Garden, September 3

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I’m lingering more in the garden because its days for 2017 are coming to a close. Inevitably the weather will turn too harsh to sustain these flowers. The unknown is how long the growing season will last. The first frost could come anytime between the middle of September and the beginning of November.

Last year the flowers were still in bloom a week after Halloween, but I cannot depend on a similar season this year. The temperature dipped to the high forties during a couple nights this week. My hibiscus bush is growing new leaves for a second bloom, but I don’t think the warmth will endure long enough for an encore bloom like last year.

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Mystery Sunflower

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I sowed four varieties of sunflowers this year, yet just one of them bloomed as expected. All of these were grown from Burpee seed, which has been a reliable brand in my experience until this year. The Lemon Queen bloomed as depicted on the seed packet. The other three did not prove to be quite so accurate or abundant.

None of the Mammoth Russian seeds germinated. My Autumn Beauty has only yellow blooms instead of a variety of yellow/orange bicolor flowers. The picture shown above is what bloomed from a packet of Teddy Bear sunflower seeds. I’m not sure what variety this flower is, but it is not Teddy Bear, which has many rows of small wispy petals unfurling from the outside in as the bloom matures. I grew a Teddy Bear sunflower with my daughter when she was very young to teach her how to sow seeds and care for an easy plant. It did not look like this sunflower, except for its short height.

Garden, August 26

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The sunflowers have attracted lots of honey bees and leatherwing beetles. Both are so content with their feast that they don’t seem to notice my milling about with my camera.

Hummingbirds have been visiting my calibrachoa baskets, but they fly away as soon as I start opening my back door.

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Garden, August 19

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My hibiscus bush is done blooming unless there are some surprise buds facing the garage. Last year fall was long and warm enough to produce a second round of hibiscus blooms. Perhaps the encore blooming will happen again this year, but our cool nights hint that this is not likely to happen again this year.

My sunflowers continue to bloom. Pictured above is my first open bud on our Teddy Bear sunflower. I’m excited to see this one unfurl. It looks more like a giant mum than a sunflower when it is in full bloom.

My calibrachoa baskets are prospering. This afternoon I noticed a hummingbird flitting about these baskets, but it flew away as soon as I opened my screen door with camera in hand.

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Backlight

This week’s photo challenge asks us to capture an image that shows something that hijacks your attention like an object that drives a child to proclaim, “Ooh, Shiny!

I have a few things that distract me in a delightful way. Spotting someone who has retained a hairstyle from a bygone era is one of those things. I’m not talking about an intentional retro makeover here. I mean someone who is old enough to have sported that hair style when it was current. I’ve seen a woman about town who has a perfectly permed and feathered mullet from 1984. How did she find a stylist who will keep up such an outdated style? What spectacular thing happened 33 years ago that she has made her hair a shrine to it? By the way, only her hair is stuck in the past. Her clothing and accessories definitely belong to the current era.

While I find time travel hairdos fascinating, I have not had the opportunity this week to take such a picture. I also feel uncomfortable with street photography that makes fun of the folks portrayed. It would a tough task indeed for me to photograph Mrs. 1984 Mullet in a way that doesn’t insist, “Look at this ridiculous hairdo.”

Because of this concern about exploitation, I offer another sort of scene that rivets my attention. I love seeing morning light through flowers, trees, and many other sorts of flora. Every time I drive to work and see sun beams filtering through gardens, I wish I could stop and take a few pictures.

This morning I took a picture of the morning sun illuminating one of my sunflower plants. I stopped everything that I was doing, grabbed my camera, and headed toward the garden when I spotted the sunflowers through my kitchen window this morning. Full sunshine has been elusive this week. We are stuck in a pattern of cloudy, hot days. I hope it rains today and that these showers steer us toward clearer skies.

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Garden, August 15

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Every year I take a small back-to-school vacation to help my daughter prepare for her next school year. We hope to get every last thing she needs for school, but we usually accomplish the most essential thing, resting up for a busy year.

The sunflowers are usually in bloom at this time, and this year is no exception. Our garden is past its peak. Despite the hot, dry days of this time, the nights will soon get too cold for some of our flowers to thrive for much longer.

So much will change in the next month, as it does every year at this time.

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