… another orchid society meeting. This time the show-and-tell included a tiny Dendrobium and several nice Cattleyas. There are more pictures here.
I spent a week out of town visiting friends. Most of the time I left the camera in its case, but I couldn’t resist grabbing a snapshot of this old-style transistorless pocket calculator.
I also found a bit of color in the guest bedroom/auxiliary closet where I stayed. There are more pictures here.
Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite arrived back in May in spike. June came, it got hot, and the plant went into shock. It just sat there, the spikes not developing, until October, when the weather finally cooled a little. This week it finally bloomed. The flowers are not quite an inch long, and have a light sweetish fragrance. They’re a a bit pinker than I expected, but I’m not complaining. There are a few more pictures here.
You might also see Maxthompsonara Bryon Rinke, a multi-generic Zygopetalinae hybrid bred at Sunset Valley Orchids, first flowered by Bryon Rinke of the KOS and named for Max Thompson at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. You might even see Max and Bryon.
There definitely will be several tables full of blooming orchids, plus plants for sale. I’ll be there taking too many pictures, as usual.
Although there were some mid-size to large blooms at this month’s orchid society show-and-tell, the stand-out for me was the smallest, Platystele umbellata, above. The entire cluster of burgundy flowers was roughly a quarter-inch in diameter. It was difficult to photograph — I really needed a macro lens (ideally with another lens stacked in front, and with the camera connected to the computer for focus stacking) and a tripod — but after several tries I managed to get a passable picture.
The Platystele was dwarfed by Stelis viridipurpurata, which was nevertheless quite small itself. Each flower was about a quarter-inch across.
There are more pictures here, including Habenarias.
In addition to the usual close-up photos, I also made some panoramas of the botanical garden this past weekend, such as this view of the lily pond. (Panoramas look best in the full-screen mode.)
There are more views of Botanica at my panorama page. (Click the “recent” tab.)
… is curing varnish.
St. Joseph Church in Andale, Kansas, isn’t actually a “new” church. The current building was probably built during the first quarter of the 20th century (the parish history is vague on specific dates). However, it was damaged by a lightning-caused fire last year and has only recently been reopened after repairs and renovations.
Unlike most of the churches that I’ve been photographing, St. Joseph actually looks like a Catholic church, not a box or a spaceship.
The panorama is best viewed in the full-screen mode.
I spent yesterday afternoon at the botanical garden, this time with an ordinary zoom lens. There was relatively little color outside, but I found some. There was more at the orchid society meeting inside, where the room was
refrigerated air-conditioned. There are more pictures here.
When I last visited the botanical garden, I took the fisheye lens instead of the macro. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the panorama tripod head with me, so all the garden panoramas came out too glitchy to post. The above was salvaged from one of the waterlily pond.
A few odds and ends:
Zappa fans might find this old advertisement oddly familiar:
Here’s another example of a faddish round church built in the later 20th century, All Saints in Wichita. It’s not ugly, but it reminds me more of main deck of a spaceship than a place of worship. It was dedicated in 1965, a year before the debut of the original Star Trek, so it’s probably safe for altar boys to wear red cassocks.
To view the detailed interactive panorama, click here.
Incidentally, the pastor of All Saints, Fr. Hien, whom I remember as an energetic and cheerful seminarian, is a refugee from Viet Nam who’s had an interesting life (PDF).
One of my ongoing projects is to make panoramas of Wichita area Catholic churches. Here are three recent ones of churches built in the 1950s and 1960s. None of them look like traditional churches, but they serve their purpose, and any of them would be preferable to the Taj Mahony.
The St. Jude (completed in 1967) website claims that its architecture was ahead of its time. Well, maybe, but to me it looks like your basic shoebox.
St. Margaret Mary (dedicated 1955; the “dropped” ceiling dates to 1992), with its ceiling cutout spanning the length of the church, is a variation on the shoebox.
The circular Christ the King (dedicated 1968) is definitely not a shoebox. It looks to me like something you would find on another planet built by friendly aliens. The parishioners I’ve spoken to are proud of it, and you can certainly do worse.
Click on the names of the churches at the lower left corners of the images to see the panoramas larger.
I returned to the botanical garden for the first time since I hurt my leg. While there, I spotted the bricks above in the butterfly garden1 walkway.
All the lego sculptures have been emplaced. To me, they just look dumb and waste space better devoted to interesting plants.2 The phony Victoria, above, takes as much room as a dozen real water lilies and looks ridiculous. It’s pointless, too, since the garden usually has the real thing in a different part of the pond later in the summer. Perhaps the silly things are attracting more visitors, but even so I look forward to their removal in the fall.
Although I missed the peak of spring, there were still plenty of real plants to see.
There are more pictures at my Flickr site.
The Little Arkansas River, which runs north, west and south of me, is as high as I’ve ever seen it. The next round of storms should be here in about an hour.
The magenta flowers in the foreground are Callirhoe involucrata.
Update: Although my area has been continually under a flood warning for about three weeks now, neither the waters nor the recent tornadoes have affected my neighborhood.
One place that got soaked much worse is Winfield, about 40 miles southeast of Wichita. Here’s a video of areas affected by the overflowing Walnut River last week. The fairgrounds are where the Walnut Valley Festival is held every September. The spot where I pitched my tent back in my camping days is under more than ten feet of water here.
The Echinofossulocactus (or Stenocactus) seedings I started a couple of years ago are starting to look brainy.
Botanica, the botanical garden in Wichita, has installed a number of sculptures in the gardens. Most range from “meh” to kitschy. I rarely bother to include them in my photographs. Currently the people who run the institution are installing a bunch of figures made of Legos in awkward spots through the grounds, such as the pansy above. I hope they’re temporary. They have novelty value and might attract a few additional visitors to the gardens, but there are much more interesting things you can do with Legos.
Unfortunately not temporary are the panels at the south entrance of the not-particularly-Shakespearean garden. They’ve been there as long as I’ve visited Botanica, and they look a little worse every year. (Right-click and open in a new window to see at maximum ugliness.)
It looks like we’re going to get spring good and hard tonight. In the meantime, here’s a token tulip picture from the weekend. There are more pictures here.
Yesterday the Yoshino cherry was in peak bloom at the botanical garden. Unlike the crypto-British Okame cherry in flower last week, Prunus x yedoensis really is a Japanese hybrid.
The early Ranunculaceae are also putting on a good show.
There are more pictures here.