Saturday, October 29, 2011

Flaming Foliage

I picked up this fiery little plant, called Mukdenia rossii 'Crimson Fans', at Molbak's last month mainly because the tag included the word "evergreen". Yet here it is sending all its chlorophyll from its leaves back to its roots. Maybe it looks like this all winter?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh wow.

The days of the point-and-shoot camera are waning big time. And this is the reason why:

The picture above was taken with my new iphone 4s. The detail is superb. The colors are vibrant. The shadow detail amazing. And it's in a phone! This camera is - I have to say it - in the same league as my 35mm SLR. Of course it's a lot less "manual", but that's not necessarily a bad thing. As much as I like Siri (voice recognition A.I. software), which is also amazing and worthy of a lot of praise, I think the camera is the single best new feature on the iphone 4s.

Here are a few more pictures I've taken from my new iphone:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ah, Poor Bird

October must be "Critter Calamity Month". After last week's fish fiasco, I was witness to the murder of this little sparrow, who didn't mind me getting up close to take his final picture. Moments after I had snapped the shot, Noel dashed out of nowhere and clenched the poor bird in his unrelenting jaws, escaping to the safety of underneath my car where he devoured his catch crunch by crunch. For an eight year old cat, he does pretty well at this.

The Acanthus mollis (Bear's breeches) below is approaching two full months in bloom.

Finally, one crop that did very well over the cool spring and summer were potatoes. Pictured below are Solanum tuberosum 'adirondack blue' and a white variety whose name is escaping me. The blue ones, by the way, have made excellent french fries. I dyed some of the white potatoes with red beet juice for the 4th of July and made red, white, and blue "freedom fries" which was a big hit to say the least. After doing some searching on the internet, I discovered red-fleshed potatoes. So next year's freedom fries will be 100% authentic and natural and not tampered with in any way - although maybe that's too un-American...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Even gardening has its gruesome side

This murder would be less of a mystery if this fish had just disappeared altogether because that would mean it had met its maker via something logical like a blue heron. The body of the dead fish was found lying on the bottom of the pond Thursday afternoon while blood spatter and scale remnants were found on the top of the skimmer. My best guess is a raccoon clawed the fish but before being able to enjoy his dinner, the fish was able to wiggle free and escape back in only to die later from blood loss. Rest in peace little guy - try swimming a little closer to the bottom of the pond in your next life.

The other three fish were hanging out under the bridge where they think no one can see them.

On a happier note, the Escallonia hedge (Escallonia x exoniensis 'Fradesii') has made a quick recovery after dying to the ground last winter. At some point I hope it will realize it is supposed to be a hedge and not a perennial.

This Acanthus mollis (Bear's breeches) has been in flower for well over a month, and at over 6' tall, has never looked more stunning than it does right now. The flower spikes are very similar to foxglove. Unlike a foxglove, they are very long lasting.

Finally, this Purple elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) has certainly grown better than I expected (from a 1 gallon pot to over four feet tall in four months), but it is a mere shadow compared to its potential height of over 10 feet. So I am going to divide it up and over-winter it, with the hope of seeing it in its full glory next year.