Sometimes it’s fun to experiment. I am not a crafty person, although I do admire people who are. A few days ago, instead of a camera, I took a pair of clippers with me as I wandered around my garden. I looked for flowers and leaves with good form and color.
On this page are some of the results of my “finds”. They didn’t require a camera, just my flat bed copier-scanner connected to my computer. I have an older HP Photosmart All-in-One printer, scanner, copier. I love it for the exceptional quality I get when it prints my photos.
The flat bed scanner isn't too shabby, either. My scanner allows me to crop the area I want to scan, so I was able to cut these photos into small pieces before I saved them to my photo file on the computer.
The pairs of photos you see here of The Swan hydrangea blossoms, above, and Pink Knockout roses here show the difference between scanning the flowers with the lid closed, which gives you a bluish-white background (if you have a white-lined lid) and scanning with the lid open at night with the lights turned off, which gives you a black background.
I first learned of the open lid technique from photographer Jerry Courvoisier in an online article at santafeworkshops.com in June of 2006. Unfortunately, the article is no longer posted.
I prefer the roses done with the lid open. Having to close the lid on the full blossoms flattens them out. There is more depth in the roses with the lid open and the room darkened.
The hydrangea blossoms are flat enough that scanning them either way brings out the best in them. It all boils down to personal preference. How do you want to use the finished picture? I rather like the pale version of the hydrangea flower with its almost watercolor effect. It would make a pretty invitation cover for a shower or an afternoon tea.
I learned a few things as I posed my garden clippings so I’ll share them with you. When arranging your materials, be sure to place them face down on the glass of the scanner. If you construct an arrangement, remember to put the pieces you want in the foreground onto the glass first, then build it up so that the last material is the tallest and will appear in the background. Lay stems toward you if you want them to appear behind the flowers. One better way to scan groups as a bouquet would be to glue the flowers onto a sheet of paper and scan the whole as a finished arrangement.
This is a scan of some of the material I collected, just laid out willy-nilly. Notice the dark line along one side of the scan. I arranged the pieces too close to the edge of the scanner. I could crop it off, but then I would lose part of the rose. Be aware of the limitations on the top and sides of your flatbed scanner area and group your material away from these areas.
Be sure to clean your scanner glass. Wipe everything down between your scans and again immediately after you are finished. If there are any sap drips, you want to clean them off immediately. Don’t forget to wipe off the inside top, too. You will be surprised, as I was, at the amount of tiny fragments that will stick to the glass and the inside of the lid.
I especially like the way these three fern fronds turned out. They look like a lovely botanical print. If you wish to make your own art, then gather interesting leaves and fronds and scan them. Even the lowly goldenrod blossom could become a focal point on your wall.
You can purchase watercolor paper and print your arrangements on it to give a special look or print them onto photo paper. Either way, create your own greeting cards or print and then frame them up for special areas of your home or, if you can part with them, give them as gifts to your friends.
Shorter daylight hours and cooler nights signal to trees that it is time to store their winter food. You can find beauty in those cast-off photosynthesis machines. As you rake, chop, and compost, bend down and save the most gorgeous colors. You don’t have to be crafty to save the tree bounty at your feet. Just do a little scanning.
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Every year, I challenge myself as a gardener to grow something I've never grown before and this year was no exception. As a professional garden writer, I was privileged to be given several exciting new varieties to trial. Additionally, in my travels this year, I had the chance to evaluate many more new plants in trial gardens across the country. The following new annuals, which will be new at retail in Spring 2017, received top ratings in my book.
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