Spring, Up Close

I love macro photography. The ability to look very closely takes the most ordinary object and makes it extraordinary. I thought it would be fun to take a “macro-eyed” view of my wildlife garden during each season. Here’s my offering for Spring 2014.

In the grand food web of life, plants are the heavy-lifters. In order for the rest of life to get going again after a long winter, the plants have to send out leaves and flowers. In Southwest Washington, this process usually begins in late February, slowly, like a trundling turtle. However, by the first day of spring, things leap to a rabbit’s pace. Leaves are bursting out all over.

These little violets stubbornly come up every year along the garage in a gravel path. I figure such tenacity deserves respect, so I don't pull them.

These little violets stubbornly come up every year along the garage in a gravel path. I figure such tenacity deserves respect, so I don’t pull them.

Hairy bittercress. Not native and it grows everywhere. Still, up close the tiny flowers are lovely.

Hairy bittercress. Not native and it grows everywhere. Still, up close the tiny flowers are lovely.

A former co-worker used to call this time of year "season of a thousand greens." I love all the shades of the emerging leaves. This is red osier dogwood.

A former co-worker used to call this time of year “season of a thousand greens.” I love all the shades of the emerging leaves. This is red osier dogwood.

More shades of spring. Washington Hawthorne.

More shades of spring. Washington Hawthorne.

In addition to the colors, the textures of emerging leaves are wonderful too. Serviceberry.

In addition to the colors, the textures of emerging leaves are wonderful too. Serviceberry.

The warmer temperatures bring out the insects, spiders, and other arthropods. Although gardening commercials paint most bugs as the “bad guys,” they actually are vital to the success of any wildlife garden. All other life—all the furry, feathered, and skinned animals that we love—they all depend, either directly or indirectly, on arthropods. Up close, they are creepy, crawly, and sometimes beautiful, but always amazing.

The mason bees are starting to emerge. This photo is from last year--this bee found lunch at an overwintered brocolli plant that had "gone to seed."

The mason bees are starting to emerge. This photo is from last year–this bee found lunch at an overwintered kale plant that had “gone to seed.”

Can you see me now? Flies are important food sources for many animals, including birds, and are also important pollinators.

Can you see me now? Flies are important food sources for many animals, including birds, and are also important pollinators.

When the prey emerges, so do the hunters. This zebra spider trolls the warm, SW corner of the house.

When the prey emerges, so do the hunters. This zebra spider trolls the warm, SW corner of the house.

Hope you enjoyed a little spring tour of life up close. Get down on your hands and knees this season and appreciate the tiny patterns and whorls that make the backyard beautiful.

© 2014, Christy Peterson. All rights reserved. This article is the property of BeautifulWildlifeGarden.com We have received many requests to reprint our work. Our policy is that you are free to use a short excerpt which must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Please use the contact form above if you have any questions.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wonderful! I love macro photography and wish I had a camera that would allow me to take close up shots. I so enjoyed yours! Especially love the tree buds – look at all those colors! I actually was able to work a bit in my garden yesterday – so refreshing. Although a bit soggy I didn’t want to walk around to much in the beds to get up close but things are happening fast!

  2. says

    Thanks everyone! Kathy, you can now get macro lenses for the iPhone–maybe for other smartphones too. A much cheaper alternative to an SLR and lenses. I received one for my birthday this year. It’s been fun playing with it.
    Christy Peterson recently posted..Snippets, April 4, 2014

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