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Last friday, I took a break from photographing summer flowers to plant a newly acquired pot of Shasta Daisies. Heading off to the shed, I plopped the pot down onto the grass so I could grab my gardening gloves and, of course, a shovel.

When I returned just a few seconds later, the most unusual flying insect was already feasting on the luscious, sunny-side up blooms. As I was about to swat it away, I caught a glimpse of its cartoon-ish looking ‘eyes’ and knew instantly, a primo photo-op was literally, staring me in the face! 😉

“Hungry Eyes” (Thread-waisted Wasp on Shasta Daisy ‘Becky’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 160

Getting the right angle to capture that adorable mug proved trickier than I’d thought (and the wasp was way more interested in eating than posing for the camera) but in the end, I got the shot and, a happy addition to my garden! 🙂

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“Soul Patch” (Bearded Iris) Nikon D300, 420mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/8, 1/100s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

One of the perks of having a garden is the opportunity to share plants with other gardeners. Many perennials benefit from being “split” and it is a great way to achieve a diverse landscape that is also, rich in history.

Prime example – the bearded irises shown here came from my good friend and next-door neighbor, Nancy, and have a 100+ year-old lineage! Imagine that! 🙂

Here’s the story as told to me by Nancy:

“They were in my mother’s grandmother’s yard and were transplanted to my aunt’s (my mother’s sister) yard in Hanson, Massachusetts. She shared them with me twenty-five years ago when she moved to Florida. I planted them in my mother-in-law’s garden in Beverly Farms and then moved them to this house in 1988. Whew! Since then I’ve shared them with many people who love irises”.

“Drawn” (Bearded Iris with Hoverfly) Nikon D300, 550mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/11, 1/50s, ISO 640, Slightly Cropped

Aren’t I a lucky, lucky girl?And so are all of you since now you get to enjoy them as well! 🙂

I hope to split and pass some of these “heirloom” rhizomes onto some other lucky gardener(s) one day. Just the thought of them growing and blooming long after I’m gone is somehow comforting to me. My link in the “proverbial” chain of life, so to speak, albeit a teeny-tiny one.

Aside from irises, other transplant “gifts” I’ve received (as well as given) include: rhubarb, daylily, peony, hosta, azalea,  rhododendron, monkshood, balloon flower, rudbeckia and butterfly bush. I’m sure there are more but this is all I could think of! 🙂

I bet you thought it would be something Christmas-y, no? Fooled you! 🙂

“Chiaroscuro” (Ladybug on Peony Leaf) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/8, 1/800s, -0.7EV, ISO 640

“Fly Girl” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/125s, ISO 640

Fooled you! It only looks like a giant mosquito! 🙂

Turns out it is a female Crane Fly – totally harmless. They don’t even bite! (And, coming off my recent yellow-jacket-sting-to-the-palm, trust me, that is very good thing!)

I came upon her while trying to fish a live frog out of the pool (I wasn’t successful as the wily amphibian kept diving to the depths to elude my net) and came eye-to-eye with the largest fly I’d ever seen.

Truth be told, at the time I had no idea what mystery beast was staring back at me. No matter. As far as I’m concerned, ‘Shoot first, research later’ is a fine motto to photograph by.

I just thought it was just so darn cool. I mean, seriously, just look at those fabulous iridescent wings!

“She’s so Fly” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/80s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash, -0.7EV

I guess someone has to give all those pretty butterflies and moths a run for their money! 🙂

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