Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Garden of the Longest Days


The meteorologist explained (or, rather, stated) that the period of the longest days, begun on June 20, were now at an end. But due to an astronomical peculiarity that I will never seek to understand the latest sunsets were taking place this week. 
Well, wherever you get those extra minutes, morning or evening, June in New England is a lovely month in which to enjoy them, and the last couple of weeks have been among the best I can remember.
          When I tried to capture this rare conjunction of long days and dry air with my camera last week, the images my camera was producing were highly at odds from the light I was seeing with the naked eye. So much darkness leaning into the frame. Where was it coming from.

           I am told the images I was creating were produced by what is called the Toy Camera Effect. So here are some photos taken (mostly) before I figured out what was happening and how to make it stop.
            From the top, the following plants are featured in these pictures. First,a deep red-violet spirea in the foreground (the red more pronounced in real light than in the photo). This variety is called Anthony Waterer; I can find no explanation for the name. It grew large as soon as we planted it; we have to pull it back off the path every year. In the background, the yellow flowers are evening primrose. They have dominated for the last week or two, having colonized patches here and there all over the garden.
           Second photo down features purple-blossomed spiderwort in the foreground. Again, this is the plant's moment. It lights up in the mornings mostly, spreads itself, grows everywhere (and gets yanked up unceremoniously by Anne, who is not a fan). I think it pairs nicely with all the yellow foliage of late June. We see it hear in front of a haze of Lady's Mantle blossoms, a lacy flower with a pale color that the 'toy' effect intensifies.    
            Third photo down shows red blossoming Coreopsis in the foreground, a scatter of cosmos around the low, dark-metal sundial, and in the background the red spikes of Astilbe.
            The fourth photo focuses on the big yellow blossoms of Achillea (called yarrow). You can see some of that purple spiderwort in the background, hemmed in by the emphatic shade of the toy camera effect
              The fifth photo features the light pink blossoms of a Penstemon (also called beardtongue; don't ask me why). The gray mass behind them is Artemisia, which spreads aggressively and gets pulled up a lot too.
           The last photo shows good old red roses. This classic vine was on the property (I won't say 'growing') when we moved here. It looked dead, but some pruning and fertilizing brought it back amazingly. 
             We will miss this June when it passes. The garden is thirsty already. When these best days of early summer come each year, I want to drag my feet to slow the circles down.