Summer’s Autumn: The Changing Color of Hydrangeas

With July, we enter what I’ve always called the second phase of Summer; the start of the high heat in North Carolina.  Nowhere is that more evident that in the Hydrangea beds.  The vivid initial blooms came in late May and early June.  I should point out here that in Eastern North Carolina, Summer really begins in early May. It’s when the warmer temperatures set in and the blooms emerge in their deepest hues.

With the coming of July, the blooms begin their color change, going from deep blue in this case to lighter blue.


As July ripens, the blooms slowly turn to a pale blue and light yellow, then slowly begin to dry out.

For cut flower purposes, hydrangea blooms are harvested here during each phase. Many are selected for drying.

It’s the PH of the soil that determines Hydrangea color.  Blue requires an acidic soil of 5.5. or lowers.  Pink demands neutral to alkaline soil or a PH of 5.5 to 6.5.  For Purple blooms, plant in a mix of acidic and alkaline soil of 5.5 and 6.5.  If you want more control over the color, plant them in containers.

As for shooting them, I usually use a 60 mm Micro lens.  Micro is Nikon speak for Macro.  I prefer to shoot in the shade and I seldom use a polarizer because in the shade, glare is seldom a problem.  And use a tripod.  It’s my experience that floral shots like these seldom score well in the social media whirl of likes and loves and such but the are fun to shoot and who knows, you might even sell one or two.  Thanks for the look and the read and have a good week.  See you next time.

 

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Dogwood Festival

The Dogwoods went into hibernation during the week and half freeze but blossomed with the return of warmer temperatures.  Within a week the flags of Spring were on full display.

 

 

These are wild dogwoods that have popped up on the farm over the years.  Attempts to transplant them to suit one’s own landscaping plan are iffy.  Wild things don’t like to be tamed.  And it seems the wild ones are less prone to the myriad of diseases that plague hybrids.  Wild or hybrid, they are very photogenic.

These were taken with a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens on a Nikon D750 Camera.  Thanks for the look and have a good week ahead.

Photo Of The Day: Pride of Mobile

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From Wilmington to Raleigh and beyond, Azaleas are at or near their prime across North Carolina right now.  Driving across the state, one gets the impression that every homestead has some sort of azalea blooming somewhere on their property.  Driving down east, I passed an old abandoned tenant house on its last legs and there in the front yard, pink azalea blooms were peeking through the weeds.

About the shot.  The azalea mavens tell me these scarlet red blooms are on an old variety called “Pride of Mobile” that dates from the late 60’s.  “It exudes southern charm”, they said and who am I to argue.  As I have said before, the main problem with this time of the year in North Carolina, aside from the seemingly constant rain, is the wind.  It never stops particularly here on the coast.  As soon as I arrived, I dialed in Shutter Priority on my trusty Nikon D7100.  Of course the camera is already obsolete – Nikon, as usual, is already  out with the D7200 which is a tad faster with a few other bells and whistles but with only just over 18 thousand snaps on the D7100’s  shutter which is rated at 150,000,  its hard to justify trading up.

As for the shot, I made four versions all with varying light. This one with soft, warm light, seemed to fit the azalea maven’s “Southern Charm” description.  Here are the particulars: 170 mm, shutter speed:1/250, enough to stall the wind, f/5.6 gave me the background blur I was looking for. ISO at 400,  Auto White Balance.  The 7100 excels at Auto White Balance I think.  Matrix metering. The camera rates at 24 mp so this shot yielded a nice large print for the azalea mavens who were very pleased.

The warmer weather has me juiced up for a day trip to the coast before the tourists clog up the beach road.  Either the Outer Banks or more likely, the Bogue Banks, Emerald Isle etc,  which is a bit closer.  I must have 10 thousand beach and coast shots but what can you do.  It’s an itch that has to be scratched. Watch this space!  Thanks for the look and have a great weekend.

Photo Of The Day: Scarlet Mallow

674.edited_edited-1 These flowers have many names but I’m told the official name is Hibiscus Coccineus or as it is more popularly called Scarlet Mallow.   I’ve always heard them called Texas Stars or Mexican Hibiscus.  Thanks to the farm name brains for setting me straight as they are prone to do.  Who says this isn’t an educational site.  Thanks for the visit and have a great week ahead everybody.

 

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Photo Of The Day: The Van Gogh Sisters

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We’re in the midst of Sunflower Season right now.   We’ve grown just about every variety over the years but the Van Gogh Variety has given us the best yield.  I caught these two “sisters” in the field this morning.  Runner up is probably “Ring of Fire”, followed by “Pro Cut Orange”,  “Lemon Queen”, “Moulin Rouge” which is a deep red sunflower, “The Joker”, “Maya” and “Pro Cut Bicolor” which is yellow with a tinge of deep red.  All will attract birds, bees and butterflies.  Put them in full sun with medium water.  And get your camera out.  Have a great evening and thanks for the visit.

Photo Of The Day: Frill Seeker

G.1028.editedA sure sign that were are into the warmer weather of later April: A Swallowtail Butterfly swoons at a bright red Azalea.

Nikon D7100/ 18-200mm DX lens

 

Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo Of The Day: Spring Sparkle

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Sunrise in a huge, bright red, formosa Azalea.  The days are tick tocking by very quickly and soon the Azaleas and the Dogwoods will be at their peak.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.