26 March 2010
Skywatch Friday: A bee's-eye view of the sky?
Okay, I confess right now. This isn't what you'd call a conventional post for Skywatch Friday. However, we have come to that time of year when I sometimes forget to admire the sky because I'm too busy looking at things at or near ground level. Soil level. You know what I mean. It's gardening season!
I had to go to Truro on Wednesday and give a little talk to the Friends of the Garden at my first alma mater, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. (yes, I have several almae matras. You wouldn't really expect me to take the conventional route through academia, would you?) The Friends tend to the incredible Rock Garden at AC, and if you live in this province and haven't been there, you are missing something extraordinary. Even in winter.
After we were done, even though the sky was drippy and grey and cold, I went out to walk around the campus a little. I had my pocket camera with me, a compact and clever little Canon Powershot SX200. I love that little camera. Drop it in my purse along with my iPhone (geek) and I don't need to drag laptop and digital SLR with me if travelling light. It has an impressive lens on it, too, with the ability to focus very closeup to subjects. So I thought about what it might be like to see things from a bee's eye perspective, when it comes to plants. Not so much the actual image they see, but what it's like to see from the ground up, rather than our normal perspective. First stop was the heath and heather bed, which has overwintered magnificently this year.
Then down to the rock garden, where many things are still quiescent, snuggled into their mulchy beds, dreaming of warmth and sunlight and the cue to begin. But these semps were watching me watching them.
And the creeping thyme didn't mind me creeping up on it with my little camera.
Oh, what a surprise. Jodi is still taking photos of snowdrops. Well, yes, I'll keep doing that for weeks yet. They make me happy. And raindrops on snowdrops...well, that's just one of my favourite things. Hmmm. I think someone sang a song along those lines.
It was raining in earnest when I went across the road to the Alumni Gardens (Aggies once, aggies twice...) so I didn't linger. I did, however, want to hang out with this sycamore, because its bark and its funny alien fruit amuse me. The fruit wouldn't co-operate by falling from the tree intact, so I contented myself with admiring the trunk, which looks like a piece of exquisite sculpture.
Enough with the rain. Back to Collins Hort Building I went, and the small greenhouse was open so naturally I went in there to have a look around. I think some of the plants in there may well have been there when I was a student, or are offspring of those original plants. Not the standard poinsettias, though.
I do LOVE succulents, and I keep saying it's time to learn more about them. Well, while I was away, a nice box of books arrived from Thomas Allen & Son, who distribute Timber Books here in Canada. And a nice book by Debra Lee Baldwin was in that box of books. Not her new one--I'm not sure how that happened, unless it's backordered here in Canada, but I didn't have Designing with Succulents, either. So I'll have fun with it while waiting for the new book.
This cactus delighted me, with its furry crown studded with little pink jewels of soon to open flowers. Rant: One of my peeves in life are the plant companies that stick strawflowers to the tops of cacti in an effort to sex them up for clueless customers. The real flowers of cacti are much, much more interesting. So stop doing that, stupid plant companies.
Well I feel better for that, don't you? Let's move on to this tiny, dainty, charming succulent, which I assume is a sedum but I might be all wrong about that. Whatever it is, I love it and want some.
And to wrap up my bee's-eye view, there's a huge, wonderful hoya hanging in the Collins greenhouse. And what do you know but it had a number of clusters of perfectly sculpted, perfectly scented flowers hanging from it. I don't know that this photo will be enough to inspire mine to flower sometime soon, but it's worth a try. The blossoms of hoyas are marvelous. They can fill my sky anytime.