Some images from May 13, 2017 at Descanso Gardens.Read More
Descanso is always so peaceful in the rain. It's actually my favorite time to go. I enjoyed watching a family of geese take their goslings for a swim in the quiet of the early morning hours.Read More
Tomorrow is Beltane and we are now about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. I was missing the desert, so I took a little walk around the cacti in the California Natives section. The Desert Marigolds were blooming and also the Sacred Datura which I saw a lot of in Joshua Tree last weekend. The California Poppies and some wildflowers are still blooming and now the matilija poppies have started to open. There is a lot of wildlife out and about, and I took a few photos of this squirrel enjoying some breakfast in the sun.Read More
I’ve been enamoured with the desert ever since the first time I saw it back in 2010. I’ve been there in summer, fall and winter, but never had the opportunity to experience it in the spring. After our last visit in January, I planned ahead and booked our room right away because I wanted to experience my first wildflower bloom in the desert. The weekend finally arrived and my husband and I headed back to Joshua Tree. After checking into the Campbell House, our favorite bed and breakfast in Twentynine Palms, we headed into the park through the North Entrance. As soon as we began our drive up Utah Trail and onto Park Blvd., I began to see the blooms. I could hardly contain myself! Flowers everywhere! We pulled the car over just barely a mile into the park, and as soon as I stepped out, I immediately saw some beautiful white-lined sphinx moth caterpillars munching away on the desert wildflowers. The entire park was a flutter with butterflies; swallowtails, cabbage whites, checker whites and a number of others that I couldn’t identify. I’d never seen the desert look so green before. There was so much to see and it was so full of life! We spent the whole day in the park sightseeing and hiking the trails.
That afternoon we had an early dinner around 5 pm. I knew the sun would be setting around 7 and I wanted to capture some of that gorgeous desert light. We headed back into the park and decided to stop at Ryan Mountain to watch the show. As we walked along the trail, white-lined sphinx moths were everywhere nectaring on the wildflowers. Every time I stood still to take a picture, I could hear their wings fluttering close to my ear. I loved watching them buzzing from flower to flower feeding on the nectar. As the sun went down, I took some photos of the amazing colors with a backdrop of rock formations and Joshua Trees. We then headed to the Hidden Valley Trailhead near Intersection rock. It was getting dark now, but it was just light enough to capture the beautiful yellows and blues. In the sky, Jupiter, Venus and a waning crescent moon were visible. After some photos of the Joshua Trees, we headed back to Park Blvd and drove until we found a quiet turnout where we could park the car, look up into the sky and get lost in the deep sea of a million stars. I am captivated every time I see it. Looking up into the stars with the soft desert wind is just one of those things you have to experience for yourself.
After we had taken in the night sky, we headed back to our cottage to spend some time enjoying the cozy accommodations. Usually, when I stay at Campbell House I sleep more soundly then I ever do at home; however, this time I was too excited. I checked my star finder app to find out what time Sagittarius would be visible in the sky. Sagittarius is in the core of the Milky Way and I wanted to see when it would be above the horizon so I could try and get a photo. At 3:20 am, I woke up without an alarm, ran outside in pajamas, looked up in the sky and behold there was the Milky Way! I get super excited about these things so of course I had to wake up my poor husband who was sound asleep to come look. Besides the spectacular Milky Way, we were also able to see some of the Lyrid meteor shower. A few big fireballs passed through the sky as we star gazed in the early morning hours.
Obviously after all this excitement I could not possibly go back to sleep. So I hopped in the shower, got dressed and out we went back into the desert to watch the magnificent sunrise from Skull Rock. There is nothing quite like the experience of seeing the sun coming up in the desert. The colors are out of this world and it’s simply magical! We spent a few hours enjoying the views and taking photos before heading back to our cottage for a nap and some breakfast.
After a delicious breakfast as only the Campbell House can do, we relaxed on the back porch before the drive home. There were a lot of doves nesting on the grounds so their cooing coupled with the sound of the desert wind was very soothing. I didn’t want to leave. It's always so hard! On the way back we took Park Blvd. through the park one last time, and I took a few more photos as we headed out to highway 62. We’ll be back again in June, and I’m hoping to try my hand at star photography and maybe even get another, even better shot of that gorgeous magical Milky Way!Read More
What can be more beautiful then gazing into a field of wildflowers; a myriad of colors, shapes and as I like to describe it, “harmonious chaos”. Wildflowers can be found anywhere from cracks in the pavement to deep within the forest to the blazing hot desert, all surviving without the help of human beings. In California people travel for miles each year just to see the California poppy reserves. We flock to our deserts in the spring to experience the hypnotic beauty of our native desert wildflowers. I had the opportunity to experience the wildflowers here locally at the Crescent Farm at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. They have created a beautiful meadow bursting with colorful native wildflowers. Spending time in quiet contemplation with wildflowers is a transcendent and uplifting experience. You can’t help but feel their rejuvenating, energetic vibrations. Here are some photos from my experience this past weekend.
The rose garden is turning into a kaleidoscope of candy colors, and the morning air is heavy with fragrance. It’s also wildflower season and the garden is filling up with more and more blooms every day. The weather could not have been more perfect for an early morning hike.
Deer are a symbol of grace, gentleness, love and kindness. They are a significant part of mythology and folklore. According to Ina Woolcott, Shamanic Journey, “When a deer totem enters your world, a new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened. New adventures are just around the corner and there will be an opportunity to express the gentle love that will open new doors for you.” I see many deer in my early morning walks at Descanso. I always enjoy stopping to watch them graze and walk along the hillside.
We are now in the month of April and Beltane (May day) is fast approaching. Opposite of Samhain when we honor the spirits of the dead, we now celebrate the living; plants, animals and all the new life springtime has set into motion. The veils between worlds are at their thinnest, and if you look carefully, you might just catch a glimpse of the fae frolicking about the ferns or dancing atop the forget me nots. Believe what you will, but this time of year my camera lens captures some very interesting light; rainbows, colorful orbs. Could it be the fae, nature spirits? I’ll leave it up to you.Read More
April Fool's Day at Descanso GardensRead More
Springtime is always such a magical time of year. There is an explosion of blooming flowers, the trees are heavy with blossoms and everywhere you look it’s a kaleidoscope of color. Mother earth has awakened! We’re now moving into a time when the sun begins to dominate the long, dark days of winter, and there is a promise of light. The warm summer days are soon to come.
Even if you are not a believer in magic, it’s almost impossible not to feel the enchantment of this extraordinary time. Walking through nature, your senses are overwhelmed by everything from birdsong, to soft wind through the oaks, to the fast flutter of hummingbird wings and the smell of fresh flowers and morning dew. One cannot help but be bewitched by this marvelous time of year.
Spring Equinox 2017, Descanso GardensRead More
Another beautiful day at Descanso Gardens.Read More
Descanso is now bursting into bloom! This is the time of year when a photographer can spend hours walking the gardens and taking beautiful photographs. Here are some images from my visit on March 8th, 2017.Read More
This weekend was the cherry blossom festival at Descanso Gardens. I went to the garden early, before the festival began to walk in the quiet of the morning and take some pictures along the way. The tulips are now starting to bloom. They will be putting on a great show as they do every year in the upcoming weeks.Read More
My husband and I attended the members' preview for Bloom! Friday evening at the Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens. It was exciting to see my work displayed on the walls of the gallery along with so many other talented artists.Read More
I will be showing some of my photographs in the Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens:
"Portraits of the Garden 2: BLOOM! celebrates the flower – probably the best known and most enjoyed feature of Descanso Gardens. See the halls and walls of the Sturt Haaga Gallery turned into a most extraordinary bouquet of flowers for BLOOM!. This exhibit is open until Sunday, May 28, 2017."
The exhibit opens to the public this weekend.
Click on the link below for more details.Read More
One thing I've learned about the birds (and other wildlife for that matter) is that sometimes, if they're not too busy and you ask them nicely, they'll pose for you. I took this photo of this sweet little bird who was fluttering around catching insects for breakfast. When I first saw him, I stopped and asked him kindly if he’d mind posing for a few photos. He obliged and was kind enough to sit for me as I did my best to get a good shot. I don't have a proper lens for bird photography, so thankfully he was patient. When he decided to move on, I continued on my walk. As I hiked through the California natives at the top of the hill, I heard some deer passing by on the opposite side of the wire fence. I stopped, stood still and watched them walk. One of them, a doe, spotted me. She looked straight at me, tilted her head and sniffed the air. We watched each other for quite a while, both of us curious about the other. I sent her a message in my mind to tell her how pretty she was and her ears perked up. It was a lovely moment. Making these types of intimate connections with nature is an honor and a privilege.Read More
Walking through a garden in the rain and inhaling the clean air is the perfect way to rejuvenate. There’s a certain trail I like to take that leads up a steep hill, through the tall grass and eventually to a special spot where I’m enveloped within the low hanging branches of the oaks. A vibrant yet peaceful energy resides here, and it’s my favorite place to stop, get grounded, take a few cleansing breaths and tune into the environment. Doing this heightens my senses. I quickly become even more receptive to sounds, smells, textures and a whole other world. It's amazing what nature can do for the mind, body and spirit. Add to this the element of water with the falling rain and it’s even better then a day at the spa!Read More
A soft rain was falling early this morning, but that never keeps me away. In fact, being at the garden in the rain is one of my favorite times to visit. It's peaceful, quiet, the air is fresh and the colors appear more saturated. Today my husband joined me to walk and enjoy each other's company before breakfast at Maple, Descanso's weekend-exclusive restaurant. If you have the opportunity to go, you must try the beignets. Dipped in Vermont Maple Syrup, they are absolutely heavenly! Today I saw the first blossoms on the cherry trees. Soon they will will be covered in dainty pink flowers. Nature is gearing up for her springtime spectacular and she never disappoints.Read More
The garden is never the same on any given day. Each visit brings a new experience and today the warm Santa Ana winds swept through the oak forest enabling them to "talk" in an audible language. I was enveloped in a symphony of rustling leaves and birdsong. Every time I visit Descanso, I always experience something magical. Today, just on the edge of the camellia forest, I spotted a beautiful swallowtail butterfly flitting about from flower to flower. She was a bit far away, but I stood quietly and gently asked her if she would mind coming just a little bit closer. Within a moment, she flew onto some green leaves right in front of me, spread her delicate wings and held still long enough for me to take her photo. When she was ready to go, she flew away to continue about her business of nectaring on the sweet camellia flowers, and I thanked her for her graciousness. Besides my encounter with the magical butterfly, I came across a colorful heart made out of camellia flowers. When the camellia trees drop their flowers, you can usually find messages hidden throughout the gardens made out of the fallen flowers. I am sure they were created by the fairies who inhabit this enchanted garden!Read More