Colorful August Gardens

It’s August! And flower gardens are blooming in delicious colors! One of my favorites is the Black Eyed Susan. They radiant so much warmth and cheer with their golden yellow color! I love how the blue Salvia are mixed in with them. Nice color combo!

Colorful Wax begonias and yellow Marigolds in the image below make lovely garden borders.

This month also sees Asian Lilies in full bloom. These Stargazers steal the show every time with their beautiful, large blooms and heavy fragrance.

Another popular garden flower throughout August is the Coneflower (Echinacea). They come in different colors, such as red, yellow, purple, and white.

The large leafed Ligularia, commonly known as Leopard Plants, shows off it bright, yellow flowers. These do well in shaded areas of a garden.

Here is some blooming Crocosmia I found, still glistening from a morning’s watering.

Another flowering plant just starting to bloom is the Globe Thistle. The heads of these plants burst out into tiny, purple blossoms. They remind me of flowering Allium.

Alongside the Globe Thistle, I found these Globe Artichokes.

A yellow Tiger Swallowtail butterfly resting on Russian Sage.

And last, but not least, the showy Dahlia is now blooming throughout summer gardens and will continue to bloom throughout September.

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson

 

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Adventure on the Olympic Peninsula

It’s been a picture perfect summer so far, here in Western Washington State. No rain for a month and mild temperatures make for perfect vacation weather. I gave myself a mini-vacation over the weekend and decided to head for the Olympic Peninsula and the rain forests. Mind you, there can be drizzle or a few sprinkles along the coast. The Pacific Northwest rain forest area normally receives well over 100 inches of rain per year. This past record, wet winter and spring saw several hundred inches of rain. Pretty amazing!

From whatever direction you travel, you have to navigate Hwy 101 on the peninsula. The highway travels up the Oregon coastline and beyond and just about circumnavigates the peninsula. In between is the Olympic Mountain Range and Olympic National Forest, a vast area. The highway doesn’t exactly follow the Washington coastline as it does in Oregon; it follows primarily an inland route through the coastal forests, with a short stint along the western coastline, at Ruby Beach. Once you reach the top of the peninsula, the highway travels closer to the inland strait, and then proceeds south along the scenic Hood Canal, ending near Olympia, Washington.

Of all the rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula, the Hoh Rain Forest is the largest and most popular. This area has a paid entrance and visitor center in the Olympic National Park system. There are several trails to choose from, some short and some quite long. If you are just visiting for the day, opt for the Hall of Mosses Trail or the Spruce Trail. The Hall of Mosses Trail is probably the most popular, as it is under a mile loop trail. Here you are greeting in the parking area with huge Sitka Spruce trees, as seen below.

I opted for the Hall of Mosses Trail, as I was on a tight schedule. Here you will encounter more of the giant Sitka Spruce along with giant Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, and some Western Redcedar, with the first two being the predominant species in the rain forest. Below is an example of large, Western Hemlocks.

Here, some tourists are checking out a giant Douglas Fir.

Check out this image with these creepy, twisted roots of an old Hemlock tree.

In another section is a grove of old Maple trees that look like something out of a fantasy movie. They are totally covered in mosses and lichens.

The trail is relatively easy, with a few steps and inclines, here and there.

Along the 17 mile, winding road to the park entrance, from the main Hwy 101, glimpses of the Hoh River can be seen.

If you are hungry or looking for rain forest souvenirs, there is one small cafe (Hard Rain Cafe) along the road outside of the park and one outdoor/souvenir shop (Peak 6). I highly recommend the Peak 6 shop for souvenirs. They have an excellent selection of clothing and gifts at reasonable prices.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of a temperate rain forest. Keep in mind that there is a lot of mileage involved to find these gems in the Pacific Northwest, and it is best to make motel or camp site reservations in advance. There are camp sites in the Hoh Rain Forest. The nearest motels are located in Forks, Washington. There are also rooms and cabins at Lake Crescent Lodge and Kalaloch Lodge. You definitely do not want to rush your stay!

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson

 

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Mountain Bloom Time

It’s peak bloom time in the meadows at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park! The wildflowers are putting on a show! Early July is a good time to see the blooms and should last most of the month. The purple blooms you see are Broadleaf Lupine. The tall white, single-headed flowers are American Bistort, along with lots of other species of wildflowers. Lots of colorful flowers line the road. Chances are that you will see deer grazing in the meadows, too.

Cow Parsnip Plants

Daisy flowers

 

All photo property of Peggy A Thompson

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Summer Gardens

Summer is definitely here in the Pacific Northwest, and the flower gardens show it! I strolled about in some of the local gardens the past few days and here is what I found.

Oriental Lilies

Red Asian Lilies

Flowering Hosta Plant

Orange Asian Lilies

Blue Salvia and Rudbeckia

Monkshood Flowers (Wolfsbane)

Daylilies

Eriginum (Sea Holly)

Astilbe and Japanese Painted Fern

Acanthus

Begonia

White Stargazer Lily

As you can see, many types of lilies are blooming. The Stargazers, in particular, are very fragrant. You can smell them from several feet away and can sometimes be a bit overwhelming if there are a lot of them in one area. They are an Asian Lily hybrid and grow with their blooms pointed skyward.

Lastly, I happened to see this poor Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flitting around with part of a wing missing. I don’t know if it naturally developed this way or lost it due to some unfortunate circumstance. In any case, I felt very sorry for it, although it seemed to be quite capable of flitting around with what wings it had.

All images property of Peggy A Thompson

 

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A Stroll Through the Gardens

It’s amazing how much one can miss in just a few weeks when photographing floral gardens during peak bloom times. One of my local favorites to visit throughout the bloom season is Point Defiance Park Gardens. I was just there a week or two ago, but when I revisited today, I was amazed at how many species were in bloom. The recent spat of warm, sunny weather really does make a difference! The rose garden has burst into bloom, and the gardeners have bedded all the colorful edging flowers, such as Marigolds and Begonias. Strolling through this popular garden, take care to notice, with each few steps, all the different species of plants and flowers.

The sun was playing peek-a-boo among the large, white cumulus clouds, providing some excellent opportunities to get good camera exposures. I have always found that the best times to photography bright, colorful Roses is at times like these. Avoid glaring sunlight casting strong shadows. Below are several images of Rose varieties.

Here are a few orange Poppy flowers. The second image shows the seed pods.

This giant Poppy flower, unfortunately, was on its way out. But I love the contrasting, complex design of the flower center.

Below are some lovely Iris blooms.

One of my favorite spring flowers is the Columbine. They come in different color combinations.

The globe shaped Allium is in bloom.

I spotted on one of the blooms a white Crab spider with caught prey: a bee. Below is a better close-up of the unexpected find.

The Daylily blooms are beginning as well.

Calla Lilies are in full bloom.

Pretty, purple Wallflowers

Dephinium, also called Larkspur, are in bloom. Love the shades of blue and pale purple!

I cam across these purple Bellflowers that I had never seen before. The blooms are quite large, about two inches in length.

The lovely Peonies are in bloom. Here I found some mixed in with blooming Lavender.

Lastly, I spotted these blooms that I had never seen before. If any of my blog readers know the species, please comment. They form an array of cascading blooms along a single, thin, long stem. They remind me of Crocosmias.

I hope you enjoyed the stroll through the garden with me today! I may be incorporating some of these photo images on products in my Northwestphotos Zazzle store. The store’s Floral category has really bloomed over the past few years!

All photos property of Peggy A Thompson

 

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