Category Archives: flowers

Prague Gardens

While in Prague a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I explored the Prague Castle. However, before we toured the castle we took some time to visit the gardens outside the castle. There were blooms everywhere! 

The first image you see below you may have seen on my personal FaceBook page. After looking at it I thought it might be a good candidate for Fractalius treatment. I have not played with Fractalius for a while but think I like the result, seen in the second image below. 

prague gardens

prague gardens

The Royal Gardens are historically the most valuable of all the castle gardens. Founded in 1534 by Ferdinand I. Habsburg, they were inspired by Italian designs; the current form of the garden, however, follows the English adaptation of the 19th century. One of its greatest treasures is the Singing Fountain, one of the most beautiful fountains in Renaissance Europe. The southern gardens (Paradise, Ramparts and Hartig Gardens) spreading along the southern facade of the Prague Castle offer striking views of the Lesser Quarter, Old Town and nearby Petřín.

Also posted in art and entertainment, Camera phone, outdoor

Belin Memorial UMC Garden

I am a member of Belin (pronounced Blaine) Memorial United Methodist Church. It sits right on the inlet of Murrells Inlet and is quite a famous landmark. There is a garden area between the Family Life Center and the cemetery and this garden is tended to by a group of volunteers. These gardening volunteers do a wonderful job year round. 

Although it is still February I was surprised with all the color in our garden. Several different varieties of daffodils, gerbia daisys, and other assorted colorful blooms. 

Pictured below are some of the Gerbia Daisys I found there. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

(click on image for larger view)

yellow gerbias

 

#murrellsinlet, #belin, #discoversc, #southcarolina, #canon, #myrtlebeach, #mymyrtlebeach, 

Also posted in Belin, garden, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, South Carolina, UMC

Collage and Orb

Just the other day I was looking through some older files. While doing so I decided to compose a collage of florals. This collage is shown below. Shortly after creating the collage I wondered what the collage would look like if I turned it into an orb. This orb is shown below too and I think you will agree looks rather nice!

The Collage

The Collage

The Orb

The Orb

If you would like to learn how to make your own orb, you can find a video and written tutorial here: HOW TO MAKE AN ORB

Also, I run a group on Facebook that is about orbs. People from around the world post their orb creations here for others to enjoy. If you would like to look or join in you can do so here: NATURE OF ORBS

Also posted in art and entertainment, Digital Art, orbs

Featured Photographer – Connie Mitchell

One fall day in 2009, I was reading through some of the forums at www.photoshopelementsuser.com when I came across some information posted by a lady from the UK named Wendy Williams. Wendy was telling forum members how she had taken photographs and created some “orbs”. These “orbs” were supposed to look like what you would see reflected in a gazing ball placed in a garden. She also posted a number of examples. Additionally, Wendy posted step-by-step instructions so anyone interested could create the same “orbs”. Well, I was indeed interested. I took Wendy’s instructions and created a few of these “orbs”. I was addicted after the first attempt!

Recently I was asked to speak at the Cape Fear Camera Club in Wilmington, NC. I told them the above story and told them how to make these “orbs” (You can do it too, click on “tutorials” above). Connie Mitchell, one of the CFCC members, recently sent me an example of her Orb work! I think you will agree with me that she has done a fantastic job!

(Click on image for larger view)

Connie-Orb

Also posted in Digital Art, Featured Photographer, Fun Stuff, orbs, photography

Japanese Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle-web

Japanese Honeysuckle is a plant almost everyone knows. Children love it, because they can suck the sweet nectar from its flowers. Many adults hate it, since it grows quickly and can strangle other plants.

Japanese Honeysuckle can be a shrub or a vine. Usually it’s seen as a vine, growing up tree trunks or covering another shrub.

This plant was brought here from Asia and has spread steadily. It is is usually seen on the edges of woods, streams, or roads. It also lives in fields and gardens.

Japanese Honeysuckle has three-inch leaves which are green and oval-shaped. They are opposite, which means two leaves grow as a pair from the same spot on the stem, but on opposite sides.

The twigs of this plant are sometimes hairy.

Japanese Honeysuckle is best known for its sweet-smelling flowers. They are white at first, turning yellow as they get older. Flowers are also in pairs, and each flower can reach one and a half inches long. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, bees, and other insects visit the flowers for nectar. They also help pollinate the plant, taking pollen from one flower to another.

Pollination is how a plant can grow fruit, which holds seeds, which can grow into new plants. If honeysuckle doesn’t get pollinated, it can’t spread and grow new plants.

Honeysuckle fruits are small black beries, about 1/4 inch wide. Many birds eat them, including Tufted Titmouse, Northern Bobwhite, American Goldfinch, Northern Mockingbird, and Eastern Bluebird. Birds help the plants spread by pooping seeds out in new places.
Japanese Honeysuckle is a fast-growing climber. As it gets older, it develops a thick, woody stem. It is very strong and does not break easily.

This vine can climb trees, wrapping itself around the tree and covering branches with its own stems and leaves. If the tree can not get light to its leaves, or if the honeysuckle plant is soaking up all the water through its roots, the tree could die. This makes Japanese Honeysuckle a parasite.

Honeysuckle can quickly smother a shrub and it can cover low-growing plants as well. Many plants cannot compete with honeysuckle.

Some plants that Japanese Honeysuckle is often found near, or growing upon, include: Eastern Redcedar, oaks, American Beech, Yellow Poplar, Sassafras, pines, Sweetgum, American Elm, hickories, maples, Flowering Dogwood, Highbush Blueberry, Greenbrier, and Poison Ivy.

Also posted in art and entertainment, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

Soufriere Estate is one of the oldest and best-preserved estates on St. Lucia and was originally part of the 2000 acres of land granted to the Devaux family by King Louis XIV of France in 1713, in recognition of their service to ‘Crown and Country’. In 1740 the three Devaux brothers came to St. Lucia to claim the land which at that time included the present site of Soufriere Town, as well as the Sulphur Springs.

This historical estate has been transformed from a working plantation that once produced limes, copra and cocoa, into one of the major heritage sites in the region, as well as a viable and spectacular tourist attraction that includes the Botanical Gardens, Waterfall, Mineral Baths, Nature Trail, Old Mill Restaurant and the historic Soufriere Estate House.

The Diamond Botanical Gardens sit in a natural gorge that begins at the world’s only drive through volcano and bubbling sulphur springs. The sulphur springs are weak spots in the crust of an enormous collapsed crater, the result of a volcanic upheaval that took place some 40,000 years ago. Natural minerals found in the area include, Kaolinite and Quartz and smaller quantities of Gypsum, Alunite, Pyrite and Geotite.

In 1713, three Devaux brothers were granted 2000 acres of land by King Louis XIV for services to Crown & Country.
The Diamond Botanical Gardens sit on the original site of the spring baths which were built in 1784. These baths were built so that the troops of King Louis XVI of France could take advantage of the waters therapeutic powers.

Diamond Botanical Gardens is now a thriving tourism site, six acres of planted gardens, including Diamond Falls. The Diamond River comes straight from the Sulphur Springs, black from volcanic mud and spilling over the rock face, staining the stone wall with the many colors left behind by the minerals finally dropping into the calm pond below. In 1983, Mrs. Joan Devaux, daughter of Mr. André du Boulay took over the management of the Estate.  Throughout the years Mrs. Devaux has continued the development and restoration of this beautiful estate.

Below are some images I took while visiting these Gardens in February 2015. Click on any image for a larger view.

Bird-of-Paradise-in-Pool-web Bird-of-Paradise-on-Black-web BOP-web Coconuts-web Diamond-Falls-Red-Bridge2-web Diamond-Falls-Red-Bridge-web Diamond-Falls-web pink-web

Also posted in art and entertainment, Bird of Paradise, garden, outdoor, photography, travel Tagged , , , , |

Solarized Crotons

Crotons, Codiaeum variegatum, are evergreen, tropical shrubs that have been commonly grown in Florida landscapes for decades. They belong to the Euphorbiaceae Family. In southeastern Asia they have been cultivated for centuries and many hundreds of cultivars have been bred with a range of different leaf shapes, sizes and colors.
Crotons are originally native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and northern Queensland, Australia. It is a tropical shrub and grows best in the southern and central parts of Florida. Frost or temperatures below freezing temperatures can damage crotons.
If they get damaged by cold, delay any pruning until the danger of frost is past. In central Florida this is usually late February or early March. If the plant is damaged, lightly scratch a stem. If it is green then the stem is alive and will resprout. If not, usually the lower stems survive and resprout from the roots. Plant it in a warm location in the landscape. In colder locations be prepared to protect the shrub in winter or grow in containers and bring them indoors during freezing weather.
Crotons are easy to grow. Most prefer full sun or bright shade. Plants in higher light have the brighter coloring. Some varieties prefer indirect sun and will look washed out with full sun. Crotons can tolerate shade but the shadier the location the less vivid the foliage color will be.

 

Crotons-web

Prints of this image are available for sale here: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/solarized-crotons-bill-barber.html

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Digital Art, Fun Stuff, outdoor, photography Tagged , , , , |

“I” is for

IMPRESSIONIST!

I spent this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, attending the Carolinas’ Nature Photography Association Annual Meeting. This yearly gathering of photographers from North and South Carolina is always jam-packed with great workshops, lectures, new ideas, and of course the fellowship of like-minded photographers. This year our Keynote Speaker was Charles Needle. Charles is a highly acclaimed fine art and editorial nature photographer with a unique eye for design and artistic interpretation. Although he gave several presentations, his primary topic was Impressionistic Photography. Think Claude Monet. The audience of close to 400 photographers was electrified and filled with enthusiasm after Mr. Needles presentations. As soon as I got home I had to delve into some impressionism. Below you can see my first attempt.

If yo are interested in seeing some of Charles Needles work, you can visit his webpage by clicking this link! If you want to learn more about the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association, click this link!

Click on image for larger view.

 

Charleston-Impressionist-web

Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Charleston, CNPA

“A” is for

About a week ago I detailed a new year project, I called it “Project A-Z“. Today marks the first post of this new project!

“A” is for ANTHURIUM

Want to grow a houseplant that flowers nearly year-round, attracts attention and makes you feel like it’s time to put on sunscreen and order a mai tai? Add an anthurium to your indoor garden collection.  Known for its colorful tropical flower bracts and floral spikes, these exotic-looking houseplants are easier to grow indoors than you might think.

Anthuriums come in a variety of colors, including red, pink, salmon, pale yellow, green and orange. These flowers are so stunning—they almost look like wax.  With proper care, each flower spike can last four to six weeks, and you almost always have blooms to display.

To have success growing anthuriums, keep the following tips in mind:

    Light. Proper lighting is critical to getting your anthurium to bloom indoors. Bright light is best, such as near a southern or eastern window. Western windows also work, but make sure that there is some protection from harsh afternoon rays with sheer curtains or blinds. Or place the plant a couple of feet from the window. When conditions are dim, use full-spectrum lighting.

    Provide humidity. Anthuriums originated in tropical climates and therefore require additional moisture in the air. If you live in a dry climate, put them over a pebble tray and mist on a daily basis.

    Watch watering. Anthuriums like to approach dryness in between waterings and should not be kept continually moist. Promote quick drainage by using a potting soil that is heavy on pumice or orchid bark. As a plant ages, it will mound itself out of the pot, exposing stem. Spraying the stem helps keep the plant well hydrated.

Here are a few images of an Anthurium that lives in my home.

Click on image for larger view.

A1-web A2-web A3-web

Also posted in photography, Project A-Z

Orchids

Last week I bought a flower arrangement for the house. Then yesterday a wonderful neighbor gave us some orchids! Well, with all these flowers sitting in the house, I just had to take them into my studio (aka garage) and shoot them! Below are a few of the resulting images.

Enjoy!

Click on image for larger view.

Orchid-1-web Lily-webOrchid-2-web

Also posted in art and entertainment, photography