Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maine Island: Variations on a Scene

The island in Casco Bay where my husband's family cottage sits has many moods. I have been coming here for 14 years as summer slides into fall. The slanting light becomes more beautiful each day as the equinox approaches.

Each familiar scene never looks the same twice. Always something is different - the light, the wind, the clouds, the vantage point, the tides that rise and ebb 10 feet every 13 hours. Here are a few favorite photos from the last three years of the East End point. This is the view we see when walking a couple of hundred feet to the stairs that lead to the beach. 

After a rainstorm, the late afternoon sun strikes the white birches that line the shore.

Wind from the northwest brings low dramatic clouds and rockweed is exposed as the tide goes out. 

This view of the East End was taken from halfway down the beach.

A different kind of calm from the photo above. The scene is ethereal at dawn. 

Inviting in the late afternoon.

Violent, yet exhilarating, during tropical storm Irene.

Cold and lonely when the sun goes behind a cloud.

Tonight we'll sit on the point that looks toward the East End and watch the stars. It was here that God began to find me. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lessons Learned: Summer 2012

A few random lessons from a summer in which too much time was spent hiding from heat and mosquitoes:

1. It's almost impossible for me to take a good photo of a crape myrtle. Perhaps because they bloom in July and August when the sun is most glaring? Or because the tiny flowerets that make up their large panicles (I am most likely misusing botanical terms but am in a hurry because I'm packing for Maine) don't like to be focused on? 

I have 15 crape myrtles on my new property - too many, perhaps? They may be the dominant tree in my jungle, with dogwoods and Japanese maples close behind.

2. Hibiscus is a gorgeous plant for containers. I didn't have enough sun at the old house to grow them. I bought a hibiscus tree with yellowing bottom leaves at a big box store for $6.99 and it has flowered non-stop all summer, attracting hummingbirds. I have spent much time entranced by the delicate silky slightly ruffled petals and the perfect flowers that bloom for just one day.

Squirrels have been eating the hibiscus lately, gnawing off the leaves and buds. I never have seen squirrels attack a plant before - dig up plants and dig around plants, yes, but not eating them. Finally, I saw some references on the Internet to squirrels chewing off hibiscus leaves to get moisture.

3. Wild garlic is quite difficult to eradicate. Despite a couple of rounds of hoeing, it keeps coming back. I didn't see any wild garlic in the beds when we looked at the house before buying it. In fact, all the areas in the garden beds that are now infested with weeds were bare. I suspect Roundup was used. 

Bees love the small flowers, though.

4. Be grateful for rain. In a summer when much of the country experienced record droughts, North Carolina had regular rains. During July and August, I rarely had to supply supplemental water. Just as things were beginning to dry out, another thunderstorm rolled through today.

5. The combination of heat and mosquitoes is too much for this gardener. There will be mosquitoes in Maine, but at least I can protect myself from them with jeans and sweatshirts. I miss gardening terribly in July and August - it somehow seems wrong to a former Michigan girl to be trapped inside in the summer. 

I'm linking to Beth at Plant Postings for her meme on Garden Lessons Learned: Summer 2012.