Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Part 2

What is this flowering tree?

As we strolled the gardens, sometimes I thought to check the labels of the plants and flowers, but not always.  I have no idea what this tree is, but I thought the blossoms were so creamy and frothy.

 This reflexology labyrinth was a pretty cool feature in the Lerner Garden of the 5 Senses.  We removed our shoes and socks and meditated our way around and around.  
 Even if you wish to leave your shoes on, you can trace the route with your finger.
I wish I had taken a picture of the whole thing, so you could see that the smooth stones gradually decreased in size as you travel further inward, and the massaging effect on the soles of your feet changes.

 As you travel around the first outer circle, you can reach the soft and furry lambs' ears plants, and who can resist them?
 So healthy and gone to flower.  And look at that brilliant contrast with the plant behind.
 Next, while your feet are bare you walk between two pools, the one on the right has a weir about 3 feet high, and there is a cascade of cool water flowing over it, and across the walkway into the lower pool.  For real refreshment, I stepped right up to the little waterfall, and let the cool water splash on my feet and ankles.

I have no idea what this is besides pretty.

 Love the color contrasts....
A close-up of my favorite color contrast.

More next time. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunday Driving

Sunday afternoon, Jeff and I drove up the coast to Boothbay.  This was not our first visit to the area, we were here a few weeks ago to take Evan to the University's coastal research center, so he could complete his SCUBA certification.  But that trip was really just a utilitarian fly-by.  This trip, on Sunday, was truly leisure.
The water feature in the Lerner Garden of the 5 senses
Our destination was the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.  I had heard of it, but never been. And believe me, I want to go back, again and again!  If you visit Maine, consider a day here.  It is that magical.  The largest Botanical Garden in New England at 270 acres, it has only been developed in the last couple of decades, and a great deal of thought, talent, and resources have been brought to bear among its many themed gardens and winding woodland trails.  We were there for almost 3 hours, and probably saw a little more than half at a somewhat leisurely pace.  Our pace was determined by photographic opportunities.  We didn't do as much sitting and drinking it all in as I felt invited to do by its many seating alcoves, mainly granite benches, with lovely vistas.  There were water features, lovely steel dynamic (kinetic?) sculptures, impressive stonework, and even a large glass orb, all of which were displayed in harmony with the surroundings.  Native plant species are effectively showcased, and beds of plants and flowers arranged so as to delight the eye with their contrasting colors and textures.  Upon reviewing my photos, I find that I took 150 pictures!  I was going to edit some out, but they are all wonderful!  I had borrowed my son's better camera and that was a good idea.  I've had another pass through them to select which ones to share here.  I'm down to 49.  So, I'll spread them out over more than one post.  
Here's today's gallery; let's start with a bang:
PoW!  How's that for CoLoR?
And this was just on the walkway from our parking lot to the visitor center.  I happily noted that the parking "lots" are very small and verdant, no blacktop, just packed dirt and gravel, with lots of fallen pine needles making it look very woodsy indeed.  It feels a little like you have arrived at a campground, or the head of a hiking trail.  And of course you are surrounded by trees, so you can't see over to the gardens, which enhances the feeling of anticipation and breathless discovery.
Salvia with bee

I had never seen a yellow peony.  Most of the peonies had just gone by, but this was quite a beauty.

Why don't I have peonies in my garden?
Who wouldn't want to go for a Sunday stroll with this tall, dark and handsome guy?
In the Lerner Garden of the 5 Senses, you are invited to see, hear, taste, smell and touch.

And that includes taking off your shoes and walking the smooth stones of the reflexology labyrinth, and even splashing in the water splattering over the weir of the upper pool to flow into the lower pool.

Ferns are one of my most favorite forest plants, they seem so delicate and shy, somehow.  Remind me sometime to tell you how you can eat them.

I like this photo for the tease of the stone wall in the distance.

Goodbye for now.  Pat the bunny before you go.  So cool and smooth...

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The times, they are a-changin'

Storm clouds scudding over Biddeford Pool at high tide

Wow.  Yup, it's been a long time.  I gave serious thought to shutting down this blog, due to my not feeling inspired to express myself.  And yet, I'm back.  Who knows what changes my motivation....
There certainly has been no lack of happenings in my life.  Maybe I've had a lot of attention consumed by other people's life events, drawing me away from my simple pastimes.  The little avocations that are easier to share, like needlework and domestic arts like cooking and sewing.

Here's a little update on what has consumed my attention and time for the last several months.

David.  David is doing quite well.  Now.  We have been through some seriously scary times.  He was in a clinical trial for a new cancer drug, to which he seemed to respond beautifully.  The study protocol then introduced the older drug, and his troubles began.  It's not clear to me whether the older drug caused the problems, or if it resulted from the addition of the older drug after the newer drug.  You see, both drugs work by stimulating/facilitating the body's immune system to kill off the cancerous melanocytes. Some people experience complications that seem to be primarily related to inflammation in organs unrelated to the melanocytes.  The more commonly noted conditions are pneumonitis and colitis, inflammation of the lungs, and the large intestine.  In severe cases, the inflammation can render the afflicted to be minimally functional, even to the extent of complete failure.  And when major organs fail, it is life-threatening.  The treatment is high-dose corticosteroids to fight the inflammation and thus allow a return to normal function. This buys time to determine and treat the cause of the inflammatory response.  David developed severe colitis and moderately severe pneumonitis.  He ended up in a hospital bed for 5 weeks!  And since that time, he has been fighting from all the complications of which there have been many, including adrenal failure, GI bleeding, severe anemia, requiring blood transfusions, malnutrition requiring intravenous feeding, deep venous thromboses requiring blood-thinning and complicating the GI bleeding and anemia, pulmonary embolism, taxing his already compromised lung function, atrial fibrillation, which I attribute to the strain on his heart by the PE and anemia.  Oh yeah, and opportunistic infections from his immunocompromised state, including fungal pneumonia, systemic cytomegalovirus and possibly bacterial pneumonia.  Oh yeah, and diabetes due to the steroids, requiring insulin injections and blood sugar testing 4x a day.  Fortunately, he has recovered from most of these complications.  In March, he had some back pain from one of the tumors in a vertebra compressing his spinal cord, and received a week of radiation.  Next week, he is due for his quarterly check-up to see if tumors are still receding or staying the same size, or if they are growing or spreading.
Whew, writing the David update has taken a lot of words and energy, so I'll quit for now.