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.

28 comments:

  1. Great bit of information and wonderful photos! Nicely shot!

    Pixellicious Photos

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  2. I love the snowdrop wearing raindrops and the pink in the fuzzy cactus is too sweet. Your photo of the Sycamore is amazing and I imagine bees cannot see much sky... do we get to learn about your talk? Have a great weekend Jodi! ;>)

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  3. The heather is such a wonderful change for early blooms in the garden. I say change because we never used to see it around here. Now it is in the big box stores as an option.

    The tour through your alma matra is delightful. So much to see. I too love succulents and not too many live here year round.

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  4. you gotta' LOVE little gadgets like that Jodi : )
    Having lived in Debert and so close to Truro .. well everything is scenic to me I count myself lucky to have lived in so many different parts of Canada and the stint in Holland .. but there is always something that tugs a little more from my east coast roots : )
    Loved the succulent pictures !
    Joy

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  5. What a wonderful 'bees eye' tour that was Jodi. That snowdrop shot made me gasp - just too lovely for words!

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  6. Your photos are lovely, jodi -- it's good to look at things from a different perspective from time to time. :) I enjoyed your bees' eye view.

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  7. Love the rock garden. That is the effect I'm trying to achieve along my drive.

    I know what you mean about looking at the sky. I spend my time bent double looking at the ground;)
    Marnie

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  8. Glad you kept your camera near, ,Jodi. This post is the 'bees knees'!

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  9. Raindrops on snowdrops .. just lovely! And the undulating mounds of heaths in the rock garden are stunning. (It's actually what I was going for when I planted dozens, but alas I wound up with onesies and isolated mounds of color in blobs... might try again after seeing your photo.) This whole tour was delightful.

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  10. Oh those raindrops on snowdrops....glad you had your camera...a true winner!

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  11. Those are some beautiful photos. You have me looking into that camera!!

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  12. Jodi, I always appreciate a bee's eyeview...Up close and personal gives one a look into the soul of a flower. The rock garden is fantastic~~

    gail

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  13. Thank you for the wonderful tour, jodi! And I remember your previous posts about that marvelous rock garden. Love it!

    My hoya is blooming like crazy right now and I love to grab a flower cluster and bury my nose in it to drink in its wonderful fragrance.

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  14. I don't blame you for taking more photos of snowdrops. I feel as if I've taken hundreds this year, but the show is finally over here, so no more from me.

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  15. Wonderful photos..I thought NS was still blanketed with snow...I guess not....

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  16. That snowdrop is so exquisite with those drops of water on it. Sometimes I think gardens in winter are the best. No bugs, no heat and just plenty of the garden and peach and quiet. That is what I'm thinking while walking along with you.

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  17. Looks like you had a great day out. Love that Hort Building with all the succulents. I love succulents too but find them difficult to keep over winter here. Agree with your rant about those dumb flowers they put on cactus to sell them. Great photos as usual!

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  18. Jodi, FANTASTIC photos!!! I have photo envy. Your snowdrop photo is breathtaking! Have you considered joining Maia's Macro Saturday...all macro shots and so beautiful!!

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  19. Wonderful pictures Jodi! Just spent a few days in Canada and loved it .... spring was certainly there in Toronto!

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  20. Lovely pictures and an interesting mix of plants. I too hate those creepy flowers that they stick on cacti - even worse when they are blue..yuk!

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  21. A beautiful tour Jodi. You can take all the pictures of snowdrops you like. I don't see them here at all, so I'm always happy to see the snowdrops of others. The Hoya looks amazing too...such a perfect little blossom.

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  22. Oh Jodi you should see me taking photos from a bee's point of view - I'm sure I must keep the neighbours amused. I'm not finished with snowdrops either - but moving soon to the bigger snowflakes - and talking about snowflakes - that white stuff is forecast for us later next week!

    That hoya photo is just fab!


    Remember you spoke to me about starlings - its big pigeons now with me!

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  23. raindrops on snowdrops was pure perfection.

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  24. Your post had me smiling as I read it. I can see with so much going on in the ground that it is easy not to look upwards. At work, I often am looking downwards and have hit my head on low tree branches quite a few times ;-)

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  25. What a fun collection of images! The one of bark made me laugh, as I have a fondness for the stuff, and I'm glad to see that someone takes notice of it too. Amazing skin, truly.

    I'm so glad that spring has finally arrived up your way (and the banner of crocuses is just lovely).

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  26. That patch of heather is so beautifully English!
    My little PowerShot goes with me in my purse too. Very handy.
    What a perfect job yours did (with your help) on that snowdrop. It's just the cat's whiskers! Definitely one of my favorite things too :) (snowdrops, whiskers and kittens...and even raindrops).
    My little hoya has 3 blossoms forming. I'll take note of the fragrance this time. Haven't noticed it before.

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  27. Hi Jodi~~ I love the raindrops on snowdrops photo...there must be a contest to enter it somewhere....

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  28. Why don't I have any snowdrops in my garden" I'll have to fix that.

    I enjoyed all your photos, and the commentary.

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