susansflowers

garden ponderings


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National Botanical Gardens

While in Washington DC, we visited the Smithsonian, which is great,
but the National Botanical Gardens were just amazing!

Maybe they strive to put the blooming plants on display,
or maybe we just got lucky to see so many flowers.

I am amazed that spiny plants and succulents
can produce such beautiful flowers.

Some of the flowers looked ordinary,
while others were quite exotic appearing.

The orchid greenhouse is always one of my favorite places to visit.
Again, quite insignificant plants and spectacular flowers.

I don’t think it is weird to be captivated by carnivorous plants – they are cool!
I have seen Pitcher plants growing wild in Oregon – in a marsh at the coast.

Outdoor plants were as interesting as the indoor plants.
Do you see the flowers hidden in the grapefruit-size, prickly ‘balloons’?


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Park Guell by Gaudi in Barcelona

Where to start?  Gaudi was such an amazing architect, and his park/gardens do not fail to amaze.

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There is a free admittance and a pay admittance area, needless to say, we saw this in the free section.  People had felt impelled to carve into cactus and we also saw the same vandalism on some wide aloe-type fronds.  But only at the entrance, the rest of the park was saved from such defacement.

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As we walked into the park, the aroma was almost overpowering.  Perhaps it was the direction of the air.  Are these gardenias?  That is my guess.  They are too tropical to live in my home climate, so they are a novelty to me.  I sure loved the scent.

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A wall of tiles, I liked the proximity of real flowers to the images.

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The lizard and calla lilies are just above the trickling spring with ferns and flowers, as one walks up a stairway.
Many tourist cards display the infamous, brightly-tiled chameleon.  Calla lilies are planted to show in a ring sculpture above him.  Below the lizard, a small spring and pond are planted with yellow Dutch iris and calla lilies, along with some ferns.

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Our last views before leaving these magnificent gardens were of banks of various flowers.  Day lilies and lavender I recognized, but these purple spiky flowers are foreign to me.

I have shared some photos of flowers from this amazing park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is really famous for the architecture, which is most unusual and well worth a visit.


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Cactus Flowers at Red Rock Canyon

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These beautiful, delicate appearing flowers grow on such unlikely and strange looking plants: Prickly Pear Cactus.  I have seen the ‘leaves’ called Nopales in the grocery store, but have never tasted one myself.
I photographed these cacti in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.  After years of visits to “sin city” (my mother grew up there, and I have many relatives still living in this city), my first visit to this ancient protected area was in May of this year.  I will definitely return here whenever I am in the area, it is worth visiting over and over again.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Yellow.”


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Christmas Cactus

I picked up starts for Christmas Cactus a number of years ago from a friend.  A start is merely a ‘leaf’ from a plant.  Not knowing anything about these, but that I coveted such a pretty flowering plant, I acquired ‘leaves’ from 4 separate and different colored flowering specimens.  Needless to say, not all survived.  But the ones that did take root have given me great joy, as they flower in the early winter when everything outdoors has ‘given up the ghost’ for the season here in the Pacific Northwest.

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This sturdy plant hangs in a southwest facing room at the back of the house.  Yes, I forget to water it sometimes, specially when I get busy outdoors in the warm season.  Then I remember that this is a succulent and doesn’t mind drying out between waterings – as long as I don’t let it dry out too much!  It does not want to be forgotten, just like the rest of us.

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A teeny-tiny bathroom is the home of this beauty.  It was a challenge to photograph because there was so little room to move, and the incoming daylight was difficult to adjust for.  I lowered the shade, but there is still strange colored light.  This plant has definitely found its home.  Its funny (to me) how similar plants fare so differently in various exposures, like in windowsills around the house.