June 16, 2014

Red and Yellow Flowers at Our Home in Harrisonburg

We have now been back from Albania for more than three weeks, and it is time to show some specimens from around our home in Harrisonburg, VA, USA. I'll begin with our climbing rose.

Blaze Climbing Rose

Blaze Climbing Rose (one bloom and three buds)  (31-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

two blooms of the Blze Clinmbing Rose

Blaze Climbing Rose (two blooms and several buds) (8-Jun-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Another bigger flower is the Gerbera Daisy. Each bloom is around 3 inches (~7 cm) in diameter. It has a very full and finely featured center.

red Gerbera Daisy

Close-up of Red Gerbera Daisy (8-Jun-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Now let's go toward the smaller end of the size spectrum of flowers. This genus has about 600 species of flowers in it. I am not sure which species this is. Its bloosom is about 3/4 inch (1.7 cm) across.

a Buttercup bloom (I)

Buttercup Blossom (I) (8-Jun-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a Buttercup bloom (II)

Buttercup Blossom (II) (8-Jun-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

I like to photograph flowers since they do not run away from the camera. But wind and sunlight can cause motion and shadows and my camera does not always focus well on the small flowers. So there are still challenges to getting a good photo, but I'll keep trying to find new flowers and new details that I have not noticed before.

June 5, 2014

Flowers from the Balkans

During the four months we were living and working in Albania, we saw a number of flowers that are common in the US, too. But some were unique to the area, and there are some of which I do not even know their names. But here are my best examples with as much info as I can provide.

Walking around the city park in Lezhë just over three weeks after arriving in the city, we found this Dandelion flowering in the corner of a a stone step.

dandelion in bloom in a corner of a step near the city park in Lezhe 

Dandelion Blooming in the Corner of a Stone Step  (15-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

While at the city park that day, I also captured some other flowers in bloom. They both might be a kind of Zinnia, but I am not for sure.  

possibly a yellow zinnia ready to burst into full bloom 

Possibly a Yellow Zinnia Ready to Burst into Full Bloom (15-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

possibly an orange zinnia opening up 

Possibly an Orange Zinnia Just Opening (15-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And I'm fairly sure this is some variety of Daisy. But what is that bug that the camera caught on the stalk of the flower?

a white daisy 

A White Daisy (15-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

All three of the above flowers are probably part of the very large Asteraceae (generally known as the aster, daisy, or sunflower) family. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 23,000 species in this group.  

That was on a Saturday, on the following Sunday, we saw these beautiful Cyclamens blooming outside the bar at which we had our cups of coffee.

Cyclamen in bloom outside a bar  

Cyclamen in Bloom at Bar (16-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Three days later I photographed this Jade-like plant in bloom. I did not know that succulents like these would bloom. At least a Jade plant has never bloomed for me in the US.

Jade-like plant in bloom

A Jade-like Plant in Bloom at Lezha Academic Center (19-Feb-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

On the first of March while we did a day-visit to Berat, Albania, and its castle ruins, I found the next two photos of wild flowers. The first one is part of the Spurge (Euphorbia) genus of flowering plants. From an investigation of the date for this group in Wikipedia, my suggestion is that it is possibly cushion spurge (synonymous with bonfire) or serrated spurge (alternately called sawtooth spurge) or leafy spurge. All of these resemble my photo somewhat and are native to this area of Europe. Can anyone identify it for certain? 

visiting the castle at Berat, Albania, produced this spurge plant

A Spurge Plant and Flowers (1-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Near the same location, were these three wild flowers. The purple one is possibly Geranium molle (alternately known as the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill). The white flower might be the "common daisy." I did not get close-ups of the blue flowers, but it might possibly be a Veronica.

 possibly a white common daisy, dove's foot crane's bill, and a smaller blue flower

Possibly Common Daisy (white), Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (purple) and Veronica (blue)  (1-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

A month later, our balcony was a bloom with flowers. Here is a magenta-to-pink colored blooms from possibly a Dianthus. However, while the leaves are serrated, the flower are not, so I do not know what it is. It was beautiful blooming on our balcony.

magneta-pink blooms of possibly a dianthus 

Could This Be a Dianthus? (8-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

A week later on our trip with other expatriate teachers into Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro, I captured the following three flowering plants which I do not have names for.

unknown small purple flower

An Unidentified Small Purple Flower (15-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

unknown yellow flower

An Unidentified Small Yellow Flower (15-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

unknown strangely shapped blue flower

An Unidentified Small Blue Flower with Strangely Shaped Petals (15-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Also, on that trip I found this the shrub below with unusual flowers with a fuchsia color.

fuchsia colored flowering shrub

An Unidentified Shrub with Fuchsia-colored Flowers (15-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

close up of the fuchsia colored blooms

A Close-up of the Flowers on this Unidentified Shrub (15-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

On the last day of our trip, I found these white African Daisies (Osteospermum) with orange trimmed blue centers. They had been planted outside of a bakery shop we bought some pastries at before leaving Cavtat, Croatia, for home in Lezhë. 

White Osteospermum flowers (African daisies)

White African Daisies (16-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

close up of White Osteospermum flower

Close-up of a White African Daisy Flower Showing the Blue Center Trimmed in Orange (16-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And I could not6 resist capturing these mushrooms growing IN a tree!

mushroom growing in crevise of a tree

Mushrooms Growing in a Tree (16-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

In close-up photos, Iris blooms look just a bit strange. But there is such beautiful and startling diversity among the flowers we enjoy!

close up of an iris bloom

Close-up of an Iris Bloom (16-Mar-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Some weeks later in the middle April, I found this bush just full of big clusters of white blossoms. But again, I do not know the name of this plant. 

shrub full of white large clusters of white flowers

A Bush Full of Clumps of White Blossoms (13-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Are the yellow flowers with orange centers, pictured below, a variety of Gerbera Daisy?

yellow daisies?

Could These Be Gerbera Daisies? (14-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

close up of daisy

Close-up of the Above Daisy (14-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And what about this flower? Maybe it is another type of Daisy.

another type of daisy?

Another Daisy? (14-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Here are a few photos in which I can identify the tree and flower. All four of these were taken in Lushnjë in the front yard of Allen Umble's apartment building.

First is an orange tree in bloom followed by a close-up of its flowers.

orange tree

An Orange Tree in Bloom (15-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

close up of orange blossom

Close-up of Orange Tree Blossoms (15-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Next is a photo of a lemon tree with a close-up of its flowers.

lemon tree

A Lemon Tree in Bloom (15-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

 lemon blossoms

Close-up of Lemon Tree Blossoms (15-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

The two photos below were taken back in Lezhë three weeks later. They show lemons growing on a tree across town from where we lived..

lemon fruit on a tree

Green and Ripe Lemons on a Tree (4-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

close up of lemon

Close-up of Ripe Lemon on a Tree (4-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Near the same location in Lezhë, we also saw this Bottle Brush Tree in bloom.

bottle brush blooms

Red Bottle Brush Blossoms (4-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Going back to our time in Lushnjë, below is a photo of a Red Poppy flower in the midst of a grass field outside of the city.

red poppy bloom in the middle of a field

Red Poppy in the Middle of a Grass Field (15-Apr-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

A couple of times I visited the city park in Lezh and tried to capture some close-ups of the Buttercup wildflowers growing there in the lawn. On May 10 I was finally successful.

buttercup flower

Close-up of a Buttercup Bloom (10-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Also on that day we saw more White Daisies.

white daisy

More White Daisies (10-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Then on Tuesday before we left Albania for the USA, I photographed some Red Rose buds and a Red Lily at the Joshua Center where Norma Teles is the director of a preschool for Gypsy children.

rose buds with rain drops on them

Red Rose Buds  (20-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

red lily

Red Lily Blooms (20-May-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

These 34 photos are just a sampling of the flowers we saw in the Balkans, and many of them are nursery cultivars and not wildflowers. If we go back to Albania, I'd like to be able photograph and identify more of the wildfowlers and birds that exist there. 

--©2013-14, Richard L. Bowman

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