I love Lupine

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We went camping this weekend… and despite the rainy weather, a good time was had by all. Late on Friday afternoon we wandered up to the Beech Hill Road to hike the Canada Cliff Trail, and along the roadside we encountered a field absolutely brimming over with my favorite Maine flower… Lupine.

There’s something about the fleeting appearance these flowers make that I really like. They explode onto the scene as the weather warms up at the start of June, but by the time July rolls around they are already starting to fade away. They are scattered all over the side of I-95 as I make my way down and back to work, and maybe it’s because they brighten my commute at this time of year, but I love the splash of color they add to the landscape.

It was gently raining as I grabbed these photographs, and as the light faded and the wind blew, I had a hard time organizing things in the viewfinder in a way that I liked. The overcast skies and light rain really made the colors pop, and in an attempt to find something I liked, I tried: a) using a slower shutter to allow the flowers to move in the wind by themselves; b) timing things so the flowers would be still as the wind momentarily died; and c) intentionally moving the camera through the scene to blur the elements. Despite the swath of stunning colors, I have to admit to feeling quite overwhelmed by what I saw. I felt compositionally challenged by what was a truly wonderful scene, and I walked away shaking my head in frustration and feeling as though it was the first time I had ever held a camera.

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Sunflowers!

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Back home in Maine again. Our garden of wildflowers did just fine while we were away on our trip out west. I guess as is implied by their name, they don’t need a lot of care. Since we left on our trip, several new varieties of have bloomed and the array of color is quite striking.

The taller flowers that were threatening to bloom before we left have now actually done so, and yes… they are indeed sunflowers! Yellow is a favorite color of mine, and the buttery, flowery petals and oversized head have always fascinated me. Although our sunflowers only stand about four feet tall, I am thrilled to have them growing right here in our own back yard.

Wildflowers on a Mountain Road

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As we cruised up the Glacier Point Road toward Sentinel Dome, a couple of small meadows right off the side of the road filled with beautiful wildflowers caught our eye. The early evening light created little pockets of color that begged to be explored and photographed. The Glacier Point Road climbs as high as 9,000 feet, so at that elevation these the little beauties get a pretty late start to the summer.

I wish I knew more about the local flora so I could name these (Shooting Stars?), but am going to have to settle for just showing them here. I found it challenging to use the camera viewfinder to truly do this scene justice, but at least we have a sweet reminder of how pretty and alive this part of the forest was. In amongst all of the magnificent and rugged grandeur of Yosemite, these delicate little swaths of intense color were a striking contrast to the immense scale of the park. This was another side to the changing seasons of Yosemite that we were quite fortunate to witness on this visit.

Wildflowers in Maine

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If you have been following this blog you will know that we did some serious backyard remodeling earlier this summer. We removed an ugly fence to let in some wonderful light, and we disposed of several immense railroad ties that had been used as retaining walls. We planted several bushes and plants to create a much greener space, and we have been enjoying the more open, bricked patio area all summer long.

As part of our re-do, we also removed several scrawny bushes and were left with a border to one side of the yard that we weren’t really sure what to do with. Inspired by the wildflowers we saw in Yosemite’s McGurk Meadow last summer, we purchased one of those brightly colored bags of wildflower seeds – the ones that never really bloom – and sowed the ground back in May not really sure how they would work out. The patch of garden where we deposited the seeds gets some nice morning sun, but as the day wears on both the house and a large cherry tree provide considerable shade.

Our summer so far – knock wood – has been beautiful. The days have been warm (even hot!), and any rain we have had has come down in short, concentrated bursts… perfect summer weather. As you can see, the wildflowers are thriving and are in full bloom, just in time for a patriotic display on July 4th. I have tried to find the package that the seeds came in so I could maybe identify some of the flowers, but so far have not had any luck. I have also tried searching online, but without much success so I have given up and decided to just enjoy them. New varieties of flowers are appearing every few days, and it is exciting to see what colorful surprises pop up. I believe that there are at least five large sunflowers rising up through the chaos, which should make for a really nice display in late summer.

The photographs in this post are of just a small part of what we call our Maine wildflower garden… can’t wait to see the wildflowers again in Yosemite on our upcoming trip. Only one week to go before we leave 🙂