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Painted lady butterfly-not Monarch-on Zinnia

Butterflies love the brightly colored Zinnia flowers.
The nectar of these brilliant hues of red, orange, yellow and purple flowers attract butterflies as a magnet.

Today, we had a windy day and my photos are not as I would like them to be.
A good friend identified this beautiful butterfly as a Painted lady. I thought it was a monarch but I was wrong.
Monarch Butterfly on purple Zinnia
Monarch Butterfly-close up
Monarch Butterfly on Pink Zinnia-macro
This is the Zinnia elegans and when butterflies love Zinnia flowers than they must be beautiful.
Zinnia elegans-close up

Orchids reflected in raindrops-macro photography

My favorite shots are raindrop macros, as some of you probably know.
Taking close up photographs can be great fun and quite addictive.
The strict definition of the term Macro photography is used to describe a shot taken at a 1:1 ratio; that is, the object appears to be the same size on a camera's sensor as it does in real life.

Macro photography offers the opportunity to capture a dramatic shot of any tiny object, flower, bug or a reflection in a rain drop, in the example bellow.

Opposed to the general believe, you don't need expensive macro lenses and cameras to begin with macro photography. You can probably start with the equipment you already own.
Get up close and personal with your subject and arm yourself with much patience.

These days, most compact cameras have a macro mode and are able to take wonderful macro shots.
The sample photo on this page was taken with my old point-and-shoot Canon.

Shooting outdoors after rain, you have the opportunity to photograph natural raindrops if you can find a pleasing natural setup.
A more comfortable approach is to create your own rain drops indoors, like I did.
This picture with the orchids reflected in the water drop was taken by just window light. Probably, a better result could be achieved with a supplementary light on the shadow side of the droplet.

These beautiful reflections always go unnoticed by the naked eye.

Raindrops on orchids

The orchid flowers are reflected in the water-drops at the end of the flower stem.  

Read more about taking raindrop photos and see some more raindrop macro photos in my raindrop gallery, if you like these photos too.

Coral Begonia-macro photo

Begonia flowers are lovely houseplants too.
I'm not sure about the name but I like the coral color of the flower in contrast with the dark green foliage.
Coral begonia-macro

Melocactus-close up picture

There are so many species of cacti, with such a wide range of shapes and sizes that I could never be able to identify them.

This one from the picture is one of the genus Melocactus, with this specific structure of wool and bristle at the growing tip, called Cephalium.
MelocactusThe brightly colored cephalium will grow only as the cactus ages, and the flower buds will form from this colorful wool.

Balloon flower-Chinese bellflower pictures

Balloon Flower - Platycodon or Chinese bellflower is a beautiful garden perennial, often seen in borders. The buds of the balloon flower inflate like a small air balloon, before they open, that's where its name comes from.
Its beautiful, star shaped bloom are in various colors: blue, white or pink.
Balloon flower-Chinese bellflower
The balloon flower's roots have medicinal uses too as anti-inflammatory and expectorant.
Platycodon Grandiflorus - balloon flower

Beallara-Cambria Orchid photographs - white-purpe

The most difficult part of taking care of an orchid is not to care too much about it. They like to be left alone and they are happy with regular watering and fertilizing once in a while.
Though orchids are gorgeous flowers, they are in the same state for a long time, nothing new happens.
Being already bored of my Phals, I went to the new garden center, recently opened and having a huge greenhouse, to get some different types of orchids. They had many varieties of orchids but nothing exiting, except the gorgeous
Beallara-Cambria orchids.
Beallara-Cambria Orchids in greenhouse
This time, I checked all of them for diseases and spots on leaves, they all looked a little bit tired. Finally, I ended up with this one, from the picture and it assured the action for me for the rest of the day.
Beallara-Orchid Cambria
Beallaras or Cambria orchids are man-made, they don't naturally live in nature. Passionate horticultors have developed this beautiful hybrid by the cross of three other genera. Apparently Cambria orchids have inherited all the best characteristics of their multiple parents.
Not just that they have wonderful, bright colored, spotted flowers but they also supposed to be more home-friendly and the plant should thrive indoors with very little human intervention.
Cambria orchid-close up-Beallara
There is very little info about the Cambria orchids, there are more questions than answers on the net. This one was labeled just with Orchid Cambria, I think it's exact name is Beallara Tahoma Glacier.
Beallara Orchid-Cambria Tahoma Glacier-close up
I'm looking for some kind of orchid that is not so sensible to temperature variations. Right now, the day temperature, outside rises till 30° C and drops down to less than half during the night.
As I don't feel comfortable in a warm room, the temperature inside is low too and I don't know if I can find the right orchid for these conditions. Any suggestions?

Light pink Begonia-close up

I think it's a Begonia but I'm not so sure. It's a pretty flower anyway.
Pink Begonia
Many Begonia cultivars and hybrids are cultivated and appreciated for their showy flowers of white, pink, scarlet, yellow and many other colors.
Light pink Begonia-close up

Ageratum houstonianum - Flossflower

Ageratum houstonianum, also called flossflower is among the very few blue flowers, blooming at this time of the year. Their abundant clusters of small, fluffy flowers are in colors that range from deep blues to lavender.

Ageratums bloom from early summer through fall.

They look beautiful in landscape, in containers and baskets, as well as in my 100th post of this blog.

Ageratum houstonianum - Flossflower
Ageratum - Flossflower-close-up
Ageratum flower bed

Streetscene in a raindrop-reflections

A mini street scene in a macro raindrop.

I didn't intend to include in the photo the pot with my wilted gazania on the windowsill but it happened.
Street scene in reflection
That's better, the pot is not so visible, instead there is a fragment of my white orchid bloom.
Street scene-reflected
The orchid that holds the water drops.
Orchids in raindrops

See more photos like these at my "Reflections in raindrops" - macro photo gallery.

Visit Macro Monday at Lisa's to see the amazing world of macro.

Canna lily pictures

A few days ago I visited some friends.
As I entered their yard, my attention was immediately attracted by a tall stalk with a few striking colored blooms at the top.
At a first impulse I pulled quickly my camera from my purse but than I remembered that I should temper my passion for flower photos and say good day to my friends, first.

So, the plant with the gorgeous blossoms was a South American native Canna lily.
Canna lily macro
These are the colors from my camera, the real flower is not exactly so bright.
The orange blossoms appearing atop the tall stalk, look like a cross between a gladiolus and an oriental lily.
This canna is over 2 meters height. I can hardly reach its top but I was lucky again, I took the macro without looking on the LCD.
Canna lily
In the yard of my friends there is only one flowering canna plant but there are many baby cannas too.
The plant is borne out of a rhizomatous rootstock and seeds. First, the leaves grow out of a stem in a long narrow roll and then unfurl becoming large, paddle-shaped and veined, bright green foliage.
Canna lily foliage
Canna flowers begin to open in midsummer. The flower don't last for long but floral stalks continue to appear for months and continue flowering until the first frost of autumn.
Cannas, being semitropical, in autumn they will be lifted and stored indoors over the winter.
Yesterday's canna flower
After learning the lesson about how to grow Canna lilies, I concluded that our gladiolus - sword lily- is more beautiful with less trouble.
Gladiolus-sword lily

Thistle flower-thistle seeds

Thistles, these prickly leaved species of Carduus and Cirsium with lovely purple or pink flowers, are just common weeds, though some species are handsome enough to be worthy of a place in gardens.
I can't see the difference between the species of thistles but they have one feature that is easy to identify: their seeds.
This pollen loaded bumble bee on this roadside thistle (Cirsium vulgare), gave me just one chance to take a shot and it attacked me immediately as I pushed the button on my camera.
Bumble bee on thistle flower
Plants of the genus Carduus are sometimes called plume-less thistles, while Cirsiums, plumed thistles.
At this time of the year, they are all ready to disperse their seeds.
Cirsium vulgare-thistle
These are the seeds of the plumed thistle ready to fly with the wind.
The silvery seeds attached to the thistledown fill the air, shining in the sunshine.
Thistle seeds
Visit Scenic Sunday for many beautiful scenes.

Mums flower photos-Chrysanthemum time

Mums are taking over the show. It's late summer, flowers are fading day by day, leaving the scene for the beautiful fall flowers: the Asteraceae.
Garden hardy mums produce an abundance of small, showy blooms of various forms. Daisy-like, pompoms or button chrysanthemums, they all withstand wind and rain till the winter frost comes.

While in many parts of the world, the flower symbolism associated with the white chrysanthemum is abundance, wealth, cheerfulness, optimism, truth, in some countries of Europe like France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Romania, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of death and are used mainly for funerals or on graves.
White mums-macro photography
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC and were brought to Europe in the 17th century.
White mums-chrysanthemum photos
Chrysanthemums are and always were the topic in hundreds of poems, songs and other literary genres, worldwide.

Still life with sunflower

Still life with late summer fruits and a fluffy sunflower.
Some people say that sunflowers are God's mistake when creating flowers.
On the contrary, I think, no other flower speaks about life so laud as sunflowers. The big, smiling flower disc is like an antenna for sunshine, following the journey of the sun across the sky. What a lesson in life!
Still life with fluffy sunflower
"Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows."
- Jean Paul Richter

St. John's wort - Hypericum pictures

St. John's wort (Hypericum} plant's common name comes from its traditional flowering and harvesting on St John's day (24 June), though in some regions, it flowers from mid to late summer. Its pretty, bright yellow flowers with clusters of feathery gold stamens are a sensational view on roadsides and large meadows.
The dark green leaves have oil glands which look like tiny perforations on their undersides.
St John's wort is widely known as a herbal treatment for depression. In some countries, such as Germany, it is commonly prescribed for mild depression.

Medicinal Action and Uses

Aromatic, astringent, resolvent, expectorant and nervine. Used in all pulmonary complaints, bladder troubles, in suppression of urine, dysentery, worms, diarrhoea, hysteria and nervous depression, haemoptysis and other haemorrhages and jaundice. For children troubled with incontinence of urine at night an infusion or tea given before retiring will be found effectual; it is also useful in pulmonary consumption, chronic catarrh of the lungs, bowels or urinary passages. Externally for fomentations to dispel hard tumours, caked breasts, ecchymosis.


Spider under the mushrooms-macro photography

Actually, there was something hiding under the mushrooms from my previous post.
I didn't want to post so many photos in my last post but now, that Kathy mentioned the fairies underneath the mushrooms, I post the picture here.
Spider under the mushrooms-macro photography
Disappointed? Well, it's just a spider. I saw it only when I downloaded the shots from my camera.
It was a pleasant surprise, though the photo quality is ?.......accidental.

Mushrooms instead butterflies

Mushrooms are good too, as a photo subject.
Earlier, I was chasing a butterfly but, unlike mushrooms, butterflies don't stay put. Even when a butterfly stays still for a moment, either the sun is too bright, or the position is not good.
So I gave up the chase and spent some time around these mushrooms.
I don't know their name or even if they are edible or poisonous but I like how they look.
Mushroom macro close-up
See what's under the mushrooms?

Double hollyhock

I just discovered these gorgeous double hollyhock flowers on the street, near a building.
The cream and red hollyhocks are so heavy that the hollyhock plant can't hold them and is laying on the ground. The flowers look like some huge carnation flowers.
Double hollyhock close-up
I never seen such hollyhock flowers before, never noticed though they were probably always there.
Here is a double red hollyhock too.
double petaled hollyhock