The perfect blend…

…of Autumn’s colors!

Coleus

Autumn Coleus-1 WM

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Autumn Coleus-2 WM

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Autumn Coleus-3 WM

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Ornamental Cabbage…

…is quite beauteous in autumnal floral displays, don’t you think?

Orn Cabbage-WM

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It seems to become an even more attractive plant when it is combined with another delightful Autumn tradition: the simple, yet always gorgeous, Chrysanthemum!

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-2-WM

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Orn Cabbage and Mums-1-WM

NOTE:  The above images were processed in Photoshop (TM) utilizing the Watercolor filter overlaid with the Diffuse Glow filter (using pure white as the glow color).

Let the YUMS begin!

A few ambitious, young gardeners began early this season, first taking out half the old soil from their small raised bed at the local Community Garden, then replacing it with compost and weed-free soil.

About a month ago, in spite of Chicago’s cold, late Spring, they planted seeds and a few hardier vegetables.

Here are some of the results, as of last Saturday:

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

Golden-ribbed Swiss Chard

 

Broccoli

Broccoli

 

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

Red and Green Leaf Lettuce

 

Kale

Kale

 

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back--or not?

Hardy Chives, with gorgeous blossoms, ready to be pinched back–or not?

 

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

 

Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage

 

Popeye's favorite--Spinach

Popeye’s favorite–Spinach

 

Green Leaf Lettuce

Green Leaf Lettuce

 

A huge Strawberry plant--the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

A huge Strawberry plant–the flower buds are forming in that dark area!

I have to say, “I am GREEN with envy!”

‘Playing’ with Peonies

I found some gorgeous Peonies in full bloom on my mile walk to the pharmacy the other day…but I really didn’t care for the way the images turned out…so, of course, this morning I decided to ‘play’ a bit!

The original, as the camera saw it

The original, as the camera saw it

 

The intermediate, after straightening, cropping, utilizing Selective Color, and lots of Burning and Dodging

The intermediate, after straightening, cropping, utilizing Selective Color, and lots of Burning and Dodging

 

The final, with a Watercolor treatment, more Selective color and, of course, more Burning and Dodging

The final, with a Watercolor treatment, more Selective Color adjustments and, of course, more Burning and Dodging

I didn’t realize the next image featured a fly and the eyes of two ‘garden decor’ deer until I uploaded.

The original

The original

I decided to get rid of the faux deer–a good choice, in my opinion!

The intermediate, after cropping and utilizing Selective Color, Burning and Dodging

The intermediate, after cropping and utilizing Selective Color, Burning and Dodging

Photoshop’s Artistic Ocean Ripple filter has never really appealed to me–until I ‘played’ with it on this image…and found it added some interest to a very ordinary photo of a Peony.

The final, with more adjustments of Selective Color, Burning, Dodging and the Artistic Ocean Ripple filter added at the last

The final, with more adjustments of Selective Color, Burning, Dodging and the Artistic Ocean Ripple filter added at the last

Combined, these two images took about an hour to process, and the results were entirely worth spending the time to make the ordinary a bit ‘extraordinary’!

You might ask why I bother transforming what are considered dull images?

My answer:

“Because for me, it’s fun…and everyone needs SOME fun in their lives, don’t they?!?”

It’s been a dark, dreary day…

…here in Chicago.

I spent quite a few hours digging out old caulk above my bathroom sink and around the tub.

And yes, I am tired…but not too tired to show you the beauties captured the other day in the parkway in front of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Emil Bach House!

A white Hyacinth, almost fully open

A white Hyacinth, almost fully open

Purple Hyacinth, also ready to burst open

Purple Hyacinth, also ready to burst open

Tulips, color unknown, but looking very elegant...even if they have no buds yet

Tulips, color unknown, but looking very elegant…even if they have no buds yet

Lastly, these were quite a surprise:

Peony sprouts, also color unknown (but I believe they are whitish, with a few deep red flecks), reaching for the sun

Peony sprouts, also color unknown (but I believe they are whitish, with a few deep red flecks), reaching for the sun

As we are in the last week of April, and its flower-bringing showers, I hope all you gardeners out there are also seeing some marvelous Flora…at last!

Yesterday’s walk…

…produced Springtime surprises!

At the Emil Bach House, the legendary array of Tulips had begun to sprout!

First Bach House-1

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First Bach House-2

Next door at the Cat’s Cradle Bed and Breakfast, more of the same!

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First Cats Cradle-1

Plus…the very first Crocus!

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At the corner of Sheridan Road and Fargo Avenue, the Daffodils are standing proudly…won’t be long until they bloom!

Fargo Daffs

Farther up Fargo Avenue, more Daffodils and Crocus!

Fargo Crocus and Daffs

But the best ‘gift’ of the day was my favorite early bloomer–the delicate, yet very hardy, Snowdrop!

Fargo Snowdrops

Officially, Spring begins with the vernal equinox at 6:02 A.M. (CDT) on March 20, 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere.

Hooray!!!

They’re chock full of Vitamin C…

…but don’t plan on using them unless you know for a fact they haven’t been sprayed with any type of insecticide!

Rose Hips-1

From Wikipedia:

The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through autumn.

Rose Hips-2

During World War II, the people of Britain were encouraged through letters to The Times newspaper, articles in the British Medical Journal, and pamphlets produced by Claire Loewenfeld, a dietitian working for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, to gather wild-grown rose hips and to make a vitamin C syrup for children. This was because German submarines were sinking many commercial ships: citrus fruits from the tropics were very difficult to import.

Rose hips are (also)  used to help prevent colds and influenza.

You can read the entire article here.