Tourism photography: I work with clients to promote their locations to entice more visitors thru inspiring professional photography while capturing the magic of a location. That is my passion! Photography is about telling powerful stories that engage and attract the audience to establish a connection to a place that is tangible so others can see, feel and desire to truly experience its magic!
In their effort to make the world a more beautiful place the owners of Lavender Pond Farm have created a little slice of heaven right here in Connecticut on 25 acres now filled with all sorts of lavender varieties.
Located in Killingworth, CT the Farm caters to lavender and garden lovers alike. Lavender typically blooms from June into August but can last later depending on the weather. With almost 10,000 plants in the fields there are 12 varieties including: Grosso, Munstead, Edelweiss, Hidcote Giant and Provence.
Children old and young enjoy walking thru the fields, taking their family photos and just enjoying the outdoors. Check out the Rooster and his harem or play some chess on the life size board.
To help with the necessary pollination they have honey bees which play an important role.
Recently they built an authentic covered bridge on the property and there is a lovely gazebo to sit and just surround yourself in this sea of lavender! Stay tuned as they are planning to open a bed and breakfast!
Want to take some home? No problem, they sell lavender plants and a variety of lavender based products in their on-site shop, including sachets, soaps, scrubs, linen sprays, oils and lavender lemonade to name a few.
The Annual Sunflowers for Wishes is taking place this now! – This is a blog I wrote several years ago on this wonderful place supporting a wonderful cause. Enjoy it again!
The event runs from July 21 – 229, 2018 this year and Buttonwood Farm is located at 473 Shetucket Turnpike in Griswold, CT.
Bring your kids or just the kid in you as there are hayrides, and a cow train ride, sunflowers for sale and cows to check out! The hayride and cow train rides run throughout the day and are about 25 minutes long going first through the cow pasture and ends up going through the sunflower field. All proceeds from the rides go directly to Make-A-Wish! Since 2004 they have been able to raise a total of over $930,000. This year will push them over the $1 Million mark!
Sunflowers are available on a first come first serve basis. Bouquets are $10 for a bouquet of five sunflowers. Again, all proceeds from the sunflowers as well as T-Shirts and notecards which are for sale all go directly to Make-A-Wish!
Go Enjoy and support this great effort to support Make-A-Wish!
The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark world renown for its plant research and conservation programs.
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist known mostly for her paintings of oversized flowers from New Mexico and Hawaii. She achieved worldwide acclaim for her innovative impressionist images. She is widely considered the “Mother of American Modernism”. Known for her paintings of Oriental Poppies, Cow’s Skull, Heliconia to name a few.
Start your visit in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory:
The Visions of Hawai’iexhibit reflects her depiction of the Islands of Hawaii while on commission for the Dole Pineapple Company in 1939 for their promotional campaign. Her works are a study in understanding the natural environment of the islands.
The exhibit highlights the flora of Hawaii both inside the Conservatory and outside in the Garden showcasing the flowers and fruit of Hawaii like pineapple, papaya and bananas. There are more than 300 varieties of plants including ti plants, frangipani, bougainvillea, heliconia, hibiscus, bird-of-paradise, ginger and other tropicals.
In the Conservatory courtyard pool you will find aquatic plants like Water lilies and Lotuses. The Lotus is a sacred plant symbolizing eternal life in Buddhism. Chose your color! You will see the lilies and lotus in yellow, pink, purple, and blue. Pineapple plants surround the pool.
There is also an incredible collection of 17 paintings in the Mertz Library Gallery not seen together since 1940 highlighting the influence of Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes and exotic plants. The exhibit includes Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger, Pineapple Bud, and Hibiscus with Plumeria to name a few. There is a short film featuring letters to her famous husband who was a photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED! These are photos of her paintings only.
Pineapple Bud 1939
White Bird of Paradise 1939
Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger 1939
White Lotus 1939
Native Plant Garden highlights plants native to the Northeast including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns and grasses. The pool is fed by recycled stormwater as it flows over stone weirs.
Rosen Seasonal Walk showcases perennials, grasses and bulbs highlighting their shape, structure and color throughout the season as emphasized by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.
Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden was just exploding with color and textures. The path winds through four themed garden rooms each with its own distinct personality. Here you will find daylilies, hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, nepeta, yarrow, begonias, caladiums, chives, salvia, crocosmia and amsonia to name just a few. Each garden room is devoted to a color scheme: The Fall Room: plants at their peak in autumn; the Bog Room: plants that love the moist and wet soil; the Hot Room: here bright flowers and foliage dominate like red, yellow and orange; and then the Cool Room: flowers and foliage in the silver, pink, blue and purple families.
This garden changes seasonally so if you can try to visit during every season as you will never see the same exact landscape twice! I guarantee it!!!
This zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the US and one of the largest in the entire world. The Bronx River flows through the Zoo and it is a neighbor of the NY Botanical Gardens.
I can honestly say going on the Fourth of July in close to 100 degree heat was not the brightest idea but it was a friend’s birthday and on her bucket list and she was here from Arizona and – well….. you know what you must do for friends!!!
Be prepared however if you want to enter the Children’s Zoo that it is an extra fee. Also the concession stands throughout the park do not open until 11:30 but the park opens at 10:00 am so bring water if it is hot.
Within the Children’s Zoo you can see: Prairie Dogs, A Two-Toed Sloth (if it is out), Flamingos, Squirrel Monkeys, Porcupines, Tortoises, Skunks, Rabbits, Screamer Chicks, and Mini Nubian Goats
Did you know: Flamingoes tip their heads upside down to eat!
Did you know: Porcupines use their spiky quills to keep predators away.
Did you know: Tortoises can feel vibrations when people or animals walk by.
African Plains featuring: Tigers on our visit it was so hot the tigers were not moving, just panting in the heat trying to keep themselves cool like we were!
Himalayan Highlands: Snow Leopards were trying to stay cool in the shade. Do you sense a theme here! A 7 day heat wave in New York in not a common event.
Birds of Prey: Bald Eagles, Snowy Owls and King Vultures
Did you know: While all owls hunt at night, Snowy Owls also hunt during the day since they live near the Arctic Circle.
Madagascar: Red Ruffed Lemurs, Coquerel’s Sifaka, Ring-Tailed Lemurs
Did you know: Ring-tailed Lemurs raise their striped tails like flags to signal their location to other group members when traveling.
Did you know: the Collared Lemur uses its long tail for balance when leaping across branches
Did you know: The Red-ruffed Lemur is hunted by people on parts of Madagascar but is free from that threat in Masoala and Makira.
Père David’s Deer has Back-pointing antlers, a long head with small pointed ears found in China on the marshy grasslands.
A fun stop is the top of the Prudential Tower where you have a 360 degree view of the city. Above is a view towards Cambridge. Look down onto Newberry Street and all those lovely shops and restaurants and over to Fenway Park! I never realized how many brownstones were in Boston!!!!
Some other Boston Facts:
The very first Boston Marathon was held on April 19th, 1897 and had only 15 runners, all male 🙁
The Custom House Tower is a skyscraper in McKinley Square which is in the Financial neighborhood of town and stands 496 feet tall and is currently home to a hotel.
The Boston Public Library is on the National Register of Historic Places and opened in 1852 and was the first free publicly supported municipal library in the United States.
Old South Church is a Northern Italian Gothic architecture style church and a national historic landmark.
In 1742, the gilded grasshopper weathervane on top of Fanueil Hall is considered the symbol of Boston.
Home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912!!
Hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July. Please take some time to remember that this is truly a wonderful country we live in. Be kind and remember we are all immigrants!
At the top of the Prudential Tower was a poignant quote from the former President George H.W. Bush, 1988
“WE DON’T WANT AN AMERICA THAT IS CLOSED TO THE WORLD. WHAT WE WANT IS A WORLD THAT IS OPEN TO AMERICA.”
“Memories are not the key to the past, but to the future.” Corrie Ten Boom
People ask me why I do what I do and why am I so passionate about it?
Those who are gone are not forgotten! They are always with us in our hearts and minds. I spoke to my mother almost every single day of my life until she died unexpectedly of Lymphoma. I desperately wish I had more photographs to remember her vitality and joie-de-vivre and to eventually share with my grandchildren. The same goes for my Dad and grandmother.
“Take care of your memories for you cannot relive them.” Bob Dylan
Don’t make the mistakes many of us make. I was always the one who wanted to take photographs so I wasn’t usually in the picture. If I was busy, playing hostess or dancing at a wedding, I often let it slip. I usually asked someone else to do it but it wasn’t their priority so once again… ‘no pictures’. Even if you only have a smartphone, snap away! They take great photos! One of my sons captures moments and memories through his music and these tell ‘his’ stories. My passion and inspiration is gardening and I capture the moments through my photography. Capture the moment and the memory forever!
Cherish your memories and visit them often and share them! Record the memories and the events of your life! They are the key to the future of your family. Look for the happy moment in each when you look at your photos. What was it that inspired you to take that picture?
What inspires you? Is it writing, music, running, playing an instrument, poetry, sports, photography or gardening?
“Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!” Joseph B. Wirthlin
My parents gifted me money to get my landscaping well under way. I had just purchased my dream house and I wanted the gardens established quickly. I wish I had found the time to take more photographs to preserve my memories. It was never the right time! That was 2005 and through an unfortunate set of “wrong place”, “wrong time” we lost the house in a foreclosure that occurred when my husband and I lost a company we had purchased prior to the recession of 2008. Sadly, our homes were collateral for our business and a 50 year old company disappeared almost before our very eyes. I never took enough photos and was thinking I would wait until the garden grew into itself. I always thought “tomorrow” would be soon enough. I wished I had taken more photographs of my dream house and gardens.
Now they are a memory only to me! The following is an excerpt from a song in the movie Yentl called A Piece of Sky that has always had great significance for me. There is so much to experience in this world. Why ever stop searching for it all? I will always want to experience more!
“No matter where I go,
There’ll be memories that tug at my sleeve,
But there will also be more to question,
Yet more to believe…” Yentl – Barbra Streisand
I may have lost my dream house but the truth is I can create another garden and another memory TODAY! What memories would you recreate TODAY if you could?
Photos are our connection to our past but we don’t always know what those connections are. It’s wonderful to look back but we must look forward. What are the photographs you are going to take NOW? This is what being alive is about our opportunities from now on! What will those photos mean to us and future generations? We must put mindfulness and intention into them. How will your grandchildren and great-grandchildren know you? Will they see your sense of style and your personality in those photos you leave behind? Tell your stories through your photographs and not just in the ones you have already taken, but in the photos you have yet to take! What was important to you may be important to them and they didn’t know there was a connection. Are you a painter or a gardener? Was your great grandfather a painter too or do your children share your passion for gardening?
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.” Rosa Parks
When I look back through old photographs I see images that make me laugh, like bad hairdos, or make me cry, like my Mom in the hospital dying but ALWAYS, ALWAYS I remember the wonderful, loving times of them all and I can laugh. Laughter is a key ingredient to finding happiness. Laugh at the absurd and at yourself … often! I try not to take myself too seriously as life is so unpredictable. Just when we think we have it figured out, it fools us again. We can’t take life for granted though! Don’t take nature for granted! Nature goes through cycles like life! Spring is a time for reawakening and every year we have a chance to start fresh. Keep exploring, seek out new experiences and opportunities. Keep believing and sharing with those you love. Those moments of sharing forever bind us to our loved ones. They comfort and sustain us in times of sorrow and are the cornerstones of great joy.
In my garden I have planted to encourage butterflies, bees and birds to enjoy and pollinate. At this time of the year it is important to keep food sources plentiful for these wonderful creatures. Black-eyed Susan’s start blooming in late July and continue all fall in my garden in Zone 5.
Most common of the Black Eyed Susan’s is Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’. If happy, I find it seems to reappear in new areas of my garden as if by design. Remember when your pollinators are busy plants appear where they are most happy. If you don’t want this you will need to pull them out. These look best when planted in masses or drifts. Leave the seed heads and the birds will love you! Hardy to Zone 4.
Rudbeckia hirta like most of the Rudbeckias are herbaceous perennials and is happy in Zone 3 to 7. It blooms from June to September with yellow or orange yellow rays and dark brown centers. The leaves are a little rough and hairy giving a nice contrast in the perennial border. It loves full sun and medium water. It will naturalize! That means spread!
Rudbeckia fulgida var. ‘Deam’s coneflower’ has large daisy like flower heads in yellow or orange petals (rays) with a dark center. It tolerates either full sun to partial shade. Have clay soil, you’re good to go with this variety and for the most part all in this category.
Problems with deer? Then Black-eyed Susan’s are for you as deer typically don’t touch them. BUT!!!! when hungry deer will eat anything! Forewarned!
Indian Summer is drought tolerant but don’t think the bunnies aren’t interested! This summer I have been battling with these determined guys. Winter hardy to Zones 3-7. All Black-eyed Susan’s need full sun and well-drained soils. I find that deadheading spent flowers helps prolong bloom time and encourage additional blooms. Given a spot they love they will self-seed. They have daisy like flower heads that appeal to butterflies. The flower heads are huge and add bold, stunning color to borders.
Black-eyed Susan’s are sometimes called Gloriosa Daisy.
Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’ is a tall beauty and one of my favorites and this summer a favorite of my local bunnies! It can grow up to 7′ tall so I use it in the back of the border and support it. It starts blooming in June and goes all summer. It loves well drained soil in full sun. The large daisy like flowers having drooping petals (rays) with bright green center cones.
Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’ prefers medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Deadheading here also helps encourage additional blooms. It typically grows 3-5′ tall so I use it in the back of the border to showcase smaller plants. It has stiff, upright leafy stems that hold these blooms straight and tall. I prefer to support all of my very tall plants with decorative supports. The rays are rolled unlike the typical Black-eyed Susan’s so it has a quilled effect. The flowers bloom in clusters starting in July and lastly all the way thru September.
What pairs with these late summer gems? Well I love purples so in my garden I have Agastache Blue Boa, Russian Sage, Liatris, Daylilies, Phlox, Nepeta and Dahlias. In one bed I have paired it with “hot” colors like red and orange daylilies and Dahlias as well as Red Persicaria.
What combinations do you love with Black-Eyed Susan’s?
Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Chanticleer is one of the great gardens in this area. Once the Rosengarten estate, today Chanticleer is a contemporary garden situated in a historic setting. Garden Design magazine has dubbed this “America’s most inspiring garden.”
“The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck in the 1920s.”
They purchased a neighboring property in 1933. It is now the site of the Minder Ruin Garden composed of three “rooms”. The Great Hall; The Library; and The Pool Room
As you leave the Ruins you enter the Gravel Garden filled with orange butterfly weed, grasses, Alliums and a variety of other plants including Yuccas.
Daughter Emily’s house, located at today’s visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms. Here is another house on the property.
The heirs left the entire property for the enjoyment of the public The garden opened to the public in 1993. If you are in the area and are visiting gardens be sure to check out both Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens.
Morikami celebrates the connection between Japan and South Florida. Little did I know that in the early 1900s, Japanese farmers arrived in southern Florida and formed an agricultural colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. Most of those farmers returned to Japan but one of the remaining settlers George Sukeji Morikami donated his land to Palm Beach County as a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony.
The garden consists of 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens and art exhibits. There is even an authentic tea house and don’t miss Hotei, their resident god of happiness.
This remains the only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture and the gardens are among the finest outside of Japan. So let’s begin our walking tour:
As you exit the main building you are immediately in front of the Wisdom Ring (Chie no Wa) which is a replica of a 500 year old stone lantern, a symbol of Delray Beach’s sister city in Japan.
Next up cross the Memorial Bridge marking the entrance to the gardens and symbolizing the link between Japan and Florida.
Follow the path to the Shinden Garden which recreates the 9th – 12th century Heian Period that featured lakes and islands and emphasized informality always with an appreciation of nature and often meant to be viewed from the water.
The “Ancient Gate” (Kodai-mon) was inspired by the large mansions of samurai leaders from 1600 – 1868. Walking through this area of the garden you pass through a Bamboo Grove and the lovely sound of the bamboo stalks knocking against each other as the breeze blows. It was a lovely, musical sound and I am sorry I didn’t do a video for you to hear the clinking of the stalks.
The Paradise Garden or Buddhist heaven was meant for casual exploration.
I need one of these! The Shishi Odoshi or “Deer Chaser” is a swinging bamboo arm that collects water and then strikes a rock basin below and startles the animals who shouldn’t be there!!!!! I am definitely creating one of these in my garden!
The Karesansui, Late Rock Garden which means dry landscape consists of rocks not plants and features a bed of raked gravel.
Continue on through the Modern Romantic Garden as inspired by the late 19th – 20th century gardens with its very naturalistic setting which leads you to the Contemplation Pavilion. No real view to speak of from here but every twist and turn of the path through this garden affords some incredible views.
The South Gate is the exit from the historical gardens in contrast with the Ancient Gate.
Yamato Island is the site of the original Morikami Museum and the island represents a modern garden emphasizing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. The Bonsai Collection of trees are housed here. A unique collection of Bonsai for sure!
The tour ends at the Morikami Falls a dramatic and powerful waterfall set among massive boulders signaling the end of your journey thru the garden or maybe you are ready to take another walk around so see what you might have missed the first time!!!
These six gardens are inspired by the famous gardens of Japan and encourage you to find peace in the environment and within one’s self. So if even just for a little while leave the outside world behind and just be one with nature. Visit a garden today!!!