Tag Archives: summer

My very first zinnias

zinnias

I’m dedicating this unusual post to my fellow blogger Jim who has such an incredibly fascinating garden, home of many fabulous zinnias, among dozens of wonderful flower varieties – In Jim’s garden

His beautiful photos can truly heal the soul and as I watching them on the evening before my birthday, I commented how much I loved his zinnias’ photos and that they don’t grow so easily here where I live. Actually I had never had a zinnias’ bouquet in my home… till the next morning! 😮 🙂 Was is some weird, unusual coincidence or something else I have no idea, but the next morning I got up, my mom wished me happy birthday and showed me the flowers she bought for me. I took these, she said, because I thought you might like something new… I couldn’t believe my eyes! 😮 It was as if somebody translated them from the computer screen into my real life and it was such fun having them around, so I had to immortalize that moment with some beautiful photos. 🙂

zinnia

zinnia

zinnia

zinnia

zinnia

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August 16th

Tanja-baby

It’s past midnight here in Belgrade, Serbia where I live, so it’s already August 16th – even though I have a pretty challenging relationship with this particular day in the year, it’s still my birthday. I’m 38. Seems a lot in certain ways, seems hardly enough from a different perspective… the truth is probably as always somewhere in the middle, hopefully I’m somewhere in the middle of my life path. What’s certain though is that I don’t feel 38, maybe because I spent years and years just hiding and coping. Those years are one big blur, which can be condensed into a single dot in time – for me, it’s as though that time never passed, while in reality life went far ahead without me. It’s a if I’m still in my twenties in my head, still waiting for my life to unfold, to make important decisions, to overcome these mental hurdles and start living again. Then comes August 16th again and again and puts things into their real place, reminding me that things are not as good as I try to picture them to myself, which used to hurt a lot. I would lie if I said that it doesn’t not hurt any more, it just hurts less. Every year I say that next year on this day I’ll be in some much better place, but actually both me and everybody and everything around me grow just older and things get tougher. My dad is not doing really well lately, which makes my birthday much less significant than it used to be – if I could truly make a birthday wish, it would be for him to resolve his issues and start feeling better again. This picture was taken by my dad and fully developed by him as well, and it is one of the first pictures in my life. My parents say that I always held my fists tightly closed, as if I knew I would have to battle a lot in life. This photo reminds me that 1976 was quite a long time ago, everything was done manually… and it shows you where my passion for photography came from. 🙂 He developed numerous films and photos in improvised dark rooms, he loved slides and projectors, but somehow that passion of his faded away with age and the arrival of digital photography. I developed some films and photos manually myself and I remember that I loved doing it, maybe some day I’ll show you some of that black and white work.

There were many different August 16ths – many of them were spent at the seaside, some of them abroad – once in the USA, several times in Italy. Those were all quite lonely birthdays because it’s vacation time in Serbia and the famous Ferragosto week in Italy when people run away from deserted cities and towns to enjoy their holidays to the fullest. I didn’t always have a cake, but it was always a special summer day, special because I lived it in my head as such. Tomorrow will be another “specially” modest day – there were years when I thought I had to do something extra particular on that day or make some extra efforts, but in reality, I just want to relax. I want it to be a calm, good day. I didn’t manage to make a huge progress with my battles yet, but this is the first birthday I spend blogging. I hope there are many more years ahead, so maybe, just maybe next year I’ll be able to tell you that I’m in some much better place… 🙂
Till then, I can just promise that I’ll continue to fight, with my fists tightly closed as I did in those first months of my life.

And now… something entirely different! :)

red butterfly

I know that I still have to finish that indoor photo blog of different plants, but I couldn’t wait to share with you some news. What news? Well… the camera went out! Yep, you heard well! 🙂 If someone’s here for the first time, they’ll surely wonder what can be so special about camera going out, cameras normally serve to be taken around and capture special moments… well, in my case, camera didn’t go out for years, so this is a major event. It’s not that it exactly hit the road on a wild tour, it just walked with me around the building several days ago, but it’s still a huge step. And we were lucky enough to be greeted by a fearless butterfly, proudly posing for our first outdoor photo! I couldn’t have asked for more… 🙂

We also had a very funny encounter with an elderly lady who arrived from the bus station and found me standing in deep grass, staring at something on the ground. I had already made a photo of the butterfly, but I wanted to make another one just in case… and he decided to tease me a little bit, closing his pretty wings on me, so I was waiting for them to open again. The lady approached me and said – Hey you, kid (I look quite younger than my age but I am rarely among people, so whenever this happens it reminds me of that funny age-look dissonance) what are you doing in that deep grass?? Ticks are dangerous… do you know what a tick is? :)) I almost started laughing like a madman, but I somehow refrained myself – I could have made her a long speech on Lyme disease and available treatments, percentage of infected ticks etc. and there she was, asking me if I know what a tick was! Maybe it would be better for my nerves if I actually didn’t know any of what I do, but I’m a very well informed hypochondriac among other things. So I just replied – yes I know what they are, no worries. And she objected again – But they are dangerous, get out of that grass! I repeated – It’s really ok, this grass is hit by totally boiling sun, and anyhow it’s not their season, but thank you anyway… That’s how we closed the tick subject, but she still wanted to know what I was doing in the grass :)) – when the butterfly suddenly opened his wings again! I grabbed the bag and took the camera out hastily, which scared the lady as she jumped away, and then started laughing… Oh you just want to take a grass photo… :)) (she failed to see the butterfly). Then she wandered happily away down the forest convinced that I am both tick safe and sane, and me and the butterfly completed our little shooting session.

wild flowers

I continued my walk making a circle around the building and taking some more photos of wild flowers – if you asked anybody round here about them, they would just shrug and say – those are flowers?? Just plain wild grass growing everywhere, they’d better mow it soon… yet look how beautiful they are! Sometimes I think that our neighborhood is not particularly nice, apart from having a lot of green areas. Photos like this make me change my mind. 🙂

white butterfly on wild flowers

Here I closed the full circle around the block, found another butterfly to my pure astonishment and ran into the lady again, because she went slowly the other way through the forest. She looked at me as if she never saw me before and said – Hello there, how are you today? 😀 That was such a perfect “Twighlight zone” effect, as I was wondering who’s crazy, me or her, but I decided not to contemplate too much on it. I just replied – Very well thank you, how are you? – to which she responded – I’m fine, too. See you tomorrow! Tomorrow?? Where? And who was she in the first place? Maybe I should better stick to indoor photography… 😀

There are more wild flower photos, I’ll post them soon – hope you’ll enjoy them!

Moss rose – Mediterranean variety

moss rose

moss rose

For quite a while I thought that every moss rose story inevitably faded away with last leaves that fall off the trees in autumn. Three years ago I was offered a hanging variety, it lasts really long, the woman said. I am always for experiments when it comes to flowers so I was more than willing to give it a try, not knowing what to expect. I was positively surprised by these cute, small needle like pink petals opening everywhere along their green cascading branches, but I made a mistake of pulling them out of the earth when they seemed withered for good with the arrival of winter. Last year I was very happy to see them again at the market, noticing however that they cost a lot more than the normal variety. They were sold by one quite interesting fellow who spoke Serbian with strong Russian accent – he explained that these are called Mediterranean moss roses, that they always have this same color and most importantly, that they are – perennials, meaning that they typically last for more than one year! Mediterranean climate in winter is way milder that our continental one, but still the Russian said if I covered the withered sprouts and roots with leaves and if the temperatures didn’t fall too low, the plants should survive. I did as I was told, and this year’s spring invigorated them to grow triple in size in comparison to how they looked last year. Hopefully, they will be here to cheer up the atmosphere the next year as well. 🙂

Shooting these photos was quite challenging, as they hang in cascades over the balcony’s box and I live on the second floor 😀 I could have dived down right onto my head, but fortunately I both survived and got some decent shots! 😀 Can you believe that I don’t have prominent fear of heights? I know, seems incredible even to me, but certain phobias simply had to miss me somehow. 🙂 Happy day everybody!

Moss rose

moss rose

My flower balcony 7 days photo blog diary stopped at day 4 – it took me quite a while to get back on the track, but I decided not to give up, especially because my geranium posts got a lot of likes. 🙂

Day 5 was supposed to be dedicated to moss roses which is really interesting English name by the way – in Serbian we call it PRKOS, challenging word for translation… something like innate willingness to oppose especially to hardships, stand for yourself, do something in spite of circumstances that don’t work for you. We are well know round here to do things in the best possible way especially when somebody or something blocks us or prevents us from doing something, so I think this is a perfect plant for me to continue this flower story. 🙂 If my computer had died irreversibly, these pictures would have disappeared… but here they are, against many if not all odds.

My southern balcony is usually horribly warm, hit by the strongest noon sunshine, so plants struggle to survive – one of the plants that has absolutely no problem with this terribly warm sunshine is moss rose, which is why I used to plant a lot of them over there in the past years. They come in many different bright color varieties and I am really sorry now that I didn’t take pictures for quite a long time, but anyhow the point is that normally a moss rose flower is uniform in color – pink, red, yellow, white… To my astonishment, this little plant unfolded its flower and I was really amazed to discover – multicolor petals! I don’t think that there was some special manipulation here as I paid a normal, very low price per that small plastic container, it was perhaps just nature that had some fun mixing orange, pink and yellow seeds to come up with this unique solution. 🙂

These flowers open up only if hit by bright sunshine, and one flower lasts typically just one day, then another one opens up. They are sturdy and strong, real warriors – that was how they earned their name in my language. The plant lasts one year, which means that with the arrival of a new spring they have to be cultivated again from seeds or bought as already developed seedlings.

Tomatoes gone wild :)

tomatoes

tomatoes

I was about to continue with that unfortunately interrupted photo blogging diary when I got distracted by my father’s crazy tomatoes 🙂 – I don’t know if it were the seedlings, this year’s abnormally high humidity due to constant heavy rains or some third factor, but tomatoes grew out of every proportion, some of them weigh even close to a kilo. 😀

Our vegetable garden is organic, tomatoes weren’t treated with chemicals or any sort of heavy fertilizers, but anyhow they overcame our wildest expectations. 🙂 Apart from the size, they are very tasty as well, sweet and full of flavor, it’s a real pleasure to enjoy summer salads this year – they can be eaten even without seasoning, just like when you eat an apple. When cut in half, they look like some very special gigantic yummy heart. 🙂

While naming these two photos, I recalled my old fascination with the name of this vegetable – in Serbian we call it PARADAJZ, which is pronounced almost the same as the English word paradise. I’m not sure if someone liked them that much that eating them felt like being in paradise, but these home grown specimens do have a heavenly taste. 🙂

Geraniums – other varieties 2

geranium

geranium

geranium

Flower days, day 4 🙂 Have I already mentioned that I have many different geranium types? 😀 I couldn’t resist sharing some more nice pictures, hoping that you’ll like them, too. My southern terrace is in a good covered position so all the flowers and other plants survived tonight’s heavy rainstorm with lots of thunders and lightnings, which hopefully means that I’ll have more nice photos to share in the coming months. Tomorrow I’ll present a new plant… 🙂 Till tomorrow then, have a great day or night wherever you are!

Geraniums – other varieties

Geranium

Geranium

Geranium

Here comes the sequel of the geranium story – these varieties are more classic, easier to grow from sprouts, have bigger flowers, but are less resistant to hard direct sunshine… in spite of their stunning blossom colors, I somehow prefer those tiny velvet-white little flowers I shared with you yesterday. They are no bigger than a fingernail, yet so strong and really charming. 🙂
Today’s geranium beauties are blossoming very well this year because we’re having tons of clouds and rain, even now in July – temperatures rise and fall like crazy every single day which is extremely unusual here where I live, and also very challenging health wise. Nevertheless, I’m doing my best to focus on these beautiful images to help me go through each of these days. It will also be a wonderful reminder of the fruits of this year’s summer, once the autumn and winter set in, putting nature to one more temporary sleep. 🙂

Geraniums

Geranium

Geranium

Here I am, trying to maintain my 7 days photo promise 🙂

The star of today’s story are geraniums – if I learnt something about growing flowers in not very friendly weather conditions, then I’d definitely say that geraniums are in most cases pretty robust and easy to grow plants, you should just pick the right variety and take care not to water the leaves if possible, or at least try not to leave water rest for too long on the plant. Hanging varieties are definitely a choice for heavy sun conditions, and this one blossoms all spring and summer long. It should be some sub variety of pelargonium – (regal) geranium Martha Washington, with its nice velvet-white little flowers.
I had to hold a branch with one hand to get a better shot, and I like how it turned out. It looks as though I am giving away these two little flowers as a gift – may it be my gift to you to brighten up this day! 🙂

Petunias

Petunia

My cleaning mission is surprisingly still in progress, very slow one though but progress is progress, I mustn’t complain. Yesterday I realized that my southern terrace flower box needed extra attention apart from just regular watering, so I ended up spending two straight hours there. Growing flowers in this extremely unfriendly place (Serbian summers always reach 95+ temperatures in this July-August period) because it is directly hit by boiling sun at noon was somehow out of question in the previous years of my life, then when things started going bad in my life these last years and when I needed something to cling to in the worst moments, flowers became one of my salvation belts and I wanted them to be present in this spot as well. It took some trial and error phases, but years went on and I realized what I could grow there and how. I just don’t understand why I never even considered the option of taking even a single photo of those nice little blossoms I manage to produce. Looking at them was somehow enough, and on some days just watering would be all I had strength to do in an entire day. So yesterday I took the camera, trying to capture different varieties that live together in one single earth box. Such a small piece of earth on the second floor and there are many photos, one for each day in the coming week! 🙂