Celosia Asian Garden
Osteospermum Zion Purple Sun
Verbena Obsession Cascade Twister Violet
unidentified yellow flowers
Osteospermum Tradewinds Light Purple
It’s snowing here yet again, and not much has started blooming—mostly grape hyacinths and daffodils. For a burst of color, here are some more photos from last September. Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, maintains a trial garden where it tests hundreds of varieties of flowers developed by breeders. These, or most of them, are trademarked but probably not yet commercialized. My favorite name among these: Verbena Obsession Cascade Twister Violet.
Pawnee National Grassland
Pawnee Buttes trail
Custom road sign
Bottlecaps, Pawnee Station Café
Last week a friend and I drove out to Pawnee Buttes, in the Pawnee National Grassland. This is on the prairie in northeast Colorado, not far south of Wyoming and Nebraska. It was a warm but lovely day. The grassland is beautiful: lots of miles on dirt roads; beautiful undulating hills; and the isolated buttes themselves. The only downside is the sheer number of oil and gas facilities out here, along with the accompanying truck traffic. In a time when it’s imperative that we phase out fossil fuels, I was discouraged to see the amount of fracking and other fossil-fuel extraction on this, one of our national treasures.
Frozen fog coating trees along I-25
A view to the northeast
We’ve had freezing fog the past couple of nights. Here’s what it looked like on the trees and plains bordering the interstate north of Fort Collins, not too far south of the Wyoming border. The sky wasn’t really sunny, and all of the colors were muted. Interstate exits are infrequent on I-25 between north Fort Collins and Cheyenne, and the one that would have worked looked to be blocked by an accident, so I finally pulled off onto the shoulder and shot through the side windows and windshield. Don’t like to do that for photographs, but this was too beautiful to pass up.
Heading north on I-25
These were taken yesterday evening in Longmont. The iPhone is not good at handling sunset light. The photo with the tree is pretty true in terms of color, and I was able to color-correct the image at bottom right reasonably well. For the other two I gave up and decided to just enjoy that inky blue.
Clouds to the east
Yet another iPhone photograph, taken from a Loveland parking lot. I need to make a point of getting outside the house every day to see the clouds.
Detail, “Triangle,” by Kirsten Kokkin
This shows two of the three figures in “Triangle” (2005), by Norwegian sculptor Kirsten Kokkin. I think it may be the best work in Benson Sculpture Garden. It’s certainly among my top favorites. The relationships between the figures, as you circle the sculpture, create interesting forms, as in the case of this smaller triangle within the greater triangle.
Kokkin features this sculpture prominently on her website—in what we’d call the nameplate, if we were talking about a print publication—and that seems fitting; I think it’s also the best of her pieces reproduced there. When I looked up Kokkin’s name a couple of months ago, I found that she’d been under fire in 2013 for numerous misspellings on a memorial she’d done to honor Norwegian resistance fighters in World War II. She attributed this to having used English-language spellcheck when she was working on the memorial in America, and not having a Norwegian program available. As a former editor, I cringe to think of misspellings or typos set in bronze. Fortunately, “Triangle” includes no text, and needs none for its eloquence.
Colorado State University Horticulture Center. iPhone photograph taken late December 2018.
Puffballs and trees
Corn, pumpkins, and grapes
Tree with stars
In Fort Collins there is a small botanic garden, the Gardens of Spring Creek, that turns on the holiday cheer and becomes the “Gardens of Light” for a few weeks. This Christmas Eve I joined dozens of other people who were walking through the display, where of course plants are the main theme. Here you’ll find giant coneflowers and daffodils and hollyhocks, vegetable plots with pumpkins and chilies and carrots, grapevines, a lily pond, and even Christmas cactuses (though not Christmas cactus). Little kids were running and giggling and adults were snapping photos. It was a bit nippy—exactly 32 degrees—and I was glad to warm up my hands afterward with the car heater. Happy holidays!
Taking Watch, by Parker Macdonald, Benson Sculpture Garden
I went to Benson Sculpture Garden to walk.
Really, I did. It didn’t even occur to me to take my Olympus along. The only reason I had my cell phone with me was that I was expecting a call from the vet. But I couldn’t seem to get very far down the path without pulling out my phone and taking photographs.
Benson Sculpture Garden is a very popular place for people to exercise, and in particular to walk their dogs. How they manage this, I don’t understand. I tried it once, not too long after moving to Loveland, and discovered that there is no “walking” my little dogs, Ginger and Punkin, at Benson; there is only hanging onto them, barely. The scent of other dogs is so strong that it acts upon them as an irresistible elixir, causing them to pull and tug and drag and stand rooted on spot after spot. My wrists and hands ached so badly by the time we finished our circuit that I’ve never taken them back. On Friday I watched in amazement as other people walked their dogs quite calmly along the curving paths and past the dozens of sculptures. Are my dogs really the worst? It would seem so, which makes me the worst dog owner.
Anyway, dogs aside, above and below are some of my animal favorites from the sculptures. It was the wrong time of day for the best view of the octopus, so I have a shot with a house prominently in the background. And I could have used a shallow depth of field for the cougar, but: iPhone.
Raven Series, by Jim Eppler (partial view), Benson Sculpture Garden
Pacific Giant, by Adam Scultz
Pause for Reflection, by Laurel Peterson Gregory, Benson Sculpture Garden
The octopus lends itself to delicious closeups, some of which I’m including here to justify making this post. Hope you enjoy them.
Detail, Pacific Giant, by Adam Scultz, Benson Sculpture Garden
Detail, Pacific Giant, by Adam Scultz, Benson Sculpture Garden
Took this photo this afternoon at Benson Sculpture Garden. It looks more like a pencil sketch, an effect that’s especially pronounced in the crop below. I assume this is just from pixelation and color noise in the iPhone image—maybe someone else can tell me more. I color-corrected and sharpened slightly.