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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Floral Show Stoppers

It’s getting near the end of the spring bloom season in a lot of gardens. The rhododendrons are hardy, though, and can bloom well into June. As a lot of my blog followers know, I frequent a favorite garden of mine, the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, located in Federal Way, Washington. Above is the latest image of the entry gate area to the garden. Pink rhododendrons and white Viburnum blooms currently grace the front entrance. The Pacific Bonsai Museum is adjacent to the botanical garden.

Starting in late February and continuing into June, there is always something new blooming in the garden. Just about every week or two, you will see another species blooming. This parade of blooms continues throughout the spring blooming months. One is never bored with the same blooms in this garden. I am amazed at the hundreds of different plant species here and how ingeniously this garden was planned. And it’s all set in a natural Pacific Northwest forest setting.

The reason I made a scheduled trip to the garden this day was to check on some orchids that were starting to bloom in the glass conservatory. A week ago I had noticed one of the hanging orchid planters had some buds that I had never seen before. I was excited to see this new species and, with all the sunny, very warm weather we had been experiencing lately, I knew they would be in bloom very soon. Well, my hunch was correct! What a surprise that greeted me as I walked into the conservatory! Directly to my right was hanging a large cluster of  small, white and orange orchids. I had never seen such a display like this one before. Absolutely gorgeous! Last week, when I visited, I asked one of the gardeners about these soon-to-be bloomers. He mentioned that they are a Dendrobium orchid species. Here are a few images.

I wouldn’t wait too long to see these beautiful blooms, if you desire to do so. I don’t know how long they will stay in bloom. I have noticed that some species of orchids have a long bloom life while others are pretty short.

Another show stopper in the conservatory that has just bloomed is Rhododendron dalhousiae. This is a gorgeous bloom that you just gotta see! The large, trumpet shaped flower is white with red stripes. This Asian rhododendron is native to the Himalayan regions of northeastern India, Bhutan, and southern Tibet.

Moving along to the outside garden, here are some of the rhodies and azaleas that are blooming.

 

Here are some of the companion plants blooming in the garden right now.

A Rodgersia species. These pink flowers give off a very sweet fragrance.

Star flowered False Solomon’s Seal

I am not sure what this plant species is. The leave structure reminds me of a False Solomon’s Seal. It has white, bell shaped flowers on red, branching stems at the top of the plant.

The Himalayan Blue Poppies are still blooming strong. I would expect them to start fading sometime in June. I took this picture on purpose to show what next to expect to bloom in the garden. In June, the Giant Himalayan Lily will show off its head of fantastic blooms. You can see the large, tall stalk already, next to the Blue Poppy. It will be the last of the garden show stoppers to make an entrance for the season.

If you live in the area, or are passing through and have the time, stop by this beautiful garden of delights before they are all done blooming for the season. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am – 4pm.

All image property of Peggy A Thompson

 

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“Washed Ashore” Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium Exhibit

Welcome to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, located in Tacoma, Washington. I have been taking advantage of our lovely weather and recently visited our local zoo to see the new “Washed Ashore” Exhibit that showcases colorful, giant sea creatures made from plastic ocean trash found along our ocean beaches. Come along with me as we explore these marvelous works of art!

Penguin

Just look at all the pieces of plastic used to make these sculptures! Amazing! The pieces are afixed to the sculpture base with metal staples.

Shark

Puffin

This colorful Weedy Sea Dragon was one of my favorites. The hundreds of plastic bottle caps really made this sculpture pop!

Weedy Sea Dragon

Parrot Fish

Seal

Octopus

Sea Turtle riding a wave

Jellyfish

Just loved the new exhibit! I think I may have missed the Anemone sculpture display. Not sure how many there are all together. If you are visiting the area, make sure to stop by the zoo to see these wonderful sculptures. The kids will love them and so will you! And, you’ll learn about recycling! For more info on the current exhibit and zoo information, click on the links at the top of this blog post.

 

 

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