26 November 2017
Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.
Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.
Autumn conjures a number of patterns of behavior such as slipping into hibernation mode and the preparation of the garden for cold wintry days. Automatically, my body and mind ready themselves for changes initiated by the rotation of the earth and shift in the angle of the sun.
Days begin to shorten, light’s presence lessens. The garden becomes devoid of blooms and color. Acorns and berries take up their duties, and wildlife indulges in whatever can be foraged and hoarded.
There is much work to tend in my gardens. Dividing, trimming, weeding, removing entire plants. It’s a celebratory ritual of what was a few weeks ago glorious repositories from spring and summer production.
Still, there’s a meditative quality to raking leaves, spreading them on garden beds and areas to reduce grass. And there is the act of glacial decomposition that becomes compost and soil for next year’s feats and feasts of plenty. I salute myself about the creation of garden after garden, wildlife habitats, and the small grassy plots; it’s a feeling that I cannot let go.
The rhythms of autumn give me inspiration for this week’s image, a collage of swamp milkweed. This native perennial can spread with such fury that one has to be mindful of its presence in unwanted places. Butterflies and insects feed on its nectar. And it offers the almost weightless floating seeds that emerge from its pods that are one of Mother Nature’s most charming. They entice close-up examination and observation. They also are hosts for the monarch, and they are planted in my gardens as companions to other milkweeds that are critical to the survival of that precious butterfly.
To read about those famous orange-and-black butterflies, view an article published 17 October 2017 on National Geographic’s website. Here is an excerpt:
“Why Are Monarch Butterflies Important? While monarchs may seem small and insignificant, the creatures play a crucial role in the ecosystems they inhabit. As adults, monarch butterflies visit countless numbers of wildflowers each year as they seek out nutrient-rich nectar. In doing so, the monarchs transfer pollen from one plant to another and assist in those species’ reproduction. And even though monarch caterpillars and adults are poisonous to most predators, thanks to toxins they acquire from milkweed, some animals are still able to stomach them. Orioles and grosbeaks in particular make a feast of monarchs over the winter, and ants, wasps, flies, and spiders have been known to prey on the caterpillars when they get the chance.”
The article answers other questions such as: Why Do Monarchs Migrate, and How Do They Know Where to Go? Hope that you learn something new about these magnificent butterflies and their role in the earth’s ecosystem.
Our little island is a stopover point for migrating monarchs so there is a big press for residents to plant milkweed here. It’s very important that it’s the correct milkweed though as some species are dangerous for them. This is a good resource for more info https://monarchjointventure.org/get-involved/create-habitat-for-monarchs/ . Loved your photo Sally, very creative
Tina, thanks, I do control the swamp milkweed and most of what I have is the common milkweed. I cannot even imagine the joy of their arrival on your island. What a fabulous gift.
The photomontage is beautiful dear Sally… I can see the patterns in those “textures” too… maybe pretty much like those cyclical behaviours and habits attached to the seasons 😀 Harvest time sounds like a perfect and precious time of the year for me as well. (it is Spring, though here in my hemisphere 😀 ) … Your words are beautiful!. I felt I was flowing following their rhythm… And as the yellow leaves fall down, I wave at you!. Much love & best wishes ❤
Hope that you have sunlight to fill your days and the bounty of spring’s gifts. Thanks.
Collages aren’t my style, but I really like what you’ve done here, Sally. Well done. 🙂
Frank, not mine either, but I am experimenting and discovering. Thanks so much for your response.
There’s a meditative quality to this photomontage! Lovely, Sally. I hope you have as much time as you wish in your garden this week!
Patti, the weather is seasonal, variations range from 40s to high 50s. Lots of sunlight and leaves to occupy some peaceful moments. Thanks.
Sounds like our weather too. The freeze is coming later this week.
Indeed, our temps are to drop dramatically. BR-R-R-R-R.
Time for layers!
It’s a beautiful collage. The repetitive arrangement makes quite a different expression than just a single frame would have done. It’s almost as the grid adds extra layers to the “story”.
Otto, I appreciate your response.
Love the collage, and good to know you have different milkweeds in your garden. It seems as though your garden is being prepared well for winter.
Thanks, I work in it year round. Even in the depths of winter chill and cold there also is something to tend.
Thank you for sharing the info! The milkweeds are so fascinating. Beautifully done, Sally!
Amy, my pleasure, thanks.
Lovely artwork, Sally. The winter makes us appreciate the Spring. It sounds like you have much to do in the garden.
You are so right. When Spring arrives, I rejoice. But I do try to be Zen-like with winter’s temps. See you soon. Thanks.
Your words and image work so well together Sally. 🙂
Su, I appreciate your response. See you soon.
Stunning collage…..one of your best!
Thanks dear, it’s all a constant experiment.
Great post, Sally. I love the collage and you’ve got me thinking about putting some Milkweed plants on our property next Spring.
Allan, please do plant them. They are the source of the monarch’s life cycle. Thanks so much.
Will do, Sally. Thanks for the nudge.
I’ll encourage and encourage to help those beauties.
I just found out that my wife is allergic to Milkweed. We have a boatload of Zinnias and will add to that crop instead.
I’ve never heard of anyone being allergic to it.
The Lioness is pretty sensitive to plants & pollens, but we looked at the other plants linked in the article in your post and she is good with the Zinnias. We share seeds with our neighbors and broadcast seeds from our current favorites to keep the cycle going.
They look like rather elegant kitchen tiles, Sally. 🙂 🙂 I dislike the shortness of the days but everything has its place in nature, doesn’t it?
Indeed, Jo, nature is the ultimate magician and inventor. Thanks so much.