The camellia returneth


Closeup of camellia bloom

Up close and personal with a camellia bloom on the bush outside our kitchen window. While most flowers are internally governed to bloom on time, this one has scrambled instructions. It has bloomed as early as December and as late as March. We never know for sure until we see the red tips on the buds.

I’d like to claim credit for the blooms on this magnificent plant, but such claims would trip the breakers and sound an alarm as the truth and veracity test notifies all that I prevaricate. The truth is — the former and first owner of our residence was a dedicated gardener and saw fit to plant the camellia outside the kitchen window.

Click on on the bloom for the original story

Click on the bloom for the original pix and story

The plant is apparently as tough as an anvil, because other than water in the summer and an occasional pruning, it does not get much attention. Despite this shabby treatment, it continues to hold forth with its dazzling display.

We originally extolled the virtues and aggravations of this budding flower factory on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com with a story and more pictures. We’ll wait here while you look.

Camellia blooms against the sky

On the way to this condition, the plant has been parched, covered with ice, pelted with hail and generally left to its own devices. This sucker has has to have Divine Intervention on its side. These blooms are at the top of the bush. Big bare oak limbs are blurred in the background.

See more camellia blooms in our Weekly Grist Gallery

That the plant survives at all is a miracle given the lack of attention it suffers. Not only does it survive, it is prolific. We make it known in our neighborhood that when this thing is blooming, help yourself. The same goes for the mail man and UPS lady. There will be plenty to take the place of those you pick.

The cantankerous plant tends to hide its best blooms behind foliage, making it difficult to get good shots without a little outside interference to its nefarious design. Big plastic background clamps to the rescue. To photographers, background clamps are right up there with duct tape and baling wire.

Camera and clamps on bush to hold foliage out of the way

Big ol' plastic background clamps hold foliage out of the way and do no harm to the plant. Once the clamps are removed, the twigs snap back in to place. One clamp is also holding a white balance card to the left of the bloom. The camera was much closer to the plant during the actual shots.

 Mind you, no plants were harmed in producing this story — other than well-documented callous neglect. Since it does so well on it’s own, I am not going to mess with it. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Close up of camellia

Click on the pretty poesy for more pix

See more of the camellia

In our Weekly Grist Gallery. You’ll find six larger, high resolution pictures of the flowers and their redness. Guaranteed all natural, double your money back if not completely satisfied, no coupons needed.

Shoes and shirt not required for viewing.  Click and look.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

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Late bird, early spring


Robin with worm

It was late in the day when when this fat robin, flying in the face of tradition, once and for all proved that the early bird is not the only one to get the worm.

I start looking for the yellow presence of Jonquils at the tail-end of February and the first week in March. Last year, I found my first ones on February 20, this year, I saw fully developed and happy Jonquils on February 7. In that condition, one can safely presume they have been there a few days.

robin on stump

Click on the bird for another picture of him at Corndancer dot-com

Here in LA, it’s been an anemic, puny winter with days topping out in the high 60 and low 70 degree range. That makes for severe weather, sinus trouble, and plants with their schedule out of whack. Which is why I found the bird.

Earlier in the week, on the way to jury duty, I saw the Jonquils but could not stop to shoot. When I returned late one afternoon a few days later to shoot the flowers, Cock Robin was sitting on the broken stump of a tree which had earlier succumbed to a big wind.

I was able to shoot from the truck so he did not spook as soon as most wild critters do. Since the lot is about two feet higher than the street, I got him eyeball to eyeball in the Nikon glass.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

In fact when I arrived, he was on the stump without the worm, took a dive, grabbed the worm and returned to his perch most of which I captured. It is always better to be lucky than good. See the first shot of the robin and the early jonquils I was after where this story started on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. We will wait here while you look.

Early spring volunteer jonquils

The target jonquils, despite their lack of human attention, were doing quite well thank you very much. Originally planted by former residents of the long since demolished house, the plants continue to follow the genetic instructions imbued by the Almighty. Some things are best left alone.

Anytime one discusses spring flowers, my across-the-street-neighbor’s yard cannot be overlooked. She is a master gardener and her yard and flower beds are silent witness to her considerable skills. Her horticultural efforts offset the lack of same in my yard. I suppose it is some sort of vegetative equation if there is such a thing.

yellow and black pansy

This stout little pansy at my neigbhors is tougher than it looks. It has survived a couple of sub-freezing nights.

See more of the bird and flowers in our Weekly Grist Gallery

Large jonquil

This is a large Jonquil in my neighbor's yard. This one looks like a bloom on steroids compared to others. Must be the green thumb.

robin on ground

Click on the bird for our Weekly Grist Gallery

Mother Nature is messing with us and it’s not the first time, nor will it be the last. We simply are not in charge. But we can enjoy birds and flowers without too many foot pounds of energy expended.

In fact, with a mere click, you can see more of them in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Click here and take a gander.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey,
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/
http://www.joedempseyphoto.com/
http://www.corndancer.com/joephoto/photohome.html

Winter is wearing out


Tulip magnolias

These tulip magnolia blooms grace a tree in the back yard of my across the street neighbors. While I was shooting some jonquils in her front yard, she informed me that she had a tulip magnolia tree in her backyard. Being the horticultural deprived and misinformed citizen that I am, I nodded in agreement. Later I discovered that it was what I have always incorrectly called a tulip tree.

red camellia

See more pictures at Corndancer dot com

Some harbingers of our early spring are fading fast. The jonquils, called daffodils by some, have reached their peak and are beginning to wind down. My camellia is already dropping petals. And there were a few floppy flowers on the tulip magnolia tree you see above. These posies were fooled by a few unseasonably warm days in January and February.

Before we delve further into this epistle, I should advise you that it had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week Page at Corndancer dot Com. Go there to see more flower pictures and learn about attendant seasonal grumbles. We’ll patiently wait here for your return.

Spring beauties

No spring is complete without 'em: Spring Beauties. These blooms are no more than 3/8" inch in diameter.Thousands of these tiny flowers populate most southern yards.

One of the sure signs of spring, are Spring Beauties, a tiny white flower with gossamer purple variegation. No self-respecting yard is complete without a few. Some are blessed with many. My neighbor to the west has one of those yards.

My dogs who favor his turf for their business may contribute to this healthy growth of spring beauties. It is hard to argue with the results. Other dogs in the neighborhood, sometimes even his,  exact proper revenge with similar deposits on my premises. But his flowers are still better.

jonquils from ground level

Jonquils from ground level, a cat-level view. My cats like this flower bed.

Our bare deciduous trees are clearly visible behind these jonquils shot from ground level. They are building up a head of steam to inundate us with pollen, our annual reminder that the shade trees we love in the summer come at a price. Sometimes the pollen is so thick you have to turn on wipers to knock it off your windshield. How quickly we forget while sitting in the shade of a half-dozen towering oak trees that we endured a bit of prior inconvenience. That forgetting mechanism also works well for other temporary hiccups.

SEE MORE COOL FLOWERS

red camellia

See more flowers in our Weekly Grist gallery

This week we are featuring 18 posy pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery. We usually shoot more than we can use so we put ’em in a handy gallery for you to ogle.

See more jonquils, some pansies, another camellia, more spring beauties, forsythia, tulip magnolias, and more. And, this is an on-line gallery that you can show your Momma. Click here if you missed the other links. Lo-carb and stress relieving.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

http://www.joedempseycommunications.com/