Dew Drops Dazzle

Dew on a puya(c)

Do you like my shot of dew on a puya? This is a flower worth seeking at Quail Botanical Gardens and at the Huntington. It’s hard to resist touching the sapphire-blue petals to make sure they’re not plastic. Tall (4-ft) bloom spikes emerge from a clump of leaf clusters that resemble spiny starfish. Each leaf is sharply serrated, which is probably why more people don’t grow Puya alpestris. Amazingly rabbits find it a delicacy. How do they do it? Jump-and-chew, jump-and-chew?

After a misty morning at Quail, I noticed how dew adds a lovely dimension to plants in my own garden. So, cue the violins and see what I discovered—all in one morning, before the summer sun blasted the magic away.

Perfect Moment(c)

Doesn’t this ’Perfect Moment’ rose look sugared? ‘Perfect Moment’ not only blends several hot colors, which I love, it also lasts a long time.  (See my bouquet of ‘Perfect Moment’  roses in an earlier posting.)

Pink rose(c)

This is ‘Barbara Bush’ —a lovely rose with a name that makes me smile.


These dew drops are fat and fragile, moments from tumbling off.  

Dew on cactus(c)

I’ll bet this cactus is loving this. It’s in a part of the garden that doesn’t get watered.

Nasturtium cropped(c)

Nasturtium leaves repel water. It sits on the surface and turns silver when light shines through it.


Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s beard, red valerian) reseeds prolifically in my garden. I’d better deadhead this one soon.  (Walking around with a camera is a great excuse to delay garden chores.)

 Cotyledon flower(c)

Cotelydon orbiculata is one of many succulents I grow. Here, dew ornaments the blooms like tiny holiday lights. 


Agave americana ‘Marginata’…

Echeveria copy

…and another succulent, a green echeveria.

Spider web(c)

It’s too early in the year for the big webs of orb weavers, but the trap door spiders have been busy. Here, they’ve veiled a variegated juniper.


 And finally, a photo of a rhinestone that fell into a spider web. What are rhinestones doing in my garden? Stay tuned ;+)

P.S. Want more info on Puya alpestris? See Santa Barbara garden guru Billy Goodnick’s blog  for Fine Gardening.

About Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin gardens on "an inhospitable half acre" in Escondido, CA, near San Diego. She is an award-winning photojournalist and artist with hundreds of articles and columns to her credit. Debra's books are Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified.

If you enjoyed this article, get email updates (it's free).

, , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to Dew Drops Dazzle

  1. Lisa at Greenbow July 7, 2009 at 5:44 am #

    Lovely shots.
    Thank you! You can’t go wrong with light through waterdrops…Debra

  2. cola July 7, 2009 at 9:18 am #

    Really a nice way to start my morning! Beautiful pictures.
    Thanks! Dew does seem to be a morning thing…although some of these were taken on a really misty day. Debra

  3. Darla July 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    I love the look of dew drops or water droplets on plants and their blooms. That is a very unique bloom in the first photo!
    Hi, Darla — I’ve tried spraying plants lightly with water before photographing them, but it never looks as natural as dew. Probably because the lighting is wrong—it needs to be soft. Debra

  4. Heather's Garden July 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Oh I’m intrigued by what rhinestones could possibly be doing in your garden!

    Hi, Heather — The rhinestone fell out of a holiday-themed miniature landscape I designed but ended up not using in my forthcoming book, Succulent Container Gardens. I could fill a blog with outtakes from that brief section alone! Debra

  5. Leslie July 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Aha! Thank you for identifying that odd blue flower. We ran across puya blooming last year in the garden at the San Gabriel Mission and I had no idea what they were. (Have never gotten around to searching, either.) They certainly are unique plants.

    The name puya invariably makes me think of that two-headed animal in the Dr. Doolittle stories, the pushmi-pullyu. Debra

  6. Les July 8, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    I love the picture of the Puya. It looks like it comes from another planet.
    Hi, Les — And I love your alliteration ;+) Debra

  7. deckchair July 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    That is a truly amazing looking flower – I am now off to see if I can track down one for myself.

    Thanks for sharing this on your blog, I really like these exotic plants and have many in my garden and house already!

    Personally, I wouldn’t have a puya—it’s like having a shrub of steak knives. Well, maybe. The flowers ARE amazing. Debra

  8. Raji July 9, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    beautiful pictures..the roses looks like little diamonds attached to it like in an Indian wedding dress..’
    Puya is new to me, very interesting blue color..

  9. Nicole July 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, I like the one with the rose with fat drops and also the Agave americana ‘Marginata’. Alas, my place is just too dry to get dewy photos…

  10. healingmagichands July 20, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    I love dew too, it is so hard to catch it in the soft light. I think my favorite shot is the rhinestone, though. It made me laugh. I find glitter in my compost.

    Those roses looked good enough to eat. Maybe that is why the beetles love the so. They probably taste really good. We are just growing gourmet salad bars for Japanese beetles. Hmmm.

  11. Jennifer August 23, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    Awesome photos. They make me yearn for a better camera than my little Kodak Easy Share Z650 although I have to admit, I have taken some lovely shots with this camera.

  12. rebecca sweet January 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    WOW – I’m so glad you sent this post my way-you are such an amazing photographer. It’s always such a joy to see your work. And I’m LOVING the rhinestone in the spider web! Now if they ALL spun webs like this I wouldn’t be so inclined to well…you know…’remove them from my sight’ shall we say…