LAPC 221#221 – Flower Favourites – and Why?

I must have flowers, always, and always.
― Claude Monet

This week I hope will bring some colourful joy to us all – we will have more Favourite Flowers than ever! And, should it not be flower season where you are, you are welcome to share other beautiful or interesting plants that you love. If there is a story to go with them, we’d love you to share it with us.

My first choice, in the header, must be a Cattleya Iwanagaara Appleblossom – this was my favourite for many years, but sadly it died last year. Then…tough choices for me as I love many flowers! I will not complain if you too find it difficult…

I love the white Magnolia in my garden. Maybe the reason for loving these flowers has to do with its extreme fragility in our climate. The first Spring flowers, the anemonies, can take several days of frost and bad weather, but most years we lose the magnolias after a day or two – because of the cold.

Our greatest favourites in Sweden must be the shy blue anemonies. We even poke around last year’s leaves in order to find the first blue buds… And, it’s a yearly competition to show the first photo on facebook or instagram…

Sweden and the other nordic countries are rather cold places, so when Spring arrives with the light and warmer temperatures – our first flowers are always the most loved ones.

While the blue anemonies grow rather scarcely and are more of solitaires – the white wood anemonies fill the whole forest with their little faces turned towards the sun – just like we do. They bring out people of all ages to walk in the forest and admire the magic.

As you probably know, wild flowers and grasses have a special place in my heart. In my garden I have many wild summer flowers, and not only for the insects – they are for me too. I love their delicateness, often in contrast to the bigger and sturdier cultivated flowers.

Among cultivated flowers, Miss Willmott’s Ghost is a favourite of late, I just love the silvery whiteness and its sharp needles – and the story of course. How Miss Willmott loved this plant so much that she secretely spread it everywhere in people’s gardens…

The colour of plumbago is heavenly. Ever since I saw the first one, in my teens, in a little village somewhere in the Mediterranian, I was caught. Finally I can have this beauty at home, as my glasshouse makes it possible for it to survive winter temperatures.

And then, one of the strangest flowers…

Callistemon – or bottlebrush. It was love at first sight, 1986 in Nepal. I brought home a twig and made it live, but coming back from one of our travels I found it had died. I have bought several ones over the years, just to see them die during winter, but now they survive happily in the glass house.

Asters are the last ones to flower before winter, and that is a good reason to love them, because they have to endure cold and rain, frost and sometimes snow. Sorry to say, they don’t look this brilliant in 2022. We have had too much rain and too little sun this autumn.

I guess this is what is left before winter, a much appreciated plant firing away its last flames of autumn. It’s even clinging to my washing line – so, no clean wash there right now…

If you love a flower which happens to be on a star, it is sweet at night to gaze at the sky. All the stars are a riot of flowers.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

For winter then? Well the only flower growing here then is…the frost rose. I don’t know what you call them – if you have them where you live – but my grandmother always said they were frost roses. I wonder if there will be a renaissance for them in our homes this winter…?

Now we are looking forward to seeing your favourite flowers and plants – and don’t forget the stories (if there are any) – I know it will be a colourful and interesting parade! Please link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag.

Sincere thanks to Patti for a marvelous challenge that really got us testing and thinking over our photography. I think we all learned something from each other!

Next week Amy will be our host, so be sure to visit her amazing site for inspiration and details! Until then, stay safe and be kind.

Thursday Thoughts – New in My Garden

Every year there are some newcomers in my garden. I posted a bee in this one the other day, but thought I would do it some more justice and show the beauty of this salvia plant. Fast growing and loved by the pollinators. Among the Autumn yellows, it is radiant.

Tricyrtis, or toadlily, arrived this summer as well. In Sweden we have ”open gardens” to visit every summer, and sometimes they sell plants there as well. I wanted this beauty ever since I saw it the first time in an old friend’s garden. And last week the first flower unfolded. An intricate lady.

Mrs Wilmott’s Ghost is another newcomer – much longed for – but unfortunately it did not get any flowers this year. But this is what I hope to see next summer!

I mentioned before the red admirals (Vanessa) and how frequent they are this year – and difficult to photograph, but in the header I managed not to frighten them when they were feasting on the plums…

A more close-up view I got from one of them resting on the glasshouse. This year they have kept their colours well too – no hail or much rain. Indeed one of my favourite butterflies. Sorry to say, the buddleias will soon be over, but we have had a marvelous insect year and the butterflies are no exception. So grateful!

LAPC #211 – What’s Your Photographic Groove?

Our host this week, Anne Sandler , is asking: ”What type of photography do you truly enjoy doing?”

I enjoy almost all types of photography, but Nature is my Muse. More specificly: flowers, close-ups and macro. And I am happy if in the flowers there is a critter or two as well… I believe our ”groove” changes over the years – as the world is changing – so are we.

For many years my photography was all about travel, new places, new people, new architecture, new food… but there has always been flowers. And why flowers? Well, I was born in the countryside, and from my grandmother I learned the importance of the little things – to see a world in a grain of sand. Flowers – nothing beats their great variety; in colours, shapes and sizes. I have to have flowers in my life!

My blog was named lagottocattleya after my favourite breed of dogs and my favourite orchid. So, the first image is a cattleya hybrid pictured at Keukkenhof, Holland. Then follows a gallery with some old and new favourites, from close-ups to macros and from Spring to Autumn. From forest to garden and indoors plants. I hope they will speak for themselves.

Special thanks to our guest host Sarah Wilkie of Travel With Me for the exercise of picking out three of our favorite images. And thank you to all our wonderful July guest hosts, Aletta, Jez, Andre and Tracy. If you join us, please link to Anne’s original post and use the lens artists tag. We’re looking forward to seeing your photos! As the LAPC team resumes rotation, Patti will present next week’s challenge. In the meantime, have fun and safe travels.

If you would like to participate weekly in our Lens-Artists Challenge, click here for more info. 

LAPC #200 – Every Little Thing

Amy is hosting Every Little Thing this week, please visit her lovely site for more inspiration! We invite you to share every little thing that makes you smile. Amy says:

”Small things around us have interesting stories to tell if we only take the time to stop, look, and listen.” With this little mixed gallery, I hope to send you some smiles from me!

The important little ones around us, are both necessary for our survival – and beautiful. Not only spring flowers and Yoko Ono art, but animals, insects (even flies)…

…and tiny worlds to get lost in.

And how about a little sun of your own?

Many thanks to John, and for your special contributions to his Mechanical/Industrial theme. I have had a trying week without my PC, but now I am here! Hope you will participate in Amy’s beautiful theme, and don’t forget your Lens-Artists tag and link to Amy’s original post!

Next week it is my turn, Leya, to be your host. May the sun shine on you – and inside you, until then!

Lens-Artists Challenge #194- Bokeh

Sofia’s Bokeh – an amazing theme. Go to her lovely site for more inspiration!

As Nature is my greatest source for photography, achieving a fine bokeh is always one of my aims. It makes the viewer rest in the image, rest in the harmony and magic of nature. Bokeh images also convey something of my own feelings in that very moment. I do agree with Sofia – it is the feeling that does it.

I will try to explain some of the ways and situations where I’m aiming for bokeh. Most of these photos were made with a tele lens, but for focusing on small details I use a macro lens. Aperture priority.

I love focusing on one object or more in the foreground. Concentrating on a spot with a special light.

In close-up or macros of flowers and their inhabitants – or guests – I want the background to be totally soft, almost non-existent.

In real macros, maybe there is only one detail in focus, which means almost the whole picture is blurred.

This image is a favourite, with one of my most loved tulips as the main subject. The use of strong colours and contrast adds to the special impression. The only thing I would like to change in this image is the placing of the tulip – it should have grown from the left hand side…but the image needed the leaves to come alive, so, I had to accept the way nature wanted it!

Another variety for bokeh is the harmony of colours in almost the same hue, paired/contrasted with interesting and different structures. What is your impression – is this image soft or rough?

According to Sofia, many people see this kind of background as the essence of Bokeh. Late evening light adds to a lovely, speckled bokeh, and I had to go back to this stellar magnolia from some years ago, because last year it froze after one day, and this year it did not even unfold – black buds only…

If you stick your camera right into the greenery – the image gets blurred in front and at the back, but it is also a favourite way to get nice surprices!

Yet another possibility to use bokeh is the way we can create mini landscapes and mini worlds. Is this a small world or is it the big one? What about the ”clouds”?

Finally – who doesn’t love droplets, large or small?

Thank you, Sofia, for inviting us this week to primarily think of out-of-focus areas on our photos. ”Are they an important component of your shot? What is bokeh for you and how do you achieve it?” We are looking forward to seeing your softly blurred areas and their story.

Thank you for sharing your wonderful celebrations with us last week. If you join us for this challenge, please link to Sofia’s post and tag Lens-Artists so we can easily find you. More information on the Lens-Artists Challenges here.

Lens-Artists Challenge #181 – Double Dipping

This week we’re suggesting that in addition to our challenge, you explore and link to some of the other creative opportunities our friends and fellow challengers make available in the WP blogosphere (or any other sites where you post images). I’ve opened with a flower from my garden, and I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Callistemon is one of my favourites, and as I finally got a glass house, I can now keep this plant safe all year around. It is a wonder to see its very special flowers unfold every year.

Maybe my Bottlebrush also would qualify for Jez Braithwhite’s Tropical plants in his Photo’s by Jez, Fan of… but this Bromelia I caught from the top of a Kapok tree in its true home, the Amazon, Ecuador.

Finally, I chose an image for Weekend Sky – Blog of Hammad Rais. The deceivingly soft light of a very cold winter evening. The low sun at its highest, you will find in the light blue opener with our neighbouring farm huse.

Please be sure to include the Lens-Artists tag with your responses, and to link to Tina’s original post as well as any other challenges you elected to feature. I’ll close with a sincere thank you to all who
shared your wonderful images and stories in last week’s 2021 favorites challenge. Your joy and positivity brightened our days. Stay tuned for next week’s challenge, hosted by Patti. Until then, stay safe and be kind.