10 favorite photos (and scans and videos) of 2013

Have I really neglected this blog since Labor Day?

Apologies. Life has been hectic. Plus I’ve been able to scratch my blogging itch some at work through the Cornell Horticulture blog. The little vacation from blogging here has made me start yearning for spring already and getting back to shooting photos and creating scans.

Following Les’s lead at A Tidewater Garden, I figured I’d pull together a quick collection of favorites from the past year, drawing from both blogs. In most cases, you can click on images for a larger view.

New Year’s cyclamen

With a corm nearly the size of my fist, this cyclamen reliably pumps out blossoms on the kitchen windowsill this time of year.  More manipulations of this scan.



Valentine’s Day scan

Cyclamen and begonia kaleidoscope. More manipulations here

cyclamen and pelargonium



This is why I long for spring: The chance to get my knees muddy shooting little things. Hard to chose just one.

Below, an Eranthis — a special variety though I don’t know its name.


Iris histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkin’


Ephemerals scan nicely, too.

april scans

More ephemerals.


Daffodil season

Scan of daffodils, Leucojum and tulips the deer missed.

may scan



This one pumps out the prettiest flowers. Good thing. It’s leaves are butt-ugly.



June scan

Kaleidoscope mosaic with Aruncus, among others.  Original scan. More manipulations.

june scan manipulations


Allium bulgaricum

At least that’s what John Scheepers is calling it these days. One of my favorites.

june pix and scans


Tools of the trade

Shot this at a weed control workshop at a field day for gardeners at Cornell’s Thompson Vegetable Researcg Farm.  Read more.
Charles Mohler, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, demonstrated a wide range of weed control tools.


Sod sofa

Every fall, students in the Art of Horticulture class build a sod sofa on campus.  It’s one of my favorite afternoons, as I get to shoot stills and usually make a time-lapse video.

View photo gallery

Art of Horticulture students lounge on the sod sofa they built.

View time lapse video:


Labor Day scan

4-pane of my Labor Day scan. More manipulations.

september scan


Patrick Daugherty’s Stickwork installation

One of the first posts I wrote on this blog was about how much fun I had helping ‘Stickwork’ sculptor Patrick Dougherty with his installation in Collegetown. He returned to campus in October for a series of events including a hands-on community build at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. You can view a time-lapse video of the build below or view one of his talks, Stickwork: Primitive Ways in an Accelerated World.


Art of Horticulture final projects

What would I do without this class. My second favorite day of the school year (after sod sofa day) is when the students in this class present their final projects. I usually give a talk about digital art, and this semester I was so pumped that one of the students was inspired to try some manipulations. (You can view them here.)  You can also view most all of this year’s (and previous years’) projects at the Art of Horticulture gallery page.
Floral appliqé and wire bonsai sculpture


Also of interest …

A couple of things I discovered as I was reviewing the year that I should have plugged here earlier:

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Podcast: Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers

book coverJust checking to see if anyone in the marketing department over at Timber Press has their google alert set.

I listened to Ken Druse’s podcast interviewing Alan Detrick, author of Macro Photography for Gardeners and Nature Lovers: The Essential Guide to Digital Techniques.

Great interview. I learned a lot. Of course I’m a highly motivated listener — given my penchant for getting in close in my photography. I’d probably learn a whole lot more if I read the book. That’s Craig Cramer, 1769 Ellis Hollow Rd. Ithaca NY 14850.

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Beverley Nichols – Garden Open Today

beverley nicols

Just finished Beverley Nichols‘ 1963 book Garden Open Today. I’m glad that I’d forgotten about this post by Michelle over at GardenRant from a couple years ago (worth a visit if just for this image of Nichols in his more fabulous days) about the inauthenticity of Nichols and Hillary Clinton, or I’d have spent too much effort trying sniff out what was true and what was dramatic license. (And I’m totally thankful I’d forgotten that in the comments to that post I suggested that those who found Hillary too phony to look at John Edwards. Oy! We really dodged a bullet on that one. Thank you National Enquirer.)

Even if he fudged some facts, I found much that rang true in Nichols’ accounts. (If I arranged flowers inside, I’d find away to place the vase in front of a mirror, too.) As with most Britain-based garden books, the plant choices are useless here in the frigid north. But the principles remain the same.

I have already put into play two practical suggestions from the book: Placing clay pipes (and some broken pots) in the water garden to give the fish more places to hide from the herons. (I fear the koi will be too big when the herons visit in fall.) And I moved a clump of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ to the edge of the water garden so that it will be reflected in the water.

Obvious things I hadn’t thought of. They sound authentic. Time will tell.

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2 new books

Liberty_Hyde_BaileyI usually like to have read books before recommending them. But if you’re looking for stocking-stuffers for your gardening friends (or to add to your own wish list), here are two that I suspect will be winners:

Liberty Hyde Bailey: Essential Agrarian and Environmental Writings – As the promo copy says, “Before Wendell Berry and Aldo Leopold, there was the horticulturalist [sic] and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey.” Even though I walk by lecture halls and conservatories named for the pioneering Cornell horticulturist every day, I’ll admit to having not read much of his writing. I think this will be a good place for me to catch up, considering these are the best from his prolific writings. (See this classic Life photo to understand just how much writing Bailey did before the advent of the digital age.)

Planthropology: The Myths, Miracles, and Mysteries of My Garden Favorites. – Let’s just say that I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Ken Druse book. His photos and writing are top-shelf. I expect the content here will rise above a mere collection of plant trivia to deliver a level of insight and beauty that I’ve come to expect from Ken. Read Ken’s GuestRant over at Garden Rant on the backstory of titling the book and more.

Here’s a promotional video for the book:

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Why gardening makes you happy

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. — Allen K. Chalmers

snowdropI read that quote in a short piece in the latest Funny Times by writer Tom Bodett of Motel 6 fame (“We’ll leave the light on for you.”) The ever humble Bodett was trying to disavow that he is the source of those words, even though it sounds like something he’d say.

I couldn’t help thinking that Chalmers must have been a gardener. Happiness is tough to find this time of year for gardeners in this neck of the woods because there really isn’t much to do. But it’s not totally out of reach, because there is still much to hope for as the plants we love begin to awaken.

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