Friday, July 31, 2009


These two photos are from the Des Moines Zoo garden. The size of the flowers are at least eight to ten inches across. I guess that is why the common name for them is dinner plate hibiscus. I lost my pink plant like this but I have a new start of one of the plants that was a gift from a neighbor. I doubt it blooms this year but it will get it's root structure established this year.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

At the zoo......

I have too many photos to just have one photo a day. I have a lot of things to say about these African cats. For now I will show you their beauty.
The Des Moines Zoo is small. It started out as a gross zoo with painted, colored concrete exhibits and small unnatural areas for the animals. It has come a long way from back then but is still is a small zoo. I wish they would get more funding to do a better job maintaining the grounds and improving the exhibits. One animal of one species seems cruel in some cases and the number of kinds of animals is small. I guess the zoos in KC, Minneapolis and Omaha have set a high standard and we have a very long way to go.
We still had a great time and the animals were being well taken care of. The zoo sits in a lot of hills and dales, so we have sore leg muscles today. It was good for us.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Black Eyed Susan

I have a lot of Black Eye Susan blooms but I find it hard to photograph. I actually stay away from putting them in my view finder. They are so spotty in design and some are dieing others are loosing petals and what you see in the camera just doesn't work. But this one is artistic. I like all the extra things going on around this one flower. The buds are interesting forms.
Warning, I went to the zoo today and lots of animal pictures are on their way. It is like the circus coming to town.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Steak on the BBQ......

Vegetarians turn away immediately and switch to a new site. My wife bought me a new grill and we are going to share this first steak on the grill.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yarrow.....Acheilles, Pink.......

This plant has always had a difficult time staying upright. I took this photo for the sake of it's color even though it is hiding in the foliage of it's surrounding plants. I have seen other colors stand up straight an bloom for long periods of time. I originally labeled this an astibile then I remembered that is sits right next to it and that doesn't do well there too and it doesn't look a thing like a yarrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding a good rock.....

North of Duluth along Lake Superior is a park that allows one to enjoy the shoreline. It was called Brighton Beach but now has been renamed Gitci Gummee Park. It is a refreshing place to visit as it projects out along the shore, it is a very natural location with large rocks and you can see Duluth down the way.
I stole this scene from two young men who were enjoying their visit to the shore. Little brother was trying to keep up and they threw everything that they could into the water. It seemed like a Norman Rockwell moment.
I was three years younger than my brother and in the early years I would have done anything with him. It is funny the things that come with sibling ordering, and the kinds of things one remembers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I have some good tastes, but this guy is my friend in the garden. He's kitchie as all get out but I like him. He is resting all the time and keeping an eye on things at night when I am gone. A little weathered but still expresses peace and calm. I would rather have a hedgehog for my yard but elves are all that work out well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time to reflect.....

A part of the flavor of being on the Lake Superior is the bird life that comes with it. I am a critter person so I enjoy every minute of the show that the birds put on. Some people don't like the gulls but they do add an attraction for all us landlubbers. They belong next to the water.
We do have gulls in Iowa now as the man made lake six miles from us now has a gull population. One can see them in farm fields looking for worms after a farmer has plowed his field. They do not stay in the cities but once in a while you can look up and see them flying through.
When my wife and I sit on the North Shore and paint we find it a major part of the experience to have the loons floating by, fishing for food, and the seagulls watching our every move and flying over and calling. It is what makes the lake experience a great one. Also the little chipmunk crawling out from the bushes checking out the intruders is always fun.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off the wall.....

Or off the ball.....

I am a little off normal today. I took this as quick knee jerk reaction to what I was seeing last night. I moved the ball out into the open as to where it was setting all the plants had covered it up. There isn't a decent background so I just shot close. Later when I examined my results, it is really a joke. Can you see me in the reflection. I am wearing cargo shorts, but it looks like a small elf with long pants. The flat plane to the right is actually a 55 gallon aquarium standing on end on the patio. I am letting the soft rain water take the minerals off the top rim of the aquarium and that is dissolving it. Obviously it isn't a great sight on the patio right, classy place. I will move it after one more rain. I have been fascinated with trying to get a good shot of the reflection ball. I won't stop trying.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dole out the pictures one at a time.....

Flowers are a popping, our trip to Duluth filled my camera full, so I am using extreme patience not to just put everything up at once. I will just give you another pretty pink picture today. Many more to come. Those violas in the background are a pleasant surprise for me the photographer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

People......some of the crew of the Edwin H. Gott

Ok, it is more than one photo today. I think they have to stay together as a group
Having crossed the Great Lakes to get to Duluth, they are out to see the people who are greeting them to their final destination.

A funny hat, a bowl of ice cream, and they are ready to meet their crowd. Everyone is friendly and the guys are looking ahead at the bridge that they are about to cross under. One wonders how many times they have made this trip.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Real Beauty.....

This is one of the roses that I saw at the rose garden in Duluth, Minnesota. The colors are so marvelous and the flower is yet a simple shape. The rose garden had over 1200 different roses in their collection. It was so windy and cold and we needed to head home so I didn't get names. When I return, I am going to photograph the name plaque right before I take the rose picture.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stargazer lily........

This is my lone plant that is struggling among a snowball bush and lilies that are crowding it out. After it blooms I will move it. I have only one this year and I will invest in more of them. I have bought them at Menards at very reasonable prices. I have lost of lot of them the past few years due to crowding by other plants like flag iris and hostas. I think I need to devote an area for them. The smell is unbelievable and this one plant can send out aroma throughout the garden.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lily, lily, and more lilies.......

I think this is one of my most favorites and I can always get a good composition from this plant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Split Rock Lighthouse.......

My wife and I played hookie for a couple of days. We were in Duluth, Minnesota for two days. We ventured up to the lighthouse north of Duluth and took photos. We use to go for two weeks and created paintings along the north shore but we needed to just get some rest and do sight seeing. We have missed the area as it has been five years since we had lasted visited the area.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Large yellow ruffled....

This is a lily that I bought at the arboretum. It is different than any that I have as it is very large and has ruffles. It is a least a fifth large in size than any that I have.

Almost orange......

I complained that the camera had picked up an orange color when I photographed the planter of geraniums. Well the camera is smarter than me. This end of the planter is planted with an orange-red colored plant. I guess I bought a red, pink, and orange one to plant in there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Humble dwelling......

This is the view from the west as you drive by our house. The planting where the pine tree stands is the very first place that I started a garden back in 1977. I mounded up some dirt and put a large rock from my parent's farm and planted a yucca plant. As you can see I have added a lot since then. The pine is from a ditch in Minnesota. It is the only pine that I didn't loose when the tornado went through. I had two larger trees like this that snapped off in the tornado winds. The house actually protected this tree.
There are yellow tiger lilies starting to bloom in the front there and the red fall sedum is starting to bud. The creeping bluebells are just to the left of mound.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Field lilies.......

I am now seeing these growing in the ditches along the highways. After spending a half hour with a lily encyclopedia, I couldn't find this variety in there. Does any one know if they are actually like a wild flower? I know the coneflower grew all over Iowa when it was a prairie over two hundred years ago.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Petunias in a pot.....

The colors are so rich. It has taken almost a month for these guys to root down. Sometimes I get frustrated with buying young plants that have been in the greenhouse too long. They come out of the pack root bound and sometimes when you pull some of that off you damage it and loose the plant. I know they want us to see flowers on them but it would be better if we bought them younger with no flower so they don't have to go through such a shock. We received an Easter lily in the clay pot from one of our three funerals. It was too crowded so they looked good for awhile then I had to get the bulbs out of there and get them into the ground.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Setting in weeds, waiting for rehab......

I have two things here that need to be rehabbed. The poor rose bush needs to be moved soon and the tower is a base of a windmill that my dad made probably twenty years ago. I haven't had time to really do the work to recreate the tower but it is on my to do list. I have the blades in the basement for the windmill part, they need to be worked on too. Dad gave me one of these and when he died I brought home the other one he made for himself. So I really have two of these to work on and get back to good shape. I like items to have some weathered look but I don't want to loose them due to over weathering either. I will get to them someday.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Deep Purple and a Healthy Green.

The rains have brought my rhubarb plants back for another cobbler. We are getting unusual amounts of rain and it is good. We do need heat to make everything to grow. I haven't set any tomatoes yet but plenty of blooms.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bees and tiny insect.....

I am glad to see bees this year. I have seen a large number of them this summer. I have noticed some summers that there were very few. After my wife read the manual to our camera, I can now do decent close-ups. Our old camera had a macro setting on the circular dial for selection. They have a portrait button instead on the dial and the close-up button has to be clicked from the side. Manual reading is wonderful.
This little guy would never had shown up without the macro setting. My coneflowers are just now getting started. They look good with the daylilies.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Apples keep growing.....

I am a few days late on the schedule to get them sprayed. I don't want to get off schedule with me actually getting them sprayed regularly for the first time ever. We won't have grapes this year for jelly and the cherry trees went south for a number of reasons, so our jelly will have to be made from apples. The pressure is on to keep the apples spot free and worm free.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Water lettuce and ........water hyacinth

I tried to call it water cabbage, and I couldn't find the name of the hyacinth. I bought these at our nursery in Des Moines on the fourth of July. I also got duckweed with the hyacinth because they were stuck to the plant when the guy pulled it out of the water. Some places make you pay for the duckweed, but I guess the source for the plants must be in a tank full of duckweed and they aren't going to wash it off. If some of you don't know what it is, it is the tiny little round shape small leaf plants in water and when you pick them up you see little hair-like roots hanging down from it. They look like dots of green on the water. They get very thick in water that is warm, rich in nutrients and most of the time in bogs.
The light reflection was neat on the water but my tank isn't big enough to make a good picture.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hollyhock review.....

As at this time I guess these are the only two colors that I have in hollyhocks. My hostas have crowded out a lot of them that I use to have in the backyard that were white.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Very Red....

I forget how red this lily is until it starts to bloom. Red is a favorite color of mine and this color is one that I most appreciate. It reminds me of my oldest brothers Candy Apple Red Mustang car that he bought in 1964. North of us is an arboretum. We have to weave to the west and then back east again to get to it as there isn't a straight road to it. It has been created on a farmsite close to us. Every year they have a lily sale and most years we go to it. They charge up to seventeen dollars for them but you do get to see them in bloom. At the back of the area they have a ten dollar, take a chance, area where they have lost the identity of the lilies so you buy it and see the next year what it is. They never have any bad colors.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

KC Tower....

This is another view at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Spanish architecture influencing the design. The design of the modern building in the background is a strong contrasting look of minimalism. That is an apartment building in which if you live there, you would view the forty five acre plaza.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Grandma's Regal Lily.......

My Grandmother Brooks lived in a small town of Murray, Iowa. On the east side of her house she had a regal lily. I don't know how she acquired it, maybe from a neighbor, but she didn't live there only about ten years. The lily matured and when you went to see her, you had to go to the back of the house and see here regal lily. She had six or seven large stalks with flowers on them and she had counted every one of them. Because of the weight of the flowers, she would hammer large nails into the side of the house and use hay baling twine to keep them standing straight. Now that twine actually was large, frizzy, and yellow and it was way too heavy to hold that plant up, but that is what she always used. I can't honestly tell you her largest count of flowers at one time but it was a large number. When she died in 1972 my Mom took some of the bulbs from her house and planted them next to her garage. When my Mom died, I took all of the bulbs but one to my place and I now have them. They have struggled a little being that it is there first year that I have planted them. I have had to tie all of them to stakes as they seem pretty wimpy stemmed. The smell of a regal lily is so wonderful. The stargazer lily has a strong smell but it is a different scent. I like them both.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oriental beauty......


Thursday, July 2, 2009


I have had these lilies for years. The color that they project in different light is always amazing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Waiting to bloom, then kapow.....

I bought this daylily from an arboretum north of here 10 miles away. It is one of many that I have but this is the largest and most showy of all of them. It is not the first one to bloom but it was a close second.
As a photographer, I took this photo in the bright sun yesterday. The one above I took at dusk, 8:45 in the evening. I guess I can get better color in low light than bright sunlight.