Category Archives: flowers

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

Ann-Christine invited us to explore the theme of Hideaway and would like to see our interpretation.


There is no time like this when we all need a hideaway. A place in which we could find safety, calmness, beauty, feel the contentment of being, and sustain the patience of riding out the storms.

My garden is my hideaway. Nature and the little creatures speak to me and I find comfort in their messages. The branches bend when the wind blow. The roots reach deep to draw water and nutrients. The flowers dance in the breeze. Some plants go dormant in the winter. Some creatures migrate south in the cold season. They don’t fight against nature but make the best of what nature offers and maintain their balance at their present state.

Music is my great hideout.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

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Lens-Artists Photo CHALLENGE #114: Negative Space

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 114, Amy invited us to look at Negative Space in photography.

This is my first time explored negative space in photography. It made me interested to do a quick study about the subject. I only looked at three photography sites and the following is the basic idea.

Negative space is the area surrounding the main subject in a photograph. It allows us to create a dramatic image that attracts viewers to lead their eyes towards the smaller area of positive space.

Negative space should take up more of the image than the positive space. It has the effect of making us notice and inspect the main subject even more. It can be an unoccupied area.

This was three days before the full moon in July 2017
California fires: 3,154,107 Acres Burned, 7,718 Incidents, 20 Fatalities, 6,334 Structures as of Sept. 12, 2020
(Photo from my backyard Sept. 6, 2020 4:00 p.m.)

The contrast in size makes us more curious about the main subject. The smaller the subject in the positive space is, the more noticeable it will become.

A grasshopper the size of a grain of rice sitting on the African Lily in my garden.

The negative space does not have to be an empty space. Things surrounding the subject are peripheral. They almost blend into the background, but they should never be the main subjects.  They cause you to focus even more on the subject.

Rose bud in spring
I captured this yacht during a whale watching trip.
My husband turned around for a photo before he dived in the Great Barrier Reef.

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LENS-ARTISTS PHOTO CHALLENGE 114: NEGATIVE SPACE

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

This week, Tina’s theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 is “Creativity in the Time of Covid.”

Early in May this year, I spotted the Monarch feeding on the Salvia flowers. It renewed my interest to create a butterfly garden. My hummingbirds feed on the Salvia which attracts many bees. For all these reasons, I bought several Salvia plants and planted them in different spots in my garden.

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Milkweed is the host plants for butterflies to lay eggs. The bright color Tropical milkweed was my favorite, but it grows year-round in California, and interferes with Monarch migration and reproduction.

Several kinds of milkweed are California native plants. They die in the winter to encourage Monarch for migration. They come back in spring with fresh growth. After days of research and learned how to grow milkweed. I bought the Narrow Leaf and Showy milkweed.

Most milkweed seeds in North America need a cold moist stratification to encourage spring germination. Cold moist stratification is a technique used to simulate the real-world conditions a seed would receive outdoors after the frozen winter gives way to a warm, wet spring.

I wet a paper towel to make it damp but not dripping with water. Then I spread the Milkweed seeds out on the damp paper towel and fold it to fit inside the Ziploc bag, then placed it in the refrigeration for 30 days before planting.

The seeds were planted on July 10th and most of them grew into two or three inches in three weeks. The roots grew through the peat pods yet the seedlings were young. I added the extension of the pods with plastic cups filled with top soil and punched wholes at the bottoms for drainage.

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The seedlings continued to do well. I transplanted the five or six inches ones to the soil. It has been hot with 97o F to 99o F the last days. It will be 102o F this Wednesday. I used the chicken wire to create a Cylinda shape around the young plants and put a semi-transparent cover on top with opening for water, air and light, but protects them from the direct heat.

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One major area for most of the milkweed is exposed to the sun all day and the soil dries up fast. A cooler temperature would help the plants to establish. I transplanted some into bigger flower pots while waiting for a cooler weather.

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There are other butterflies in my garden such as this Swallowtail which will benefit from the milkweed.

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This has been a fun and learning creation of my butterfly garden during the pandemic. My hope is by summer next year, there’ll be caterpillars on the milkweed and butterflies fluttering in my garden.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #110 – Creativity in the Time of Covid

 

Thank you for reading this post. I look forward to hearing your comment. Please click the above link to view other posts or join this challenge.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – Crystal Springs

Tina’s theme for Lens-Artists Challenge #105 this week is: SPRING

“The promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter!” –  Jen Selinsky

Some may consider the winter in Southern California as mild because there’s no snow. Usually the temperature doesn’t drop below 40oF. Yet accustomed to the warm climate all my life, this mild winter cold still chills my bones. I find not being motivated to do outdoor activities.

“The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.” –  S. Brown

Many of the plants and trees in my garden are perennial that doormat in the winter. The earliest budding appeared on the plum tree. The tiny innocent white buds popped out to sing to me, “Spring is coming.” I made a daily appearance in my garden to search every branch of the plum tree anticipating the delightful blossoms. Within days, the scattered white buds became full covering the entire tree and some popped open the smiling faces. How I wanted them to stay forever!

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“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” –  Gertrude S. Wister

Flowers spark my eyes and warm my heart. During our trip to see my daughter and her family in May 2018 as a Mother’s Day outing, we visited the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. I wanted to swallow all the beauty of the greenery and vibrant colors and let them forever be alive in me.

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The more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants in the garden have all been donated by volunteers and interested individuals, or purchased with specially donated funds. Beginning in early spring and continuing into summer, they provide a magnificent display of color.

“Sometimes the smallest thing takes up the most room in your heart.” – A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The Canada geese and the goslings feast on the grain and graze on the grass. The field by the lake is a haven to raise the young goslings.

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I wrote this poem for my poetry collection Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

In Sync with Spring

Seeds were fallen,

hidden in the soil.

Coldness in the dark

keep them quiet in the ground.

Light and shadow

Gradually shift

to bring the warmth of

sunrays to the earth.

Calling the seeds

to wake up and come forth,

to feel the warm breeze and

smell the fresh air.

Slowly and gracefully

buds pop out,

unfold their petals and

the fragrance they breathe out,

dance joyfully in sync with

spring!

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Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – Crystal Springs

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

Thank you, Cee, for hosting the Lens-Artists Challenge #101 this week.

The topic for this week is one single flower.  Cee’s favorite quotes is “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.  Buddha.  Flowers have changed her world. I must say flowers brighten my days and helped me to survive the toughest moments.

I take photos of flowers in my garden year-round to see the changes throughout the seasons. I also like to use the natural sunlight at different hours.

“In joy and in sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”– Unknown

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Late summer early in the morning as the sun just rose up.

 

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”– Zen Shin

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A winter morning when the sun was soft.

 

“Open the bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world.”– Bryant McGill

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The same winter in the afternoon as the sun started to descend.

 

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”– Audrey Hepburn

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A late spring morning when the sun was gentle.

 

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are in their own way, and that’s like women too.”– Miranda Kerr

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Early summer morning when sunflowers were in full bloom.

 

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”– Henri Matisse

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Late spring at night using flash for this photo.

 

Please join us for fun and check out the stunning photos at Cee’s One Single Flower.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

 

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

This week’s photo challenge by Terri Webster Schrandt is about plant life. Many folks are still limited to where they can go, but we can all walk in our backyards and gardens and enjoy plant life.

Garden is a sanctuary where my soul rests, my mind cleared, my strength renewed, and my heart rejoices. It is a place where I go every morning to listen, listen to the voices of the plants and the small creatures, and listen to the voice within. The garden nourishes my being more than the time I put in it to nourish the plants.

One Daylily plant I have is Wineberry Candy. They are low-maintenance perennial and have showy colors of flowers all summer. The bulbs multiply and I dig up the fresh growth to transplant in various spots.

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Both Lily of the Nile Blue (Agapanthis africanus) and Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violace) multiply continuously. For years, I transplanted the fresh growth to landscape my garden. It turns out the hummingbirds love to suck the nectar of both plants.

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The Society Garlic is below the Lily of the Nile Blue

This Salvia started out with two-2.5 Qt. plant and has grown into a lush bush. It is the most favorite of the hummingbirds. It is also where the bees congregate. I bought several more pots and planted two pots by another hummingbird feeder in the backyard, and two pots by the plum trees.

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The always cheerful hibiscus regardless the attention I paid to it yet greets me with the gorgeous bloom every morning.

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Have a peaceful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

Thank you, Sue (Mac’s Girl), for hosting the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week. COVID19 gives us more time to stay home and spend more time on our hobbies and pastimes.

I have many passionate hobbies, enough to occupy three times of my lifetime. For this post, I only focus on two activities I’m engaged in daily, which are gardening and enjoying the amazing creatures in my garden.

 

There are four fruit trees and two grape vines in my garden. I have a different story about the plum trees this year. In the winter of 2018-2019, there were seven weeks of rain that soaked the plum trees to produce gorgeous blooms. The warm sun came to keep the clovers strong and pretty to invite the bees. The bees found their way to pollinate the plum blossoms which yielded 1,100 plum. Well, the rain, the clovers, the sun, and the bees didn’t coordinate this year, and I could see about 10% of the plums growing compared to that of last year.

 

I appreciate the year-round flowering of the hibiscus and roses. Their graciousness, loyalty, and steadfast to bloom were the inspiration of my poetry.

 

I started watching and feeding the birds in 2014. My regular visitors are the Mourning Doves, House Finches, and sparrows. The Scrub Jay and Pin-tailed Whydah paid occasional visits. I used to put the bird seeds on several spots of the top of the retaining wall closed to the slope where they searched for food. Unfortunately, the stray cats crept under the bushes, darted upward to snatch the Mourning Doves, then dashed away. It made me so mad. I used the chicken wire to fence off the area, but the cats outsmarted me. My new spot for the bird seeds is now on the patio ground.

 

I would like to have flocks of butterflies, but only a few visited. The Mourning Cloak butterflies came a few times. The Monarch came, but there were only two. I planted the Butterfly bush, but the growth is too slow to attract butterflies. Last week, a Monarch delighted me to visit the Salvia plant. The bees and the hummingbirds love the Salvia plant also. Two days ago, I bought four of the 2-gallon pots Salvia and planted them strategically to feed the hummingbirds and attract bees to pollinate the plum blossoms next year.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #93 – Morning

The theme from Ann-Christine this week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #93 is Morning.

“Although time seems to fly, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest. In each waking day, you will find scores of blessing and opportunities for positive change. Do not let your today be stolen by the unchangeable past or the indefinite future! Today is new day ! Good Morning ” – Steve Maraboli

 

My morning routine these days is about the same as before the pandemic. On any day, I spend an hour to be with myself before getting on any business. There is a family of four hummingbirds in my garden. One of them was born in my backyard in May 2018. Apparently another baby was born this year, but I don’t know where they built the nest. The first thing in the morning when I go downstairs is checking on the hummingbirds. I have one feeder outside of the kitchen window and another one in the backyard. The hummingbirds mostly rely on the sugar water from the feeders, although they also like the nectar from the purple Sylvia flowers.

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After making sure the feeders have plenty of sugar water, I then brew my coffee. My favorite coffee mug has the image of Thomas Kinkade’s painting. It holds 12 ounces. Two cups of coffee would start my day just right.

 

While sipping the coffee, I make my round checking the flowers in the front yard and backyard to see if any spot needs more watering. The two grapevine plants started growing. I usually train the vine before they get all tangle up.


The next thing to do before sitting down at my desk is to feed the birds. There are about twelve to fifteen mourning doves and several house finches coming to my backyard for feeding. Yesterday morning, as soon as I put the seeds on the ground, a scrub jay flew by making loud noises. There are two scrub jays pay me a visit from time to time, but they are not the regular visitors. I was glad to have my phone, so I snapped a few shots. Then a squirrel came by. He is not afraid of me. He even poses for me to take photos. Well, he just stared at me.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #93 – Morning

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome – B&W

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70, Patti is inviting us to explore the world of monochrome–which includes black and white and sepia, as well as different shades of one color.

This is my second post of this theme. I include the black and white photos from my archives.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome – B&W

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome – Color

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70, Patti is inviting us to explore the world of monochrome–which includes black and white and sepia, as well as different shades of one color.

In this post, I include the  roses, plums and apples from my garden. The roses show different shades from buds to full blossom. They also show different shades when reflecting the intensity of sunlight throughout the day. There are two photos of green apples and plums before ripening and one photo of the ripe plums.

 

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Pink Rose in day time

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Green plums and shades of green leaves

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Green apples and shades of green leaves

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Yellow rose

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A different yellow rose

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Ripe plums, some are more ripe than the others

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Pink rose at sunset (different rose from the one above)

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #70: Monochrome – Color

 

 

 

 

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