Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson And . . . The Garden I Said Goodbye To In ’12

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

I have read this often, and attempt to emulate it in my own life, whether gardening to attract winged beauties, or with family and friends, in my spiritual life, and in the field, as I attempt to capture ever more beautiful images of butterflies, darners, wildflowers, whatever . . . .

Success

To laugh often and to love much . . .
To win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affections of children . . . To earn
the approbation of honest critics and to
endure the betrayal of false friends , , ,
To appreciate beauty; to give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch, or
a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with
exultation and to know that one life
has breathed easier because…

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Excitement on Beechwood Boulevard

Monarch butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Monarch butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State ParkA

A sight for sore eyes! Petra and I arrived home last night, completing an 188 miles drive down from Frewsburg, New York. This image was captured in Raccoon Creek State Park in Beaver County, southwestern Pennsylvania. This very morning I looked out of our window, to the side yard, and its ‘peanut’ garden. And what did I see? A female monarch butterfly, like this one, flying to and fro amongst my 26 common milkweed plants. Yippee! She may then head to the 30 or so milkweeds in the front garden, and . . . set her eggs nicely there, too.

This is the 4th year that our milkweeds ( Asclepias syriaca) are in, purchased from Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. They are beautiful this year, 5-6 footers, with big round flower heads.

We pushed off for this most recent trip on June 12th, and arrived back home on June 21st. Adams County in the south of Ohio was our destination. We met other naturalists there, and spent days visiting fens, wooded trails and prairies. Fantastic , it was, with knowledgeable friends, discovering rare orchids, showy orchids, rare botany. Why, why did America allow its prairies to be developed? They are habitat of boundless life and beauty.

My slide film ships to Kansas tomorrow, and I wait. Images of Northern metalmarks, coral hairstreaks, Baltimore checkerspot caterpillars, Zebra swallowtails on butterflyweed(!), Common ringlet, robust pipevine swallowtails and Edward’s hairstreaks, abound. I simply cannot wait to share.

Pumping that anticipation is my desire to see the fruit of my new Cannon 100mm/2.8 lens, with, with image $tabilizer. Will it, can it, deliver?

Appreciative, I am.

Jeff

Our 2016 Travels: Revealed

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra, photographed by Jenny Jean Photography.

What a year 2016! We sought butterflies all the way back to March. Sitting here tonight, coursing through Facebook, Kim’s, Virginia’s, Stanley’s, Phil’s, Cathy’s, Marcie’s, Barbara Ann’s, Angela’s, Joan’s,Vicki’s, Nancy’s, Erica’s, Terry’s, Joanne’s, Lisa’s, Jennifer’s, Peggy’s, Leslie’s . . . all of your beautiful butterfly posts this year got me to a melancholy place.

Petra and I hit the road aboard the trusty ’06 Toyota Tundra, on the hunt for newer, better butterfly images, and time and time again, images of butterflies I’d never seen before!

Petra and I traveled to: Chapman State Park (NY), Oxford (MD), Frewsburg (NY), and we made 3 trips to Eatonton (GA).

My Black Russian travels very well, in fact loves to travel. She made history this year, the only pooch in the history of Interstate 20 (Georgia to South Carolina) who enjoyed a meal served to her in her bowl, on the median line on the eastbound lanes (well, due to that 2.5 hours parked delay, the result of a very scary looking 18-wheeler wreck).

We now have more than 140 new images to share over the coming months. Good news that.

Petra does have difficulty understanding why we aren’t on the road now, and why we won’t spin those wheels until, well, March 2017. Anyone know how to get her to get that?

Jeff

Cardinal Flower by the Hour

Cardinal Flower, photographed by Jeff Zablow in his Perennial Garden, Pittsburgh, PA

The red was lipstick red, and you could see it from 100 feet away. My 7 Cardinal flower plants were grouped together, inside the iron fence, just 8 feet from the sidewalk. In full sun from morning to sundown, they should have been a bit miffed, but I watered them in daily, and these moisture loving perennials showed their appreciation, by growing to more than 6 feet in height. They produced dozens and dozens and dozens of those fantastic blooms, as if in appreciation for my thoughtfulness.

Blooming for many weeks, they put our front perennial garden on the map. Map? Whose map? The internal map of the Ruby Throated hummingbirds in the East End of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They zoomed in every hour on the hour, straight to these red nectar pumps. (the flowers, that is) Methodically, bloom to bloom, leaving when someone come walking past, on the other side of the fence. They return moments later.

Our menu presented the hummingbirds with variety: False dragonhead, Salvias, Crocosmia, giant Zinnias and others for the pleasure of sipping nectar. I did not attempt to photograph the ruby throateds, content as I am with the photographic output of Virgina, Chuck, Marcie and others.

Spring will return and bring in the third season for my cardinal flowers. Where and how did I acquire them? From a fantastic native plant nursery, right here in Pittsburgh, just ½ mile from  my Beechwood Boulevard home! Sylvan Natives, where I found my American plum trees, Pagoda dogwoods, American hornbeams, Chokecherries, Tulip tree, Sennas and couple of others. Save for the deer and woodchucks, I’d be able to report 100% success . . .

Oh, and nary a single butterfly seen at the Cardinal flower.

Jeff