As I wrote in my last post, Tuesday morning was chilly and completely overcast, but my friend Lisa and I had agreed to meet at Holden Arboretum for a “walk and talk,” so off I went. As I drove down Sperry Road to the Arboretum entrance, the clouds parted, the morning haze vanished, and then, suddenly, the sun came out. Truly an unexpected event.
Lotus Pond was beautiful in the early afternoon light, so we wandered over for a closer look and a few photos of the pond and the golden willow tree.
Leaving Lotus Pond, we headed toward the rhododendron garden, and on the way we met Hank, a beautiful corgi walking with his human.
In the rhododendron garden, Lisa spotted a carpet of purple blossoms, and agreed to pose for one more photo.
On the trail back to the parking lot, we walked along the edge of Corning Lake where one lone duck was enjoying an afternoon swim.
Before we reached our cars, Lisa pulled out her cell phone and took one shot of the photographer at work:
We had reached the end of our “walk and talk” at the Arboretum. It wasn’t our first “meeting” there and probably won’t be the last because Lisa and I both love walking in Holden Arboretum.
Thanks for visiting my blog today. See you soon!
Regular visitors to my blog should recognize this as the golden willow tree next to Lotus Pond in Holden Arboretum. Yesterday, although not as warm as last week’s early Spring temperatures, was still a lovely day for a trail walk. As always when at Holden, I made sure to visit one of my favorite trees. And, as today is both colder and wetter than when I took this picture yesterday, I decided it is a good day to share a few more pictures in my Searching for Spring series.
The first, a snowdrop, is similar to one I posted last week. Although it is not as perky as the one I posted on a sunny, warmer day last week, it is still lovely, and what camera-carrying photographer can walk past a snowdrop in February without snapping its picture?
The second plant is a pastel perennial I was delighted (and lucky) to spot. The netted iris, native to Russia, the Caucasus, and northern Iran, is cultivated widely in temperate regions like northeast Ohio. Typically flowering in March and April, many little clumps of this plant were already in full bloom on February 28th, their delicate flowers waving in the breeze on top of slender stalks. I resolutely plopped myself on the wet ground, leaning in as close as I could to take a picture of this pretty plant. Thankfully nobody else was around with a camera because, for some photographers, I would have made a comical photo opp, soaking up water through the seat of my pants and then clumsily clambering back to my feet, camera in hand. The things we do to get the pictures we want!
Back on my feet, I brushed the wet dirt and debris from my sweat pants and continued my trail walk. I will share more pictures from Holden in a future blog post.
Thanks for joining me today.
See you soon!
Anyone who has lived here, on the south shore of Lake Erie, is aware that the sunny warm weather I have written about in my last two posts is far from the norm, and is, in fact, a false spring. Nevertheless, that knowledge shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the warm weather. Instead, we should see this for what it is, an inbreaking of spring during one of the coldest and bleakest months of our year. A gift, one we should enjoy. For that reason, I intend to squeeze as many trailwalking opportunities as I can into however many hours this “false spring” will provide for us.
And I am not alone in my intentions. On Saturday, when the temperature reached 72 degrees, the Arboretum was crowded with families who had shed their warm winter garb and headed outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. I had just started my walk on this sunny Saturday when I ran into one of those families. Two young boys were climbing into the tree house, and were setting out to enjoy what the older boy termed “investigations.” From my observations, the older family members were enjoying it as much as the kids. And what could be more fun than climbing into a real tree house?
After the stop at the tree house, I took the trail around Lotus Pond. In this picture, you can see the pond with the golden willow tree and, on the opposite side of the pond, the tree house.
There is a bench under the willow, a favorite stopping off point for people as they walk the grounds of the Arboretum. I have captured many pictures of people relaxing under the willow, and today was no exception.
Look closely and you will see a little ice on the surface of Lotus Pond, but it won’t be there for long, not with the temperature at 72 degrees! Continuing my walk, I took a short detour to see what might be happening on Corning Lake. If you’re not tuckered out yet, let’s keep moving.
On our way to check out the situation at Corning Lake, I walked past Margaretta and her person Kevin, enjoying the beautiful day. For her part, Margaretta, who had been for a swim, was most interested in the other dogs that were passing by. She didn’t really want to pose for a photo opp, but with Kevin’s permission, I snapped a couple of quick shots before continuing on to Corning Lake.
As you can see, there wasn’t much action on or around the Lake. A little flock of Canada geese was enjoying a swim, and two of them were nice enough to float in reach of my lens. Another (human) family group had the same idea I did apparently, and they were walking beside the lake, and then there was this woman who had found a perfect place to relax in the sun.
Looking at the distant side of the lake, you can see there isn’t even a hint of green on the trees. Because at this point we are only a few miles south of Lake Erie, the arrival of spring is delayed until much later than I would like; however, when it does arrive, it is just that much sweeter!
If you’re still with me, we’ll end our Saturday afternoon walk by heading back around around Lotus Pond. That’s it on the right side of the trail, and as we follow the trail, you can see the parking lot in the distance. Right in front of you is another of my favorite trees, the gingko. It’s not an attention-getter right now, but just wait until next November when its delightful little fan-shaped leaves turn a vibrant yellow, clearly announcing the end of autumn. Then it is absolutely gorgeous, but I’m in no hurry to see that. Right now I am eagerly anticipating spring, and apparently our faux-Spring hasn’t ended yet, so there will be more pictures coming soon. Watch for them!
Thanks for coming along on my “faux-Spring” trail walk.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! ~Trail Walker
February is a little early to search for signs of spring in northeast Ohio; however, we’ve had unusually warm temperatures in recent days, so I set out to look for some color in the Arboretum that would hint that spring is in the wings. My most exciting find was these beautiful snowdrops.
I was walking with my friend Lisa, not really expecting to see anything blooming, when she said, “Look, there’s snowdrops!” Sure enough, several little clumps of snowdrops were blooming beside the trail. I sat right down on the ground to capture their beauty and when Lisa gently lifted the face of the flower, I took another picture.
That was an exciting moment…the first flower of spring. It reminds me of when I was just a young girl and still living at home. At the first sign of spring, we would go for a walk in the woods, searching for arbutus, another early bloomer. We would trudge across fields, climb stiles to get over fences in the farmers’ fields, and carefully search among the leaf litter for the low-growing, aromatic arbutus. Those days are long gone, part of another era, but the sight of those snowdrops today was reminiscent of the sweet-scented arbutus flower. Good memories! It was a special moment, and I’m smiling as I think about it.
That was just the beginning of our trail walk today. I’ll share a few more pictures now, and save the others for tomorrow. Sooner or later, February is going to return to its usual cold and probably snowy self, but for now, I’m loving this break from winter.
Thanks for coming along on today’s trail walk.
I’ll post a few more “spring walk” pictures tomorrow.
See you then! ~Trail Walker
Not that we expect it to stay. Real spring doesn’t arrive here along the north coast (the south shore of Lake Erie)until around the end of April, but we were loving it today. Hopefully it will linger for a few days at least. Today’s high temperature reached 72 degrees. That’s practically unheard of, but you can be certain we’re not complaining. I think all of Northeast Ohio turned out to celebrate the event, and some of them were even wearing shorts! In February! Here’s one more picture from today’s visit to Holden Arboretum. I’ll be back tomorrow to share more.
With all the wind, rain, and near freezing temperatures we’ve “enjoyed” in the past five days, I wondered what I would find when the sun came out yesterday and I went to Holden Arboretum to walk some of my favorite trails. My first stop was the gingko tree. I had waited for weeks, since Autumn began, for it to make the annual transition from green to golden. Last week before the wind, rain, and even a few snowflakes moved in, I finally saw what I had been waiting for. That’s when I took the picture at the top of this page. Unfortunately, here is what I saw yesterday when I rounded the curve in the trail and stood beneath its branches:
The weather had taken a sad toll on my beautiful tree, and I will have to wait another year to see it in all its glory. Thanks to this blog, I can see it in living color any time I want to revisit my “Color Me Autumn” blog posts. 😊
After taking several pictures of the gingko , I continued along the trail, pausing to take pictures of some of my favorite spots. But before I share the gallery of those photos, I want to show you another unusual tree, the baldcypress tree. It’s the only tree I am aware of that is noted for its knees. That’s right, knees. Take a look at the picture below. Do you see the knees?
They are those little stubby growths that almost look like large stones on the ground to the left of the two trees. According to Wikipedia…
A cypress knee is a term used in the biology of trees to describe the distinctive structures forming above the roots of a cypress tree of any of various species of the subfamily Taxodioideae. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps.
Most tree roots are underground, but, in another source I read, the knees of the baldcypress tree are part of the root system that come back to the surface. You can see these trees and their knees in swampy areas where the baldcypress trees grow. Apparently no one is sure of their exact purpose. If you visit Holden Arboretum and want to see them, take the trail around Blueberry Pond and keep your eyes along the edge of the water. That’s where you will find them. Below is another baldcypress, growing at the edge of Blueberry Pond. All baldcypress trees are deciduous conifers that lose their leaves (or needles) in the Fall.
If you look at the ground beneath the tree, and you will see that it is covered with orange-colored needles. I’m not sure why so many ferns are growing there, but I’m guessing the baldcypress needles have something to do with it. If someone reading this blog has the answer, I hope they will tell us what they know in the comment section. That way I can add it to what I have written here. Obviously my knowledge of these unique trees is limited.
Side note: Someone who has taken more biology classes than I have, called me to explain the reason for the baldcypress knees is that the roots of cypress trees are often (or usually) under water where they can’t get enough of the air they need to survive. For that reason, some roots will protrude out of the soil to get air. The “knees” are those protrusions.
Now let’s take a look at the other photos I captured on today’s trail walk:
More needles along the trail
Red oak tree
Golden willow reflected in Lotus Pond
Golden willow tree
Two trees along the trail
Gingko leaves on the ground
Gingkos have the neatest looking fan-shaped leaves
That’s it for today’s trail walk.
Thanks for coming along.
The day dawned with fog which gradually lifted during the 2 1/2 hours I wandered the trails at Holden Arboretum. After snapping the picture above, I headed down the trail toward the gingko tree. Eager to find out if it was finally dressed in the rich golden hue I remembered from previous years, I was delighted when I rounded the curve in the trail and saw this:
and then this:
…and my heart was filled with joy and gratitude. Could I ask for anything more than what we have already received from this amazing, colorful autumn? But truthfully, there was more, as you can plainly see.
On down the trail from the gingko, I circled Lotus Pond where I captured two more shots of the golden willow to add to the collection I posted last week, showing it from two different sides of the pond.
The other area I wanted to explore today was the Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden. I have posted a few picture from there recently, but today I decided to spend more time in this area because it is quite large and there is so much to see. Walking along the trail into the rhododendron garden, I was confronted with some large earth-moving machines and a crew of workmen. For several years Holden has been engaged in major redevelopment projects that are ongoing, and the constant rumble of the earth-moving machinery, along with the beep-beep-beep warning sounds reminding walkers to take care, are signs that big things are happening!
While all this activity was happening on the right side of the trail, on the left the scene was very different!
Past the construction zone, the trail winds through the rhododendron and azalea beds, which will be beautiful in June. Although in November little is in bloom, I spotted a trio of wilted rudbeckias, a startling contrast to the vibrant red and orange tones of autumn.
It’s time to end this post. If you are still with me, thanks for your patience, but I’m getting weary and you may be also. I did a lot of walking today , followed by several hours at the computer preparing this post, so instead of sharing all the images that I collected today, I will save some for another day, or maybe even two days, making this post part one of another series.
Here are two more autumn images from the rhododendron garden before I wrap up with something that was a happy and totally unexpected surprise.
As I was leaving the rhododendron garden after taking the picture of that beautiful orange-red tree, I was surprised and delighted to see an Eastern bluebird perched on a limb nearby. So surprised in fact that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Of course I didn’t have the best lens on my camera for catching birds, especially little birds that flit from tree to tree, but I gave it my best shot and managed to get these two pictures:
Eastern bluebirds aren’t rare in northeast Ohio, but they are migratory birds and many (although not all) of them fly off to a more temperate climate by mid-November. These are the first bluebird pictures I’ve captured this late in the season, so I’m happy to share them with you.
See you soon for another visit to the Arboretum.
Thanks for sharing this walk with me.
Part three of my three part series from the Holden Arboretum
My top five reasons for trail walking
I love to be outdoors, yes, even when it is cold and snowy (Although not so much when the weather turns hot and humid).
There are amazing sights to be seen along the trail…and with so many parks and trails, there are countless places to go and things to see. Every day is different and every trail has unique features waiting to be discovered!
Walking the trails and taking pictures are complementary activities that can be done simultaneously, and learning to take better pictures challenges me.
We all need exercise, and walking is a great way to get it.
There is one other reason I love trail walking and that is because I meet many interesting people along the trail that I would never get to know otherwise. Sheila and John are a good example. I met Sheila when I walked up the trail into the Rhododendron Garden and found her sitting on a bench, waiting for John to return from his walk around the garden. According to Sheila, he walks too fast for her to keep up, so she finds a good bench and sits down to relax until John finishes his walk. (Obviously John believes in the value of daily exercise). When he returned from his walk, John found Sheila and me sitting side by side on the bench, having what some of my photography friends from the the British Isles call a good, old chin wag. I was blessed to meet them, and as we all enjoy walking the trails in Holden Arboretum, maybe I will have the good fortune to encounter them again.
I love to take pictures of people I see along the trail. Although I haven’t posted any Fabulous Friday Faces in recent months, I have accumulated a collection of portraits I post here.
Sheila and John’s portrait was not the only picture I took on Thursday. You’ve already seen others in the first and second post of this series from Holden Arboretum, and here are the last pictures from that Thursday trail walk. The trees have lost a lot of their luster, but they are still beautiful. We have enjoyed a fabulous Fall, or to put it another way, an awesome Autumn.
Thanks for joining me in this lengthy trail walk.
That’s it for today. See you soon!
Part two of a three part series from Holden Arboretum
When I bought my first digital camera and starting shooting pictures, I didn’t have the faintest idea what I was doing. As I look back in my files at pictures I took in those early years, it is painfully obvious I had a lot to learn. Because I really wanted to improve, I began reading books about photography and spending a lot of time on the websites of photographers I admire. And I learned…a lot!
One valuable piece of advice I heard early on is “work your subject.” Don’t just take the shot that catches your eye and then walk away, thinking you have captured all there is to see and learn about the subject. Don’t immediately lift your camera to your eye and shoot off a burst of shots. Unless the subject, whatever it is, will jump up and dash away, slow yourself down. Take time to walk around and view it from different angles. Try to find the best angles and then shoot from several. If possible, revisit the same place on a different day at a different time. If your first photoshoot was in the morning, come back in the evening. And if you are shooting outdoor subjects like landscapes, trees, and wildlife, try returning to the same location at different seasons throughout the year. You’ll be amazed at the results. Today’s blog post is a gallery of pictures I have captured at one location throughout the past year. Taken together, they illustrate the advantage of slowing down and getting to know your subject.
If you follow my blog, you know that Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite places to shoot. On my frequent visits to Holden, I almost always stop to say “hello” to the golden willow tree at Lotus Pond. The size and shape of the tree and its location make it a focal point of the Pond, and it draws people (and geese) to its neighborhood.
You’ve probably heard that one picture is worth a thousand words, so I will stop “talking” so you can scroll through the gallery to see if you think “work your subject” is good advice for a photographer (Click the first picture to begin your stroll around the golden willow tree).
Golden willow tree by Lotus Pond
Another shot of the golden willow tree
A long and low shot of Lotus Pond.
Golden willow tree again
Golden Willow in Lotus Pond
The golden willow on Lotus Pond
Golden willow tree
Can you see the Emergent Tower above the tree line?
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Joyce Kilmer, 1913
So there you have it. One tree, rooted in one spot, will have many different moods. Perhaps Joyce Kilmer got it right when he wrote his poem “Trees.” What do you think?
And what do you think about the advice to “work your subject?”
Is it something you already do or will try to do in the future.
Do you have any advice you could give to an aspiring photographer?
Thanks for visiting the golden willow tree with me today. See you soon.
Part one of a three-part series from Holden Arboretum
When I was a young girl, the home I lived in, the big white house my grandparents built in 1907, was framed by sycamore trees. These trees were one of the dominant features of that property and the focus of many of my lasting memories of those years. Falling out of the tree; swinging on a rope swing; raking huge piles of leaves just so we could jump in them; or sitting at my bedroom window, drawing pencil sketches of the winter skeletons of the tall sycamore trees…These are some of the special images that create the keystone for my childhood memories.
Is it any wonder that Holden Arboretum is one of my favorite go-to places for trail walking? When the sun came out this morning, I took my camera and headed to Holden for a walk along its trails. Two hours later, I returned home with many digital images on my memory card. I don’t have time or space in this blog post to share them all, so this will be the first of a series of posts based on those pictures. Here are the trees I’ve selected for today’s post:
Golden willow tree by Lotus Pond
Red oak tree
Pin oak tree
Little gingko in foreground with large gingko in the background
Upright tulip tree
Top of the upright tulip tree
Closeup of the same tulip tree
Another shot of the golden willow tree
If you’ve followed along this far, I am guessing trees may also hold a special place in your memory bank. I have to run now. It’s time to prepare supper and go to choir practice, but I hope you will return to check out my next post from the Holden Arboretum.