“Look at that caterpillarAndrew J. Bland said as he passed an old bottlebrush shrub that resembled a hammock in my garden one afternoon.
I wondered what kind of caterpillar it was. Rather than embarrassed by admitting that he hadn’t noticed anything, he quickly looked in the direction of his gaze.
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What he spied on appeared to be just one of many twigs sticking out of the branch at a slight angle. But it wasn’t a stick. It is a stick insect, a well-disguised larva of some kind of wireworm. moth Or else—a creature so inconspicuous and enigmatic that it can be eaten without being eaten, hiding in plain sight from everyone except Bland.
It’s no surprise that someone with a master’s degree in tissue culture (propagating plants from small pieces or plants that are just the original cells) has a keen eye for the finer details of living organisms. I can’t. His job when he was completing his degree was, with the help of a magnifying glass and a microscope, “manipulating very small things, chopping them into tiny pieces and really seeing the details.”
It seems that little has changed since then. However, my current duties as brand director include: gardening For Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, it’s all about making the big picture scene fascinate us too.
With more than 250,000 visitors in 2021, more than 300 acres of public space will include more than 20 acres of exhibition gardens with nature-focused features, including a bee apiary and a wildlife apiary. I have.bee exhibition. Homes of native butterflies and moths are planted with host plants and nectar plants (food for both larvae and adults), carefully allowing each species to complete its entire life cycle there. Adjusted.
Beyond cultivated land, trails take visitors deep into the main forest, along narrow paths through towering forests of spruce and pine, to tidal rivers inhabited by seagulls and ospreys.
The public aspect of this place where the brand started working in 2018 is one of the things the brand likes the most. After working for 27 years at Broken His Arrow His Nursery in Hamden, Connecticut, he specializes in rare and unusual plants. He was a nursery manager there, and he also noticed that he kept an eye on plant trends and observed visitors observing the garden, as he does now in Maine.
He can’t help himself: he wants to make sure everyone experiences an experience on par with our caterpillar moment.
“Did you see that?” he asked the couple who had seen them filming the larger scene. children’s garden One late summer in Maine. He then crouched down to impromptu guide me to a small speckled flower near the ground of a toad (Tricyrtis hirta).
No, they missed it. Their response: “Unbelievable”
in faded flowernatural stained glass
In the absence of an audience, a small wonder like Toad, a shade garden plant native to Japan, might reach out to the brand. iPhone camera. He did just that one day in February when he found a single backlit floret of faded Hydrangea paniculata still hanging.
Indeed, the summer exudates of this shrub, consisting of hundreds of florets clustered on each of its many giant inflorescences, attracted attention. It was a crowd-pleasing moment. But it was the pattern of the individual florets that caught his attention, so he focused.
“Natural stained glass,” he commented on his work. Instagram The page when he posted that long-ago flower close-up. Brand isn’t a social influencer on his media or a professional photographer, but his friends and colleagues look forward to seeing and sharing with him under the hashtag #observeconnectexperience.
His method of observation is often focused on what he calls “small scene splendor.”
Every little moment is a quiet reminder not to rush into the next garden chore or get distracted by the flashy and obvious. Instead, slow down and see for yourself.
A colleague who runs Botanical parkHis shop recently commissioned some of his photos for greeting cards. (Calendar coming soon.) Sure, it was a compliment, but that wasn’t his motivation.
Even for those with formal botany education and decades of career experience, camera phones were a window into a self-guided, lifelong curriculum. Please incorporate
This, as he describes his continuing education and our continuing education, is “to dig deeper into things that aren’t just beautiful”. I hope that it inspires others and myself to learn more, rather than.”
Ask “Why, why, why?”
why butterfly Hanging upside down under the flower, he wondered and approached. Sure enough, he found the culprit. A white crab spider was stuck on a butterfly.
“Then when you look at the ‘crab spider’, sometimes the spider turns yellow when you’re on goldenrod.
Zooming in on a close-up of a lupine flower, he considers how the native lupine (Lupinus perennis) has become nearly extinct from Maine. Instead, large-leaf lupine (L. polyphyllus), a western North American species that escaped gardens and became invasive, is now found throughout the state. roadside.
Peering into the screen at the beautiful alien, he said. Then I stop what I am doing and start watching the bees. ”
The tiny seeds cannot struggle to open the individual shell-like flowers typical of members of the pea family. Bees cannot.
Blooming or not, lupine is attractive to brands. To really know a plant is to see it in all kinds of weather and light, and in all its seasonal incarnations.
flat winter It offers a wealth of material about the brand and his cell phone. He became an aficionado of puddles when he saw the potential for them (and his face), including Picasso-esque portraits and the ‘Frozen Foam Tapestry’.
He has a “wild imagination,” as he admits in one post.
the story Dragonfly The slush can say
The brand does not use any special techniques to create its image. He was going to take his course on the iPhone camera online, but he keeps taking pictures instead.
He doesn’t use filters, preferring the special effects he gets from reflections. water Or light at dramatic angles, not from software. He simply finds a subject, frames it, zooms in and touches the screen to lock the focus where he wants it. To increase his chances of success, he shoots multiples of every subject.
During a recent walk by a pond, Brand came across various dragonfly husks, the outer skins of young dragonflies. A dragonfly begins its life as an aquatic insect in a larval case.upon reaching adulthoodthey must climb out of the water by grabbing the stems of sedges or other nearby plants.
last step of transformationif all goes well, the case cracks open and the winged creature molts, ready to make its first flight in pursuit of its prey, leaving its cast-off shell behind.
“Most people won’t know what it is or that dragonflies spend most of their lives underwater if I post a picture.” “Maybe my picture made them think about it. and ask, ‘What are you doing in other life stages for the rest of your time?
those magic milkweeds
Back in beds and borders, the brand admits its obsession with a variety of garden plants. For example, he has grown over 125 of his cultivars and seeds of Epimedium, and the current collection is around his 75.
“They have a delicate, almost frail appearance,” he said. “But they are very tough and durable.”
But his naturalist is above all accepted by the natives. Milkweed (Asclepias) thrive in a variety of habitats, including moist, dry, full sun and partial shade.
Milkweed, which is a pocket milkweed, really likes the shade of its high canopy or the edge of the forest. Bog milkweed (A. incarnata), as its common name suggests, can get wet. Datura (A. tuberosa) is very drought tolerant.
And a field of common milkweed (A. syriaca) is the brand’s idea of a good time.
“You walk in there and the noise from the insect life is unbelievable,” he said. “And it smells so sweet.”
He notices a bee hanging on the leg of a flower and has to solve a new puzzle. what the hell is that?
“I love that you go in there and just take your time,” he said.
“And it’s always changing,” he added.
Best Drama: A meadow filled with autumn milkweeds whose pods explode and blow in the wind.
The caption for the image he posted of one such moment reads: floating towards the sun ” and “a new beginning flies away.”
keep an eye out.
This article was originally published in The New York Times.
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