How sweet it is

Attending the Orchid Mania exhibit at the Cleveland Botanical Garden usually means leaving the cold, snowy, black and white world of winter and stepping into the colorful, warm and humid tropical world of orchids.  The colors and scents are a feast for the eyes and the soul after the stark, almost colorless, almost scentless days of January and February.  This year there was less of a contrast between the sunny, bright outdoors, and the vibrant, showy orchid exhibit.  I’m not sure why I felt that way.  I know I’m not the only one who did and/or commented on it.  Perhaps because winter has been so mild.

Even feeling that way, the first thing that hit me was all the color.  We may not have had snow on the ground for contrast this year, but other than the crocuses and tree auras, we don’t have a lot of color right now, either.  The orchids are aglow with color.

Once the eyes adjust to the brilliance, then the nose can begin to take in the sweet perfume.  Not all orchids have a pleasant scent, or a scent at all.  One (which I did not get a photo of) smells strongly of chocolate (yum!).  Another has hints of citrus, while many carry a floral scent that is difficult to describe other than as floral.

Usually when I photograph orchids I try to get a lot of close-ups.  This year I wanted to do something a little different and go for groups of flowers.  As it turns out, this was a good idea because I was shooting with manual rather than auto settings, and it’s very difficult to get a sharp close-up without a tripod.  Not impossible, but difficult.

I’ll have more from Orchid Mania for you tomorrow.  We had such a beautiful weekend, especially Sunday, that I’d like to share a little of that with you today, too.

Watch where you step

The wildlife in and around the pond are stirring.  This next photo might be scary for some.  Just thought I’d warn you.

Soaking up some rays

It was so warm and sunny yesterday that the snakes decided it was time to wake up and enjoy the Sunday.  This little Garter Snake spent most of the afternoon coiled up near the patio, relaxed and basking in the sun.  I saw a few others while out on my walk, hence the recommendation to watch where you step.

A robin near the pond

There were all kinds of birds out and about, including a few robins.  What I didn’t notice at first when I took the above photo of a robin was what he was watching at the time.  There was a muskrat sunning itself on the shore.  By the time I did notice the muskrat and point the camera in that direction, it slid back into the water and the best I could manage was a rather bad shot of its head.

Spotting the muskrat solved the Mystery of the Cattails.  I’ve noticed dug up cattails along the shoreline of the pond.  Now I know who has been digging them up.  I hope the mink gets to the muskrat soon or we’ll have to put in more fencing to keep the muskrat from undermining the dam.

Cattail seeds blowin' in the wind

M and I spent most of the day outdoors.  I worked in the garden for a while, and then planted myself on the patio with a good book, joining the snake in some sunbathing.  It felt almost like summer.  The weather headline for this week is “Widespread Warmth for Week Ahead” (at  The sudden warmth has me pondering if we’re going to skip spring this year and melt right into summer.

Crocus snuggling up to a hyacinth

I reckon that’s it from the Bogs for today.  It’s warm and rainy outside, not a particularly good day for a walk unless you don’t mind getting wet and squishing around in the mud.  I’m trying to decide what to make for dinner.  Anyone have any good (vegetarian, of course) ideas?  I seem to have gotten into a cooking rut once again.  I do find it interesting that my latest go-to comfort foods include Chickpea Picatta, and a variety of green soups.  Perhaps I’ll make some sort of pasta tonight.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a pasta dish.  What’s your favorite pasta recipe?


57 Comments on “How sweet it is”

  1. dianne - "life as i see it" - "just because" says:

    beautiful, wonderful flowers and wildlife. enjoyed.. ; )

  2. Alternative Infinity says:

    Stunning 🙂

  3. Pat Bean says:

    Your flowers make me want to get out my paints. Thank you.

  4. Ever since I saw that snake in my back yard last summer, I’ve been keeping watch every time I go out there – especially yesterday considering the warm temperature! The orchids look beautiful – and a CHOCOLATE smelling orchid?? You’d never get me away from that one!! 😉 We’re actually under a tornado watch until 11:00 tonight… the photographer in me hopes I see one, but the mother in me hopes we never do!!

    • Robin says:

      lol! I had a hard time leaving the chocolate scented orchid, Holly. I know what you mean about the dichotomy between the photographer wanting to see something and the mother (or survivor!) preferring not to. 🙂

  5. Karma says:

    Your orchids are gorgeous! You reminded me of the local spring bulb show in this area when I read about your orchid show, and I’m trying to figure out if I’ll have a chance to fit it in this year.
    I’m loving the great variety of creatures you’ve been able to photograph lately!
    I did the same as you yesterday: took my book out to the deck and soaked up the sunshine; it was heavenly.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Karma. The creatures have been very cooperative. I don’t know if it’s them or me. I think maybe I’ve begun to notice them more. 🙂

  6. The flowers are lovely–the snake a little less so. Yikes!

    Wish I had a good pasta recipe for you, but Sara does most of our cooking. I like a good marinara sauce full of lots of veggies over a penne pasta.

    Happy Monday to you, my friend. Enjoy the warm weather!


  7. Coming East says:

    I love botanical gardens. Me are members of the one in Norfolk. Love your other pictures, too. Spring provides so many photo ops.

  8. Your photos are amazing – and I really like your commentary! Even snakes deserve a bit of sun….just walk carefully!

  9. Gracie says:

    Beautiful as always! Love the colors of the orchids, they are so vibrant.

  10. Ellen says:

    Beautiful pictures of the orchids. They are really cheerful, specially when you are in winter and colors are not very easy to find, I mean, those vibrant colors.
    I like ravioli but I buy them in a place nearby. What I prepare is the sauce. When I`m lazy, I just use smashed tomatoes with cream and add a touch of Worcester sauce and cheese to the mix. When I`m more inspired, well, it`ll be too long to write LOL but I like spinach sauce, I “saute” (sorry don`t know the English for this action) the spinach with garlic and red pepper and then I add cream (I love creamy things) and cheddar.

    Hope you have a nice dinner!!

  11. Amazing photography! So beautiful.

  12. Oh dear… my little scrolling fingers went too fast and I missed the “snake” warning.. It was quite its own contrast to those stunning orchids! I’m in for the one that smells like chocolate.. or might that be dangerous having in one’s kitchen?? xoxo Gorgeous!!! Photos!!!

  13. Wonderful photos, Robin. I love garter snakes; they do such a great job in the garden keeping down pests and are harmless to humans. Still, a little disconcerting when weeding and touching one! The only time I regret their presence is when I find them eating a toad, as I also welcome the toads in the garden as a childhood favorite creature. But that is life in the garden. The robins have arrived here, haven’t seen a garter snake yet!

  14. When I visit the Bogs, sometimes it’s like watching “Wind in the Willows” or “The Tales of Peter Rabbit”, which I loved to watch with my children when they were young! All of these cute little creatures you have visiting your garden are gorgeous and I do wish we had them here in Australia. I’m not greedy, just SOME of them would be nice!

    The snake didn’t bother me at all; unfortunately, we are used to seeing them around our garden, and I don’t appreciate the Eastern Brown Snakes visiting at all. They are killers if they bite. I’m imagining that your snakey visitor is not of the venemous variety, if you were happy to sunbake with him!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Joanne. 🙂

      A garter snake bit is not dangerous to humans, but may cause an allergic reaction. I wouldn’t have much appreciation for the Eastern Brown Snake either. Yikes!

  15. Orchid mania! Guess where I’ll be next weekend! Thank you for the beautiful photos AND inspiration 🙂

  16. Marianne says:

    Beautiful photos, Robin! The flowers are beautiful! We had a gorgeous Sunday. Today was grey and rainy. I saw a pretty robin in the tree outside my window today. Spring will soon be here. Yay!

  17. Chloe says:

    the colours in those flowers are just stunning!

  18. ladyfi says:

    Oh what a heady post full of fragrance and spring and amazing shots!

  19. dadirri7 says:

    hmmm, enjoy the bogs 🙂

  20. Great for the snake, not so much on the muskrat…I haven’t seen ours lately, but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s still around…
    Love the orchid photos, too!

  21. aFrankAngle says:

    I imagine Orchid Mania was a photographic gold mine! Last pic my fav.

  22. I don’t think I have ever seen orchids in this color. My very first thought was “what pretty tulips!” but then I realized the center of the flower was different. LOL

    I’m hoping it doesn’t warm up before it gets light out. There’s two inches of snow on the ground, and I have daffodils blooming. I want to get a shot.

  23. niasunset says:

    Beautiful photographs… Fascinated me. I am so glad to meet with you, I come from dear aFrankAngle’s blog… Thank you, with my love, nia

    • Robin says:

      Thank you so much, Nia. I am so glad to meet you, too. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m looking forward to visiting you soon. 🙂

  24. eof737 says:

    Loving these shots… Lucky you to attend the Orchid show… Must be quite the rainbow of flower power colors there! 😉

  25. Carla says:

    Snakes, robins and muskrats – oh my! Spring is arriving! 🙂

  26. Sallyann says:

    Beautiful orchid pictures, such wonderful colours. 🙂

  27. Dana says:

    (This is my third attempt at commenting on this post– what gives?)

    I love the group shots of the orchids. I tend to default to close-up shots of flowers, but it’s nice to see variety in your compositions here.

    Do you eat dairy? Let me know and I can e-mail you some of my fave veg recipes when I get the chance. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Dana: I think WordPress is having issues with commenting. A couple people have mentioned it, but I’m not sure I understand exactly what’s going on because I didn’t have time to suss it out.

      Anyhow… thank you. 🙂 I meant to email you before I left (I’m up in the BIg City of Cleveland for the International Film Festival), but things got crazy busy.

      I do eat dairy although I’ve been cutting back. It’s become a treat. I realized tonight when I ordered dinner that I managed a whole meal dairy free without even thinking about it, and that was surprising and satisfying at the same time. I would love some of your fave veg recipes. I get into cooking ruts and it’s always great to get new recipes. 🙂

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