Light In The Garden

Hello, Folks!

On my birthday, I spent the early part of the day and the late evening investigating all of the nooks and crannies in the garden.

It always surprises and delights me when I discover the changes in everything that grows and lives there beneath the leafy cover.

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I was delighted when I discovered that Mr. Anole had quietly returned.

I almost brushed by him sitting in the shadows on a Staghorn Fern leaf.

Again this year, he waited patiently for his portrait!

Thank you, Mr. Anole

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It is the magic light that draws me into the garden from my chair on the porch.

With the change of light, comes drama or mystery or the simple quiet of morning haze.

There are shadows and darkness too.

Lucy’s Amaryllis produced her blossoms once again
as she has done for many years.

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This innocuous green plant grows tall under the palms and the oak tree in the back corner of the garden.

She dies in the winter.

The warm spring days encourage new growth, but the cold windy nights batter her.

I forget that she is there until I see a flash of yellow among the palms in the spring.

She has returned and I smile.

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I am smitten by the fascinating Giant Elephant Ear.

It has been cultivated in Asia for ten-thousand years for the edible bulbous root.

Her leaves can reach nearly sixty inches in length.

There is something primordial about the ancient survivor.

And it draws me into the misty past.

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The Elephant Ears produce bracts that are smooth and green with pointed tips.  They grow in the depths of the plant.

There in the shade under the giant leaves, they open and close with the light

to reveal the banana-like center covered in tiny “seeds” that open into microscopic flowers.  The inflorescence.

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There are something like twenty-five species of the Colocasia.

The ones in my garden are of the giant-leaf species.

This plant is over six feet tall and at least as wide and growing.

It is considered to be a dangerously invasive species on the Texas Gulf Coast.

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She has huge leaves.  So commonly seen that one might not notice the intricate leaf structure.

These images are of the undersides of leaves.

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Often, I climb under the leaf cover to find her center.  There, a different world exists.

In the shadowy interior, a sudden shaft of light through a leaf reveals the structure in startling detail.

In this secret world, I find magic light and shadow, colors and textures.

The first time I climbed inside the leaves, I understood.

So this is the secret place where she lives!

Cardboard-Palm-1250

Walking past the cardboard palm with it’s worm-riddled leaves, I wondered what manner of worm lives there.

When I bent down for a closer look, I was surprised to find that the damaged leaves framed the florets of a spring blossom.

Life in the garden is often hard.
And always beautiful.

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In the spring, Rita often joins me in the garden.

She investigates the plants and blossoms with her tongue.

Parrots have no olfactory system and rely on their gustatory system to tell them about their world.

She does not eat the blossoms.

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Miss Lily’s blossom is just outside the porch screen.

I could almost touch her from my chair.

So I leave you with my view of a festive Miss Lily

Through the late evening screen.

Thank you for joining me.

NOTE:  Click on Rita’s picture to view the Amazon parrot head in detail.

118 Comments on “Light In The Garden

    • Thank you, Lynne! I appreciate that. I love my garden and “follow” everything that happens there.
      Thanks for stopping in to visit. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have spent an inordinate amount of time on your blog tonight!
      I got distracted by the links in the sidebar. I never do that. 🙂
      Really enjoyed my visit. I’ll be back. Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Thank you, Marianne! I am glad you like the photos. I enjoy my garden tremendously now that I have lots of time to watch what goes on there. I appreciate the visit and your great comment too! 🙂

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  1. Wow. That’s my reaction to your photos. Just, wow! I’m so glad to find your site. And to see that you are a fellow Texan! I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful photos. I especially like seeing your parrot. I can’t imagine owning one! It sounds like you have a very full and interesting life!

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    • Thank you, Julie. I appreciate your kind words. I think there are quite a few Texans blogging on WP. Rita has been my companion for about twelve years now. She is something of a character. Yes, I am too busy still. I looked forward to life away from the business, and it has been better than I imagined. I simply do whatever I want to do every single day! My family takes care all of the annoying details so that I am able to wander through the last years of my life “smelling the flowers”! Thank you for visiting. I look forward to reading more of your delightful posts. 🙂

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  2. This is such a beautiful post, in words as well as images. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog so I could return the visit and spend some time in your garden. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Rabirius, I am happy that you enjoyed the pictures. I appreciate your visit and your nice comment too. Come back anytime! 🙂

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  3. When I view your photographs I always feel that they are all about light and texture. They are at once a tour of your lovely gardens, and a visual feast.

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    • Hi, Lynda. Thanks for coming by to visit and for saying such a really wonderful thing about my pictures! I am so very glad that you enjoy them. I am fairly new to a camera. My husband always had a 35mm with which he took pictures of the entire room full of folks so that you could barely make out who was who. A friend got me interested in taking pictures. I enjoy photographing my garden. Sometimes, I take my camera out to other places, but not often nowadays. Thank you again for your kindness! 🙂

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    • Thank you, WiseJourney. Now, that’s dumb. I should know your name. I was just reading a “WOW” poem on your blog. That’s what I say when I really do like something. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by too. That reminded me to visit you.

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  4. Belated birthday wishes George 🙂 It is indeed a joy to join you on a walk around your beautiful garden. You photograph with your heart and it shows in your enchanting images. Mr Anole is stunning, and Rita is as gorgeous as ever, but my favourite is the contrast of the spring flowers peeking from behind the decaying cardboard palm leaf 🙂

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    • Hello, Madhu! I am happy to see you. I never thought of why I photograph my garden, but I think you are right. When Dean learned that he would die within the year, he set about building his porch. Kelli, our daughter, designed the garden and chose the largest specimens that would survive since she knew his time was short. He sat there and directed the builders until it was finished. It is a large Austin stone porch with huge screened openings. The outside door with the walkway leads directly into the pergola not more than 10 feet away. He could walk a few steps to sit under the Trumpet Vine to sun himself. He could see the garden from his recliner and hear the water cascading over the jar fountain. He loved the sound of rain and water falling over stone. He spent his last 18 months there. He was not sick or unable to function, but he retreated from his very active life that required him to be always away from home. It was the best of times for both of us. Now, the garden has grown up around the porch even more so that I feel very peaceful and secure surrounded by the huge plants and flowering Myrtles. His plan was good. We joked a lot during those months. He asked me one day if I though we had acquired enough resources to provide for a comfortable life for me. We both laughed about that one since we had spent our adult lives working without a thought about the future. An unlikely question for a man who lived his life in the moment. The knowledge of our mortality changes our perspective a bit. 🙂

      I enjoy so much visiting the world with you young people who travel, but I have no desire to venture from my hermit house. Yes, it’s interesting to me that you also like the worm-eaten cardboard palm. I was delighted when I saw the little flower through the holes in the leaves. I think you understand precisely what I see in my garden. Thank you for always coming back to visit and encourage me, Madhu. Your visits are a gift.

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  5. How did I miss this?! What a fabulous batch of images, George. Glorious rich colours and some truly imaginative compositions. This is wonderful work.

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    • Thank you, Andy. I love everything that lives in my garden. I especially like the early mornings when the softer light produces deep colors and shadows. We have high humidity here so there is always a lot of water in the atmosphere to filter light and make its own colors. I’m happy that you like my photographs. I am always delighted when I see something in my garden that appeals to me! 🙂

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  6. Yes indeed George, this is quite astonishing. Amazing photography and your words create a film of sorts. And Rita, exotic and beautiful. This is really good stuff. Thank you for pulling me in 🙂

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    • Thank you. I am glad you liked the photographs! I just lost myself in your Indian recipes. I liked the spinach Bhajis and the idea of eggplant in yogurt. I have to try these although I no longer cook. 🙂 I have Asian neighbors. I must ask them for advice! I enjoyed the visit and I will return soon!

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  7. Our birthdays must be pretty close. Fascinating photos, as always! Good to see lovely Rita! For your day, you looked close, and down. i spent mine off in the wild blue…

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    • Well, with you flying in the clouds and me crawling around on the ground, we’ve got it pretty much covered! Thank you, Daisy! 🙂

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    • Yes, it’s warmer here. We haven’t had very cold winters for several years. Thank you for the kind words! I love my garden. 🙂

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      • We just moved to a new place this weekend. We don’t have a garden, but a balcony where I’ll grow some plants. I’ll keep you updated! Have a wonderful day.

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  8. Seeing these pictures reminded me of the years my family spent in Texas when I was in my twenties. I loved the plants that grew in my mother’s garden–SO exotic to a northern-born girl’s eyes. . . . It’s been fun for me to discover your blogs today. I like the posts you have written on your mementos. There’s a lot here!
    From Chicago,
    Celia

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  9. Hi George, I love reading your posts and the photos are brilliant. Always puts a smile on my face 🙂

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  10. Just when I think I “get” this whole photography thing, I see pictures like these and realize that I still have a lot to learn. This series has an elegant sense of mystery to them, a look I simply adore. You have the eye of an artist!

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    • Thank you, Elisa. I think the same thing when I visit you. We all have a “style” that we like, I guess. I love Joshi Daniel’s portraits of people wherever he goes. I know he photographs other stuff too, but he posts those on his photography blog. His approach is always the same and I like it a lot. I don’t think one approach is any better than another, just different. I am interested in light and shadow in the garden. That environment lends itself to this kind of approach. I am working on my editing skills (if what I can do could be described as skill). I am frustrated by not shooting in raw because I don’t have enough data in the shaded areas to work with. I guess I have to drag out the camera manual. And I don’t follow directions well… You are so kind and supportive. I really do appreciate that, Elisa. I can always count on you to encourage me! 🙂

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      • You just hit the nail on the head! Sometimes I feel as though I’m being lectured (some people would call this, paranoia) on everything I do wrong. I prefer to think of, as you said, an approach or individual style. I’m not sure why I keep doing it, except it makes me feel good and I like sharing that feeling. I think I enjoy reading about everyone’s thought processes as much I as like viewing the photographs. Take care, love hearing from you, AND I realized too late, that I forgot to wish you a happy birthday!!
        xo
        elisa

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        • Well, I am not a photographer so I never felt the need to be any good at it. What I wanted was to record what I saw the way I saw it. My frustration came when I failed to do that. If I really wanted to be any good at it, I guess I’d at least read the camera manual… I point and shoot and that’s exactly what I’ll always do. That’s the way I do everything and always have. It’s a hit or miss proposition with me. 🙂 Your photographs are very good, Elisa. I am impressed every time I see new ones. Ignore folks who say there is something wrong. I do. That is, unless the person actually offers HELP. Opinions don’t get me there. Chuckle… I love hearing from you too.

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    • Thank you, Debra! Rita is a wonderful companion parrot. She has been with me for 12 years now. I am glad you liked the photos of my garden. I appreciate the visit and your kind comment! 🙂

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  11. George…these are so great!
    Your photography has changed over the past year. Your photographs have more depth and texture to them. Almost a 3d feel. Oh, Happy Birthday and I too am a fellow Gemini…mines the 14th.
    G

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    • I really do appreciate that, Gail. I joke about my lack of knowledge and skill. And it’s true. I do everything based on instinct. I think I am paying a great deal more attention to what I’m doing now simply out of a real frustration with the old photographs. I am like an old turtle. When the sun is too bright, I retreat into my shell house until the soft light and shadows appear again. 😉 My real interest is in the natural world that lives beneath the common gaze … mine included. There is an orderliness about the rules of my garden. I do not find ugliness or tragedy in the death and renewal cycles that exist in nature. I think ugliness is an entirely human invention…

      You will be celebrating in four days. Have a great birthday bash for yourself! Sweetheart hubby will see to it, I know. I have always loved your photographs of him and actually remember the images in my head. The kids will treasure them long after you guys are gone.
      Happy Birthday, Gail!

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    • Thank you, Celestine! How are things in Ghana? I have to trot myself on over to find you. I am slower now and scattered in the head, I’m afraid. 🙂 I’m glad you like my photos of the garden. I love it there. I always grin when I see your smile! Thanks for remembering me.

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  12. Happy Birthday!!!!!!! Hubby’s birthday is also the 9th! These images are just stunning..truly, truly stunning…so impressive.

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    • Thank you, Jared. I am happiest in my garden poking around under a palm! I sit on my porch lots and just enjoy it. Rita likes it too. Thanks for the birthday wish. I had a good birthday. Life is about as good as it gets, I think, and that’s entirely good enough. 🙂

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    • What I have most of is time for the first time in my life. And I use it to loaf. Only the mosquitoes drive me out of my garden! 🙂 I’m glad you like the photos. I enjoy snapping away at everything that grows. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!

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  13. Happy belated birthday, George! What a beautiful set of photographs. The Elephants Ear is fascinating. Also, the fact that Rita experiences the world through her stomach.

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    • Thank you, Richard. I find the Elephant Ears fascinating too. And, yes, Miss Rita tastes everything. Parrots have very sensitive tongues that allow them to investigate taste, texture and manipulate all kind of stuff including, of course, food! 🙂

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  14. What a fabulous garden. Even the worms have created beautiful art and you’ve captured it beautifully. Hope it was a happy birthday. 🙂

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    • Yes, I had a happy birthday! Thank you for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment. The worms ate, but they left a nice frame for the little flowers. All things level out in the garden. 🙂

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    • Mr. Anole and Rita thank you too. I was happy to see him. I missed him during the winter months. Rita loves the garden too. We are happy there. I do so much enjoy hearing about your adventures. I had a wonderful birthday. And the gift of kindnesses from my friends here is the best gift of all.

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  15. Your photographs are amazing. I also love your stories. Greetings to you, Mr. Anole and the Parrot! Have a nice day!

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  16. Yes, happy birthday, George! This is a truly stunning set of images WOWEEEE!!!!! – I’m going to reblog it on FATman Photos. Adrian

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    • Well, dip your hat in the creek, Granny! Git down here, girls, and put on your go-to-meeting shine. We’ve been invited to The FatMan’s place! 🙂
      Seriously, Adrian, thank you very much. Your gift of kindness makes me very happy.

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    • Thank you very much for stopping by and for your kind comment, Marie. I am happy to meet you. I must return the visit very soon. 🙂

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    • Thank you for the birthday wishes! I am happy to share. And thanks for stopping by for a visit! I always smile when I see that wonderful Gravatar face. 🙂

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  17. First – Happy Happy Birthday George! I loved this post — all of it – and visiting with you in your special garden today ~ these lines spoke to me especially:

    “Often, I climb under the leaf cover to find her center. There, a different world exists.

    In the shadowy interior, a sudden shaft of light through a leaf reveals the structure in startling detail.

    In this secret world, I find magic light and shadow, colors and textures.

    The first time I climbed inside the leaves, I understood.

    So this is the secret place where she lives!”

    Just beautiful!! Thank you dear one ~ May this year ahead be enriched with all the love and joy you deserve! ~ x Robyn

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    • Robyn! Your new Gravatar photo tricked me. 🙂 I like it. That smile is still there! Now, I will recognize you when I see it again. Thanks for the visit and your kind words. You are a beautiful soul with a beautiful center, Robyn. With unlimited creativity thrown in… Bless you.

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  18. Hi George…thanks for the visit into this special part of your world. I like how you personalize everything. And of course the photos are incredible. I wonder if you will ever “discover” the worm with an appetite for your plants? A perfect example of how everything has an opposite, so I suppose Mr. Worm will be an ever present guest. Maybe you can pull his teeth? Ha! Happy Birthday…

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    • John, I think I am a dirt farmer in my heart. Growing things and animals are personal to me. I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but you are right. They all have names and gender. If you look closely, they also display moods and a real sense of how well or unwell they are. There is nothing like digging your hands in loamy soil. My mother loved all growing things. She had beautiful flowers and vegetables. It was from her that I learned to love all things that spring from the soil. Mr. Worm has not appeared. If he should show his face, I will ask about his teeth. Thank you for your encouragement, John. I appreciate that.

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  19. hi george… it’s so good to wander your garden with you again. the growing things there are very tropical, amazing things! your skills as a photographer are stunning at capturing the subtle nuances of the light on green. xox

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    • Thank you, Adelaide. I love the garden and everything that lives in it. I was just delighted to see your photograph of the Peace rose. It brought back fond memories of my mother’s rose and of my own. I hope you are feeling well these days. I was happy to see the Munchkins too! 🙂 Thank you for the visit and your wonderful comments!

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  20. It is a great pleasure to join you in your garden, George, and learn of the beauty of plant and animal life found there, as well as to be aware of you, and your relationship to your home, as you have taken upon yourself the role of the narrator, on this your birthday. How appropriate that we should not see you on this birthday, but see the world through your eyes. I am so glad that you have chosen to study photography and the tools of the digital darkroom. The images here are very impressive, and presented in such good taste, that I’m sure that all who visit will feel that they’ve had a very moving experience, sharing with you even a very small part of your environment. For me, it was not only an aesthetic enjoyment, but also an educational experience, as I had never before encountered those elephant ears, and not even heard of them Thank you for the joy.

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    • It is my pleasure to welcome you into my garden, Shimon. I wish you could visit in person. I think we would take our coffee on the porch and never tire of talk about the metaphor of the garden. I am happy that my images please you. I am becoming more confident and more aware of what I don’t know as I study light and editing. Your work is an inspiration for me. Your posts are carefully organized, thoughtful, and beautifully articulated and illustrated. I do not have your organized mind. I am disorganized and have to rein myself in. If I did not, I would never finish a single post! Thank you for the visit and for your generous and encouraging comments. You are a good friend, Shimon.

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    • Thank you, Judy. I’m happy that you like my photographs from the garden. Now that I am able to spend a lot of time out there, I really do enjoy it, and I think I see aspects of it that I rushed by when I had less time. The benefits of growing old. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and for your kind comment.

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      • I understand. Every day I watch for things – sometimes it is a fox in a field or the bluebirds guarding their nesting box or the horses next door kicking up dust. It’s all pretty wonderful. It was nice to visit.

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  21. Fabulous photographs!! The narrative is always nice and adds to the charm of the pictures. The detail on Rita’s head is amazing!! I’d never get close enough to that beak to see it in real life, of course!!!

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    • Thanks, Linda. I’m glad you liked the photos. No, I don’t think you’d have the courage to inspect Rita’s head! That made me laugh. I am thinking about Hazel every day. Hello to him too.

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    • Thank you Alessandro. A visitor to our little planet would only have to watch the slideshow on your blog to understand us and our world. And, that is some accomplishment. 🙂 I appreciate your visit today. And your kind words.

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  22. What a wonderful portrait of Mr. Anole! I love the color of (around?) his eye. I like the dramatic lighting for your portrait of Lucy’s Amaryllis. Really lovely composition for that one, too. The color/contrast of the shot of the yellow flowers is so rich. I like that one a lot. Elephant Ears are so familiar to me, having grown up with them and delighted in their size and shape when I was little, but I don’t think I ever really looked at them up close and noticed the wonderful details you’ve captured here. And, of course, I love the photographs of Rita (splendid) and Miss Lily. You’re right about the magical light: I can see it in all of the images you’ve included here. 🙂 A beautiful post.

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    • Thank you, Lemony Girl. We see Elephant Ears so frequently in pots and in landscapes that I think we don’t really see them. They grew huge and screened the entrance to the old house from the street. I began to see them differently then. Of course, I always welcome Lucy’s Amaryllis when it blooms every year. She loved it too. It is hard for me now to organize a post. I think I have entirely too many photographs! As I told somebody else, I finally gave up on the birthday post that I started on that day. Maybe, I’ll return to it. I’m happy that you like the post. I thought about you when I chose the photographs. Would Lemony approve? 🙂

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  23. First, Happy Birthday George! I hope you had a marvelous day! Second, Wow! George, these were all stunning photographs…I am awe at your talent. I loved this post and getting to join you in your garden for what was hidden in the shadows and light!

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    • Ah, thank you, WH! 🙂 I am slow these days because of my tremor and my old brain! I have hundreds of photos of everything that lives and breathes in my garden. It is hard for me to organize a post because I want to share everything and end up with a hodgepodge of unrelated stuff. I gave up on my birthday post. I am learning Photoshop, and I am excited by the possibilities it offers for coaxing out the details. Leanne Cole offers tutoring on a one-to-one basis through Skype and Google + sessions. She is beyond proficient in all of the graphics programs, and I highly recommend her.

      Thank you for coming to see me. I always grin from ear to ear when I see those boots! 🙂

      Like

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