions (one or two may even be reflections on a puddle somewhere), so there are variations in the color and light.
I chose the shots to give the collage a theme. Then I tried to arrange the pictures according to the changes in color and hue. While I was doing that, I was reminded of the picture collages that were so popular several years ago, such as a picture of Princess Diana, for example, which was actually made out of hundreds of little photos of her that were put together to form the big image. I guess you have an idea about what I am talking about.
I made the black and white version above just to see how the colored image would translate as a monochrome picture. It is a little too quiet. I think I prefer the colored version better because of the color palette.
I saw him from the top of the hill where a bird watching cabin was. From there, one could see the river snaking below. I was busy making sure my children did not do any foolish things when I saw this man. The treetops opened up just enough to frame his solitary figure lost in his task. He was not as alone as he might have thought but what he had was perhaps enough for him to collect his thoughts and even catch a few fish without any distraction.
While not as storied or old as The London Bridge or The Golden Gate Bridge, Boston’s Zakim’s Bridge or Bunker Hill Bridge still counts as iconic as the other two. The bridge reminds one of Boston, as word Boston itself brings to mind an image of a cable-held bridge leading a traveler to and from the city over River Charles.
The rare times we go through Boston when we travel up north, I look forward to crossing the bridge and looking at the scenery around it. Taking a picture through a windshield while passing through the bridge is not the way to capture the grandeur of this bridge but the bridge still impresses even in a simple camera phone shot.