03/1/15
insight new mexico 2015

Insight New Mexico 2015

Insight New Mexico 2015: Through Her Eyes

Insight New Mexico has become the premier photography exhibition for New Mexico women photographers. Organized by LeRoy Perea, Insight is an outgrowth of the popular ANMPAS (Annual New Mexico Photographic Art Show), held in December. Both are juried shows, and it is always an honor to have images selected for showing in either one.

The theme of this year’s show is Through Her Eyes. From the press release:

Through Her Eyes” the 2015 InSight exhibit opening April 5, 2015, at Expo New Mexico showcases the work of women photographers of New Mexico. It was juried by nationally respected women photographers: Jennifer Hudson, Linda Ingraham, Margot Geist and Phyllis Burchett. The show includes more than 125 images, representing the work of 61 emerging and professional women photographers residing in the state. You will see an array of diverse subjects, themes, and unique processes, and every image is available for purchase.

I am very happy that my two images were selected for inclusion in Insight New Mexico 2015, a show which is always fun. This year’s theme, Through Her Eyes, spoke to me. “The Observer, The Observed” was photographed and processed after I returned from Texas to be with my son. The amaryllis in “Postcard Series – Amaryllis” was photographed last year, but the processing of this image was also done after I returned from being with my son. Although rather different at first glance, the underlying theme of each is life transitions, with moments of beauty and of insight, and layers of meaning.

“The Observer, The Observed”

insight new mexico 2015

The Observer, The Observed

The Crow as symbol and in myth is a powerful creature around the world, but nowhere more so than in the Southwest. Crow is a Messenger who moves between Worlds; a Trickster who can steal Light from the Sky (the Sun) and bring it to people who need it; and an astute Observer. In early January I was out photographing a cloud bank rolling over the Sandia Mountains, with a storm predicted to follow it. Suddenly, some raucous crows appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and they left as quickly as they came. This one crow, however, stayed behind, briefly, and seemed to pose for this one image, almost as a gift.
This image will be available as a Fine Art Giclée Canvas Print.

“The Postcard Series – Amaryllis”

Insight New Mexico 2015

The Postcard Series – Amaryllis

Amaryllis – bringing life, colorful life, indoors in the winter. These flowers hold the promise of spring, while being beautiful in the present. Postcards – old postcards, saved postcards, speak to memories of the past. Past travels? Past good times with old friends? Memories of things that made us who we are? The Postcard series combines memories of the past with beauty of the present. But, beautiful flowers do not last forever. What of the future? That is for the viewer to determine…
This image will be available as a Fine Art Giclée Bamboo Watercolor Print.

The exhibit will be held in the Fine Arts Building at Expo New Mexico (the New Mexico State Fairgrounds) from April 5th through April 26th. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The cost to see the exhibit is free.

I hope to see my friends from the Albuquerque area there.

02/28/15
red-breasted nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted nuthatch – not only had I never photographed one before, I am not sure I had even seen one before.!

red-breasted nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

I was out this morning, photographing the backyard with the additional snow that had fallen overnight. I have feeders around the yard, and this seed cylinder hangs from the patio roof. You can see the icicles that were present this morning.

Since I was planning to photograph the snow in the yard, I had my landscape lens rather than my bird lens. It seems like almost every time, the birds seem to know and come around! This little guy was so hungry that he kept eating not all that far from me. It was actually a win-win situation of sorts – he could eat in peace without bigger birds like the finches pecking him out of the way. And, I got a photograph.

If you are wondering what that “cap” is on top of the seed cylinder, it is there to make it very hard for the doves to feed from the cylinder. Don’t worry – I feed the doves also, but I don’t want them feeding on my patio! They can stay a little farther out.

But, this little red-breasted nuthatch will be a welcome visitor anytime!

02/27/15
rose hip

Snow and Ice

Ice after Snow – Not So Good for the Garden!

Ice this afternoon followed the snow this morning. I was happy to wake up to five inches of snow. We have needed precipitation for so long, that even I was delighted to see snow. Some images from this morning can be seen at my photography blog.

Although the temperature did not warm to above freezing at my house today, some of the snow on the roof began to melt, and icicles formed at the edge. They began to drip droplets onto some of my roses, where that water immediately formed ice. This is not something you want to see happening.

Some of you who have followed this blog from its beginning may recall the damage done to my old garden rose, ‘Mermaid,’ when a 22 inch snow began to melt, refreeze, melt, refreeze, until ‘Mermaid,’ was pulled off the wall and laid out across my patio by the weight of the ice. It is why I now do something that most people would say I should not do – I prune ‘Mermaid’ back in late fall. It has proven to be a good strategy for this particular rose in this one particular spot.

(Some images of ‘Mermaid’ and the damage may be seen at the following links. Those images were taken with an old Nikon Coolpix, the first digital camera I owned. Thus, the odd settings that those of you who know your way around cameras will note.

Saga of Mermaid, Part 3
Saga of Mermaid, Part 4
Saga of Mermaid, Part 5
Saga of Mermaid, Part 6
Saga of Mermaid, Part 7
Saga of Mermaid, Part 9 )

Here in the high desert, Albuquerque, we do not prune until late March and preferably early April. That is because of the threat of late freezes. When I do prune this year, I will have damage from today to remove. At the time of this writing, it appears that ‘St. Patrick’ will have the most damage.

ice

‘St. Patrick’ with ice and icicles

You see two different ice formations on ‘St. Patrick.’ The icicles are clear, and are not that big of a threat at that size. But, you can also see in this image a branch that was bent by the weight of the ice, and then droplets continued to drip from the icicles on the roof, weighing down the branch even more. Here’s a hint – you cannot shake ice off a branch like that, in the way you can shake snow off. That branch is broken by the weight of the ice. Those of you who are rosarians will understand that I had really wanted ‘St. Patrick’ to have a really good year in 2015. It may yet; it is far too early to tell for sure. But this ice is potentially a major setback for this rose bush.

ice

Icicles on Veterans’ Honor

The icicles at this size are not a major problem for ‘Veterans’ Honor.’ However, this image shows why we do not prune until later. The leaves you see are last year’s leaves. But, if you look closely, you see new growth (red) appearing along the cane. This new growth will not survive the freezing temperatures. That is okay; there are still a lot of places for new growth when spring does arrive. Many places for new growth would have been removed had this hybrid tea been pruned. I’m not a bit worried about this rose, at least as of today. Who knows what weather lies ahead? But, for today, it is okay.

Continue reading

02/23/15
incognito rose hip

Another Rose Hip

Rose Hip of Miniature Rose, ‘Incognito’

Rose hip of miniature rose, ‘Incognito,’ that surprised me with all of the petals of the bloom still attached, here in February. Every now and then I’ll see a rose hip with one or two petals still attached, but it is not common to find so many petals still attached.

incognito rose hip

Rose hip of ‘Incognito,’ with petals still attached

Here in the high desert, we do not prune our roses until much later, late March for some of the own-root roses and mid April for most of the hybrid teas.

Last week was exceptionally warm here, and I spent time out cleaning up flower beds, removing some dead and/or crossing canes in some of the roses, and enjoying looking at and photographing some of the remains of last year’s blooms. This was one I found exceptionally interesting. I hope you enjoy seeing it also.

For those of you who prefer more dramatic:

rose hip

For those who prefer more dramatic, a different process of Incognito rose hip

02/20/15
bird American robin

Bird Portraits

Bird “Portraits” from the Great Backyard Bird Count 2015

Bird “portraits” are always fun for a photographer. Any place works for viewing them. One of the joys of having a garden in the desert Southwest is attracting birds, bees, butterflies, and other things to it.

The Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico has many different microenvironments, and we get to see many different birds simply by going a few miles in a different direction. But, this past weekend was a beautiful one to be out cleaning up the yard in preparation for spring. So, I did my count and photography in the garden this year. These are a few of the very common birds in my yard at this time of year.

House Finch

bird house finch

House finch

White winged Dove

bird white winged dove

White winged dove

American Robin

bird American robin

American robin

Scrub Jay

bird scrub jay

Scrub jay

Birds – another joy of gardening in the desert Southwest.

02/16/15
spent bloom

Winter Beauty

Winter Beauty: Seeds, Hips, and Spent Blooms

Winter beauty in the garden is often overlooked. While things can appear brown and dry in the winter, especially in the high desert of the Southwest, bits of color can be found as well.

spent bloom winter beauty

Spent bloom, Veterans’ Honor

rose hip winter beauty

Hip of climbing rose, ‘Fourth of July’

seeds winter beauty

Clematis seed head and seeds

Here in Albuquerque, we have had some unusually warm days for an extended period of time, and roses in particular are beginning to show leaf buds way too early this year. If it stays warm, that will not be a problem. If we get the almost-invariable cold snap at this point in time, the plants could be damaged and blooms delayed. Hopefully, that will not happen!

As I was out surveying just how many plants in my yard are way ahead of schedule this year, I photographed some remains of last year’s blooms. I personally find them quite beautiful, and I hope you enjoy seeing them.

02/14/15
cosmos summer flower

Summer Flowers

It Is Not Too Early to Dream of Summer Flowers

Summer Flowers – such a wide range of vivid colors with which to paint a landscape – or a container or two. These flowers are a reminder of summer. Here in the Southwest, we have had an exceptionally mild winter. This collection is especially for my friends in the Northeast, caught in the seemingly Winter of Endless Snow! Although the winter here has been mild, I’m ready for some summer flowers, too! :-)

The flowers of summer shown here are easy to grow, and most attract butterflies and bees. Some are annuals, some are perennials, but all bring beauty. I always grow some of these, even though I grow more roses than anything else. Variety is good! Some of these are from my yard, some are from the home of friends Tim and Laurie, and some are from the Albuquerque BioPark.

summer flower cosmos

Cosmos, Fibonacci Sequence

summer flowers

Fibonacci Sequence, Dahlia

ranunculus spring flower

Ranunculus, Fibonacci Sequence

summer flower sunflower

Sunflower, Fibonacci Sequence

summer flowers

Mexican Sunflower

summer flowers brown-eyed Susan

Brown-eyed Susan

summer flowers echinacea

Echinacea

02/9/15
rose 'queen elizabeth' early spring

Spring Too Early?

Spring Too Early? We Won’t Know until Summer

Spring. Can it ever be too early? As the Northeast is buried under record total snowfall for a winter, Albuquerque has been enjoying a stretch of warm, sunny, windless days, with highs hovering around 70°F. It is glorious just to be out and enjoying what many – including me – would describe as “perfect weather.”

clematis early spring

Clematis putting on growth in early February

Early growth on my clematis vine, growing as a companion plant with my rose ‘Mermaid.’

The question for a gardener, though, here in the High Desert, is, “can spring be too early?” That is a question that cannot be answered until late May! Why? The average last frost-free date here is in mid-April. If plants have already sprung forth with new growth, the tender new growth can die. One year we have a very late freeze in mid-May, and by that time the roses already had much new growth, buds, and some were actually blooming. That freeze killed back much of the new growth, and the Spring Rose Show of the Albuquerque Rose Society was pretty small that year. Along with the show, we had an Arrangement Judging School (taught by Lew Shupe and Gary Barlow!) attended by rose lovers from all over the Pacific Southwest District. The only roses that year I had to donate to the school for practice arrangements was ‘Betty Boop.’ Although that is the latest killing freeze I have experienced in my part of Albuquerque, I have not forgotten it!

Then there are the fruit trees. I have the dwarf peach ‘Bonanza,’ a fruit tree I truly love for many reasons. But, it is an early bloomer, and some years we get a freeze after the bloom and no peaches will be harvested that year. I grow it for many reasons besides the peaches, but I still prefer the years when peaches form. :-) I also have two pear trees: one that produces pears people like to eat, and the pollinator pear that produces pears the birds like to eat. Win-win for all! In years with late freezes, after the pears trees have bloomed, the tree with the fruit for people will not produce. I have to say, the pollinator pear is tough – the birds nearly always have their fruit produced.

Today and tomorrow are also supposed to be glorious days with highs around 70. I will be out enjoying the weather, and working in the garden to dig weeds and to do general clean-up. I could not ask for better weather. But behind all of that is just a bit of worry that the plants that are responding to the glorious weather now may also respond to cold weather and late freezes that can be part of life in the Southwest Desert. We won’t know if spring is too early until summer has arrived.

02/8/15

Hope

leukemia and lymphoma

Hope for a World Without Blood Cancers; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Although this post is off topic for what I usually post, the topic is important to me and I would like to share it with my readers.

Over the holidays a family member was diagnosed with leukemia, something for which I certainly was not prepared. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been a helpful and amazing source of education, information, and support, from the early days in the hospital as the diagnosis was being established, up to today. Everything they provide to patients, family, and friends is free, supported by donations. There is not even a postage or shipping charge for the very helpful booklets, journals for patients, and other things provided.

If you shop for anything at Amazon.com and have not yet chosen a charitable organization from the Amazon Smile program, please consider signing up and designating LLS.

Although the percentage amount donated is small (0.5%), over time it can add up. And, every little bit helps. Nothing really changes as you shop at Amazon except a small amount of the sales (no extra cost to the buyer) goes to your designated charity.

Of course, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would always appreciate a direct donation as well. :-)

02/6/15
gardening

February Gardening

Challenges of Gardening in the High Desert in February

February gardening in New Mexico? Well, that can be both a temptation and a challenge. Here in Albuquerque we are in the midst of a series of warm, sunny days without wind; perfect gardening weather!

The problem is, our average latest frost-free date is in mid-April, and I have seen killing freezes as late as May. When it comes to roses, for example, we tend not to prune until early April, and fertilize even later.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of things to do in the garden in February when the days are so wonderful for being out. I did some weeding; I need to do a lot more before Spring really does arrive! I removed some dead canes from some of the roses. This is not pruning; this is removing dead canes, plain and simple.

I couldn’t help looking over my own-root miniature roses in containers, in protected areas. Some of these have not been appropriately pruned in some time. They always start to leaf out in February, and by the time another 6-8 weeks go by, they are virtually impossible to prune. The canes become spindly, and the blossoms smaller and with less perfect form.

February Gardening – I took a chance with some of these own-root miniature roses, in containers, in protected spots, and pruned them. Several different outcomes are possible with this February Gardening action:

    these miniature roses could look better than they have in years;
    these miniature roses could die back to the ground with a really severe cold snap, but since they are own-root, most would come back, although it might take time;
    the majority could look like they always have.

I want to stress that I did this only with own-root roses in protected areas, for this February gardening and rose pruning action.

This is not the only time I have gone against conventional wisdom in the pruning of some of my roses. Some of you know that I have the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ a Hybrid bracteata introduced in 1918. After its near-demise in the 22 inch snow (“The Big Snow of 2006″), I always cut it back in the fall, and then do not trim it again until after first bloom. It has rewarded me with lush spring growth and spectacular first blooms. It then blooms intermittently throughout summer and fall.

But, this is the first time I have pruned any roses as part of February gardening in Albuquerque. I’ll keep you updated on the result.

gardening

Miniature rose ‘Marriotta.’ On its own root, and grown by me in a container in a protected spot. Image from Fall, 2014.