What a lovely weekend we enjoyed! It was so pleasant. I should have been at home working in the garden. More than likely I would have been except I was dogsitting. My sister has been travelling quite a bit and her 2 dogs, Heidi and Corlie, seem to get a little stressed being left alone so often. Since they are the nursery mascots, it seemed important that my husband and I made sure that they had as little separation anxiety as possible. All the Powell family is so willing to help one another out. We all help tend the other’s pets when someone is away. It’s especially nice for the dogs to have someone stay in the house with them. It disrupts their routine as little as possible. It’s a benefit to me, since it cuts my commute time by 75%! Also, it’s easier to work late but not feel like I’m working too much. So, Mitch and I willingly stayed at the nursery for four nights.
On Saturday I had the day off. We are working on putting together our spring magazine, Flourish, that goes out to our reward club members. I needed Mitch to take photos of staff members for the magazine, so that was a short project on Saturday. We had a leisurely morning and managed to get out to take the photos around 11:15. So job complete, I suggested we spend some time taking other photos. It was such a beautiful day, we each had cameras, and we rarely have the opportunity to take photos during the daytime. As we put out a calendar each year and use photos for e-mails and on the website, it is nice to take photos each month. Plus, photography is a hobby I have enjoyed for 30 years. Mitch originally wanted to be a professional photographer until he was persuaded that he couldn’t make a living doing that. So, taking pictures is a mutual interest and a calming thing for us to do together. I especially wanted to take photos of the new gnome display created in the Greenbed raised garden bed in our statuary area, so that is where we started. Our dog, Tipper, is old and doesn’t get around real fast anymore so we let her join us. If she were faster I would worry about having her off leash but nowadays I could definitely outrun her and she is very much under my or Mitch’s vocal control. So we set off for gnomeland. After that, Mitch decided to head into the hoophouses, where the Camellias were glorious in their bloom. It was good timing as it started to sprinkle about then. Not only were the Camellias flowering, but the Daphne were beginning to open up as well as the Pieris. On we went through all four houses. We both captured some lovely shots of a contorted filbert with striking catkins. We blurred the background and got some interesting shots. The curving architecture of the branches was an interesting contrast to the vertical effect of the catkins (flowers). Then I needed a quick break.
As we went back outside, for 15 minutes I said, I directed us to the corner of my sister’s
house where I knew the Paper Bush (Edgeworthia) was beginning to blossom. It is such a strange but striking plant. It blooms early without leaves. The flowers are unusual, yellow and white and they tend to curve downward. It is a very fragrant flower, although that is not conveyed in a photograph. We had fun photographing from different angles and blurring the background. Next we ventured to the rock garden. There wasn’t a whole lot going on yet there, but we did find a couple of Hellebores and many Snowdrops. The Camellias there were barely beginning to bloom. The Snowdrops in the rock garden are very sentimental to me. They have been there as long as I remember and they bloom faithfully each year. I love the white and green petticoats! I have taken to picking a small bouquet of the miniature flowers to place in a tiny vase by my sister’s kitchen sink. I love having a simple cluster of flowers in my house and I get real pleasure out of blessing my sister’s home with a similar bouquet.
From the rock garden we journeyed on into the retail space of the nursery. It was surprising how many blooming plants there actually were. We captured Wallflower and Lungwort, Heath and Hellebore. Interspersed with those lovely flowers were statues and moss. Mitch is obsessed with moss. Sometime last year he took numerous photos of moss growing in the rock garden. They actually were quite lovely photos and I chose two of them to use in the calendar. I find moss to be calming and entrancing. From a photographer’s perspective it is also endlessly fascinating. What we overlook with our eyes becomes an amazing garden throught the lens. However, I don’t think my sister felt the same way as she lobbied to replace at least one of the moss photos for the calendar. To each his own. I wasn’t really into the moss on this particular day but Mitch was very much into the moss growing on our concrete garbage can. Once I pried him away from that we found a plethora of other things to photograph: more Hellebores, new metal furniture, hanging glass birdbaths, a resin Ent (Tree Beard, actually from Lord of the Rings), a miniature garden in a trough, primroses and English Daisies. After that it all seemed a blur. There were many more photos of color spots and other things. The highlight of the last portion I discovered as I was looking through the photos that Mitch downloaded. He had several wonderful shots of the koi (aka goldfish) in the pond in our entry. I really don’t even notice them, in fact had forgotten they were even there. But Mitch found them through the water and they were lovely.
At this point I must admit to something and it is a story that Mitch is readily willing to share. In fact he shared it with someone on this particular outing. Despite the fact that I am shy, I am not lacking in confidence. Some could say I am prideful, perhaps boastful. For some reason, when Mitch started to get back into his photography hobby and he was getting accolades for his photos, I had the nerve to tell him that I thought I took better photographs than he did. So that was definitely not smart wifely behavior. I had thrown the gauntlet down. Mitch decided to take me up on that challenge and purchased a wonderful digital camera for me for Christmas so that I could prove the point. He did gain something from it, though, as he took the lens from the camera that he purchased for me and gave me his lens. He has the better camera of the two of us, for sure but we each have the tools to face off in the photography competition. Unfortunately, I have not taken as many photos as I would have liked, so for the most part, Mitch has won the battle. The nicest aspect for me this weekend was that we got out together doing something that we both love to do and we had a great time. Usually we are tackling one project after another, catching up on work, or studying. It truly was lovely just to relax and discover the early spring blooms through the lens.