HAPPINESS CARD #9

This is a cactus blossom from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. They bloom for a short time every summer. I felt fortunate to be there when this was flowering.

There are souls in the world who have the gift of finding joy everywhere and leaving it behind wherever they go. Frederick William Faber
There are souls in the world who have the gift of finding joy everywhere and leaving it behind wherever they go.
Frederick William Faber

HAPPINESS CARD #1

I’ve got a new edition of Happiness Cards with some new images along with old favorites. I’ll be showing all 30 over the next month. Here’s the first:

We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. Buddha
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.
Buddha

DAHLIAS, My Favorite Flowers

             Dahlia

They’re my favorite flowers today because I’ve been photographing them every weekend, but probably it will be begonias next. I’m fickle when it comes to flower favorites.

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same. Carlos Castaneda

Did you know that these beautiful flowers are the national flower of Mexico and the City Flower of Seattle? The ancient Aztecs used the tubers as food and the stems as siphons and straws. In fact, the Aztec name for dahlias translates to “water cane.”

I slept and dreamed that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Rabindranath Tagpre“If you’re lucky enough to have them growing in your garden, Sunset Western Garden Book recommends cutting them for indoor enjoyment early in the morning or evening. Placing them into into 2″ to 3″ of hot water and leaving them there until the water cools will prolong their life.

Dahlia Dahlias most need good soil, adequate space (depending on variety), low nitrogen fertilizer and staking. But if you have them growing in your garden in the Northern Hemisphere it will soon be time to prepare the tubers for winter.

Dahlias Some dahlia trees have been found that are 20 feet high! There is some dispute as to who named the plant, but no argument about its being named after Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist who studied with Carl Lineaus.
Dahlia 3These photographs were taken at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and more can be seen on my website, www.happinesscards.net. Copyright Connie Fledderjohann, 2015

BOTANICAL GARDENS THEN AND NOW

                                                                    

California Poppies
                            California Poppies at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

I grew up in Southern California where wildfires were common during the dry summer months. When I was 9 or t0 a large fire came close enough to the small town where my family and I lived that we could see the orange flames eating up the chaparral as well as a  nearby botanic garden. I’d been to the gardens on a school field trip and remember feeling sad that the beautiful plants and flowers were being destroyed.

BG2

                                       Scene at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Now I find myself living no more than 5 miles from The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens where I have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of photos. In thinking about my good fortune I wondered how long gardens like this have been around and where they are today. Here’s what I discovered:

BG3                     Looking toward the entrance to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Although the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans cultivated gardens it wasn’t until the 16th century that something like our modern botanic gardens appeared. Gardens were established in monasteries, to identify medicinal properties of plants and to glorify God.

BG6

                                                                  Rhododendrons

With worldwide exploration exploding during the same era, the explorers brought back specimens of plants never seen before in Europe. Gardens were set up to receive and cultivate these new discoveries and turn them into commercial enterprises where possible.

BG5                                                And a close up shot of rhododendrons

   Today many universities maintain gardens for research and education, the oldest in the English speaking world at Oxford University (established 1651.)

BG3-2                                                                      Columbine

According to Wikipedia there are currently 1775 botanic gardens and arboreta worldwide with more in the planning and development stage. Their stated purpose is research, conservation and education.

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Peace Pilgrim
                                              Dahlias in the Dahlia Garden

We have a National Botanical Garden in Washington, DC on the capitol grounds. Congress authorized its development in 1816 with strong support from Washington, Jefferson and Madison. It  has been in continuous operation since 1850.

BG7                            Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens reach the Pacific Ocean

Botanical gardens are great destinations for vacationers. A list of gardens in the U.S. can be had here.  Some of them are free and others charge an admission fee, but either way they can be a welcome stopover for weary travelers.

I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SAY THIS…

I’ve just been through 5 weeks of hell since my computer refused to turn on. You can read about my troubles elsewhere. Today I’m recognizing the positive things that resulted from all the drama. And there were good things!

I made the mistake of not taking a class about basic computer information when I first began using one. I plowed ahead, not really knowing what I was doing, and I lost my early photographs somewhere in the bowels of the now defunct machine.

Distorted 2

When everything was loaded from my old hard drive onto my new computer recently, photos showed up I hadn’t seen in years. In looking at the previously lost pictures I realized I’d been more experimental and creative in my early work than any photography I’ve done in the past few years.

Distorted 3

I was hijacked by compliments and positive feedback, and I repeated what I knew others liked. Big danger for any creative person.

Distorted 6

I remember having all kinds of fun with camera movement and rotation when taking these shots. Sometimes I used the light box to lay the flowers on, but more often I took photos. at the local botanical gardens.

Distorted 5

Even though I wouldn’t want to go through the last 5 weeks again I’m grateful it happened.

CALLAS on DISPLAY

Those of you who know me, or are familiar with my photographs, know that one of my favorite flowers is the calla or more commonly known as the calla lily. (Botanical name is Zantedeschia) It’s not actually a lily which is why they are often referred to  as “callas.”

I’ve been drawn to the elegance of these flowers for some time and have shot many photos of them. Here are a few of my calla photographs:

3 White Callas3 Callas-1-3

Callas for video-4

Calla with shadowWhite Calla Vert

Single pink and white calla-1Single pink and white calla 2-1

2 color azaleas-1Calla 2Calla 1

But I’m not alone in finding artistic merit in callas. Two of my favorite painters, Georgia O’Keeffe and Diego Rivera have both used the them in numerous paintings. Take a look.

FLEAS TO FLOWERS AND BACK AGAIN

Wish I could say I’m free of fleas, but no such luck. I’m going to do a second round of bombing next week. Do you suppose that word, “bombing”  will alert Homeland Security? I can imagine the Tweet, “83 year-old woman arrested on suspicion of terrorism.” Maybe they’ll send a drone and drop a real bomb on my house. I’d even welcome that if it would get rid of my problem, but like the cockroaches, the fleas would probably survive.

Begonia close up-2

My weekly pilgrimage to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens helps keep me sane. Here are a couple of recent photographs I shot there.

Heather Garden

NO, NO DON’T THROW YOUR COMPUTER AGAINST THE WALL!

NO, NO! DON’T THROW YOUR COMPUTER AGAINST THE WALL!

Pink Rhodie                                       “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”    

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 So far I’ve resisted the urge to fling my laptop against the wall. It’s a major source of stress in my life.  The most maddening experience recently has been password problems.  The error message that informs me of my faulty memory sends me scrambling through scraps of paper where I may have jotted down the latest password or user name. Clicking on “Forgot your password?” seldom works. Recently Amazon wouldn’t accept the answer to my Security question, “When was your father born?”  I know that date as well as my own. Why does Amazon think it knows better? Grrrr!

Then, of course, there’s Facebook. Once I get the hang of how to post and locate the news of my family and all the other stuff I want to do, it changes, and I’m on the phone to one of my daughters-in-law for help. The fact that I’m willing to struggle through the frustrations, must mean I’m a masochist or the benefits outweigh the difficulties. Today I think it’s the latter. Tomorrow, who knows?

I suppose my most rational response to computer frustration is to get myself out into nature where things seem to work as they were designed to do. Breathing the clean, ocean air and looking at something father away than the computer screen does wonders for my mood.

Rhododendrons at the Botanical Gardens

This morning I woke with a feeling of dread. I’d had a rough day at the keyboard yesterday, and another session of aggrivation was not how I wanted to spend the day. Instead, I headed for the botanical gardens. An hour wandering around with my camera in that magical place worked better than any pharmaceutical tranquilizer, and I got a couple of additional benefits: some nice photos as well as big smiles from 3 of the gardeners when I gave them some of my Happiness Cards.