Brookside Gardens Conservatory– February 2019

The Brookside Gardens conservatory was much warmer than outside – one of the immediate pleasures of stepping inside on a winter’s day. And then all the beautiful flowers that are all around draw attention. I did some quick photography using the zoom rather than taking the time to get closer to the flowers. I find that it’s faster and I like the results of the blurry or dark backgrounds. My favorite picture of the morning was shades of purple against a black background…curves and creases.

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The flowers in the conservatory are always colorful and even more appreciated in winter when the outside is so brown and black. In the conservatory there are always pinks and oranges and yellows and reds…with green framing.

I couldn’t resist documenting the cycads near the door back toward the gift store as we were leaving. There wasn’t as much vegetation around the plants, so the structures were more visible than usual. When I see cycads, I always think of dinosaurs since this type of plant was around that long ago…and somehow survived whatever killed off the dinosaurs.

Zooming – September 2018

The zoom on my new camera (60 vs 40 optical zoom…and then comes the digital zoom too) makes it even easier to stand well out of the flowerbed, get a good angle, not scare the butterfly or bee. It’s easier to hold myself steady using the viewfinder rather than the screen like I had to previously. Sometimes I use the monopod…but other times I find that I can simple hold myself steady enough that the camera image stabilization does the rest.

The images I selected this month are from several places: Longwood Gardens, home, Brookside Gardens, and Howard Count Conservancy’s Mt. Pleasant Farm. Some of my favorite places to be.

Enjoy my picks of zoomed images for September 2018!

Longwood Gardens – Part I

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Last weekend we made the day trip up to Longwood Gardens. We got there shortly after they opened at 9 and headed for the Conservatory since they only allow tripods before noon and we’re always interested in photography in the gardens.

I had my new camera on a monopod and was experimenting to get the perfect height to use the viewfinder…and not hunch over the camera. There were plenty of flowers to practice with the monopod and the additional zoom capability of the new camera.

The Childrens’ Garden is another reason to get to the Conservatory early….to walk through the confined place before the children arrive. Years ago when my daughter was small there were fountains that she loved to hold her hands under but nothing as fancy as the mosaic bottomed fountain there today.

The area is quite a bit larger than it was 20 years go but full of nooks and cranes for children to enjoy: a metal spider web sculpture near the floor, shells on the low arches of an entrance (adults need to duck!) and several bird/animal sculptures that are water features – at a good height for little hands.

There was a collection of cycads in a tropical forest room with a walkway at canopy level. I was fascinate by one of the ripening cones.

My daughter was intrigued by the leaves of the Swiss Cheese plant.

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We were all remined of Hawaii by the Torch Ginger.

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The ‘new to me’ plant was a Cocoon Plan in the desert. Somehow, I had not noticed it before. It is a succulent.

San Antonio Botanical Garden – Part 1

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We took advantage of having a morning in San Antonio, Texas before our late afternoon flight home to walk around the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The first thing we noticed is that the garden is still being actively developed with some areas barricaded either for updating or new building. We headed to the conservatories forest. These are very different structures than the glass houses of the 1800s/early 1900s. They rise from concrete peers – high shards into the sky surrounding a courtyard. The climate in San Antonio is mild enough that even the courtyard looked lush and green at the beginning of winter!

There were sculptures in the gardens within the conservatories and the courtyard. My favorite was the ‘owl.’

The conservatories were divided by climate types: desert,

Primitive plants like cycads (l loved the color of the fresh cones)

And Screw pines (I saw the mature fruit in Hawaii and got a better look at the Phipps Conservatory, but this is the first time I saw the fruit at this stage of development).

I can’t resist the unfurling of ferns

Or the tropical flowering plants and trees.

And that was just the first part of our walk around the San Antonio Botanical Garden. There’ll be another post about the place tomorrow.