Spending time with Wildflowers at Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, April 16, 2017

Spending time with Wildflowers at Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, April 16, 2017

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.
 

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Deer as Totem Animal, Descanso Gardens, April 8, 2016

Deer as Totem Animal, Descanso Gardens, April 8, 2016

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.
 

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Rainbows and faeries, Descanso Gardens, April 2, 2017

Rainbows and faeries, Descanso Gardens, April 2, 2017

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.  

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Descanso Gardens, March 26, 2017

Descanso Gardens, March 26, 2017

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.

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Bloom! Public Opening this weekend at Descanso Gardens

Bloom! Public Opening this weekend at Descanso Gardens

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.

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Little bird, February 25, 2017, Descanso Gardens

Little bird, February 25, 2017, Descanso Gardens

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. 

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The element of water, Descanso Gardens, February 20, 2017

The element of water, Descanso Gardens, February 20, 2017

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!

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Cherry blossoms and beignets, Descanso Gardens, February 19, 2017

Cherry blossoms and beignets, Descanso Gardens, February 19, 2017

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.

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Talking oaks and hidden Valentines, Descanso Gardens, February 12, 2017

Talking oaks and hidden Valentines, Descanso Gardens, February 12, 2017

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!

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The beauty of a rain soaked garden, Descanso Gardens, February 11, 2017

The beauty of a rain soaked garden, Descanso Gardens, February 11, 2017

The rains bring a unique kind of beauty to the gardens.  The flowers bow their heads heavy with water droplets, and the oak trees create a sprinkle of showers below as the wind blows through their rain soaked leaves.  Underneath the oaks, graceful calla lilies have started to emerge unfolding in an ethereal vision of pure white against the earth toned backdrop of the forest.  This is an enchanted time to walk through the camellia trees which are canopied by magnificent oaks.  The camellia forest is in full bloom and displays pure white flowers along with vibrant shades of pink and red just in time for Valentine's Day.  It's like walking through a fairy tale!  Throughout the rose garden bright yellow daffodils are popping up everywhere spreading their message of new beginnings, rebirth and an introduction to mother earth who is now beginning to burst forth with new life.  

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The first signs of spring and the return of the sun, Descanso Gardens, February 4, 2017

The first signs of spring and the return of the sun, Descanso Gardens, February 4, 2017

Signs of spring are everywhere in the garden and I can already see the change in the morning light.  We are now at the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  The hellebores are blooming and the daffodils are popping up out of the ground.  Mother earth is awakening with new life.  It's a time to celebrate the passing of winter as we prepare to make way for the magic of spring and the return of the sun.  

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Imbolc and the awakening of the earth, January 28 & 29, 2017, Descanso Gardens & Los Angeles County Arboretum

Imbolc and the awakening of the earth, January 28 & 29, 2017, Descanso Gardens & Los Angeles County Arboretum

It's almost February and the time of year when the days are starting to become longer and the earth begins to awaken from its winter slumber.  The gardens are already starting to show signs life and we anticipate the beauty of what is to come.  These are some images from Descanso Gardens and the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, January 28 & 29, 2017.

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