Sunday, May 24, 2015

Post-Peak Bluebell Wood

I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the Bluebell Wood entirely this year, since it is a magical place when in bloom.  And I figured I could combine it with a bit of work on my current Tolkien paper, and an excuse to rack up a few more steps for my Fitbit One to measure.  Entering the garden from Eastern Parkway, one encounters
a semi-formal garden where the art of Italianate landscaping comes to life. With ten wisteria-draped pergolas framing an emerald lawn, a [boulder] wall with large plantings of varied colored and textured plants, several stone features, and benches, the garden is a soothing oasis in the midst of the city. In spring, daffodils, pansies, and tulips bloom, followed by crab apples and cherries, which gradually give way to azaleas, rhododendrons, wisterias and dogwood.
Osborne Garden
Wisteria on the Pergola

There was a bright red flower behind the wisteria, which I tried to capture in the same frame...

...somewhat better shown here, perhaps.

My favorite flower!

Cherry Esplanade

The bluebells were still in bloom, but well past their peak, so the color was not as intense as it was a week ago.  It's still lovely, an undulating carpet ethereal, dappled with light and shadow.  The trees and contours of the land are essential to the effect, as is the wide, curved path through the middle.  I tried and tried to capture the magic with my own camera (results shown here), but eventually bought a postcard to compensate for my failures.

The stump and stone do something very special here, as well. 

Once I got some pictures of the Bluebell Wood, I spent a few hours sitting on a bench on the Cherry Esplanade, reading passages from The Return of the King for a paper I agreed to present at an upcoming Tolkien conference.  I had my very large, bright and obvious noise-canceling headphones on, with my nose in a book, and I was making careful notes on what I was reading, but a surprising number of people wanted to share my bench.  One woman had gotten slightly separated from her group (they were on the next bench over), and clearly wanted to start up a conversation.  I responded to her inquiries politely enough (according to me), but didn't really "bite" at any of the conversational gambits, so she eventually rallied and rejoined them.  They seemed to be family members, including a husband and son, so I hope and trust they enjoyed the rest of their day together.

Of course, I eventually went back for more pictures as the afternoon wore on and the light changed.

I am thinking of these as hellebores, not sure if that's correct

Alas, the lilacs are nearly gone!  Only a few remained, a particular late-blooming type.

The last of the lilacs...!

This was my second time in the native flora garden.

Flaming Azaleas

Black cherry, much rotted away

Toxicodendron Radicans

On my way out of the garden, I managed to get my camera in sports action mode in time to capture a series of shots of a squirrel racing like a greyhound or a thoroughbred horse.  I usually think of them as just scampering any old way, but it looks like they use the standard quadruped technique when they're in a hurry.