Garden Frame: Exuberance

Description: A garden in full bloom, late-April

Background: I live on a street in the middle of the city. Lots are small with front yards to match. Tired of trying to grow a decent lawn, I settled on flowers. Having decided to plant flowers, my design inspirations were bees, butterflies, birds, colors, and textures. I wanted a garden that would stand out with color and life. So, as much as possible, I chose plants that attracted pollinators. The amount of sunlight and heat also has had a say in my choices. Hyssop and speedwell did not work at all, but coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, catmint, cannas, salvia, daisies, and tickseed are living it up. 

The colors in this image start with snapdragons and continue with the lavender catmint right behind. Black-eyed Susans–a few weeks from blooming–are in front of the birdbath, and mauve coneflowers, awaiting their moment, are behind it. Bright yellow tickseed can be seen in the far background. To the right and left are purple angelonia, magenta verbena, and a patch of lavender pincushions that bloom all year. 

At this time of year, before the summer heat takes hold, the mornings are crisp and fragrant and filled with birdsong, the afternoons soft and pleasant. After a cold, gray winter, watching the garden come alive is life-affirming. The chipmunks and squirrels dig up everything, but after years of trying to discourage their activities, I decided to just go with it.  

Technical: Maxxum 70, Maxxum 28-100mm D Lens, Fuji 400 Superia X-Tra, late afternoon, around 4 PM

Comment: I wanted a garden filled with beauty and life, and that’s exactly what I got. The bees show up right on time every morning, and there is a constant swarm until just before sunset. A peaceful and industrious group, they don’t get upset when I trim and move whatever flower they are visiting. I am constantly surprised at the various birds and insects that make an appearance. I have cataloged five or six kinds of bees and wasps. Several types of butterflies regularly visit, including two kinds of swallowtails, silver-spotted skippers, cloudless sulfurs, cabbage whites, and gulf fritillaries. Iridescent blue-green dragonflies love the hostas, and an occasional praying mantis hides out in the black-eyed Susans. Of course, all the pests show up, as well. Chipmunks and squirrels dart in and out while robins and cardinals visit the birdbath. We all enjoy the garden, and I feel positively exuberant! 

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