Sunrise into Sunset

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Rainy day opportunity to share a selection of photographs from my weekend in the Appalachians… From sunrise to sunset, and a few from in between… plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Advertisements

Hanging in There – Metamorphosis

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“Hanging in There” – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA

Hanging in there… That’s how I have felt for the past five years… Not good… Not great… Just hanging in there… Every day the same… Weeds… I pulled so many weeds in fact… That I felt like a weed… A weed in a beautiful garden… A weed waiting to be pulled from the earth…

After many years of self employment… I have taken a job working on a local farm/orchard/garden center for a family I already know and love… Soergel Orchards in Wexford, PA is my new home… It is my new school… The thought of the learning possibilities on this farm makes my brain tingle… The fresh inspiration makes my pen drool… My camera… Myself… My well-being… As far as my heroes are concerned… This family is only below my own…

I am a caterpillar… But soon… I will be a butterfly…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Field of Gold – The Fog will Follow

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“Field of Gold” – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA – A collaboration with nature…

Sitting in a flowering meadow… Myself and the swallows…
When this wind stops blowing the evening fog follows…
Sunset… Magic in nature… Magic in our short little lives…
Like these tiny swallows our energy rises and dives…

Water droplets from the relentless rains… Clinging to the trees…
A warblers song suddenly brings me to my knees…
Persistent decrescendo… Thunder rolling in the distance…
Between sunshine I imagine cooperative coexistence…

Existence with nature is simpler than existence with each other…
It’s easy to hug a tree but impossible to hug your brother…
Community is common unity… Unity is a social experiment…
The idea we can all get along is somewhat of an embarrassment…

We all have best friends… And we will all make enemies…
Value both… Learning experience taken from the centuries…
Unconditional love is thicker than water… Like a raging flood…
After the clouds comes the sun… Then the rain becomes mud…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Complementary Gardening – Gardening Without Borders

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“Tulip Behind Borders” – The Garden Table – Wilkinsburg, PA – This garden is a vacant lot that happens to be located in a rather high traffic location… I am actually planning on installing a fence and gate this summer… Something I said I would never do…

It is a long-standing practice in gardening to use a border to define the edges of our gardens. My preferred border material is bricks, they are plentiful in my neighborhood, have historical value, and help me keep my personal gardens neat and orderly. Borders are basically a line used to define where the lawn maintenance ends, and where the meticulous garden maintenance begins. Without borders, the neighborhood children would not know where my garden started… They also wouldn’t know the point at which I start yelling… Though… The kids are very good about not stepping in my garden…

As a garden installer, I spend a great deal of time thinking about garden borders… But as an artist/environmentalist… I also spend a great deal of time thinking outside my garden borders… To start this article off, I want to answer a simple question… What is a garden? A garden is typically defined as a collection of plants… In most cultures… To dream of paradise… Equates to dreaming of a garden… Or a lush landscape at the very least… This collection is typically contained within the confines of ones own yard… It just makes sense… Plants cost money… Why would you put them someplace you don’t own?

As my journey through the gardening world has progressed… I have found myself constantly looking to nature for inspiration… Over the last few years, I have left the borders of my garden… And gone in search of other gardens… My search has taken me into the forest in search of spring ephemerals… Into the fields to look for Echinacea… And up into the mountains to look for ginseng…

I have spent a great deal of time seeking out, and observing plants in their natural settings. Over time, my hobby has blossomed into an obsession. Now that I have been doing this for a few years, I have developed a bond with many of the plant patches I find… I have actually developed an emotional attachment to them… Oddly… I recently realized that I feel the same way about the woodland wildflowers I regularly seek out, as I feel about the plants in my garden…

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“300 Acre Garden” – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA – Can an entire state park be considered a garden… I believe it can be… A sunset photo of my newest garden…

Walking through trillium along the side of a mountain… I stopped to pick up some litter… It was at this exact moment that I realized my garden no longer had a border… Standing on the side of this mountain… I realized I was the only person who would ever pick up these plastic bottles… The Trillium certainly couldn’t do it… Not the jack-in-the-pulpit’s… Not the tasty Morels… Without me stopping to pick up those bottles… They would have been there for a really long time…

In order to garden, an individual must have an affection for plants… In my own experience, this rarely dies, in most cases it blossoms into an addiction and before you know it… You have more plants than you know what to do with… Some see this as a bad thing… But I personally see it as a good thing… It is at this point most people start looking outside of their own garden to scratch the gardening itch… When a gardeners mind finally steps outside of their own property… Only then does nature truly see a benefit… This is when the journey really begins…

Our gardens are a direct connection between ourselves, and the environment that surrounds us. Bees for example, collect pollen from the flowers blooming in your garden, although this pollen is then transferred among the other plants in your own garden, it is also spread to the plants surrounding your garden. This everyday transfer of genetic material is just one way plants communicate… The plants you plant in your own garden, affect the next generation of plants that will grow in your surroundings…

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“Trout Lily” – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA – Frick Park is a place I have been spending a lot of time in… I consider it an urban garden… And I will care for it as such…

Although we will go to great lengths to keep animals and birds out of our gardens, nature always wins. Many seeds have evolved to survive digestion, after consumption, these seeds are then spread through “natural processes”. I have followed plant-covered deer trails through the woods, these trails can be hotspots for finding early spring wildflowers… I have followed trillium trails for miles… Likewise… The old ginseng hunters used to follow deer trails when foraging for medicine…

Humans have been pushing nature away for hundreds of years… We cap the earth in cement… Trap and kill anything we consider “wild”… We eliminate ecosystems… Then replace them ad-hoc in the places we deem suitable… We create gardens full of food in the middle of exotic monocultures of chemically dependent monocots… Organic vegetables growing among a sea of garbage… Food labeled as organic… Hiding behind a ten-foot fence… Taunting the deer… Torturing the rabbits… But in desperation… Will not stop a single one of them…

Man and nature can live in harmony… In fact… Nature only requires a small amount of compensation… I laugh when I hear stories of people living in these new plans of McMansions… Entire ecosystems have been destroyed to put these plans in… Yet the inhabitants still cry foul when their cheap landscaping shrubs get devoured almost immediately… If you tore my hundred-year old house down… And built a fire-hazard on top of it… You better believe… I am going to do more than eat your shrubs…

Living in western Pennsylvania, I am asked more questions regarding deer… Than any other garden pest you can think of… Everybody wants a magic bullet… When I answer by saying feed them… Most people scoff… But I stand by my word… The goal to keeping nature from eating your share… Is to compensate… More simply put… You need to make other food sources easier to acquire than your own… Depending on your situation… This is often as easy as a simple fence around your vegetables… And a feeder and salt block somewhere else… This isn’t really a secret either… Any old-time farmer will tell you this…

I guess what I am trying to say is this… Gardening is a skill that requires us to learn how to work with nature… In order to do this properly… We must think outside the borders of our gardens… We must allow our minds to seek out answers beyond the confines of our own property… The insects and animals surrounding you have no respect for the borders in your gardens… They do not see property lines… They do not know where nature ends… And where the garden begins… And that is my point… Nature doesn’t see where the wild ends… Animals don’t know where the garden begins… And neither should we… The entire earth is a garden… A paradise… Every square inch of it deserves protection… As gardeners… Our gardens have no borders… And Nature… Well that Is in fact… What we do…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Floating Sea of Green – Anonymous Mountains

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“Floating Sea Of Green” – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA – Trillium as far as the eye can see… Right here… On the side of this mountain… I am but a small part of this picture… Yet… When I am among the Trillium… I feel like a king… Exploring natures beauty…

Sitting on the side of an anonymous mountain…
Among jack-in-the-pulpit and white trillium fountains…
Spring beauty blossoms through last years leaves…
A garden is growing among the woodland trees…

A garden is bigger than the size of your yard…
Gods creation is more than just broccoli and chard…
Heaven is a garden… And here on Earth it’s blue…
A bee that visits my garden brings sweet gifts to you…

Among the trees I realize I am a part of this land…
It is my job to defend the places that I find so grand…
If it came to it I think I would be willing to kill…
Stand on top of my Trillium and I’ll do it for the thrill…

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“Mountainside Morel” – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA – Among the treasures to be found in Keystone State Park… A single Morel Mushroom growing among the Club Moss… Trail side… Hidden by the leaves…

So while I slowly tiptoe across this sea of green…
Knee deep through Mayapples I guide my queen…
Carefully we navigate these Appalachian thickets…
Among the mason bees and the mountainside crickets…

I let go of my baggage and release my inner fears…
A garden is a state of mind and my mind is right here…
A garden has no borders… There are no class walls…
A plant doesn’t see us unless we get down and crawl…

Big degrees… Pedigrees… Even the smart and dumb…
A plant doesn’t give a damn about your annual income…
I garden… Because it requires nothing but the desire to learn…
I sow seeds because I realize it will soon be my turn…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Keystone State Park – Between Rain Showers

This gallery contains 6 photos.

All photographs were shot at Keystone State Park in Westmoreland County, PA… They are all available for sale as prints… Please email me with any questions or requests at c.condello@hotmail.com… plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 39 – Ghost Pipe

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“Indian Pipe” – Summer 2013 – Keystone State Park – Westmoreland County, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

This will be a short post… You will see why in a few minutes…

I introduced my girlfriend to this plant last summer… She was blown away… A few days later she summed up the existence of this plant perfectly… You will never even know it exists until you have seen it at least once… Then you will find it everywhere… You just have to know what you are looking for…

Commonly mistaken as a mushroom… Monotropa uniflora is actually parasitic… It gets its energy from the trees that grow above it… That is the reason for the white coloring… It does not need chlorophyll as it is non-photosynthetic… It relies on the trees for photosynthesis…

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“Ghosts” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

If you want to find this plant… You have to find a dark spot in the woods… They tend to like Beech trees… But any shady spot under any tree is good… If you find one… You will often find more… Because of this plants relationship with the trees and forest… Propagation is near impossible… So… Don’t even try…

I chose this plant today because tomorrow will be 2 years off heroin… Because addiction reminds me of a ghost… Although the habit is dead… It will always be a part of me… It is always something I have to consider… It is something that I have to actively control…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotropa_uniflora

New To writing and never had to cite sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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