Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Succulents

Longwood Beauties, June 2019 | Photos

I’m glad I’m not a debutante flower! It was definitely bee-courting season at Longwood. Not many butterflies yet, but more than enough buzzing bees and spectacular, multi-faceted even bizarre frocks on display. The bee above is coming in for a landing on a dahlia.

Herewith my prizes for the most unusual and beautiful look-at-me displays. Each is trying to outdo others in its class. The first two are in the outdoor desert garden area. Gorgeous colors and spikey warnings to stay away — unless you’re a bee. The third photo is a beautiful pot of succulents in waiting–not yet in bloom.

Moving on to the flower walk, here are a few more dahlias plus one bee that wanted to have its picture taken. The dark dahlia leaves were spectacular–a fitting backdrop for brilliant colors. Even the unopened flower bud in the second photo is gorgeous.

Mixed in with everything were flowering plants and grasses I didn’t recognize. I’d put them in the old-fashioned category–not the kinds of plants I see regularly in plant shops or grocery store displays.

The most abundant flowers in bloom were zinnias. Not the kind we used to grow in our yard when I was a child. The stakes and twine help them keep their heads held high.

I’ll do a later post on the meadow–alive with birds, bees and mid-June beauty.

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Monday!


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 June 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, 12 June 2019

A Christmas Card for You | Photos

A few days ago D and I took an eagerly anticipated day off to visit Longwood Gardens. The theme for this year was a French Christmas. Classy and elegant. The pond photo at the top, taken in the conservatory, makes the statement boldly and creatively. Those are thousands of cranberries and green apples floating in the pond. The light buff in the center foreground would be walnuts painted gold!

Directly behind the pond, you  can see three wreaths hanging just outside the conservatory’s formal parlor. Here’s the central wreath, followed by a photo of the Christmas tree in the parlor. The wreath contains cranberries, green apples, small shiny ornamental balls and sprayed bronze leaves.

Turning around, we head back into the central Conservatory atrium decorated with poinsettia trees and plants, and a few grapefruit trees with their own decorations hanging heavy.

We also checked out the Children’s Garden, where we found a clever tribute to French style sitting atop a gargoyle-like spitting fountain! It’s paired here with an elegant French-inspired Christmas tree ornament.

In the Palm Room we found a lovely orchid Christmas tree with tiny white lights, clear beaded ornaments and shiny silver globes reflecting their surroundings. Then we headed for the children’s trees, decorated by children from area schools. The example below is particularly exuberant, a nice contrast to the more sedate yet glamorous orchid tree.

Finally, would you believe a succulent Christmas tree? The second photo shows some detail. A spectacular feat of design and innovative construction.

For all my wonderful visitors and followers, I wish you a blessed Christmas, and a New Year of personal peace and contentment. Plus time to enjoy small things that make all the difference.

I’ll continue posting as I’m able in the next week — with time off for family, friends, and self-reflection.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 December 2017
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens

rigid white spines


rigid white spines

protect thick upright stem

tiny leaflets shrink

* * *

I don’t have a clue what to call this beauty.
It stands in the Silver Garden at Longwood Gardens.
Living repository of succulents, mosses and unusual trees.
All capable of living with limited water supplies.
The dark area behind it is part of a window frame.

I decided to see whether I could write a haiku
that at least captured what I was seeing in the photo.
Then I searched for cacti images to see what kind it might be.
That’s when I discovered my first effort was off the mark.
I rewrote it accordingly.  I think.

It seems ‘normal’ plant logic doesn’t work here.
The spines, for example, are actually ‘leaves.’
The little green leaflets won’t develop into leaves.
Sometimes they become the source of more spines.
And then there’s that tall upright stem.
Not really a ‘spine,’ though we often call it that.
The function of the true spines (not simply thorns)
is not to protect those cute oval leaflets.
It’s to guard the cactus from predators seeking its treasure–
life-giving, water-like liquid, stored on behalf of the plant.

No, I won’t turn this into a lesson about life or death.
I just want you to know how hard I worked on this haiku for you!

Also, if you’re cactus-savvy,
and can enlighten us about what to call it
or about anything else of interest,
such as statements above that are wrong,
now’s your chance!

This is not a poem.
I decided it looked better this way.

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 January 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, May 2014
Silver Garden, Longwood Gardens Pennsylvania

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