15_the_circle: (snow cottage)
Friday, January 14th, 2011 08:05 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

At this time of year it's a rare treat to catch an early train and make it back to the Grove during daylight.  The trip back out from the city seems a bit odd; normally in winter one rides in darkness and by the time the days get longer and lighter the trackside view is normally obscured by vegetation so the passing scene had an unaccustomed level of detail. 

On getting home I managed to get back out into the light without undue delay, but prior forgetfulness on my part had meant that the camera battery hadn't been sitting in the charger and as a result the device was only operational for a short time though with sunlight running out it didn't make much of a diffrence. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)




Jackson Park

In the fading light with snow on the ground this dried hydrangea was set in an ambient light that was softer than I had expected. 


hydrangea
15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, March 15th, 2009 10:55 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

this time of the year the Grove has a certain tendency for cold days like this, characterised by a thick overcast that sets itself in and occasionally crosses over into an intermittent rain useful only for putting a clammy edge onto the damp chill, mocking last week's foretaste of spring with the reality of the few weeks that remain before that promise can be fulfilled. 
good days for staying in with computers and cats, useless for much of anything else. 

even so, there's no need to let one's spirits be dampened by the seasonal reality; not when the indifferent light is enough to reveal some of what's already happening out there. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park



.. +3 .. )


these are the descendants (or, if you prefer, this year's transformational successors) of the owl babies featured in this space on 18 February 2006


15_the_circle: (snow cottages)
Sunday, March 8th, 2009 09:33 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

it is said of this month that it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb, a process that was encapsulated into a single week. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




the Circle

we started off with temperatures in the 20°f range and two days of snow, as caught on the porch cam:

March snow

by Saturday the temperature had hit the 70°f mark but the snowdrops were still holding out in the Circle ...

snowdrops in the Circle
Galanthus Nivalis



Jackson Park

... and over in Jackson Park the crocus meadow had come into its brief annual existence. 

Jackson Park crocus meadow

Jackson Park crocus meadow
Crocus

the Grove's other crocus meadow is/was on a privately owned lot where construction has taken place over the course of the past year; the attendant moving and scraping of soil might have obliterated it.  it's been a while since I've been over there but will take a look later today to see how -- or if -- it's coming along. 

15_the_circle: (purple crocus)
Monday, March 10th, 2008 09:52 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

when morning turns to afternoon and wet overcast yields to sunlight, what better time could there be to revisit the crocus meadows? 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park

there's nothing like a few hours of warmth and light to open things up. 

crocus

... and to bring out the texture of the petals. 


crocus crocus

fully extended they catch the sun and paint interesting effects of shadow in settings where everything seems to curve into arcs and circles. 


crocus cluster with airborne visitor

this cluster was receiving an airborne visitor, demonstrating pollinators at work.  was this too far across the Grove to have been operating out of one of [livejournal.com profile] betsy_beekeeper's hives? 


crocus

translucent petals with finely traced veins can be perfectly stunning in strong light. 


crocus crocus

the delicacy of shading and the intricacy of detail just keep on getting better. 



Grove Road

another crocus meadow, equally well established, can be found over on Grove Road, across from the athletic field.  with a complete disregard for property lines it has spilled over into a neighbouring lot.  who wouldn't welcome such an invasion? 

crocus cluster in afternoon light

with full sun streaming down these images became more about colour than form. 

crocus cluster in afternoon light

15_the_circle: (purple crocus)
Monday, March 10th, 2008 07:26 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

Jackson Park's crocus meadow had come into bloom late the previous weekend but the last day's waning light had not provided much in the way of opportunities to view or share the phenomenon.  the following week and its run of cold blustery days did do much to raise hopes for how things would be and not knowing the duration of the gap between the morning's and the afternoon's rains it seemed like a good idea to get over there early. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park

one risen, one fallen
one risen, one fallen

single crocus crocus cluster
solitary or in clusters, lovely either way


double crocus
a double treat

crocus cluster
tightly wrapped, covered with droplets and just starting to open up

fallen crocus
even the ones that fall over and die
bring a sad grace
to the spot where they land















Grove Avenue

this small white crocus, outside the front fence of an outer Grove Avenue cottage, was bejeweled with an astonishing number of drops. 

bejeweled crocus

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 02:14 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

Chinese silvergrass is an ornamental that can be found in gardens all around the Grove.  its pale tufts never take a break from playing with breeze and light. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



Jackson Park

it is seen here in backlit detail, framed by trunk and branch of one of the Grove's oaks. 

chinese silvergrass
Miscanthus sinensis

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, June 24th, 2007 09:30 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

any time I'm heading out for a walk or errand around the Grove or its environs I just about never leave without bringing along a camera.  there are Grovers who probably wonder whether it would have to be surgically removed and I would probably agree with them.  assuming, of course, there were a reason to do without it ...

this time of year the other essential item is a selection of hand tools for incidental wayside gardening.  our parks and the verges of the walkways are under a constant attack from invasives: ivy (both poison and English) and wisteria on the trees, and in any crevices or other spots the tractor mowing can't reach there spring forth masses of garlic mustard, ailanthus, multiflora rose, barberry, honeysuckle and wineberry. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park

here are some of the latter:

wineberries

wineberries
Rubus phoenicolasius


one is moved to ask: "are there enough spines on this?  couldn't there have been a way to accommodate a few more?" 




I'll need to recover a bit more use of shoulder to get back to pickaxe and heavy loppers, essential for dealing with honeysuckle and its ilk.  but even without them there's plenty to be done with lesser tools, so much so that some days I come back without any images. 

if only there were more to show for my efforts.  often I can't see any visible difference.  but there's no point in giving up, not even against the inevitable; if I didn't do anything at all, surely it would be that much worse. 

15_the_circle: (Default)
Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 10:39 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



Jackson Park

dogwood
Cornus florida
15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Saturday, April 7th, 2007 03:15 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

in trying to come up with at least one usable image per day I've been trying to take fewer (and with any luck, if not skill, better) pictures.  some days don't go according to plan; yesterday was one of them.  by the time I knocked off last night I had uploaded 13 out of what turned out to be 26 images.  here are the rest of them. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park / Woodward Park

small bloomer   small bloomer
small bloomers


Woodward Park

over time our playgrounds have been losing their sturdy galvanised slides and swings in favour of trendy plastic crap in the form of oversize gerbil mazes.  no doubt in the name of progress they'll eventually get the rest hauled off for scrap though it's interesting to note that two iterations of the modern stuff are already fading and otherwise not holding up whereas the older stuff looks like it's good more or less forever. 

slide

it also makes interesting compositions, framing double reflections of bare branch against grey sky. 




ginkgo buds
Ginkgo biloba

the ginkgos are budding and it looks completely alien, in a slightly creepy sort of way. 



Center Street

it's easy to get carried away when the Spiraea comes into bloom.  these blossoms are tiny.  smaller than a quarter, than a quid, than a nickle or a penny or a dime.  about the size of a sequin, or of a sprug (a lilliputian coin mentioned in T.H. White's Mistress Masham's Repose). 

Spiraea prunifolia

Spiraea prunifolia

Spiraea prunifolia

Spiraea prunifolia
Spiraea prunifolia








Maple Avenue

you can find this tree blooming off Maple Avenue in what's either Woodward Park or the East Woods, I know where it is but can't readily categorise its location.  but with blossoms like these who cares about such a minor detail? 

 
 
 


Knott Park

Maple (cat)

Maple is one of the Circle cats, seen here perched on a stump in Knott Park.  she's not the most approachable kitty in the Grove, but a long lens can compensate for her natural feline haughtiness. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Friday, April 6th, 2007 11:52 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park

you can walk around this one hydrangea bud and it doesn't matter from what angle you regard it, each is different and each is perfectly lovely. 

hydrangea   hydrangea   hydrangea   hydrangea
hydrangea

it's no wonder the Art Deco movement found so much inspiration in forms like this. 




and that's not all ... the same plant shows you not only where it's going, but where it's been: 

hydrangea
hydrangea
15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Monday, April 2nd, 2007 11:44 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

the Grove's annual egg hunt was held on Sunday afternoon.  they might have been Lenten eggs, or Palm Sunday eggs, or something generic of no particular liturgical significance; I don't know.  there was some sort of Easter Bunny problem: we ended up having to import one from Richmond VA and the far right account lack of volunteers. 

ambient lighting was difficult but there was a good turnout and, more to the point, a fine time was had by all. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




.. 29 count 'em 29 images .. )



many thanks to the Recreation Committee and the Woman's Club for making it all happen. 

15_the_circle: (white crocus)
Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 11:57 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

one who blows into town at midnight loses the chance to see how spring is coming along.  the one thing I seemed to have done right was to bring some balmy southern California weather with me, making even more enjoyable the chance to walk around and catch up on what had happened over the past ten days. 

what we have is a mix that includes late crocus, early daffodils, and hints of things to come.  there were even some snowdrops holding out in a deeply shaded spot. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

crocus pair
crocus

with lines so delicate and lighting so crisp I just had to capture this image. 



Bittersweet Cottage garden

daffodil
daffodil

the daffodils are syncopating all around the Grove: out in some yards but not in others; out in Morgan Park but not the Circle; und so weiter.  I have some blooming in the side yard but not yet in front. 



Jackson Park

crocus   crocus

the crocus meadow in Jackson Park is not quite finished.  once again it was lighting and colour that reached up and grabbed me. 



Bittersweet Cottage garden

virginia bluebell
Mertensia virginica

poking up between flagstones on the back walk, these are only an inch or two high but are already starting to turn from purple shoots to green leaves, the first of many transformations they will undergo over the next few weeks and months. 

of all the species that come and go over the course of the whole year, these are my absolute favourites. 

15_the_circle: (purpe crocus)
Friday, March 9th, 2007 10:43 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Jackson Park

it's warmed up enough to get a feeling for how the crocus meadow made it through the last round of snow and ice. 

two out of three

in this case, two out of three. 



this one looks to have bloomed more recently.  timing is everything. 

better timing

note the acorn cap in the lower L of the image: it gives you some idea of how small the flower is and the extent to which it is magnified on your display. 



Grove Avenue

the Jackson Park crocus meadow comes out first and puts on one of our better shows, but we have others that tend to come along a bit later.  these ones aren't far away at all but none of them had been out during last week's warm spell, nor were they harmed by the following cold snap. 

this pale lavender was quite fetching, particularly the way it was positioned against the shadow cast by a fallen stick. 

pale lavender

pale lavender

15_the_circle: (purpe crocus)
Saturday, March 3rd, 2007 11:50 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

a couple of warm days was all it took to bring out the crocus bulbs in many parts of the Grove (not all, though: there still aren't any in the Circle, at least not yet). 

today's high was around 60°f.  three days from now the forecast is calling for a low of 21°f and snow.  snowdrops are still blooming in the Circle, they shouldn't have any problems, but how the croci will fare remains to be seen. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Chapel Park

most impressive: this crocus has punched right through a fallen leaf in order to launch stalk and bloom into the sky. 

punching through


punching through




Jackson Park

... has a crocus meadow, one that never fails to knock my socks off every spring.  it went from no blooms to a few blooms to this massive display (of which just a very small part is pictured) over a period of 48  hours. 

profusion

click here to see how good it gets )



Woodward Park

halfway across the Grove an excellent stand of crocus can be found in Woodward Park, between the tennis courts and Grove Road.  it's smaller than the one in Jackson Park but has greater chromatic diversity: mixed in with the purples are some whites, yellows, and this beautiful mix of shades and stripes. 

a crocus of a different colour


Grove Road

would you like to do a lawn?  here's how to do a lawn. 

  • start with, oh, say, a few hundred crocus bulbs. 
  • then give it, say, 20 or 30 years. 
  • 40 or 50 would be better for them to really naturalise. 

you'll get:

profusion
a general effect like this

cluster
and little clusters like this



it will be worth waiting for. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Wednesday, February 21st, 2007 07:12 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

it's gotten warmer so things are beginning to melt.  there's still a brittle crust on the top of the stack, but what's underneath has been going from ice to a mixture of slush and water.  the surface is now more grey than white and though somewhat less reflective it had plenty of clear, direct sun falling upon it. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



Woodward Park

this Japanese maple has tiny seed pods.  depending on device settings these thumbnail images as seen on your screen are probably somewhere eight to ten times larger than the objects depicted.  of course the higher resolution images are magnified even further. 

these images show the texture and detail in two different ways:

maple seed pods
in relief

maple seed pods
translucent



if the second image seems a bit abstract you're not off base -- I did play around with it a bit. 



Jackson Park

shadows

the top layer has lost just enough texture to render shadows in a slightly grainy and indeterminate way. 



the Circle

hibiscus seed pod opened
hibiscus seed pod

this seed pod has already opened and released its contents.  late afternoon light comes streaming through the exposed layers. 

15_the_circle: (honeysuckle berries)
Saturday, January 6th, 2007 10:50 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

today's balmy weather came with light that started out intermittent and became quite steady.  in other words, an irresistible lure to head out and about with camera. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




yuletide is past but the hollies are abundant of berries.  their colours seem to be tracking along with the holidays, tending more toward an orange shade around Halloween and Thanksgiving, settling in to the deeper reds by year's end. 

2nd Avenue

holly leaf with berries

holly leaf with shadow
Ilex





Jackson Park

these bushes are quite large and the berries cluster around the branch stems in pleasing garlands. 

holly garland
Ilex



Grove Road

the pattern of light through these leaves was complemented nicely by the shadow of the branch to which they are (still) attached.  I didn't look closely at the bush but these are probably honeysuckle. 

light through leaves



Chestnut Road

Oak Leaf Hydrangeas
Hydrangea quercifolia

these Oak Leaf Hydranges are growing across from Howard Park, next to the church parking lot. 




dried tracery

a couple of blocks away one is reminded that the tracery of branch doesn't always need the embellishment of leaves. 

15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Thursday, April 13th, 2006 08:10 pm

{OT from cottage renovations}

longer days and the shift to daylight savings time combine to provide opportunities to make use of afternoon sweetlight during the week. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




Jackson Park

this grape hyacinth has sprung up on the site of the crocus meadow. 


grape hyacinth

note the contrast in luminosity between the upper pods which are still sealed and the lower ones which have already opened. 




Wade Park

Barberry is seldom well regarded other than as an extreme defensive measure, but the combination of its flowers and soft afternoon backlighting was kind even to it. 

Barberry
Barberry



Bittersweet Cottage garden

coming home I caught the weeping cherry in the last of the afternoon light; just as ghostly as during Saturday's rain but less vague, though not as well defined as in Sunday morning's bright sunlight.  it is past its peak for this season. 

Weeping Cherry
Weeping Cherry
15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, March 5th, 2006 11:07 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

today was both warmer and less windy than yesterday but the light was just as clear.  Jackson Park's naturalised crocus meadow (perfectly lovely to look at tho' one must mind one's step while there) responded well to today's balmy weather and bees were busily shifting pollen about. 

in commenting on an an image posting from last week [livejournal.com profile] betsy_beekeeper requested more bug representation in this space.  I don't share (any of) her passion for insects but because she had been willing to at least look at last week's freight train image I felt compelled to oblige. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




this bee was quite determined to get into this particular flower ... none of this "please come back when the shop is open" nonsense, it was literally pulling the petals open with its arms/legs. 

why not the other one?
why not just go to the other one?
naah, that would be too easy ...


pollinating pollinating


no bees in this next image, but I was particularly taken by the colours in this cluster.  the pastels are evocative of easter frocks but click through to the detail image and just look at how the afternoon sweetlight brings out the vivid reds and oranges of the pollen markers. 

crocus cluster
crocus cluster
15_the_circle: (snow cottage)
Saturday, March 4th, 2006 08:11 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

today was another clear, cold, windy day; too blustery for a market run but not too bad for a brief afternoon excursion. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




hydrangea
hydrangea branch
McCathran Hall
(note: this image not an early bloom)



snowdrop snowdrops
snowdrops
the Circle



crocus croci
crocus
Jackson Park
15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Saturday, February 18th, 2006 08:31 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

for most of the day the light was not very encouraging, but unexpected late afternoon sweetlight drew me outside. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




warm and fuzzy: 1
these were quite evocative, though on a smaller scale,
of Martin Waddell's children's book
Owl Babies


warm and fuzzy: 2