Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Beheld



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
-- Molly Bawn, 1878

We garden for many reasons and behold the fruits of our labor. Flowers, vegetables, herbs, fruits are the rewards of our gardening efforts. The colorful and textural sights and wafting fragrance also bring us pleasure in the garden.




Tiger Swallowtail on Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight'


I am joining Carol of May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Check out what other garden bloggers have blooming from all over the world.

Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan


As the seasons pass and I age with my garden, I see other beauties in the garden--subtle beauty that is but a small whisper. Changes in blooms as they fade, coloring amber and citrine with papery textures and prominent seeds, often inspire me to gasp. All the seasons in the garden offer beauty and interest whether it be the budding stage, the bold and bursting bloom, or the fading into seed heads where petals are lost and foliage sometimes browns.

Echinacea purpurea "Kim's Knee High'

Bright red blooms achromatize into soft hues with only a hint of pink.

Achillea millefolium 'Paprika'

That which was unwrapped begins to lose its wrapping and fold papery petals downward into a web of oneness that pushes the seeds upward.

Shasta Daisy Leucanthemum x superbum

Seed heads reach for the sky with elegance and delicate form as if unaware of any loss.

Clematis jackmanii

The delicate flowers of tarragon speak in golden hush tones.

French Tarragon Artemesia drancunculus


Small bits of nectar can be found in tiny blossoms.

Garlic Chives Allium tuberosum


The mighty can be found in the tiniest.

Oregano Origanum vulgare


Seed heads simulate blooms.

Dill Anethum graveolens


Sometimes there is just enough of a petal to represent its former self.

Bee Balm Monarda 'Jacob Cline'

Bronze and copper colors beam against the landscape.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Alice'

Rosettes are formed of leaflets.

Hens and Chicks Sempervivium globiferum

Subtlety is an art with gauzy blooms.

Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum muticum

The Big Butterfly Count runs from July 14 to August 5th, 2012. How many butterflies can you spot in your garden?

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Helene of Graphicality has awarded The Sage Butterfly the One Lovely Blog Award. I am honored and grateful to receive this award. It is always so nice to receive recognition for all the effort that goes into writing and maintaining a blog, so thank you very much, Helene. The rules require that I share seven things about myself. I will do something a little bit different. My favorite words are:

1. Blissful
2. Ecstatic
3. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
4. Serene
5. Respite
6. Benevolent
7. Obelisk

And the rules require I nominate 10 bloggers to receive this award. Any and all of the listed blogs on the right or the bloggers that comment on this blog are deserving of this award. I enjoy reading of their surprises, their successes, and their creative ways of building and maintaining a garden. Congratulations to all of you!


© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

82 comments:

  1. Wow...beautiful photos of your garden and the butterfly one is magnificent! Congrats on your award...well deserved!

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    1. Thank you, Lee. Those butterflies are one of my favorites as well.

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  2. Stunning photos, as always! Loved the Tiger Swallowtail and the French Tarragon. And I also like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - now I won't get the tune out of my head for days, thanks to you!! :-)

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    1. LOL, Helene! Having that tune in your head can only be a good thing. :) Thank you for your kind comments.

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  3. I love all the nuances in the cycle of growth and dying back in the garden. Your photos certainly captured some of the beauty in this cycle that's happening in your garden. Beautiful photos. Congratulations on the award, it's well-deserved!

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    1. Thank you, Bernie H. Before I gardened extensively, I don't think I appreciated this phase of the blooming cycle. I am glad I have come to see its beauty. It is glad to know that others, like you, feel the same.

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  4. Gorgeous photos and the one of the Swallowtail is just wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, Marisa. That Swallowtail or one of its close relatives is in the garden every day. It really loves the agastache and buddleia.

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  5. I love the photos of overblown flowers, there is something sad and "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" -that's right!

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    1. Thanks, Nadezda. Beauty has so many forms, and I am glad we both agree this is one of them.

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  6. Great photos on gorgeous and also faded blooms, aestheticaly rendered by your photographic skills.

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    1. Thank you, Stiletto. I am glad you find these as beautiful as I do.

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  7. I totally agree with you Michelle on beauty being in the eye of the beholder and you've captured that beauty in every single frame with such a beautiful prose alongside. My favourites are the paprika achillea and the hydrangea flower with those flowers that seem to be the deepest shade of purple.

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    1. I have such a soft spot for the achillea Paprika. It goes through an incredible transformation, one I really enjoy.

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  8. Beautiful photos! The photo of the hydrangea is stunning. I, too, love all the stages of a garden.

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    1. I am glad to see others like this aspect of the garden as much as I do. Thank you, Katie.

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  9. How true. Without those faded beauties and their generous seed heads the garden would no longer be. The birds would be so unhappy if we were to take away their fall and winter seeds. Faded flowers must remain and we must enjoy them for what they bring. Happy GBBD.

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    1. You are absolutely right, Lancashire Rose. They have a beauty as part of the creation of the garden outside of the superficial beauty they bring.

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  10. I love the shots of the fading blooms. This stage is often overlooked but really is beautiful and makes for great shots. Your words sing the praises of Nature's hard work and as gardeners we definitely get to reap the benefits. Happy GBBD!

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    1. I love those kinds of benefits. Nature provides us beauty upon beauty, and I am very grateful. You seem to appreciate it as well, Karin.

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  11. Thanks for sharing the joy of faded flowers. What a nice idea for a post in the heat of midsummer. I agree with previous commenters about the hydrangea in particular, so beautiful. ...I love the idea of a butterfly count, but when I checked out the link I was a little disappointed to see that it's in the UK. Oh well, I'll have to just count my own anyhow.

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    1. I believe there is a US lead butterfly count around Memorial Day each year by the North American Butterfly Association. Perhaps we can join in that one next year.

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  12. Beautiful photos... I enjoyed how you captured the beauty even in the fading blooms. I try hard to not remove as many spent flowers as I did in the past (the finches and other birds love the seeds)!

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    1. I love watching the finches go after the seed heads. They are the most adept acrobats as they cling to stalks and turn their head to reach the seeds.

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  13. Your pictures are beautiful! And I'm still hoping the butterflies find my butterfly bush - but maybe they don't like the desert very much... Happy GBBD!

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    1. It will be a delight indeed when you see those butterflies. My buddleia attract so many. They love them.

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  14. Great photo shots you got. It shows the beauty of the dying or drying blooms. Of course most of my yard looks like that right now in this drought. It's finally taken a big toll the last week especially. Glad to see you have some lovely things blooming right now.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. The dry and hot weather certainly has taken its toll. Some of these blooms would have lasted a bit longer had it not been for that type of weather.

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  15. Such wonderful pictures. I love them all with the textures and colors. That first one with the lily is fantastic.

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    1. Thank you, Lona. That lily was exceptionally beautiful this year of which I am so glad because many of the lilies bloomed for a shorter period this year because of our hot and dry weather.

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  16. Michelle I adore the flowers as they fade...I think I take pictures from when they just start to when they end their blooms and turn to seed....fabulous post...and thx for alerting me about the butterfly count...saw 3 monarch yesterday and some others so will be joining in...

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    1. I see many butterflies, but it is rare when I see Monarch butterflies. I have planted a butterfly weed plant, but I suppose it will take time.

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  17. Michelle, looking at your photos and reading your narrative is like experiencing a lovely poem--so full of imagery and inspiration! I, too, have learned to appreciate the fading blooms, whether it's due to age or wisdom, I'm not sure, but they do have a beauty all their own.

    Thanks for the notice about the Butterfly Count; I wasn't aware of that--right now I'm afraid it wouldn't take me long to count what's in my garden. I'm hoping that will change in the coming weeks.

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    1. I hope that changes for you very soon. To me, the butterflies are like another beautiful dimension to the garden. And they are such a delight.

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  18. All your photos are especially beautiful in this post. I can't pick a favorite.

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    1. Thank you, GirlSprout. The garden blooms make it easy for me.

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  19. Your images are lovely! I like how you demonstrate the beauty of a blossom well past its prime. I am waiting for my garlic chives to bloom. I use them in cooking, but mostly I love how they attract butterflies and other flying insects.

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    1. I have only had garlic chives in the herb garden for a year, and I love it. Not only is it delicious, it has the most beautiful blooms.

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  20. Lovely captures. I love the crisp clarity in these.

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    1. Thank you, Indrani. Many times I want to see everything, every part of the bloom.

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  21. I, too, find beauty in the muted colors of fading blooms. Lovely photos, as always.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. That makes two of us. It would just not be the same without these beauties.

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  22. Your photographs are beautiful. I've never grown tarragon but now I'm thinking of planting some French tarragon so I can have those pretty yellow blooms. I appreciate the hydrangea picture, too, because that's what mine look like now! Congratulations on the award! You do have a lovely blog. :)

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    1. Yes, you must try some French tarrogon. It is delicious and such a nice addition to the garden.

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  23. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' is such a wise saying. It allows us to understand that our perspective isn't the only one. I really enjoy the appreciation you have for your plants even when the beauty of their petals has been replaced with that of survival and seed production.

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    1. I really enjoyed the way you put that...very well said. All of that survival activity makes me gasp.

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  24. Love this post... beauty IS in the eyes of the beholder. I did a similar post one October with only fading flowers and it was truly my most favorite. Your pics are a delight!

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    1. I believe I remember that post, Carolyn. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. I enjoy sharing this appreciation with other gardeners.

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  25. As I have grown a bit older than prime bloom, I appreciate this post. I also think there is great beauty in fading blooms. Lovely thought, and much to think about here. Well done.

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    1. Thanks, Holley. Perhaps it is that when we get older we begin to appreciate the aging process, even if it is only in the garden.

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  26. Love your artistic interpretation of bloom day. Sometimes the unexpected is the most beautiful.

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    1. Of course, the bright blooms in the garden make a bold statement, but those subtle changes and faded petals make a statement that lasts and lasts.

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  27. Loved your photographs and your finding beauty in past-prime-time.

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. I am very glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate your comment. :)

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  29. Michelle. I love that first photo. Thanks for helping me to look at a familiar friend from a new angle. -Jean

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    1. You are very welcome, Jean. Even in familiarity, I find newness in the garden.

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  30. What an interesting perspective! It's refreshing, really. Thanks for reminding us that there is beauty in all stages of life.

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    1. I am inspired by your appreciation, Beth. We, gardeners, see many things that are not immediately obvious.

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  31. Gorgeous post..and you're so right, I think as we get older (and wiser) we start to appreciate all stages in a plants and/or flowers life.

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    1. I think you are right, Scott. All of that subtle beauty and seasonal change can't be missed.

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  32. Your pics are really beautiful, especially the one of the oregano and the one with the butterfly.

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    1. Thank you, Beth. I love the tiny flowers of oregano. I am often surprised at how many pollinators find the nectar in those tiny blooms.

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  33. The photos are really breathtaking!
    I'm not good in taking butterflies picture! they flew the moment I snap....hahahhaaa...

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    1. Thank you, Malar. It is not easy, I agree. Sometimes they fly away, and sometimes they seem to tolerate my presence. Good luck to you on finding that butterfly that tolerates!

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  34. Your images are beautiful and in all stages of growth.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

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  35. I love the imperfections as things change too. A question if I may, what lens do you use to get such close images of the butterflys? We have hundreds of birds around at the moment, I just can't get in close enough to enjoy them. Thanks, Alison

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    1. The garden always surprises. I use a Nikon 70-300 mm lens for these shots so I can get close but not close enough to scare them away. Good luck on your captures!

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  36. Your post is a very refreshing and original take on GBBD. It is nice to be reminded that there is beauty to be found in all stages of life.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it, Jennifer. I think if the garden stayed the same it would be boring.

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  37. Lovely photos.
    Congratulations on your award.
    Like your choice of the word supercali..........you know, that one.

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    1. Yes...it is one of those lo-o-o-ong words. :) Thank you, Crystal.

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  38. You take the most amazing photos, my friend. The butterfly on the flower is so special. You really bring out all the different colors and the loveliness of each picture.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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    1. Thank you, Sheri. It is nice to see your presence here. The butterfly was a patient subject as I took many shots to get just the right one.

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  39. Amazing shots! I just can take my eyes off!
    I have give you an award. Feel free to pick form my blog!

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  40. I also feel that we appreciate more what is around us as we get that bit older. I thoroughly enjoyed the images you showed us today.

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  41. I share in your joy of observing the beauty in fading blooms and flowers going to seed. Your bloom day post is most beautiful. It reminds me a bit of our fall which I'm looking forward to!

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  42. Wonderful photos. It's great that you appreciate the blooms in all their stages. I think I need to remember to do that myself.

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  43. Michelle beautiful words and photos, I love seedheads some are more beautiful than the flower, Frances

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  44. Fading beauty of flowers is truly something to behold! Beautiful!

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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