Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garden Perspectives - "Bee on A Blue Sea Holly"

"Bee on a Blue Sea Holly"
(C) Allen Pearson
I am crazy for unique or unusual perennial flowers.  I came across this "Blue Sea Holly" while on a trip in California a few years ago.  The blue color with the unique leaves caught my attention- it reminds me of the Purple Cone Flower, another favorite.

I planted one of these in my garden after seeing it in California.  It's not an easy plant to grow as though I followed the instructions, the first plant died.  I had to have one, so I tried again.  This will be the second season it's grown in my garden.  One of the plants odd features is when it begins to grow each spring, it started out as a green plant.  I mention this, as I almost pulled it out thinking it was a weed!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Perspectives- "Hello... And Who Are You??"

"Hello... And Who Are You??"
One spring, I discovered this Downy Woodpecker hanging out in my backyard.  Inadvertently, I got a little too close to him, in my opinion, and he didn't move.  I was busy working on putting in some stepping stones at the steps of my deck.

As I worked, I noticed he stayed and followed me around.  Come to find out, he was a baby Downy Woodpecker.  These birds can be friendly or unaware of the dangers humans can possess.

The bird eventually climbed a tree and looked around as if to say "Hello.... And Who Are You?"

The day turned out to be one of my more rewarding experiences as a wildlife gardener and a garden photographer.  My friend followed me throughout the yard as I worked every once in awhile peeking around the corner of a tree!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday's Thought

The 62nd Annual National Day of Prayer will be this Thursday, May 2, 2013. The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. 

This year's theme is "Pray for America" reminding us to pray for our nation as it continues to face many unprecedented problems. To further emphasize the theme, the Scripture for this year is:

In His name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:21

As you pray this year, remember to place your faith in the unfailing Jesus Christ who is sovereign over all governments, authorities and men.  A few points for when you pray:

  • Government:  Pray for local, state and federal leaders asking God to give them wisdom and guidance. Also, pray for your leaders families.
  • Church:  Pray for Church and Church leaders throughout this nation and in your neighborhood.  Ask God to protect them as they persevere in teaching the Truth and equipping people to share His Word.
  • Military: Pray for our Military and it's leaders.  Pray for God to grant them strength and courage for service as they serve our country.
  • Family:Pray for families as they are constantly being challenged and many are falling apart. 
  • Education: Pray for God's presence in our schools, colleges, and universities.  Ask God to select teachers and leaders who honor His statutes and inspire children to discover their God-given calling.
  • Media:  Pray for a Christian influence in the entire media industry.  Pray that God will lead men and women to work in these areas.
  • Business:  Pray for God's intervention in our economy.  Ask God to raise business leaders who will provide employment and provision for individuals.  
Greg Laurie Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California and Harvest Orange County in Irvine, California has written this prayer for the National Day of Prayer.

If you would like information about events and activities for the National Day of Prayer, please visit their website.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Garden Perspectives - Leaf in a Pond

"Leaf in a Pond"
(C) Allen Pearson
"Leaf in a Pond" accomplished what I wanted it to do.  Each time I showed it at an exhibit or festival, people would stop and look at it for several minutes.

I saw the "Leaf in a Pond" while participating in an art festival.  My stress was a bit high and this got my attention.  I took a few minutes to enjoy it's simple beauty and then to photograph.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garden Perspectives - Grape Hyacinth

"Grape Hyacinth"
(C) Allen Pearson
"Honorable Mention,"  Vienna Arts Society Photography Show, Vienna, VA, July 2009.  Macro lens, Pentax K10D. (C) Allen Pearsons Photos, Garden Perspectives.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"Trumpet Blooms"
(C) Allen Pearson
"And the earth brought forth grass, and herb 
yielding seed was in itself, after his kind,
 and God saw that saw that it was good."
  - Genesis 1:12

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Garden Perspectives - EXCUSE ME!!

(c) Allen Pearson
One of my favorite Garden Perspective photographs I've taken over the years has been "EXCUSE ME!!"  The look on the birds face while he's bathing is hilarious and I smile each time I see it. 

Another funny thing is, I took this photograph with what I call a "glorified" point and shoot in 2006, my Fuji S5200.  The camera was a step up from my simple point and shoot so I called it my "glorified" point and shoot.

I was working in my garden, had my camera ready as always, and I noticed a bird fly into the bird bath I'd just cleaned up.  He began to bathe and I grabbed my camera to photograph.  

Taking several photographs of him, this one was the funniest, it's almost like he's saying "EXCUSE ME!! I am taking a bath here- ."

I have been asked on numerous occasions the species of the bird.  After watching the birdbath for it to happen again, I've determined that it's a Mockingbird."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Garden Perspectives- An Introduction and White Clemantis

"White Clemantis"
(C) Allen Pearson
Flowers. Bees. Insects. Storms. Leaves. Garden Art. Nature found in the garden, formal or backyard, has been my favorite subjects to photograph, next to dogs, here lately, especially over the last few years.

Garden Perspectives is my vision of what I see when working in my garden, a neighbors garden, or taking a stroll through a formal garden.  Some of the photography isn't anything unique or unusual, but I found it beautiful- it got my attention- it got photographed.   Some of it, you may think why did he post this?  Or, it's blurry and a bit odd or is he loosing his mind?  No, I'm not technically loosing my mind, though close friends may say different, but it's something I saw and thought was beautiful- I put a unique perspective on something we see all the time.  Creativity?

Welcome to my blog exhibit gallery, "Garden Perspectives." Over the next few weeks, I hope you enjoy our stroll through the beauty I have found in gardens.

Prints, canvas wraps, note cards of Garden Perspective photos are available at Allen Pearson's Photos website.  Other products such as mugs, magnets, T-shirts, are available at Allen Pearson's Photos - Apparel and Merchandise.  If you have a suggestion or would like an image on a product, please feel free to contact me at Allen Pearson.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday's Thought

I joined our "senior citizens" group last night at Centreville Baptist Church, they allow you to join in at the age of 50 which I will be in about two weeks.  The group was celebrating their 20th year together and I thought it would be a good time to start.

I have to admit though, after it was over and I went home, I was a bit overwhelmed and surprised that I felt a bit "old" and maybe slightly "depressed." Not totally sure why because we had a fun evening and my wife and I had fun, a delicious dinner and are the "official youngest couple" of the group.

My thoughts turned to where has live gone?  Yesterday, I was just a kid in high school, then college, then work.  Now, I'm in the senior citizens group at church and a new chapter is starting.
"Purple Cone Flowers"
(C) Allen Pearson

The more interesting thing I contemplated was, "what have I done for God during these years? Who have I reached for Christ?  Who have  I witnessed to?"  These are questions I might not ever have an answer as we don't always know who we've reached for Christ, but we can do more to reach them or serve the Lord in our church and world in which we live.  How?  I'm going to watch for opportunities to share the Gospel. There are there, jut need to watch and pray.

I am excited to be turning 50- too many people I know treat it as a sad time.  "I'm over the hill!" we'll yeah, but....!  I've been looking forward to reaching the milestone for many reasons:  1- haven't been that old before, 2- I can have fun with it, 3- And probably most important, each day I wake up, I am thankful to God for the blessing of another day to enjoy-not that I am expecting to die or anything - it's a blessing to have the day.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday's Words

Maybe I should title this "Wonderful Wednesday" instead of "Wednesday's Words" as my thoughts go towards doing random acts of kindness to make other people smile today.

How?  Why not:
"Smiling Pups"
(C) Allen Pearson

  • Instead of rushing to work like a crazy man driving like you're the only one on the road, why not let someone merge in front of you by "waving" them over while smiling or "flash the headlights?"
  • Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  • Smile and speak, at least say "hi or hello" to your co-workers instead of rushing right past them. 
  • Participate in the Drive-Thru Difference sponsored by WGTS 91.9 FM.
  • Help carry someone's stuff who has a heavy load today.
  • Smile and wave at your neighbors even if you don't know them (that's always fun around here- people look at me like "what's he up to?)
  • Help your neighbor carrying in packages or bags of stuff.
Well, you get the idea.  Kindness, a smile and so on can go a long way to making someone's day- try it and let me know what happens in the comments below.

Or, have you done something, just to help or be kind, and was suprised at the pleasantly outcome?  If so, tell us about it in the comments below.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Container Gardening

One of my favorite parts or aspects of gardening is the creativity. My container garden is where I get to express or use my creative skills and create something different in my garden nearly every season. And, it’s probably not your typical container garden.

"Container Garden in Late Spring"
(C) Allen Pearson
When I moved into my house about 8 years ago now, the previous owner had a swing set in the backyard. The ground beneath, presumably, the swings, teeter-totter and slide had been worn down. I was glad they had gotten rid of the swing set, but wished they had filled in the area with top soil so I wouldn't have this worn down area to trip on or whatever.

Then, I got to thinking. Why not create a garden in that area? Except the fact that, my dog would probably run through it or dig it up or take care of necessary business transactions. I needed to do something better than that. Back to the drawing board. I have found that it is a really good idea to draw out any gardening plans and look at it from several perspectives.

I had already planned for the last 15 feet of the backyard with a 60 feet width, to be a wildlife garden. I had one in my previous house and loved it, so have to build one here. That’ll be another post or two.

Back to the drawing board, or actually the graph paper, for the old swing set area. The previous owner had put in raised flower beds using 2 X 4’s and framing them out. Noting the project wasn’t complete around the house, I decided to finish it around through the back. Reviewing this design, I got to thinking about the swing set area, why not frame the area out, fill with top soil and mulch. I could create a container garden. I framed a 10 X 10 area. The dog would have to step up to get into it, but with some training he wouldn’t do it or he might not even attempt it. My container garden was born!

I created the container garden in the fall which gave me plenty of time to determine what else I wanted to do in the area. Before it got too cold, I put in top soil and several inches of mulch on top and let it sit for the winter.

"Another View- Container Garden"
(C) Allen Pearson

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday's Thought

Why are so many people unhappy these days?  I started noticing this last week when I was leaving a parking garage.  No, it wasn't my driving- I hadn't got in my car yet, nor was it the way I parked.  That which got my attention, stayed at my attention.  I've wondered about it since.

Maybe it's my lack of understanding about wealth bringing happiness? Most of the people I've seen that were unhappy were driving nice cars. And, in some cases, I mean nice!! A few of those I saw, had great paying jobs or at least good paying jobs.  Some of them wore the best clothing money could buy.

I don't mean to judge or pass judgement or imply anything.  These observations got my attention and made me think.  Owning a nice car, having a great paying job, wearing the best clothes money can buy isn't wrong.  They aren't a source of unhappiness until they become a priority in your life- then you need to examine where you are going and what you are doing. Maybe that's the problem? Too much priority on things?  Not enough priority on others?

I know within my own heart and life, it's my relationship to Jesus Christ as a Christian which brings happiness, contentment, and peace to my heart.  My wife and dog are a source of happiness and fulfillment along with my friends from church. There are things in life which bring fun or pleasure in life or make this life a little less rough such as wildflowers, the trails in the woods where I walk my dog, driving my car with all the windows down on a warm spring or summer day, and the list could go on.

I'm not perfect and I never, ever mean to imply that I am.   Over the years, I've just learned to try to make "lemonade out of lemons" or "find the positive" in everything.  And, if you are happy, let your face know it so you can share it (this part was for me- my face tends to look like I'm frowning unless I make an effort to smile even when I am happy- maybe that's what was with some of those people).

Life is short, enjoy it while you can. Be happy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Adventures of Wildlife Gardening

The title of this post sounds like a good name for a movie. Maybe something funny with some good garden tips thrown in.

Since I started wildlife gardening or gardening for wildlife several years ago, I’ve had some fun adventures along the way. Wildlife gardening doesn’t mean to plant stuff and grow wildlife- which was one of my first thoughts when I came across the title. It wouldn't be a bad idea except everyone would grow their “favorite” wildlife which would make one species dominant. At least, that’s what I would do. Wildlife gardening means using native plants in your garden which not only benefits the environment but feeds the wildlife too.

When I started my wildlife garden hundreds of years ago, I decided to plant for birds and butterflies. I didn't realize that squirrels, rabbits, a snake, some deer, frogs, skunk, raccoon and others would be part of the garden- but all of them soon become regular visitors. Most of these, I don’t mind. The skunk was a problem because my dog was curious about it and well, you guessed it.

I don’t like snakes. Yes, I know they don’t typically, depending on the species, attack or go after you or whatever, but that bit of knowledge doesn't make them more loveable to me. If anything, more annoying. I’ll never forget the day I came home from swimming laps at a local pool. I couldn't wait to get out in the yard and start doing some gardening.
"Candy-Stripped Phlox"
(C) Allen Pearson

When I pulled into the driveway of our townhouse, I decided to deadhead a few marigolds to get things going- if you’re a gardener, you know how it is, you just can’t resist! After a swim though, I am usually tired and feeling the results of my efforts. After I pulled the spent blooms, I looked up to see a snake. It was huge, it was sticking it’s tongue out at me. I was not happy. I slowly backed away hoping that somehow my life would be spared. I’ve liked the idea of dying in the garden but I was thinking maybe due to a heart attack, not a snake nor a heart attack inspired by a snake. I went inside to tell my wife about the huge snack and to dress properly so I could whack the life out of it and spare all dogs, cats and children the risk of being bit by this huge monster that had made its home in my garden which I thought was downright rude. As I was changing my wife asked what I was doing. I told her I was off to kill a monster in our front yard- a snake. What she said next surprised me. She wanted to know the color and size. I just looked at her. I replied, “Green” I think and it is huge. While she is thinking about my comments, I’m thinking the snake has gotten away and is now across the street terrorizing some poor golfer who would have definitely benefited from a quicker response from me. Death by snake is not a way anyone really wants to go. She finally says, “Green snakes are good snakes and you must be mistaken about the size, there are no huge green snakes in Virginia!” I’m thinking, it’s a snake, it’s life needs to be short- “you don’t need to kill it and please don’t. Just move it with a rake to another location.” Easy to say when you’re not the one doing the work, I thought.

I went out to the yard thinking about what she said. Instead of a shovel to smash and kill the snake, I grabbed a rake and attempted to move it to another location. Except. It fell off the rake and back into the Phlox I had planted there. Needless to say, I didn't weed that area for a very long time.

When I come home from swimming, I am tired, occasionally exhausted, sometimes things seem to be a bit out of proportion. Or, I can make them that way. This post is true except the snakes size. And, no snakes were harmed in this adventure nor would they have been.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"Spring's White Phlox"
(C) Allen Pearson

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; 
and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, patience, meekness."

- I Timothy 6:11

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday's Thought

A Moment with God
Kim Kirby, March 17, 2013

Real worship will cost you something, needs to cost you something, and should cost you something. You time, your talents/gifts, money, sacrifice…something.

1 Chronicles 21

King David called for a census (which was a sin against God [Satan caused David to do this, Satan was able to sway David, "a man after God's own heart," if Satan can influence King David, know that he can and will use his power to sway/deceive/ influence us]).

God gave King David three choices of punishment for his sin of calling for a census: three years of famine; three months of destruction by the sword of his enemy; or three days of severe plague as the Angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel.

"Flowers in the Garden"
(C) Allen Pearson

David chose the 3 days of plague and 70,000 people died. And as the Angel of the Lord was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented and stopped the destruction. At the same time David saw the Angel with his sword drawn over Jerusalem and he and the leaders humbled themselves before God in sackcloth prostrating themselves on the ground, with David crying out to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy Your people."

The Angel of the Lord told David to build an altar, on the threshing floor where he was. David said to the owner of the threshing floor, "I will pay the full price for this place to build an altar to the Lord." However, the owner said he would give it to David along with oxen for the sacrifice.

King David replied, "No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”

David understood that worship and sacrifice to God must not be on the backs of someone else, and must not be free. For when you pay for something, when you suffer for something, when you sacrifice in order to give to God, God sees and knows what it cost you and will honor you for that gift, that sacrifice, that worship.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"A White Zinnia"
(C) Allen Pearson
.....Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, 
that you should follow in His steps.
  - 1 Peter 2:21