Copyright © Sheryl Williams - Yardfanatic 2016. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 1, 2016

My favorite photos from 2015

One of my other gardening friends (Laura Heldreth who blogs at Gravy Lessons) posted her favorite photos from 2015.  What a great idea!  The bonus is that I revisit my photos and the memories associated with them.

I found that my favorites all came from my June trip on the Toronto Garden Bloggers Fling.  I guess that's no surprise, we visited some incredible gardens and all of us were there to photograph them.  I learned a lot about plants, photography and writing from my fellow bloggers so this post is a tribute to them.  I'm incredibly lucky that I've found this gardening community and that they've accepted me as one of their own.  Between them and the Travis County Master Gardeners, my other friends and family are enjoying ACTUAL conversations that don't involve gardening.  Well, mostly, anyway.

You, however, dear visitor, are stuck with my love of all things horticulture with a good dose of gourmand, politics, and love of pets and bugs.

#1.  Damsel Fly on a Japanese Maple Leaf
This Damsel Fly was so patient while I snapped away.  I squatted down right in front of her (knees cracking) to get this photo and she still stayed on that leaf and looked right at me.

#2 Japanese Maple Canopy
When I lived in Oregon, Japanese Maples were almost as common as Rhododendrons.  In Austin I can grow neither, so it was such a treat to see these old friends in Toronto.  To me this photo captures everything I love about them - the lacy nature of the leaves, the cut edges, the burgundy color, all set against the chartreuse of a larger tree in the background.

#3 Honey Bee coming in for a landing.
My Grandpa Jess's favorite flower was the peony, and were were lucky enough to visit a garden dedicated to them.  Every possible shape and color danced in the breeze that day.  The bees were everywhere and I love this bee getting ready to land on the allium that was growing alongside this incredible fuchsia colored peony.

#4 Viburnum
Alas, another shrub that doesn't grow well in Austin, and another I took for granted when I lived in the Northwest (although I had several in my garden.)  I really like how these flowers glow against the dark leaves and blue flowers in the background.

#5 Turtle Laying Eggs
While visiting the Iris Gardens at one of Toronto's Botanical Gardens, we came upon this snapping turtle laying her eggs.  I was lucky enough to get this shot of the egg being dropped in the hole.  She was there quite a while and must have laid at least a dozen eggs during our visit.

#6 Garden Gate
We were very fortunate to visit the Niagara Falls area and this private garden.  No expense was spared here.  This garden gate against the checkerboard pavers was quite stunning.  The infinity-edge pool overlooking Lake Erie was nice too. 

#7 Rose at Jean-Talon Market in Montreal
Ed and I took advantage of Montreal's proximity to Toronto and started our Canada visit in that beautiful place. We visited the Jean-Talon public market one morning and visited with the nurserymen there.  One merchant was selling roses and they were all covered with the morning's rain drops.

#8 Reception Gardens, Montreal Botanical Garden
 Tulips!  Just at the tail end of the season but beautiful none the less. This walkway to the administration building was so majestic and seemed to stretch forever.

#9 Chinese Gardens, Montreal Botanical Garden
Speaking of entrances, doesn't this just scream CHINESE GARDEN THIS WAY.  Love the rock, the tree, and the chartreuse of the spring growth.

#10 Cedar Cones, Montreal Botanical Gardens
Oh, how I miss my evergreens and that sweet resinous smell.  I do so miss that perfume these trees produce and the flush of new growth in spring.  I was a bad girl and picked some needles that I crushed under my nose for the entire visit.

#11 Wattle Shade
This Piper auritum is growing under a heck of a shade structure.  Love the branches woven into the cattle panel which was held up by a sturdy pipe trellis.

#12 Magnolia
At the end of our visit to the Montreal Botanical garden, Ed and I grabbed some lunch at the cafe.  We'd just finished eating when this magnolia blossom fell onto our table from the tree hanging over the patio.  Honest.

#13 Gratuitous Kitty picture, Toronto Skyline
We were on Ward Island, which is directly cross the bay from Toronto, admiring the view and the garden when this cute cat joined us.  Reminded me of my Gwen who could never pass up prowling the yard with me.  Or photo bombing.  Miss her.

Hope you've enjoyed these as much as I have.


  1. With so many beautiful photos it was difficult to choose but #2 and #6 win with an honorable mention for #5 for snapping the egg. Here's to another year of great gardening and great photos.

  2. I didn't see all of these gardens, but some I recognized from my shorter Toronto tour. Your stories about getting the photos adds to my enjoyment of them!

    1. Thanks Pam! It's always the back story, isn't it?

  3. You might be able to grow some native North American viburnums in Austin (e.g., V. rufidulum -

    Just a thought. Nice pics! :)