Lens-Artists Challenge #171 – Weird and Wonderful

Milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #1

“A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.”

Matshona Dhliwayo

This week Ann-Christine has asked us to find images of things that are “weird and wonderful”, rather a tall order but appropriate for the season of Halloween here in the U.S. I expect we’ll see some very interesting responses to this one 😊. Personally I chose to highlight some very weird looking plants I photographed during a recent visit to a beautiful wildlife sanctuary in southern New Jersey.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #2

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

First I must admit the last place I expected to find a glorious wildlife sanctuary was 20 minutes north of Atlantic City, N.J. , known primarily for its many casinos as well as the long-in-the-tooth Miss America Pageant. But thanks to Trip Advisor, an excellent travel companion, my husband and I found the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge when we had a few hours to spend before attending a family wedding.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #3

“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”

Jack Kornfield

More about the sanctuary in a future post, but for today I’ve focused on the first plant we came upon – the totally weird but wonderful milkweed. There was a gigantic field of them in which I clomped about to my heart’s content, shooting away with my new iPhone 12 pro max. It’s camera performed quite well, especially compared to my old iPhone 8+. I will admit though, that if I’d know we’d find a place like this one, I’d have brought my Fuji for sure! I was especially disappointed at how difficult it was to see the screen in the bright sunlight. I have a device that will correct that but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having it always on the ready?!

thistle pods
Not Milkweed but close

“Yesterday is gone and its tale told. Today new seeds are growing.”


Although I thought the plant in the image above was the same as the earlier images, obviously it is not (and just as obviously, I am NOT a gardener although I love plants of any and all kinds). I believe this one is thistle but whatever it is I loved its weed-y beauty and apparently so did the little bug in the corner 😊.

milkweed seed pod
Milkweed Pod #4

“Once in a golden hour, I cast to earth a seed, And up there grew a flower, That others called a weed.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

So for those of you thinking – yes weird but where’s the wonderful, I would say this. First I think these plants are beautiful but if they don’t appeal to you, know that milkweed appeals to (and in fact is the major food source for) the declining Monarch Butterfly. Truth be told I am not sure this particular milkweed plant is one on which the butterflies feed, but since it’s a wildlife sanctuary I’m guessing it is. And wouldn’t that really be wonderful indeed?!

Sincere thanks to Patti whose Street Art challenge drew so many varied and wonderful responses. What a treat to see such beauty all over the world. Thanks as well to Ann-Christine for her Weird and Wonderful challenge which gave me an opportunity to share some of the weirdest looking plants ever – although I personally find them truly beautiful in their own weird way. I look forward to seeing your versions of weird this week – be sure to link your responses to Ann-Christine’s original here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Amy will lead us next week so be sure to visit her Share and Connect post this time next week. In the meanwhile, as always please stay safe and be kind.

108 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #171 – Weird and Wonderful

  1. Pingback: Becky B’s #PastSquares: – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

    • Hi Becky! Nice to see you pop up in my feed. I so often see our followers “double-dip” with your squares challenges. Glad the pods appealed in their sepia tones – loved your version!

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