March Haiku

Koi soak warm rays in
Bask two days then plummet deep
Cold confusion. Snow.

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Sussex County Delaware Master Gardeners’ Open House

It is a great honor to be asked to take photos of one of my favorite annual events, the Sussex County (Delaware) Master Gardener Open House. Their beautiful demonstration garden just happens to be located directly in back of my office and I even have a window so I can look out!

20130713-195554.jpgThe garden has many interesting niches and surprising little things peeking out of corners and unusual places. The demonstration garden is actually open all year long, and the public is welcome to stroll through the clearly marked plantings any time of the day, but a few times a year, the Master Gardeners have planned events, which allow the public to not only tour the garden, but have informal, friendly chats with Master Gardeners.

Enjoying a summer slurpee
Enjoying a summer slurpee

Like most gardeners I know, the Master Gardeners are a generous and humble lot. This is their passion and they love to share it. Not everyone is an expert in everything. Each Master Gardener brings his or her own talent to the table…or raised bed. Some are into veggies, others native Delware plants, children’s gardens, hostas, hydrangeas, garden photography. You name it! We have someone who knows their garden subject matter. Together, it all homogenizes into a poetry of color, nutrition, affection for all things fora and fauna. In Delaware, Master Gardeners are selected, trained and supported by Delaware Cooperative Extension through the University of Delaware and Delaware State University. Delaware has a lot to be proud of with these tireless and talented volunteers. What a treasure we have!

Here’s a photo set of pictures taken today at their premiere annual event.

2013 Open House

Baby the rain must fall

Get out your rain slicker, grab your camera and enjoy the garden!

In Delaware, June 2013 has produced record rainfall. Makes going out to the garden a bit of an annoyance, but don’t let a few (okay, a lot) of raindrops deter you from enjoying what you love!  After a rain event, your garden is particularly beautiful.

The addition of freshly-laid raindrops adds a sparkle and glimmer to vegetation and provides a new appreciation for how all the elements work in concert!  This afternoon, we had one of those downpours that arrived sandwiched between sunny blue skies. Perfect petal posing conditions! Now if I could only capture that rainbow!

I have taken my fair share of straight on flower portraits. I submitted hundreds to the new HGTVGarden website and suggested about 20 or so for consideration as their “pic of the week.” But it was a chance photo of rosebush leaves, adorned only by recent raindrops, that earned the editors’ attention and me a $100 prize, which I immediately spent at a local garden store!  This was the photo:

Rain drops on rose leaves
Rain drops on rose leaves

This afternoon, once I saw the sun peep out, I made a dash and took these photos. I used a 85mm micro lens, but I could have easily used my kit lens (55mm-200mm)  and zoom in from a distance, using the flower setting. I get very good results using a shallow depth of field and stepping back from the subject and zooming to 200mm focal length. Certainly, a micro or macro helps! Most importantly, experiment when you photograph your garden. Take photos at different times of the day. A bright sunny day at noon is not necessarily the best condition for nature photography. Vary your angle and don’t be afraid to get close…or wet!

Here are the photos from today. The raindrops add the sparkle and interest on what might otherwise be an ordinary flower photo!

Knock out rose bloom past its prime gets some additional visual energy with raindrops
Knock out rose bloom past its prime gets some additional visual energy with raindrops
A red maple leaf intercepts the rain
A red maple leaf intercepts the rain
Thirsty lace cap hydrangea drinks up all it can!
Thirsty lace cap hydrangea drinks up all it can!
A raindrop dangles on a delicate coral belle
A raindrop dangles on a delicate coral belle
A Knock Out rosebud is bathed in June rain
A Knock Out rosebud is bathed in June rain
Oak leaf hydrangea blooms glisten in water and white!
Oak leaf hydrangea blooms glisten in water and white!
A bay laurel leaf has thrived in this rainy June month
A bay laurel leaf has thrived in this rainy June month
A violet lacecap hydrangea dances in the rain
A violet lacecap hydrangea dances in the rain
Heavy rains can knock off the blooms of a Knock Out rose bush, but this blooming bud looks beautiful in water beads
Heavy rains can knock off the blooms of a Knock Out rose bush, but this blooming bud looks beautiful in water beads