Pt. Defiance Rhododendron Garden

One of the major factors in deciding to buy our present home was how close it is to Pt. Defiance Park. Skye had to be walked everyday, and I could’t imagine a better place to do that then Pt. Defiance. The Spring after we moved here I discovered the Rhododendron Garden, and I haven’t missed visiting that ever year since. I was late getting there this year, but there were more than enough rhodies in bloom to justify our visit.

Most of the white varieties seemed past their prime, but there were a lot of purple

and red varieties

in full bloom. Many of the later varieties were about to bloom

into their full beauty.

So Much Beauty in an Ugly World

The worst part of Spring is that there are too many beautiful places to be all at once that I inevitably miss a great deal of its beauty. On an earlier walk without a camera, I noticed that the Iris had started to bloom, but I’ve been so busy birding that I wasn’t able to get back with a camera until Wednesday. I soon discovered that some of my favorite Iris are already gone, which isn’t to say that there weren’t still a few dazzling examples to be seen.

Experience has taught me that if the Iris are in decline the roses will be in full bloom. Although there were a few late-bloomers waiting for my heat and sunshine, there were so many roses blooming that it was difficult to decide which to photograph. Since a lot of the yellow roses were starting to fade to white, I decided to focus on them. When I think of roses, I tend to favor yellow roses,

though it’s impossible to ignore a striking yellow and red combination.

Of course roses aren’t the only flowers to be seen at the Point Defiance Garden. Two brilliant red Poppies

waved above the yellow and orange Marigolds that lined the outside edge of the Rose Garden.

Summer Photo Camp With Gramps

I hope it hasn’t begun to seem that I am running a summer photo camp for grandkids on my blog, but I didn’t want to slight anyone by skipping our latest excursion where we took Lael and Mira down to the Point Defiance Rose Garden with cameras. The first three shots are by Mira, while the next three are by Lael.

I ended up choosing their shots I liked best to post, but it was interesting to see how their photos differed from shots I generally take at the Rose Garden.

I often take pictures of insects on flowers as Mira did in this shot,

MSRosWBee

but I usually back up further and capture the whole flower, not just a part of it.

This brilliant red-yellow flower is striking, one I, too, might feature,

MSYlwRedRos

but I would work hard to make sure that its beauty wasn’t blocked by leaves.

This shot by Mira is probably the closest to attaining the kind of look I try to capture when I photograph flowers.

MSPnkRos

Lael actually took several shots of our group during our excursion, but this shot of Mira is my favorite.

Lael'sMiraShot

In a lot of her shots Lael included several flowers

LaelDahliasWBee

instead of focusing on, and isolating, a single flower like I usually do.

My favorite Lael shot, though, was this one of an Echinacea (I think?)

LaelFuzyFlwr

she shot through the fence, perhaps because I would never have thought of shooting it this way.

Leslie insisted I needed to include a shot of Lael in this blog entry if I was going to include a shot of Mira so she sent me this shot she took on the outing.

LaelWCamera

Of course, I was focusing on presenting Lael’s work when I chose the shot of Mira, not Mira, per se. I have, however, been criticized rather regularly for not getting enough shots of people when I’m out on a family hike.

Roses and Iris, Too

Though the Rhododendron Garden is definitely my favorite garden at Pt. Defiance Park, particularly this time of year, I find it nearly impossible to drive by the Rose Garden without checking out what is in bloom. As it turns out, not much, though there are a few early roses now.

I’m not really sure I like this red rose, but I was fascinated by the black edges.

16Rose1

If red roses are the most popular rose, at least in poetry, then pink roses can’t be far behind.

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My particular favorites, though, tend to toward the orange tones.

16Rose3

The poor little iris garden isn’t even gated off and sits on the other side of the road, but the flowers can still hold their own this time of year whether they’re royal purple

2016Iris

or royal gold.

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Pt. Defiance Park is my own little empire.

A Break in the Clouds

Finally, we’re beginning to get a little sunshine, even if it’s only between rain showers. Though I’ll admit I felt a little like these turtles trying to catch a few rays,

Sun-lovers

it’s comforting to know that fellow Tacoma residents love Pt. Defiance Park as much as we do.

The gardens were in full bloom; these Jonquils were so rambunctious that they had to be fenced in.

JnqlsFncd

There were several tulip trees in bloom, but this was my favorite.

TulipTree

I was a little surprised to see that some real tulips were already completely open, almost at the end of their season,

YlwTlp

though some cherry and plum blossoms were just beginning to bloom.

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The wet weather and warm temperatures seem to have joined to make this a spectacular Spring. Leslie and I spent a long weekend enjoying at Pt. Defiance park, the beach, and Belfair enjoying Spring’s Beauty.

Unfortunately, the weather has also been great for the weeds and the lawn, so we had to spend much of Sunday working in the yard.

Between Cloud Breaks

Not surprisingly when you only have an hour or so between showers you’re not likely to see anything particularly unusual nearby. If there were anything unusual, you would probably already have seen it.

Still, I never really tire of seeing local Horned Grebes

RstnHrndGreb

or female Red-Breasted Mergansers

femaleRdBrstd

while walking Ruston Way.

I’ve posted a shot of this less-than-common bird recently, but I did get a pretty good chance to study it on a recent walk.

Doesn'tBelong

It was hanging out with a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye, though it’s plumage makes it clear it isn’t a Barrow’s Goldeneye.

Comparing it to this male Goldeneye it was hanging around with,

maleBarws

it’s pretty clear that this is a hybrid,

GldneyeHybrid

and the black stripe running down the white breast suggests it is probably a Hooded Merganser/Goldeneye hybrid.

Since it was hanging out with Goldeneyes, I wondered if it had the same diet they had, not that of a Hooded Merganser. Unfortunately, despite spending considerable time watching it, I never did see it come up with a catch. Guess that’s something to find out on a later visit. Given our weather forecast, I’ll probably be spending much time walking locally.