Tag Archives: flora

Orange aloe

Friday Flower Fiesta (5/9/13) — The best for the best

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I would like to dedicate this Friday Flower Fiesta to two people:

First, to the memory of Wendy Stone, 41, of Riverside, who was killed in an automobile accident on Tuesday, April 23. Wendy was riding her motorcycle northbound on Interstate 15 at Indian Truck Trail (halfway between Corona and Lake Elsinore) when a truck going southbound veered into the center divider, hit the K-rail, jumped it, and flew into the northbound lanes. Debris from the K-rail hit Wendy Stone, throwing her from her motorcycle and killing her; the motorcycle traveled another 1,000 yards (that’s over half a mile!) before crashing.

Second, to Harvey Oshrin. Harvey was driving a Mercedes in the northbound lanes in front of Wendy that was destroyed when the truck landed on it. Harvey is my mother-in-law’s boyfriend. Here is Harvey’s car after the crash:

Harvey's car

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Harvey spent a few days in the hospital due to injuries but he’s at home now and apparently feeling well enough to go out this afternoon with me, Jim, and Joan (my mother-in-law) for a Mother’s Day meal at Famous Dave’s in Vista, best barbecue in San Diego County.

I’m a firm believer that when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. If it’s not your time to go, you can say prayers of thanks to God, thank modern medicine, call it a miracle, whatever. All it means to me is that it wasn’t your time to go. If you look at Harvey’s car, the passenger area is completely destroyed. That’s normally where Joan sits. She wasn’t with Harvey that day, so it obviously wasn’t her time to go.

Here’s an NBC web site report on the crash. I think it’s interesting that the last line of the article says, “The drivers of the truck and sedan were not seriously injured.” Granted, any injury won’t be as serious as death, but personally I think a few days in the hospital due to injuries would warrant calling them serious injuries. Of course, NBC didn’t know how serious the injuries were at the time they posted the article.

Readers who have been with me a long time might recognize the following pictures. All have been used in Friday Flower Fiestas before. I consider them some of my best and I use them here for two of the best people in my life: Joan and Harvey.

Angel’s trumpetAngel's trumpet in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California poppyCalifornia poppy in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bird of ParadiseBird of Paradise

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IrisIris at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

AloeThe Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

ProteaProtea

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

ColumbineColumbine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

ColumbineColumbine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

PansyPansy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 8

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

RoseRose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

CliviaOrange clivia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

AloeOrange aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

IrisPurple iris

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blue AgaveBlue agave

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

TulipsTulips

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Mother of thousands

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When I was a young lad growing up in Kingsville, Texas, my wise old grandmother gave me a little plot of land in a bad location where I could have my own little garden. Since it was such a bad location (no rain and very hot), I determined that the best things to grow in my little garden were cactus and succulents.

Cactus didn’t appeal to my wise old grandmother because of the thorns. However, she told me I could grow what I wanted.

I went with a friend and his parents down to McAllen, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, one weekend to pick some cactus and succulents from a cactus farm there. That was in 1967. I came home that day with an interesting plant that has now been in my gardens for 45 years. It was a Kalanchoe daigremontiana, and what attracted me to it were the little plantlets growing along the edges of all its leaves (see Wikipedia). One of its common names is mother of thousands. Each little plantlet that falls off the leaves grows into its own plant, so after a couple of years, you could indeed have many thousands of plants.

Many plants that reproduce by vegetative propagation don’t bloom since they don’t need seeds. I had never seen the mother of thousands bloom until a couple of days ago when I was exploring my own neighborhood here, a neighborhood where I have lived for five years. The mother of thousands also has thousands of blossoms on a stalk with a huge inflorescence, and I found several of them blooming. I wondered what it took to get them to bloom, but Wikipedia says that flowering occurs sporadically if at all.

Following are four pictures of the many blossoms on the inflorescence — side, top, bottom, and dead flowers covered with raindrops.

Mother of thousands flower head from the side

Mother of thousands flower stalk from the top

 

Mother of thousands flower stalk from below

 

Mother of thousands dead flowers covered with raindrops

 

The mother of thousands is native to Madagascar, and all parts of the plant are poisonous. Pets generally know this, but inquisitve youth who are still in the put-anything-in-their-mouths stage might find the little leaf plantlets tasty.

Courtesy of Margaret Rome, a real estate agent in Baltimore, Maryland, I was reminded by a phone call while I was writing this post that today would have been my wise old grandmother’s 101st birthday; she died in 2003. If you want to buy or sell a home in the Baltimore area, do it with Margaret Rome!

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Synchronized bees

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As I was wandering around the neighborhood yesterday after the rains, I found a beautiful yard of yellow oxalis, a plant that many people (including me!) consider a weed. However, when you get a whole yard of it in bloom, it can look quite beautiful.

Unfortunately, the bees also happen to like it when it blooms. Taking pictures of bees is the one time when I don’t bother composing the picture. I shoot and run, just in case the sound of the shutter happens to irritate them.

Here is yesterday’s synchronized bees:

Synchronized bees

 

That picture, as out of focus as it is, was taken with a Sigma 50mm macro lens, which meant I had to get close to them, too close for comfort since my fingers, eyes, nose…. were closer to them than I wanted to be. Even though they were pretty busy gathering pollen, I didn’t want them to think that I was invading their food source.

I’m thinking about going back tomorrow with my 300mm lens so I don’t have to get so close to them!

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About San Diego — #5: Go to the Zoo, come home with….

Out & About San Diego

I have an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park. I go at least once a week to one of them.

The Zoo occupies 100 acres while Safari Park has 1,800 acres.

The Zoo is in Balboa Park near downtown San Diego, while Safari Park is near Escondido, about 45 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.

Safari Park was founded in 1972 while the Zoo was founded as part of the 1915 Panama-California International Exposition.

Both the Zoo and the Safari Park are internationally recognized botanical gardens. When you go to either of them, then, it’s always worthwhile to spend some time looking at the flora, too.

Since it’s been raining off and on for the past several days, something that’s rare in San Diego, the photographers are out en masse looking for those magical pictures with water on them.

I got mine at the San Diego Zoo:

Passionflower

Passionflower

  

That’s a passionflower (Passiflora sp.), one of my top five flowers. There are about five hundred species of passionflowers but only nine are native to the United States. Most of them are vines, and San Diegans like to grow them on their chain-link fences to lessen the ugliness of that type of fence. You can see the chain link fence in the background of those two pictures.

Passionflowers have a unique structure, and once you’ve seen one, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever forget it. You’ll be able to identify that “weird vine with a beautiful flower” that’s growing on your neighbor’s fence.

The passion fruit is quite large for a vine, and the fruit of Passiflora edulis is actually called passionfruit and used for food and juice in many parts of the world. I can attest to the flavor of the passionfruit since I have enjoyed many a passionfruit margarita at Islands burger restaurant in San Diego’s Mission Valley. Hmmm, maybe it’s the alcohol that’s flavorful?

Pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D and post-processing using Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

  

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat