Four Photographs of June – Beautiful Invaders

This gallery contains 4 photos.

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Urban Gardens to Urban Forests

This gallery contains 11 photos.

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Peony Blossoms – Darkness Leads to Light

PinkPeony

“Solo Pink” – Center Street – Wilkinsburg, PA – Many of my flower shots would not be possible if not for my urban environment… In fact… Many of my plant photographs are located on abandoned property… Or in this case… Relocated from abandoned property onto property that is more fitting for the long-term survival of the plant… I can only speculate age in most cases… This particular Peony came from a house that was 100 years old and 15 years abandoned… The original clump was 3-4 feet around…

Darkness Leads to Light

Scent of honeysuckle and peony blossoms…
Dogs barking over police siren cautions…
After dark observations of cats and raccoons…
Crickets are chirping at the crescent moon…

The sound of the breeze in the urban trees…
Cool air against my warm extremities…
Its past midnight and this breeze is just right…
Time in the dark brings meaning to the light…

Time spent in the dark brings meaning to the light…

PinkPeonyGroup

“Pink Choir” – Center Street – Wilkinsburg, PA – Another salvaged Peony… Saved by a salvaged human being… Saved from the wrecking ball… Pulled from the shadows of a collapsing world… Saved for a purpose… Like me… And you… After all we all have a purpose… We all have a meaning… We all have the ability to shine light on the darkness surrounding us… Shine on people… Shine on…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Urban Splendor

This gallery contains 7 photos.

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Repetition – Spring Highlight

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Something different… The colors of industry… Used to highlight a snapshot of nature… Repetitive… But perfect… Poetry in photos… No captions required… “Blue and Orange” – Marcegaglia Warehouse – Homestead, PA “Dogwood Firework” – Rebecca Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs […]

Complementary Gardening – Gardening Without Borders

PurpliWhiteTip

“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…

Keystone1

“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…

TroutLily

“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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The Flora of the Urban Jungle – Spring Color

This gallery contains 16 photos.

So… I’m going away this weekend… Heading into God’s country… Planning on doing a little camping… Fishing… Hiking… And the part I am really looking forward too… Photographing Spring wildflowers… While I prepare to bring you another gallery… I wanted to make sure I did not leave without sharing something beautiful… You know… To last […]

Composition in Scraps – Composing Me

EarthDay

“Composition in Scraps” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – As the name implies… Scraps from a day at work… It was either this or the garbage can… Almost a self-portrait in a way…

Put me in a group of people… And I crumble…
I stutter… Shake… And ultimately stumble…
Nature is my saving grace… My constant drive…
Put me in the forest and watch me come alive…

Know where I’m going… I’m just not sure how to start…
Looking for my salvation in the form of natural art…
Stop for a moment below a twisted mulberry tree…
Every part of which can heal… From root to canopy…

Shattered glass outlines brick like shiny gemstones…
Naked trees against the sky resemble broken bones…
Moments in time always shape our inner perception…
Shadows in our lives lead to shadows in our reception…

Towering grey clouds rise from the distant horizon…
Thunder rumbles as the afternoon humidity rises…
Towering Maple trees sway as the steady breeze blows…
As this moment progresses my tattered spirit grows…

Right here… Right now… I am among the poorest…
The most I have to offer is some pictures of the forest…
Sitting here watching the sun rise over rotten homes…
Sitting here watching the sunrise… While my soul roams…

I never know where my mind will take me… I never know what I will find… But as long as I slow down and pay attention to the world around me… I always find something beautiful… I always find something grand…

Someday… I will find you…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Repaired into Ruins – Side by Side

NotQuite

“Repaired into Ruins” – Lamar Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Not even an abandoned house… This is somebody’s attempt to close off a basement window… It is so messed up I had to laugh… But at the same time… It was so beautiful I had to run home and grab my camera…

Walking the dirty streets of Wilkinsburg…
Every other house a disaster waiting…
Mountains made of condoms and needles…
Pain is present in the eyes of the people…

Abandoned houses rot side by side…
Reminder of how the mighty decide…
Everything that grows will eventually stall…
Only the weak minds will answer the call…

I don’t want to be just another soldier boy…
Another scout… A pawn… Or a generals toy…
I want to be the best at the things I do…
When something falls apart I want to be the glue…

I don’t want to be just another list maker…
Another dish washer or first class faker…
I want my gardens to circle the earth…
Beauty grows beyond the day of birth…

The sound of birds over the rumble of a train…
A glimmer of sunshine after a long day of rain…
I want to do something that will give me pride…
Live in a place with the freedom to decide…

Depression is like a concrete block wall…
Like trying to bounce a flat basketball…
For most of my life I have been one knot away…
Every morning wake up thinking is this the day…

I have to find a way to tear down this wall…
Accept that I am human and deeply flawed…
What is a flaw… To some its perfection…
Based on a different style of human perception…

The sun and the moon… The birds fly high…
White clouds floating from our minds to the sky…
Cool mist falling from the sapphire blue display…
Forget about the past and throw these weights away…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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Seeking Color – Seeking Spring

Crocus2

“First Color” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – There is something special about finding the first flowers of the season… This particular patch never disappoints… Tucked neatly underneath of a weeping cherry tree…

Brown landscape waiting to spring…
Waiting for the gifts she always brings…
Crocus blossoms in the cold spring rain…
Snowdrops bloom while the children play…

Sunshine signifies the end of winters near…
Heaven is a state of mind… My heaven is here…
Staring at abandoned homes collapsing in the sun…
Dreaming of future homes… Dreaming of fun…

Crocus3

“Momentary Display” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Yesterday was near 50 degrees… A few flowers opened into the sunshine… Tonight will be nearing 20F… Most flowers would not survive such a shock… But the Crocus will do just fine… They close when the temperature is low… They can weather the cold just fine…

Sunshine signals the opening spring flowers…
Steady breeze shakes off the early morning showers…
Soon the bees will show up to play…
Another day surrounded in the early spring display…

Spring flowers tend to bow to the south…
Gather the sunshine in their open mouth…
Open their eyes when the sun shines bright…
When the sun sets the flower says goodnight…

RedBird

“House Finch” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – So I originally thought this little guy was building its nest in the roof of an abandoned house… That has turned out to not be the case… Its building its nest in the roof of my front porch… I’ll take it…

Spring cleaning… That is my current mental state… Preparing for another season… Gearing up for another project…

I recently moved all of my past photographs into storage… From this point forward I will be focusing on new photographs… Unless of course I need something specific… Otherwise every photo will be from 2014…

I am eliminating the availability of online prints for the time being… When they return they will be produced by me…

As always I am saving for gear that I desperately need… My current needs include a new computer and a macro lens… I always feel weird asking for donations… I already feel like 99% of our lives consists of relentless sales pitches… I don’t want to be one of those sales pitches… But… If you enjoy this blog… Or have learned something from one of my posts and would be interested in tossing a few bucks my way to help me continue this journey… Send me an email at c.condello@hotmail.com – I accept paypal and bitcoin…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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