lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Too busy learning and photographing to think of anything except my day job and what's for dinner. Here, have a photo of flowery goodness under construction (whee!)

I took this on Monday. The members' preview will be Friday. Those things up in the air are 3,874 clusters of roses, rice flowers, and silver daisies (all kiln-dried) suspended on 16 miles of parachute cord.

Best to follow me on Facebook if you want more flowery goodness these days. I post as Laura Blanchard (how original) and my Flower Show posts are all public.
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10000th_uploadSo there's my 10,000th upload -- Nopalxochia phyllanthoides 'deutsche kaiserin'. At last, a photo of mine that does it justice. Lord knows, I've been trying ever since I got my first digital camera, the old Kodak DX-3600 1.2 megapixel point and shoot. [ profile] kightp got some great shots when she was here in 2008 and I was crankily envious.

For this one I stepped outside my chronological progression through the Flower Show. This one was taken on the last day, shortly after the show closed. I hung around hoping that Mrs. Hamilton's staff would come to take it away and, in the process, knock off a leaf. No such luck. But my own Nopalxochia, thoughtfully sent to me by [ profile] irismoonlight, is also very splendid, and I can look at it all through the workday.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Here is my new prostrate rosemary. I already have sage plants under grow lights downstairs, and I have parsley seeds that I'm about to start. All I'm missing is the thyme, and I forgot to buy thyme seed at the Flower Show, so I'll have to buy plants, *grumble.*
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Springtime in Paris
March 6-13, 2011

I know what my buddy Michael Bruce is planning...
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Did you see the life-sized topiary elephant with lentil blanket?

I'm adjusting, slowly and grumpily, to a life without a Flower Show. Work was....hard yesterday. But this morning I logged on, went to Flickr, and discovered that one of my photo friends had been out taking pictures of real flowers (the early spring bulbs) at the Morris Arboretum, so I am consoling myself that the Flower Show has merely moved outside.
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But, happily for me, my own flower show is about to begin. The first set of buds on the hippeastrum 'exotica' are very likely to open, and the first 'gervase' isn't far behind. Meanwhile, the first Nopalxochia flower is approaching full size, and I counted fifteen buds this morning.

Now that I've learned two things about my camera -- how to use the "burst" feature to get great focus on the second or third shot, and how to fiddle with the exposure -- I was able to get some photos on the last day that simply hadn't worked earlier in the week.

I lounged around in bed until 5:30 this morning -- wow! -- but mostly because my knees and ankles had gone on strike. I'm sure they'll be better soon. The sun just rose over the rooftops, and a lovely day is forecast, with highs in the 50s. Perfect for a bike ride to the supermarket.

Now to resume my normal life. (I'm glad Roy is in Jacksonville so that he doesn't notice that I'm moping today.) But first, I think I'll edit a few Flower Show pictures and post them on Flickr.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I thought these were awfully pretty when I saw them in the Park Seed catalog, but I couldn't see paying $3.50 for seeds plus $7.95 shipping and handling. So I crossed my fingers and went to the seed vendor at the Flower Show. Who had them, from Thompson & Morgan, a packet of 50 seeds instead of 30.

I had saved the two plastic containers that held the two mixtures I used for meat loaf last week -- they nested inside each other nicely, so one can double as a pot saucer. I sowed the seeds today, which has some sort of deep significance, I suppose, as it's the last day of the Flower Show.

I spent a couple hours on the show floor this morning, shooting some things over. Between using the burst and bracketing the exposures, I think I captured 6-10 images for every frame I wanted. And I still have two do-overs on my list, although one is just capturing a label on an orchid and the other isn't exactly essential.

If they're allowing exhibitors to start the tear-down right after the show closes, I'm going to help out Michael Bruce.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I'm not there yet, but I'm sure that by the time I finish my indiscriminate uploading of Flower Show photos I will be. I have less than 400 photos to go to turn the odometer on 10,000 photos.

This is "Flowers: The Jewels of an Indian Wedding," the India showcase garden by Jamie Rothstein Floral Design. It's also the last photo in my Flower Show set of almost 500 photos so far, eep!, so if you click through and keep clicking on the left thumbnail you'll eventually come to the beginning. I'm only up to the Member Preview day, meaning I have several days of Flower Show to go. I missed one day entirely and another day I only shot about 8 frames, but I made up for it on the other days.

Jolly Mr. Nikon just keeps humming along. I have yet to run down the battery or fill the SD-MMC card, even though I shot almost 900 frames yesterday. It's because I was getting the hang of the "burst" feature, which is even as [ profile] kightp said is a thing of wonder and beauty for getting the focus right on the second or third shot.

Today I think I also learned how to dial down the exposure a bit when I don't want the highlights burnt out. Too bad I didn't learn that before today's set of I have a re-shoot list of about 15 shots and I'm sure I'll think of more.
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Today and tomorrow the Flower Show opens at 8:00 a.m., so if I want to get there ahead of the crowds, I really have to be on the road by 6:00. Tomorrow starts daylight saving time and Roy has to be out the door at 6:00 to catch a plane -- that would be 5:00 am by our internal clocks. I am not a great fan of such shocks to the system, which is why I got up 1/2 hr earlier today. Edited, with grumbling: last year Daylight Saving Time fell on the last day of the Flower Show, but this year it starts March 14...

Just a few photo fill-ins now. One exhibitor, the current flower arrangements, whatever individual plants strike my fancy.

Dodo's Nopalxochia is blooming, but not terribly exuberantly. It has lots of new growth, though, and has been seriously groomed. Pictures will be posted. Dodo herself is now getting around the Show on a Rascal, although I think she has some mobility -- she also has a cane.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Also for [ profile] clindau -- the photos of the miniatures start here, with a couple Cactus & Succulent Society shots thrown in. There were a couple of miniatures that weren't installed when I shot these -- my shots through the glass aren't as tasty.
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flightIt was one of my days off as a tour guide (they want me in tomorrow instead of today). So naturally I got up at 5:30 and was out the door at 6:25 to go take pictures. I wore jeans so I could sit on the floor if I wanted a low angle for something. Almost 600 pictures, oh my. But a lot of that is because I shot multiples.

I found manual focus by accident, used it a couple of times.

Today's Flower Show excitement: the free-flight birds are getting more adventurous. Two huge multicolored parrots made a break for freedom and went swooping from exhibit to exhibit, pausing to roost in the lighting. It was pretty funny. I got one picture that's all blur and feathers.

It was much warmer today than it has been for some weeks. I am hardened off enough from our rigor with the thermostat that I went out in a simple denim jacket and biked around town.
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Bill Schaffer, AIFD, Polar Fantasy. It really was this incredible:

Flower Show

Mar. 3rd, 2010 08:43 am
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I spent eight hours on the Show Floor yesterday in a split shift and I am taking the day (mostly) off from the show to recover. Also, it's about time I paid a little more attention to my Day Job.

I didn't see [ profile] clindau's message in time to send greetings to my sister, but will do so at my next opportunity.

In other news, I have discovered that my desktop machine positively refuses to acknowledge the existence of the SD-MMC card. However, the ASUS happily reads it. Thus, I can do a clunky workaround -- SD-MMC card in the slot, external hard drive in the USB port, and transfer. I hope. I shot a video last night, with no clue what I was doing, and we'll see how that went.

I have good germination on my marjoram, thirteen buds on the Nopalxochia, and a second flower stalk emerging from the Hippeastrum 'exotica.'

EDIT: And I spy a second bud amid the leaves on the 'gervase." Whee!

My final tour day has been changed from Thursday to Friday. This will make the time with the artistic and horticultural classes much more interesting -- there will be judging going on in both areas. It also means, I think, that my new day off, Thursday, will be a day on which absolutely nothing is going on in those areas so I'll have a free hand to photograph to my heart's content, but no free coffee.

In other news, I uploaded my niece's photos to one of my servers so that she can grab them if she wants them before I mail the CD to her. Also...the *picture* quality on the video I shot is fabulous. The technical/artistic quality, not so much.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
I forgot to set the alarm and Roy shook me at 5:38 -- but I was out on my bike at 6:25, even allowing for 10 min sipping coffee at my computer and reading the paper online.

What a great tour group I had! Ladies from a Greenwich CT garden club who'd brought plant entries! One of them entered a hippeastrum 'Gervase,' one of the varieties I have on my windowsill, and hers has THREE FLOWERSTALKS. She better win something! They had peeked at the Flower Show yesterday, enduring the crowds, and were especially grateful for the lebensraum.

This afternoon I meet my sister and my niece at the train station for a second shift. I only took a few pictures this morning, I thought, but that few turns out to be 85 frames. Heaps of stuff will be posted.

This photo is from the exhibition by MODA Botanica. Called "box," it is staged inside multiple shipping containers from all over. It's at once a meditation on the global interconnectedness of their business and on a variety of urban landscapes. This one is called "urban jungle."

P.S. My knees held out better this morning, but now I'm a little stiff. Well...more ibuprofen and a bike ride back to the Convention Center should help.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
[ profile] karenkay is jonesing for some miniature pictures (and so, but less noisily, is [ profile] clindau), so here are this year's winners -- interior and exterior divisions.

I was up and out of the house a little later than I wanted -- knees hurt like hell this morning and I wasn't on my bike and moving until almost 6:30. I got to the show floor by 6:45 but wound up talking tips and factini with my fellow guides there and then on the tour staging area until my tour of Elderhostel folks pushed off at 8:00. It was a good group, very engaged and very happy to see whatever was there to be seen.

Big news from the show floor today -- the temperamental Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis sheldonii 'Lingholm', deigned to unfurl its first bud this morning. The folks at Longwood Gardens weren't at all sure they'd get any blooms. It has been a bad year for forcing because of all the low light levels.

In home gardening news, my first marjoram seedlings showed up two days ago -- minuscule things, smaller than pinheads. I moved the flat to a windowsill and when I have a bit more germination (and have bought gnat-begone spray) I will move them downstairs. A solitary Schlumbergera has opened up an off season bloom, keeping the constant floral display going since early December, hooray for it, and the Nopalxochia has 13 buds in varying stages of development -- one of which is starting to color up just the smallest bit.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
The alarm went off at 5:30 but I smacked it up at 5:50...drank coffee and updated the tour guide wiki until 6:45, then dressed and groomed in a fast hurry, hopped on my bike and was on the show floor at 7:25. If it had been a tour day, I would have had no time to play on the floor before my tour people got there.

But it wasn't a tour day, although it was a day that the doors open at 8:00 a.m. Still, I was able to photograph Bill Shaffer's "Polar Fantasy" exhibit in some detail, then sprint over to the floral arrangements to grab record-purpose shots of all the entries, which I'm not at all sure I want to continue doing every time they change over (four changes in the course of the show). Maybe, maybe not.

The miniatures I thought would win in the Saturday judging won.

I spent some time on the show floor after the hordes came in, watching the showgoers and taking several pictures of crowds, plus pictures of people taking pictures.

Tomorrow I have to be up and out for real. Whee...
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
How do you move a giant tropical waterlily thirty miles in a snowstorm? Here is the first of eight photos documenting the process. I actually shot about 40 but these pretty much tell the story. The lily was packed in an insulated plywood box, covered with wet sphagnum and then plastic wrap. When the time came to install it in the Explorer's Garden pond, it took four people, two in waders -- one to hold the plant itself and one to hold each of three big leaves on panels of insulated foam. Slots were cut in each panel (as you see here) to make room for the stems.

You can listen to an entry on the lily by dialing 610-717-5599 and entering 457 # at the prompt. I doubt the number will persist for long after the Flower show. Philadelphia International Flower Show, February 25, 2010.
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Wow...there's a dingus that lets me post this directly to Livejournal! Watching this video, you can see a taste of what I've been seeing for the past three days.

In other Flower Show news, I overslept by a considerable amount this morning, having forgotten to set my alarm. However...I did awake briefly at about the last possible moment for me to leap out of bed and into my clothes and make it there in time to do my tour. I noted that possibility and went back to sleep.

As a point-and-shoot, the new Nikon is doing beautifully well. Focus is a little softer than I'd like but that's to be expected with hand-held. Also, I haven't learned how to correct the exposure to photograph large white flowers like peonies yet, but I'm sure I'll get there.
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Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Jolly Mr. Nikon makes shooting the Flower Show a real treat.
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I think it may have been all the excitement of getting the new camera, and the anxiety of getting up to speed with it etc., but I couldn't get to sleep last night. This morning I woke up at 5:30 but since I had no real reason to be up and dressed I lounged with cups of coffee and the paper.

I've found a few more important buttons on the D90 and am ready to put it through its paces at the Flower Show this afternoon. What I gets I gets.

I do my first tour this afternoon. The Flower Show includes

1 Central feature
6 Showcase gardens
25 Major exhibitors
19 Educational exhibitors

...and a metric buttload of competitive entries -- arrangements, small gardens, porches, windowboxes, individual plants.

That's a lot to learn in two days. I have my cheat sheets assembled. Now it's off to the show!!!


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