06/17/17
Price garden corrales

More Price Garden, Corrales

More of the Price Garden, Corrales

The Price Garden is always fun to revisit, even if only in the form of images. Today was the hottest day of 2017 to date in Albuquerque. It was nice to be in and working on photographs. These images were taken in May of this year.

A David Austin Shrub Rose:

Price garden Coraales

David Austin Shrub Rose

 

‘Belinda’s Dream,’ also a shrub rose, even though it sometimes masquerades as something else 🙂

Price garden corrales

Shrub Rose, ‘Belinda’s Dream’

 

On this very warm day of late Spring, almost to official Summer, the beautiful blues project a feeling of cool:

Price garden corrales

Beauty in Blue

Beauty in Pink and Blue:

Price garden corrales

Beauty in Pink and Blue

 

Thank you, Tim and Laurie!

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06/7/17

Some Gardening Benefits

Ed Note: This post on some of the benefits of gardening was submitted by Maria Cannon, one of our readers. Thank you, Maria.

Help Relieve Depression Through Backyard Gardening by Maria Cannon

Some gardening benefits – As someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I have managed to channel those issues through hobbies like quilting, sewing and knitting. But several years ago I took up gardening and it was therapeutic in a different way from my other hobbies. Being outside, digging in the dirt, and being able to watch the progression of my work each spring offers a boost that I feel physically and mentally.

In some ways, you spend most of your time in a box. Think about it. You wake in your house, go straight to your car, head into a building, go back into your car, and head into your home. Spending all that time indoors can be surprisingly tiring.

That’s because you’re a natural organism. Humans evolved in nature, so when people are deprived of it, they suffer. Sure, there’s the physical health problems of poor air quality and sick building syndrome. But there’s also the mental health problems of depression and stressors.

New research is starting to show a surprising cure for both physical and mental health problems: gardening. It’s a way to get outside and be with nature, but it’s controlled and something almost anyone can do at home. Believe it or not, you can help fight depression by building a garden in your backyard.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

There are many causes to depression and similar mental health issues. One that only recently has been getting attention is the lack of connection with nature. Dubbed the “nature-deficit disorder,” it’s not an actual diagnosis. Instead, it describes how people need to be in nature from time to time, and how our modern society makes that harder.

It’s easy to find yourself staying indoors for days at a time. With video games, smartphones, and work tasks, you could spend a lot of time staring at a screen. But it’s not just technology that’s a problem, as you could suffer from a nature deficit by staying in and reading books all day long.

This problem is especially bad with children. If they grow up in an environment lacking anything natural, they can suffer from childhood obesity and similar problems. None of that is good for their mental health either.

Gardening For Mental Health

How can gardening help with your depression? There are several ways:

    Spending time outdoors in nature can boost your mental energy.
    Working with plants and helping them grow can improve your confidence and self-esteem.
    Much like with mediation, simple gardening tasks like weeding or planting can promote mindfulness.
    Growing something makes you feel more connected to the world.

Then there’s the simple fact that gardening has fewer stressors. Technology is wonderful, but between emails and social media, there’s always something demanding your attention in an obvious, almost rude way.

The opposite is true for gardening. It’s a calm, mindful activity that brings you back down to earth (literally). When you’re in the backyard gardening, you hear wind and birdsong. You have no one demanding you explain anything, and there are no pressures to get more work done. It’s just you and the garden.

Gardening For Physical Health

Your body and mind are interconnected. If you’re stressed, you are more likely to get a cold. And if you’re not eating right, you’re more likely to feel lethargic and depressed. Thankfully, gardening can help with physical problems as well.

Gardening is hard work. You end up using many muscle groups while you turn the soil, dig, plant seeds, pull weeds, and more. In fact, the CDC says that gardening can help with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more.

Then there’s the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s hard to beat taking something from your backyard in terms of freshness.

Fight Depression With A Garden

Gardening isn’t a magical cure. You’re not suddenly going to be free of depression the moment your hand hits the soil. But research shows that spending time outdoors with a garden has the physical and mental health benefits you need to fight depression and win.

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04/26/17
gardening challenge

Gardening Challenge Coming

Gardening Challenge Coming

A gardening challenge in the way of a very late and possibly hard freeze this weekend is headed to the Albuquerque area. The “average frost free date” for much of the time I have been here has hovered around April 15. Late freezes are not entirely unknown, however. We had a hard freeze in May of 2005. An Arrangement School was held at the same time as the Albuquerque Rose Show at the end of May. I still smile at the number of “Betty Boop” roses featured in rose arrangements that year, as well as in the show itself. That happened before we had rose photography in our rose shows. Floral photography does allow shows to thrive even with all the challenges of gardening.

This year, many of my roses have bloomed earlier than usual. However, I have a couple that I have babied that will be damaged by a hard freeze now. I’m also a little worried about the developing peaches and pears in my yard. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast and see what I can do to protect some of the plants.

Tim and Laurie, whom many of you know, face more difficult and frequent challenges in their gardening in Corrales, along the banks of the Rio Grande. However, once the freezes end in the spring, their property is full of lush floral growth.

These following images are from their yard in mid-May of 2016.

gardening challenge

Beautiful Climbing Roses

gardening challenge

Iris

gardening challenge

More Iris

gardening challenge

Even More Iris

gardening challenge

Even More Beautiful Iris

For those in the Albuquerque area, watch the weather forecasts. Good luck with your tender plants if the late hard freeze really happens.

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09/12/16

Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers

The Earth Laughs with Flowers ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Late summer flowers in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico are magnificent.

late summer flowers

Cosmos in Corrales

Visiting with friends Tim and Laurie is always fun. Visits usually include Tim and I photographing, and Laurie sketching. This weekend was no different. Our “photographic expeditions and excursions” are on temporary hold. However, we make the most of what is locally available. Their property always has great photo ops, but their Lively Meadow is especially lively in late summer.

A forest of sunflowers greets the arriving visitor. As I was driving into Corrales, I almost stopped to photograph some sunflowers growing along the highway. I laughed at myself as I drove into their property. I was also glad I did not stop along the highway!

late summer flowers

Sunflowers

The tall sunflowers provide a natural backdrop for the cosmos.

late summer flowers

Sunflowers and Cosmos

Cosmos are a riot of color. The little blue flowers are morning glories.

late summer flowers

Colorful Cosmos

Laurie sketched while Tim and I photographed.

late summer flowers

Laurie Sketching

Later, as we always do, we went back to the house and deck.

Tim and Spunk:

man and cat

Tim and Spunk

On the deck and outdoor kitchen:

man hat coffee

Tim Relaxing

woman

Laurie

I don’t know how or why, but something a little special and always unpredictable seems to appear at just the right time. I love this beautiful, sparkly little damsel fly that visited the butterfly bush as we were enjoying conversation on the deck.

damsel fly

Damsel Fly

A beautiful late summer day with friends and flowers.

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06/27/16
gardens friends

Gardens and Friends

Gardens and Friends: A Day in Corrales with Friends and Family and Friends of Friends

Gardens and friends – gardens are such a wonderful gathering spot for family and friends in the summer. Regular readers here know how much I love to visit with the Price family in their Corrales garden, as well as our “photographic expeditions” to various places. We frequently end those travels back at their home and garden. I have rarely shown all the socializing that goes on in that garden and on the deck. Yesterday was a day for being in the garden and visiting with friends and with friends and family of friends. It ended, as it always does, with wonderful food, drink, and conversation in the outdoor garden kitchen.

I always love driving down the little lane to Tim and Laurie’s home – it is so Corrales!

gardens and friends

Trumpet Vine on the Lane to Tim and Laurie’s

Once there, it was a time for friendships in the garden and at the table. Nothing more needs be said.

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07/30/15

Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge

Photo challenge to myself – go photograph some things you frequently photograph, the way you frequently photograph them. But, use only the jpg, with no editing other than cropping and applying a copyright watermark.

Recently some photographer friends and I had one of the very common discussions floating around since the advent of digital photography. Is editing a raw file (digital negative) kind of “cheating,” or absolutely necessary to realize the full potential of digital photography? Anyone who knows me at all knows that developing my own raw files is something I do as part of my standard workflow, and overall will continue to do. It is one of the things I really love about digital photography!

The discussion with friends, however, made me want to go out and see what I would get with jpg rather than raw files, with the only editing being cropping to an 8×10 ratio rather than an 8×12 ratio, and the application of a watermark.

These are the results.

photo challenge

Miniature rose, ‘Climbing Earthquake’

photo challenge

Cosmos, with “imperfect beauty”

photo challenge

Green bee with pollen, on cosmos

The challenge to myself was a fun exercise, but I am a confirmed “photograph in raw” person, just because I truly enjoy the editing process.

LightStalking has a good discussion of the benefits of using raw files rather than jpgs.

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07/8/15

Sunflowers and Birds

Sunflowers and birds of all kinds go together naturally and beautifully. Several years ago some “volunteers” came up from the seeds I had been feeding. The birds loved the fresh seeds that formed when those flowers finished blooming! The goldfinches preferred them over the expensive nyger seed. The house finches love them, and the doves hang around under the flowers waiting for the other birds to drop an occasional seed. Since that first year of volunteers, I plant sunflowers each year. Although I always intend to plant them right after average frost-free date, some years I don’t get them planted until mid-summer, giving me and the birds flowers and seeds in the autumn. This year I got them planted early, and the flowers have peaked and the birds are enjoying the seeds. Within the next couple of weeks I’ll be removing the spent ones, and resowing seeds for a second bloom in fall. While this past Fourth of July weekend was an extremely busy one, I did make time to relax one afternoon and photograph some of the birds enjoying the sunflower seeds.

sunflowers and goldfinch

Male Goldfinch

Sunflowers and Birds

Male Goldfinch

sunflowers and birds

Male Goldfinch Taking Flight

Sunflowers and Birds

Male Goldfinch

Sunflowers and Birds

Male and Female Goldfinches

sunflowers and birds

Male and Female Goldfinches

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06/28/15
Double Rainbow

The Golden Sky at the End of the Storm

Double Rainbow

Golden Sky and Double Rainbow after the Storm

Last evening Albuquerque experienced one of our famous summer thunderstorms – lightning, thunder, brief heavy rain that produced rivers running in streets, full arroyos, and some brief flash flooding. I got 1″ of rain in less than an hour, enough that there was standing water for a short time (I hope I’ll have a lawn again for a few days!).

Albuquerque is well-known for double rainbows after thunderstorms. But, this was late, and the clouds were heavy and the rain continued, albeit at a slower rate.

And, then, unexpectedly because it was late and still raining, I caught a glimpse of golden light out of the corner of my eye. Such light after a storm here often produces rainbows looking east toward the Sandias. But, there were no rainbows from the usual view. But, with that light, something had to be happening! This view is looking south. I have never seen a rainbow in this position in the years I have lived here.

The light, and thus, the rainbows, lasted less than two minutes. The time was short, but the image in my mind will last.

The tree that was lit is The Old Crow tree, so named after a brief visit by a crow in January.

insight new mexico 2015

The Observer, The Observed

The mystical beauty of the Southwest Desert!

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04/28/15
clematis and mermaid

Clematis and Mermaid: Great Companion Plants

Clematis and Mermaid: Great Companion Plants

Clematis and Mermaid make great companion plants. I have already shown this year’s ‘Nelly Moser’ bloom with ‘Mermaid.’ ‘Nelly Moser’ is the first to bloom. As that bloom comes to an end, a white clematis, whose name I do not know, begins its bloom. About the time that bloom comes to an end, ‘Mermaid’ will begin what can be a spectacular spring bloom. The white clematis is reaching the peak of its 2015 bloom.

Clematis needs “cool feet” to thrive, along with sunshine on the leaves. ‘Mermaid’ provides shade for the clematis roots, and a strong structure on which the clematis vine can climb.

clematis and mermaid

‘Mermaid’ with ‘Nelly Moser’ and a white clematis

clematis and mermaid

Closer view of white clematis and ‘Mermaid’

This third view gives you some idea of the size of ‘Mermaid.’ I have mentioned before that I prune it back in the fall (the only rose I treat that way!), and it has already grown a lot this year. After the spring bloom, I will cut it back again to keep it from filling up the entire yard! But, I really enjoy growing this rose.

clematis and mermaid

‘Mermaid’ with ‘Nelly Moser’ and a white clematis

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04/13/15
clematis and roses

Clematis and Roses

Clematis and Roses: Companion Plants

Clematis and roses can be excellent companion plants, particularly for climbing roses. When someone asks me to recommend a companion plant for roses, I first ask the type of rose. If the rose climbs, I almost always include clematis among the recommendations.

Clematis need “cool feet.” That is, the plant does not thrive if the roots at ground level are exposed to direct sun. But, in order to bloom well, the vines themselves need sun. Pairing clematis with a climbing rose provides that. The rose provides the shade for the base of the clematis.

The clematis vine needs a support structure. A climbing rose provides a marvelous support structure, and the vine does not choke the rose (as some vines might).

Regular readers here know my love of the Old Garden Rose, ‘Mermaid,’ a hybrid bracteata (1918). If left to its own devices, it would be at the top of the house and covering my patio at the end of a season (actually, during a season!). I learned the hard way I need to keep it trained and controlled throughout the season. Surprisingly, it seems to thrive that way. It usually starts to bloom sometime in May, although this year it appears it could be a bit earlier than that.

I have two different clematis plants growing with ‘Mermaid,’ and both usually bloom before ‘Mermaid.’ ‘Nelly Moser’ is the first to bloom, and as its bloom ends, a large white clematis whose name I do not know begins its bloom. About the time it finishes, the rose begins its bloom.

‘Nelly Moser’ has begun its bloom, and the images with this post are of ‘Nelly Moser’ growing as a companion plant with ‘Mermaid.’

clematis and roses

‘Nelly Moser’ as companion to ‘Mermaid’

Closer view of ‘Nelly Moser:’

clematis and roses

Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ with rose ‘Mermaid’

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