Sunday, July 18, 2010

Noticing/not noticing/being noticed by things

Last May I visited Powell Gardens and was entranced by some of the combinations of the native flowers. Native columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is always delicately pretty but when combined with blue flax (Linum lewisii), the two together become something extra sweet and lovely.

Add some bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii), even more gorgeousness.

The flax had self sown itself just about everywhere (or maybe it was by human hand). In any case, that flax made friends with every plant it was growing next to and made everything look better. I've never had much luck with artemisia but it's worth a try again after seeing it growing next to all that blue flax.

There was one native flower however, that was my favorite. Clematis fremontii (Fremont's leather flower). Not only is it a native to the U.S., but grows naturally in this area (Kansas and Missouri).

I followed it around the rocks taking as many pictures possible of all the various ways the clematis had tucked itself in among them.

I was busy poking my camera in and around those rocks when I was interrupted by someone tapping me on the shoulder and pointing at something almost directly in front of me.

Gooooood grief. I was so busy looking at the clematis, I never saw what was taking in the sun just a little behind it. We laughed at my surprise.

Uh huh, kind of a lot of baby snakes. If I had taken any pictures on the other side of the rock, maybe I would have noticed the momma snake who was taking in the sunshine there. But who knows? Maybe not. I was on a leather flower picture taking mission.

I thought of those snakes this morning when I stepped out on the deck. I looked over to where all my potted plants are piled up (they're there temporarily so that when I get my new gutters installed some time in the next couple weeks, the plants won't get stomped on). There in the middle of all those disorganized plants was Cathy Jean giving me a good staredown. Can't see her? She was the first thing I saw when I looked in that direction.

She's right there in the middle.

Kind of made me wonder. How could I have missed seeing eight snakes out in the open just three feet away from me yet immediately see one turtle hunkered down in the euonymous maybe fifteen feet away? The only thing I can think of is that that Cathy Jean has perfected one compelling and powerful staredown. And when that turtle locks eyes with you, you're obligated to return the acknowledgement of being noticed with your own version of a staredown.

And hurry up and get started on that turtle breakfast that apparently was determined to be late in getting served this morning. :-)


Eve said...

I think she was trying not to be noticed there in the flowers, except for that one eye that says it all...gimmy breakfast!
The snakes were just a bonus for the trip Maria!

Leenie said...

I guess we see what we are looking for. My attention was focused on all that botany growing so happily in your garden area--even when confined to pots, they blossom where they're planted. You have a fine green thumb in spite of your turtle friends efforts to search and destroy.

As for blue flax--make sure you want it where you put it because it will commander and spread in its surroundings and is a big pain to weed out. Tough, beautiful and weedy.

Maria said...

Eve-I guess I'm just sensitive to the spying I get from those turtles. I can always "feel" when one of them is looking at me from some unknown place.

And I know! Weren't those snakes neat? I think everyone who walked around the corner of that rock area started laughing because those snakes took everyone by surprise.

Leenie-Good to know about that flax. That's probably why I've never seen it in anyone's garden. But I do have plenty of space in Kansas and those little dots of blue among the columbine? I'm afraid they were irresistibly pretty.

And regarding the garden...I do try. Thanks for your nice comment. I have better success with foliage than flowers. Most of those flowers you see are annuals. I don't think you can be that impressed with that but a lot of them have survived a couple years of being overwintered in the house. I think the trick is to just grow unfussy things which is why I grow so many snakeplants. The turts have been finding all the sedum though. And in their efforts to get to the sedum, maybe potted plants get overturned and stomped on. There's a reason I don't have any closeups of the plants piled up under that elm. :-)

Rural Rambler said...

Maria I love Columbine! We have quite alot of it here but it stands alone. The Blue Flax does indeed make for a beautiful flower view.

snakey said...

i love that bouquet of snakelings! but...were they copperheads?

Maria said...

PIx-I love them too. Doesn't aquilegia translate to something like "eagle's claw?" Anything with a bird name, I'm there.

Cathy-Those "little" snakes were over two feet long. My camera flattens things out so they were a lot bigger than how they look in the photo. The momma was on the other side of the rocks (I didn't see her but heard the comments from other people when they came across her). I don't think the snakes were copperheads. If they were, I am sure someone would have identified them as such. I think we were all thinking something along the line of rat snake or some sort of non-venomous water snake. They sure were quite happy with themselves taking a sunbath on the rocks surrounded by flowers.