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March 10th, 2011

Morris Arboretum part 3, the Fernery

It’s springtime in the Fernery at the Morris Arboretum. I ducked into the Fernery to escape the bright sunlight before I finished my witch hazel tour.

01Fernery

Normally, I’d take the greenhouse/indoor photos first, but I was really there for the witch hazel. It’s hard to go from cold and dry to humid and warm, and I needed to walk around for awhile to let my camera acclimate. After a mix of impatience (remember I had two sweaters and my wool coat with me) and inspiration, I started to take foggy photos while my camera body warmed up.

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Lots of people came in and out while I was taking my photos. It’s too bad they passed by so quickly; they completely missed out on all the new growth. Diane and Cheryl were working in the greenhouse, and they showed me all kinds of hidden worlds. Then I went off and wandered on my own. When I stood up from taking this shot, I heard one of them say, “You’re smiling! I love when people make their own discoveries in here!”

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02RabbitFern

This rabbit’s foot fern is one of my favorites. It looks like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth, or The Muppet Show. I was waiting for some part of the plant to open its eyes, sigh, and lumber away from my incessant picture taking. I was also wishing I was about a foot taller so I could get closer to the plant. This one is growing over the top of a little passageway that houses a Buddha statue and many plants.

06bud
Warm air, gliding koi, Buddha, what’s not to love about this Fernery? I think I’m lucky there were no benches, or I would’ve been tempted to take a long winter’s nap.

03bearFern

The bear paw fern

04newgrowth

Normally I don’t care for direct sun and harsh shadow in a photo, but I really loved the dark black shadows with the fresh green leaves. And who can resist the beauty of backlighting? There are a lot of red ferns making an appearance. I learned that like the tree outside my office window, all the red parts of these ferns are new growth. Everything is uncurling and unfolding and waking up. I guess I went to the arboretum so I could start to wake up, too.05ferns

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March 3rd, 2011

Morris Arboretum part 2, the Witch Hazel Tour

The witch hazels are in bloom! Here’s the edit I promised you from last week’s trip to the Morris Arboretum. The witch hazel blossoms came at the perfect time. February and I were no longer speaking.
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Hamamelis mollis ‘Princeton Gold’

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3 photos of Hamamelis X intermedia ‘Rubin’

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Hamamelis vernalis ‘Sandra’

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Hamamelis X intermedia ‘Luna’

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2 photos of Hamamelis vernalis ‘Christmas Cheer’

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Hamamelis vernalis ‘Sandra’

The arboretum is a great place all year round—the paved paths give you a mud-free place to stretch your legs. After a season of dead-winter-tree blog photos, I was happy to look at this sign of spring. Armed with a map, sunscreen, and camera bag and bundled up in two sweaters, I set out to see all the witch hazel. I spent the whole day at the arboretum. The blossoms started to look surreal after awhile. Did you ever pronounce an everyday word, like “typewriter” or “Dorothy,” over and over again until it starts to sound strange? I kept looking at the little blossoms and they started to look like prehistoric muppet-y anemone animal creatures. On the fuller branches, they started to look like they were in hectic motion, a city of witch hazel. The blue sky and yellow and red flowers warmed the day right up (or maybe it was those two sweaters).

But wait, next week there’s more! It was a beautiful bright sunny day, and I ducked into the fernery while I waited for the light to soften. Come back next Thursday to see some gorgeous ferns and new growth. It’s springtime in the fernery!

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February 23rd, 2011

Morris Arboretum part 1, Bloom Quest

The witch hazels are in bloom at the Morris Arboretum. I’ll have to edit my photos tomorrow or later in the week. In the meantime, here is another sign that it’s almost spring. And apologies to the kindly Arboretum walker who thought I’d collapsed on the pavement when I was stretched out photographing this little bloom. “THANK YOU for moving,” she said. Nancy and I think it is winter aconite (Eranthis).
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