Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cold and Dark

Narcissus, what happened here?
I'm not sure what caused the corona on this daffodil to collapse, or cease developing. Without the characteristic "cup", it almost looks like a different plant altogether. Peculiar.

Anemone coronaria
Anemone coronaria, the poppy flowered anemone, grows wild all over Israel, Palestine and Jordan. It is surprisingly hardy in my garden, having lived through the coldest winter in decades with only minor leaf damage. The leaves appear in the Autumn and persist through Winter, then remain after flowering. Note the fine hairs on the petals. This could be an adaptation to avoid harm from frost.

Chionodoxa sp., frosted.
Chionodoxa is very closely related to Scilla, and some taxonomists want to lump the two genera together under Scilla. The main difference is that Chionodoxa has flattened, fused filaments while in Scilla they are cylindrical and independent. Besides that, Chionodoxa is a confused genus with many of the names and plant identities being mixed up, even in commercially available selections. I bought this plant under the name Chionodoxa forbesii, though I suspect it is actually Chionodoxa luciliae, if not a hybrid (they hybridize easily, even with Scilla).

Scilla siberica
Siberian squill, as I have said before, is one of my favorite plants. This picture was achieved by the use of a flashlight on the subject to allow the camera to focus on the right thing, then using the flash on the camera (turning off the flashlight) once the subject is in focus. When using the flash on plants in the dark, it is important to move as close to the object as possible or you risk "bleaching out" the subject with the flash. Moving as close as possible allows A.) good detail and B.) good color retention. I have discovered that it is possible to move too close, the camera itself is then in the way of the flash! This then requires the use of the zoom to get the entire frame illuminated, while still being as close as is reasonable.

Iris reticulata hybrid
This is the last look of the reticulated irises for this year. Above, you may be able to see that the stigmatic lip has a coating of pollen, despite the fact that I didn't see any bees entering the flowers correctly. I watched as honeybees and bumblebees stole the nectar by going straight to the center of the flower, bypassing any contact with the anthers.

Iris reticulata
This Iris has finally given in to the frost. By the end of the day, it was gone. It is interesting to see how the blue transitions to brown. This picture shows the intermediate, and to me has great beauty, even though the flower is dead.

Pseudomuscari azureum
Something about photographing this plant at night brings out its ethereal quality. I hope to collect seed from it this year so I can increase what I have. Though it may self seed to some extent, I may be able to acquire more by sowing the seed myself in pots in more controlled conditions where there will be no competition from weeds or larger plants.

Hyacinthus orientalis
A relative of the Pseudomuscari above, this blue hyacinth is taking on a variety of hues as the buds expand and prepare to open. The frost only adds to the appeal, and is why I like taking pictures so early in the morning.

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