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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Views from a Garden Picnic

Vantage points when photographing the garden make all the difference in perspective.

We walk around our gardens upright looking out across the way or down at a particular plant or vignette.

But to photograph the scenery from that stance does not always turn out to be the most appealing view.

It isn't all that atypical actually to be found in our gardens squatting down in various contorted positions and twisted maneuvers to get to an open bloom or stationary critter.

We don't mind looking silly for that better angle trying to achieve that 'just right' vision we want to capture through our lens.

Springtime and there is so much happening all at once in the garden we don't want to miss a thing. Yes, first day lilies have flushed out.

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy the garden by just 'being' in it.
I have my 5 year old grandson to thank for helping me occasionally put down the shovel to play. Since he's with us weekly on a regular basis we spend a good deal of time together... much of it outdoors. We created a fun activity when he was a toddler to pack up our lunch, toss a blanket on the grass, plop ourselves right in the middle of the back gardens to eat and chat about discovering the habitat that surrounds us.

We've labeled it with various 'pretend' names that have morphed as he's grown older. At this stage we simply call it our 'wilderness journey' adventure. He with binoculars in hand and me with camera in hand as we discuss our favorite butterfly or bird or dragonfly or squirrel or plant or flower. We each do our best to name all that we see while we either sit or lie on the blanket.

When did you last have a seat on the ground in your garden just to see what you could see?

One of the first things I notice is the undersides of leaves.

Large, colorful leaves...

Small leaves...

Lacy leaves...

and leaves I'd never think to photograph until a future season when trumpeted flowers will be the irresistible draw.

What a splendid sight from this seated position.

Like they say... "the eye of the beholder" I suppose. Brilliant greenery of agapanthus and blackberry lily standing erect and sturdy with the promise of blooms destined to appear in the not too distant weeks.
It happens almost every time. We see something we've never seen before. A monarch sipping from a miniscule flax lily bloom? That is a first. I'm pretty sure the monarchs know when our little guy is around. Not only do they always come out to play but they put on quite a fanciful show for him.

Paying close attention is the object of this fun time as we aim to spot as many garden critters as we can. The feeders where cardinals frequent daily is a good distance away but as long as we can see them from the vantage point of the blanket they are eligible.

Perspective. What do you see at eye-level? What do you see a bit farther up and farther up still from the ground up!

Sitting anywhere for any length of time is not easy for me. One of the keys to this amusement is to linger for a goodly period of time. The depth of what we notice increases over time. That's why this little exercise in 'sitting and noticing' is eye-opening on an inspirational level and calming/relaxing all at the same time.

Perspective. Leave it to the innocence of children to teach us the best lessons in life!


  1. Great post Meems. How wonderful that you and your grandson have enjoyed and are still enjoying these precious times together. Being still and seeing what is surrounding you, critters, foliage, flowers, scents, sunlight, breezes.

    Thank you ~ FlowerLady

  2. Hi Meems! As always, your photos are wonderful ! Your flowers are gorgeous ! I like vibrant colours too. Really lovely and unusual plants. Some of the exotic plants are really fascinating but unfortunately won't grow in my area.

  3. The exotic picnic! Count me in. I am ready for these warm days and humid nights!!!

  4. Great post Meems. There is nothing like viewing the world through the eyes of a child.

  5. We should all inhale with nose and eyes the beauty right before us. Children have a way of 'teaching' us to see things in a new perspective. Love the sweet traditions you are making with your grandson....memories for a lifetime.

  6. You are so right.Grandchildren do make us notice the garden in a whole new light.And watching their amazement as they discover new things is such a joy.
    Good post!

  7. It's all about perspective, isn't it. Children are truly a blessing. My lil' guy always helps me notice so much more than my eyes would have seen. Blessings to you and yours, Meems.

  8. How wonderful that you are instilling a love for nature on your grandson. He wil carry those memories with him for a lifetime.

    Like you, I can often be found lying on my stomach or with my head buried in the leafy canopy of one of our small trees trying to photograph some insect, bloom or sunlit frond. I notice so much more when I have my camera in hand.

  9. Ive tried most positions to get a different perspective of my plants but have not tried lying down on my tummy yet! Though up to now my neighbours would have thought that Ive gone a little bit crazy snapping photos everyday of my flowers and plants! You have a lovely garden with such colourful blooms and your photos are so amazing!

  10. Hi Meems...How true that is! Thanks for the different perspective on the garden. Now my neighbors are going to wonder what the heck I'm doing out in the backyard. :-)

  11. Ok the butterflies pulled me back to your sight. I didn't realize how many different pictures you had of them. I have expanded my butterfly garden, added a purple passion vine (which I noticed was your first pic) and some mexican petunias and a cassia bush. Now I'm hoping for more varieties of butterflies to come. I have 4 monarchs in crystalis right now. Are you impressed Meems? :)

  12. Just so so so photos as well as words, what a lucky boy and what a grate-full grandma....these butterflies are sending me to the easel...the show deserves an encore!

  13. Oh, what a great post this is. I do tend to become a contortionist while trying to get photos but I seldom actually stop to "see" the garden. I think I'll be pulling out a quilt and packing a picnic for my dear grandson and me to enjoy TODAY!

  14. Meems: Your photos are always so gorgeous, and your garden looks so beautiful in ANY angle! The great time you have with your grand son is so precious, and I am sure the experience you are having together will instill the life-long appreciation for the nature beauty into his heart.

    P.S. I just sent you another email at gardencoach address.

  15. oh my word...we are on the same page. i just did this with abbey. i have a bunch of wonderful perspective pictures too. it was such an eye opener to sit on the ground with the camera. it is wonderful to learn from children and try and recapture that type of innocence. of course we were more in a field of grass and pastures...same thing only different. i got a little giddy sitting there seeing things i hadn't thought of before. maybe i will get around to posting. so glad you are taking the time to have these outdoor adventures with your grands. it does open our world up to new possibilities.
    happy springtime.

  16. It is me again. oops, just realized that the email I sent u is to your "hoeandshovel" gmail account. Hope you got it.

  17. Meems ... what a wonderful perspective on the garden - viewing it at ground level.

    I had to smile at your comment about getting in silly positions to take pictures - my neighbors just asked me what I was doing last week, when I was almost upside-down to get a shot of emerging Moonbeam Coreopsis!

  18. Wow life has been busy this week and I am just getting around to replying to each of you. I DO appreciate EVERY comment and commenter. It still amazes me to know you fine folks are walking through my garden with me. Thank YOU it is a pleasure to have you here.

  19. FlowerLady,
    I suppose every parent/grandparent realizes how VERY fast the time flies with these precious little ones. It is MY joy to pause from 'life' and breathe it in with him at my side.

    As I walk through my garden this spring it is becoming more and more evident that I am drawn to bright, deep colors. I hate to say it but I think I might take it for granted how very much is available in Florida to grow. The beauty of the Internet is we can visit other gardens to see what we might not have available in our own local area. Thank you for your kind words.

    I'm remembering you lying down on the grass at the garden center in Buffalo... taking a nap right there on that beautiful afternoon. :-)

  20. Siesta Sister,
    Children make my world come alive in wondrous ways!

    I'm attempting to learn better how to inhale/exhale. With the little ones around it is a matter of 'getting into their world' and not expecting them to get into ours so much. Good lessons for all. :-)

    Yes, they have such awe and wonder of every tiny thing... it is eye-opening.

    I'm aiming to keep my heart young by listening well to the preciousness in their souls. Blessings to you and your sweet family.

    It's vital to catch them when they are young without all the distractions that will soon come his way. He and I have a mutual admiration for discovery in the garden. With his good imagination he is broadening my creativity!

  21. p3,
    I'm guessing our neighbors already think we're a bit on the loopy side with all the time we spend in our gardens. Then when we start crawling around with cameras they just shake their heads. I'm happy you visit here and glad you like the photos. Thank you.

    I don't even think about it anymore... just wave and smile. :-)

    You are too funny. Yes, I'm extremely proud of you. You get an A, no make that an A+ just for stepping out into the garden much less actually researching and planting for butterflies. I'm going to get you HOOKED yet!

  22. Cindy,
    Your easel is like a live garden! So beautiful what you paint. Love it.

    You know I want to know if you DID pull out that blanket, have a seat and LOVE your garden from every view. Each step along the way of growth is to be appreciated. Pause and breathe there... you'll be surprised what peace it offers. *hugs*

    You sweet girl! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I'm sending hugs your way, my precious!

    As you know they grow up too fast. I'm holding on to this one (the youngest) with a heart that swells up with gladness every time I lay my eyes on him.

  23. Marmee,
    Oh, I would so LOVE to see what YOU captured from that perspective on your charming farm. So very much to see and love. Happy spring and lots of love!

    Gardeners are just from a different mold. Our non-gardening-neighbors have to get a chuckle out of our obsessions. Fortunately I have GREAT neighbors and they have kind of figured me out by now.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway