In the meantime, I sold my ground-floor apartment (the one with the “aiuole rialzate”) and purchased a half house (bifamiliare) with some actual garden space (YAY!)
A few pics, quality not too great:
Front of house, this morning.
I had pruned the Parthenocissus nicely so as not to bother the neighbor. Then the neighbor snuck out at night and cut off a large branch above my doorway, hence the hole 😦
New aiuola in opposite corner:
This area is named “Miserable Corner”, due to the triple misery of
- Very wet and shady in the winter
- West / Northwest exposure, gets scorched in summer afternoons
- Wind-tunnel effect caused by surrounding buildings; gets pummeled in a storm
So, after some thought I decided my strategy here would be to put a bunch of indestructible plants: bamboo, ornamental grasses, Leycesteria, Hollyhocks.
But then I bought a fern, realized ferns like me :P, bought more ferns…
Then I got bold and decided the Miserable Corner will become a Tropical Oasis, or something. So I bought a bunch of other stuff. Oh, keep in mind that I wracked my brain – and the webs – to find as many evergreen plants as possible; I don’t want to see a bare wasteland half of the year. Padova is zone 8a, this corner could be 8b or higher; the major problem here is not the cold, but the nasty semi-frozen wetness of our winters.
See what you think:
This is the sunniest part of the corner.
- Miscanthus sinensis ‘Rotsilber’
- Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, Althaea rosea nigra behind
- Carex of some kind, variegated, not small (I’m gonna have to move it)
- behind the carex, Equisetum hyemale, in its own pot to keep it extra moist.
- Leycesteria formosa, with a small Campanula and Carex grayi in front
Starting from under the Leycesteria:
- an evergreen fern, looks like Dryopteris erythrosora
- in front; two Astilbe chinensis and a few more small Campanula
- behind them a Hosta ‘Sun Power’, they say it’s particularly sun tolerant for a hosta
- behind it another hollyhock, double white flowered, probably in too much shade, two Carex pendula and the bamboo (I believe a Pseudosasa)
- next to the bamboo a Fatsia japonica, in front of it another fern (Cyrtomium of some kind) and another Carex grayi
A number of these guys will become quite large with time. Not only that, there is another “monster” which is currently not visible:
Yeah, a Colocasia esculenta (Taro), right in center stage! I’m setting myself up to do a lot of plant moving in a year or two!
This is the righthand area, the least sunny, with my first fern, a Polistychum polyblepharum, which has grown fantastically in the two years since I bought it.
[have to remove Phormium from there, not enough sun]
I’ve worked with Adobe Photoshop since my years at the University of Michigan, mostly on web-related graphics. Yet it has been only recently that I discovered its photo retouching features, which for the most part have always been there (hence the name).
I am working on a collage of old photos, to be printed on a large canvas. My current “guinea pig” depicts a couple at a restaurant, circa 1950s.
The photo is taken in black and white. After reading some of the excellent tutorials at RetouchPRO, I re-scanned it with the following characteristics:
- Full color (RGB) scan, 1200 dpi, all scanner software effects off;
- 8 bit depth, forced by my scanner at this resolution
- Saved as TIFF
Here is the result:
After working on it a bit with Photoshop, here is my current version:
Some of the salient tools used here involve a number of layer masks, the fantastic Levels filter, Dust & Scratches (admittedly with a heavy hand), some vanilla-flavor sharpening (although I have tested separately the High Pass filter, which is IMHO a superior option); I also created a separate Levels layer for the woman in the figure to correct some overexposure in the original.
The masking applied is a bit sharp; in some places the halo produced by the blurred layer at the bottom leaks through to the top. Still, I am stunned by the amount of information I could retrieve from this scan via the wonders of Photoshop.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. This is an exercise in pretentious juxtapositions, a WTF title that leads to some fluffy piece of wankdom.
Not so, I promise! I just need the time to write this up.