Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chateau de Lourmarin

Chateau de Lourmarin, Lourmarin, France. This is on of the better preserved, large chateaus. Many of the older chateaus are now owned by the the government in France, who has both preserved the culture and history associated with them and also filled much of the space with a wonderful assortment of art shops, music schools and museums.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maison Aubert

Maison Aubert in the town of Lauris, France. It is now home to les Terrasses du Chateau, including many art stores, the Jardin Conservatoire des plants tinctoriales,and the Joseph Francois Granier Ecole de Musique (Music School).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild Orchids! Anacamptis pyramidalis (formerly Orchis pyramidalis)

Anacamptis pyramidalis blooming along the path at the Parc Ornithologique in La Camargue, France. This orchid has evolved to be pollianted by butterflies and moths in the family Lepidoptera (scaled winged butterflies and moths). It is native to the Mediteranean region. On the same day, I saw another 6 A. pyramidalis blooming in a sunny, grassy meadow just off the path (at approx. sea level). The prior day, I saw one blooming in a mountain meadow under pines at about 1000 feet. It appears to be a fairly adaptable and widespread orchid.

White Stork, Circonia ciconia

White Stork, Ciconia ciconia, with chicks, La Camargue, Bouche de Rhone, France. These are native to Europe and Africa, with much of the Mediteranean population Wintering in Africa. Eggs typically hatch in about a month and fledglings leave the nest within another two months. This is the same stork that is portrayed carrying in new children in North America (where it ironically it is not native). It is considered good luck to have a stork nest on your roof by many.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spider in the Garden, Vernegues, France

A spider in the garden in Vernegues, France. It's a tiny spider, about the size of your finger nail on your pinkie finger. The challenge is getting both the sunlight on the web and the detail on the spider at the same time. Tough shot; however, the model wasn't moving so there was time to experiment. How would you snap that shot?

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Big homes along the ocean at Sausset-les-pins, France.

If You Can't Beat Them Join Them?

A full sized street sign on one of the traffic circles in Marignane, France, announcing that McDonald's was selling McBaguettes! In Hawaii they sell Saimin noodles so why not burgers on baguettes in France? Admittedly, it did not lure me in although it did trigger some curiosity.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Limenitis reducta, Southern White Admirial , or Le Sylvain Azure

Limenitis reducta, the Southern White Admirial or Le Sylvain azuré. Sometimes, if you wait, they will come. This butterfly started fluttering around me and then landed on my leg/sock, eventually moving onto my leg.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Veronica polita, Veronique luisante

Veronica polita, Grey Field Speedwell, (in French:) Veronique luisante. This was a volunteer brought in by the birds in the garden. Blue is such an uncommon color in nature that I could not resist snapping a picture. The whole area is awash in wildflowers, likely as a result of the Spring rains.— in Vernègues.

Marseilles, France

Marseilles, France, from the air on a beautiful, sunny day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hot Pink Epiphyllum

I purchased this one as Epiphyllum Clarence Wright; however, as Clarence Wright is yellow, it's just another gorgeous, hot pink Epi, here blooming for me for the first time (and what a sight it is!).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Annular Solar Eclipse, San Diego, May 20, 2012, 7:43pm

Annular Solar Eclipse, San Diego, California, May 20, 2012, 7:43pm. An annular solar eclipse is where the sun is only partly blocked by the moon, its light showing around the edges of the moon. This was shot with the 500mm lens and tripod. I'm thinking, in hindsight, that a polarizer would have been a nice touch...

Vibrant, Easy Growing Fun: Epiphyllum Telstar

Epiphyllum Telstar is a gorgeous orange with fuschia overtones! They don't get much better than this. A really good grower with HUGE flowers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Madagascan Ocotillo: One Spiny Beast!

Alluaudia procera, commonly called the Madagascar Ocotillo, looks, particularly when younger, like an Ocotillo (commonly found in Southwestern United States deserts). It is not, however, closely related to Ocotillo plants at all and is actually in the plant family Didiereaceae,consisting of just eleven species all found in the Southwestern part of Madagascar. They also appear to be related to the portulaca (Portulacaceae) family.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Snowy White Echinopsis

White Echinopsis species. Another easy grower and bloomer, forming nice clumps and blooming profusely in the Spring.

One of the Most Vibrant Epiphyllums!

Epiphyllum Cadet. This has long been one of my favorite Epiphyllums for it's brilliant, glossy, glowing flowers. It's a great bloomer and a beast of a grower. They don't get much better than this!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Epiphyllum Midnight: A Pinwheel of Color

Epiphyllum Midnight, blooming in the back yard. I really enjoy Epi. Midnight for it's vibrant, picotee petals that remind me of a pinwheel of color! It's a good grower and a reliable bloomer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May is Prime Epiphyllum Season

Epiphyllum Soft Lights blooming in the back yard. The yard is full of Epiphyllym blooms at the moment in shades of vibrant red, purple, yellow, orange and peach! They put on quite the show every year around Mother's day. They're easy to care for, needing only filtered sun, moderate warmth (keep them above freezing) and occasional water and they reward you with the most vibrant, magnificent blooms! They also propagate by cutting, making them great for multiplying or for giving away as gifts.

Echinopsis Bloom Fest!

Echinopsis (oxygona?) in full bloom. My little Echinopsis had over 20 huge flowers this year! What a display. I must be doing something right.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cymbidium Sweet Devon 'Arnie' AM/AOS

Cymbidium Sweet Devon 'Arnie' AM/AOS, Cymbidium suave x Cymbidium devonianum. This orchid, blooming now, is covered with over a thousand flowers on beautiful, pendant spikes.

Matilija Poppy, Romneya coulteri

Matilija Poppy, Romneya coulteri. These wonderful, HUGE poppys have flowers the size of platters. They are California natives but are not particularly common, probably because the seed pods have evolved to need fire to trigger them to burst open and disperse the seed. This one is blooming in the back yard.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

To my very special Mom and to all the other wonderful mom's out there, here's to wishing you the very best Mother's Day possible!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Bifrenaria harrisoniae 'Ruth' AM/AOS

Bifrenaria harrisoniae 'Ruth' AM/AOS. This fragrant beauty is native to Coastal Brazil and appreciates a drier Winter rest prior to blooming and putting out new growths in the Spring.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Stanhopea jenischiana

Stanhopea jenischiana, blooming in the backyard. These wonderful, waxy, fragrant orchids hail from Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru and are fairly cool tolerant, growing outdoors in Southern California (although they prefer a nice warm greenhouse where they will grow into a specimen plant quite easily).

Monday, May 07, 2012

Epiphyllum Radiant Fire

Epiphyllum Radiant Fire with a little guest munching on pollen. This is one of my favorites.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Epiphyllum Grazie Bear (unreg)

Epiphyllum Grazie Bear (unreg.). This is the result of Wayne Grazio's experiment rubbing a yellow and a white Epiphyllum flower together. It's been a few years getting this to bloom but here it is in all its glory. Meanwhile, the back yard is awash in Epiphyllum flowers! Wow. More pictures later.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

New White Sand for Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Sand Replenishment Barge. The Department of Land and Natural Resources was operating a barge off of Waikiki's Kuhio Beach to dredge deeper water sand deposits to replenish the sand along Kuhio/Waikiki Beach, eroded over the years, to 1985 levels. I will note, however, that the water was rather silty, even all the way down at Queen's Surf and it seemed to me anyhow, to be silting over the coral, causing coral death except in areas protected from the direct deposit of silt. I further suspect that the silty dredged sand will continue to release silt onto the coral for years to come, through ongoing wave action and erosion. It seems a bit sad to introduce a new source of silt just as the coral was starting to grow back after years of damaging runnoff. Thus, even though there is much less open site construction in Honolulu these days, leading to reduced levels of silt, the dredging may have more than compensated.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

American Orchid Society San Diego May Judging Results

Galeopetalum Ink Spot ‘Feuerbach’ AM/AOS

Cattleya (Laelia) sincorana ‘Harald’ HCC/AOS

Paphiopedilum philippinense ’Tyrone’ HCC/AOS

Rodrumnia Orchidom Lovely Lady HCC/AOS

Phragmipedium Haraldeen Quintal ‘La Jolla’ HCC/AOS

Phal Lioulin Goldfinch HCC/AOS