Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Look Beyond: Flowers and Fauna of Hawaii

Yellow Tropical Hibiscus
While it is freezing and snowing outside I am catching up and reminiscing by going through some photos from our visit to Kauai this past fall.   The island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands is one of the most beautiful places I have ever encountered.  The island is a gardener's dream comprised of tropical rain forests, beautiful blooms and interesting foliage.  I took hundreds of photographs during our trip and just completed sorting through each one and choosing the best to bring here.  We also encountered some amazing native and tropical birds at the resort we stayed at that are worth sharing.  If there is a place on earth one could call paradise this is certainly it. 
Strelitzia reginae (Bird Of Paradise)

White Cockatoo (Umbrella Cockatoo)

Bougainvillea Nyctaginaceae


Aechmea blanchetiana (Orange Bromeliad)

Acchmea blanchetiana (Orange Bromeliad)

Hawaiian Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)

Hawaiian Dove

Tropical Fern
Alpinia purpurata (Red Ginger Plant)

Cordyline fruticosa (Hawaiian Ti Plant)

Pink Tropical Hibiscus

Peach Tropical Hibiscus

 Red Tropical Hibiscus

Ixora coccinea (Jungle Geranium)

Plumeria (White)

Crinum pedunculatum (Queen Emma Lilly)

Sandpiper Pectoral Sandpiper (Calidris melanotos)

Plumeria (Yellow)

Tunnel of Trees Kauai (Eucalyptus Trees Along Highway 520 to Poipu Beach)
 For more Hawaiian gardens visit Allerton Botanical Gardens Kauai.
As Always...Happy Gardening and ALOHA!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day & Foliage Follow-Up January 2014: A Closer Look

January Garden Bitter Freeze
At this time of year when there is a stillness in the air and temperatures colder than I care to encounter, it is time to gaze into the garden for a closer focus on the details that may normally be overlooked.   The winter is a time to concentrate on the inner beauty of the landscape...the part of the garden that is sometimes hidden from view.  
Snow Covered Barberry
With my increasing growing interest in garden writing and photography, I strive to capture a view that is a little different from the ordinary.  Over time I have found a new appreciation for the simplest aspects of nature, such as the snow covered barberry in the photo above...
Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus Atlantica)
or the branches of a Blue Atlas Cedar against the backdrop of a blue sky...
Acer palmatum Sangu Kaku (Coral Bark Maple) and Golden Oriental Spruce 'Skyland'
or the exposed coral red branches of a Japanese Maple against the yellow-green needles of a Golden Oriental Spruce.  I am trying to look at nature in a different light as some may say.
Acer palmatum Sangu Kaku (Coral Bark Maple) Branches up Close
It was good timing to have camera in hand in order to capture the branches of the Coral Bark Maple. The frigid temperatures have dramatically brought out the colors and they are more vivid than I have remembered for some time.
Backyard Side Garden (Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, Gold Mop Cypress, Royal Burgundy Barberry, Euonymus 'Gold Spot', Arborvitae, Dwarf Butterfly Bush, Knock Out Roses and Heuchera 'Caramel')
Here is one wide shot view to show a little perspective in the garden.  This is the backyard perimeter garden in winter mode.  I wait in anticipation for the emergence of burgundy and medium green foliage, fragrant purple blooms, pink roses and caramel colored perennials once spring arrives. 
Hydrangea 'Tardivia' Winter
In an effort to get a little more creative with the lens I aimed upward into the sky when trying to capture this 'Tardivia' Hydrangea faded bloom.  While still working on the perfect focal distance, I was fortunate enough to have just the right amount of back lighting to provide some contrast. 
Weeping Japanese Trunk Maple Winter
Weeping Japanese Maple is a tree I really have grown to appreciate all year round.  It has reached a mature age of somewhere between twenty and thirty years and each winter the trunk becomes just a little more twisted and contorted in character.
Magnolia 'Royal Star'
Here the new buds of the Magnolia are growing larger and larger each month.  Spring is on the way slowly but surely.
Moss Covered Rock and Sweet Flag
Why am I taking a photograph of moss?  There was something about snow next to this moss covered rock with the yellow-green of the sedge that caught my eye.  Nature really does have a lot to offer and I try not to let it go unnoticed.
Nandina domestica (False or Heavenly Bamboo)
Here is my Nandina domestica.  I have had it for years and have grown to love its vibrant red berries in winter.  Sadly this is the last photograph I was able to take of it before it was moved today to work on the oil tank.  It will likely not make it through the winter so I will have to get a new one in the spring for both myself and the birds. That means I will have to work in the garden...it's a tough job but someone has to do it!
Nandina domestica (False or Heavenly Bamboo)
A piece of branch fell into the snow and gave me the idea for this photograph. I really do like this plant.
Rosemary in Herb Garden
Normally my Rosemary in the herb garden does not make it through the winter but I have actually had this particular one for three years now! It was planted during a year with a mild winter so it was able to harden off and develop into a miniature shrub.  This has been an exceptionally brutal winter so I am hoping it continues to thrive.
Garden Friends
Structure is so important is a garden and besides many evergreens in the garden I also like a little whimsy.  This garden statue is one of my favorites!
Juniperus 'Pro Nana' and Heuchera 'Caramel'
It is difficult finding blooms in the garden at this time of year so I rely on foliage and these Heuchera 'Caramel' never cease to amaze me with their striking foliage that lasts throughout most of the winter.   
That ends our walk around the January garden for now. The first month of 2014 came in like a lion with winter storm Hercules on January 2nd bringing a foot of snow and 16°F temperatures, followed by a warming trend with torrential rains and daily temperatures back into the 40's for now.  The garden is still changing in each month and I enjoy looking to find its inner beauty. 
Drop a note to let me know you've been here and I will be sure to visit you as well. Also please visit our hostesses Carol at May Dreams Gardens for January Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow Up. 
(This monthly garden diary can also be viewed on the new My Gardens page.)
As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter's First Snow! - Garden Blanketed

We got our first significant snow of the winter and I am so excited to finally be able to get some photographs!  This is the first real snow we have had since last February and the three prior snow shower events came and went so quickly that all was melted before pictures could be taken.  Winter storm Hercules arrived yesterday, reaching its full potential by evening, and exited this morning.  It is 16 degrees outside with a wind chill of -2 and we are blanketed under 12 inches of glorious snow.  With the help of a zoom lens I was able to take some photos from the small cleared area we have under our protected overhang. 
Winter's Snow on Birdbath
Snow Covered Spirea
Snow on Barberry
Pool Area Under Snow
Side Yard Garden Blanketed in Snow
Side Yard Garden with Hydrangea in Snow
Weeping Norway Spruce Covered in Snow in front of Pool
Winter's Snow Shadows
Snow Covered Blue Globe Spruce
Storm Clearing this Morning
Winter Storm Come and Gone By This Afternoon
It's is a amazing how the snow can come and go so quickly. Just yesterday we were preparing for blizzard like conditions and now we are blanketed in snow and the sun is out and shining in the blue sky.  It is way too cold to be outside but from the window the snow glistens in the sunlight and there is a peaceful stillness.  Winter storm Hercules is long gone and we are warm and cozy inside.  Hope you enjoyed the photos!  Life is good.
As Always...Happy Gardening!
Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.