Yellow Sunflower, Gray Skies

(Toledo, OH) Even the overcast skies above could not dampen the radiance of this yellow sunflower on this dreary Sunday morning. In fact, up close this sunflower seemed to act like a substitute for the sun, yellow rays streaming outward like those of the plant's namesake.

As a wise man once said: "Rain....I don't mind. Shine....the weather's fine."


Backlit Yellow Daylily

(Toledo, OH) The evening sun shining through the center petals of this yellow daylily created an effect that reminded me of a fiery light, or perhaps even a small star. I think the yellow coloring magnified the radiance of the sunlight, making the plant glow with an unnatural brilliance.

The mid-90s heat of this sweltering Saturday also made the fluorescence of this yellow daylily seem more incendiary. The flower appeared to glow as if it possessed a fire of its own, an internal and infernal flame that could sear the picket fence behind it.


Pale Yellow Swallowtail

(Toledo, OH) When I first stepped outside this afternoon and saw the pale yellow swallowtail pictured on your left, I thought it was a piece of paper blowing in the wind. The butterfly was quite large, with a wingspan of perhaps seven inches, and it erratically flitted between some marigolds and roses in one of my gardens.

It finally settled down enough to get some decent pictures.

Though certainly not as beautiful as the yellow swallowtail, the website eBillme.com offers some useful coupons. At eBillme you get online access to over 800 major retailers, and you can choose from a variety of secure payment methods. Using eBillme also reduces the likelihood that your personal data will be stolen, and the company offers fraud protection and price guarantees.

The yellow swallowtail, though, probably spends little time with consumer issues more complex than the location of the next source of nectar.

Rain Soaked Daylilies

(Toledo, OH) We purchased some late-blooming daylilies last year, and these flowers continue to provide our gardens with extra color at a time when the hot summer sun is browning most of the yards around us. The lilies pictured on your left caught some raindrops from a brief passing storm system today, and the water on the plants made for a captivating image.

We also shopped around for outdoor fireplaces last year, and we were pleased with the nights we could spend listening to the crackle of logs after appreciating the beauty of the gardens during the day. I think there is something eternal and hardwired into us that makes us find a cozy fire so enjoyable.

More evenings in front of the fire!


Backlit Sunflower

(Toledo, OH) I planted a section of yellow sunflowers this spring in a corner of my yard, and the plants are now approaching nine feet in height. The flower heads atop the sunflower stalks are bright yellow, though they are not of the massive two-foot variety I imagined.

However, these plants will be providing 3-4 flowers per stalk, which I suppose ranks them a bit higher in the Department of Color Quantity. This would be like receiving a dozen term life insurance quotes with a single query, I suppose.

Another interesting aspect of these particular sunflowers is that each of the flowers has its own heliotropic behavior. I initially thought that the first flower would dictate the direction the plant ultimately faced, but the mechanism than controls heliotropism is apparently just below the bud for each blossom.

Black Eyed Susans

(Toledo, OH) Over the past few years I have been cultivating a few varieties of Rudbeckia hirta, which are better known by the common name Black-eyed Susan. I think that the reason why these members of the Aster family appeal to me so much is that I recall playing in a field filled with these bright yellow flowers as a child near my grandparents' house.

The arrival of Black-eyed Susans reminds me of a time in my life when I was unencumbered by the sorts of adult worries and concerns that occasionally weigh me down today. While I am not exactly searching for top rated diet pills these days, the summers I spent running through a field of Black-eyed Susans was a time when health and weight were a million miles away from my thoughts.


Birthday Cake Graffiti

(Montreal, Quebec) While vacationing in Montreal a few weeks ago I cam across an unusual example of highway graffiti. Pictured on your left is an urban artist's rendition of a birthday cake, replete with candles.

It appears that the birthday cake was directed toward a specific person, in this case a 10-year-old child. The colorful birthday pastry was adorned with lots of gooey-looking blue frosting and red candies, leading me to hope that - if there was a real-life model upon which the graffiti cake was based - the recipient of the cake also took a daily multivitamin to balance the sugar overdose with some healthy nutritional supplements.

In most of the parts of the United States in which I have lived, graffiti is seen as a nuisance or even as a sign of urban blight. Yet in much of the rest of the world graffiti is considered to be a legitimate art form, and foreigners are often puzzled at the vehemence against graffiti that many Americans display.


Fuchsia-and-Yellow Daylily

(Toledo, OH) The sun in this image provides backlight to this daylily, and the effect of the sun's light is to brighten the colors on the petals. The flower's true colors could best be described as fuchsia-hued, and there are some interesting saffron hues in the center of the petals.

I think the image would have been improved had I waited another hour to take the photograph, as the 6:30 pm summer sun was still a bit too bright for capturing the essence of this flower. Yet I am pleased enough with the picture to post it on the blog, and being obsessed with perfection would mean that I would have little time left to simply enjoy the colors of summer.

Gotta do more of that, especially since I have more free time due to my stay-at-home work helping students pursue an online degree.