Of flowers and light

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.” ~Theodore Roethke

As earth spirals towards the summer solstice, each day begins earlier and seems filled with more light. The growing crescendo of flowers opening in the garden somehow captures and reflects that light even more.

Allium 'Everest' against beauty bush

Each day brings new change as buds become flowers . . .

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and garden scenes shift their colors as new blooms open and others begin to fade.

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When I first began to study photography, I was deeply influenced by a line from the book The Art of Seeing – “Only light, not things, strike the retina.”  The objects we think we see are in reality spectrums of light reflected back to us. That realization changed the way I saw the world and the way that I tried to capture it with my camera. In the garden, light is everything. Plants respond to it, live by it, reach for it, and reflect it.

What we see as color is actually the reflection of a particular wavelength of light. Happily, color in nature is never just one shade or tone, but instead a complex reflection that challenges and seduces our eyes with both boldness and nuance.

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The garden unfolds in the growing light, rich and full of promise, and extends an invitation to step over the threshold and wander the paths.

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. ~William Wordsworth


Enjoy the loveliness of May and may you treasure the light that grows each day.

“I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up toward the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.” ~Edward Steichen, photographer

Composing about light: The Four Elements: Light

28 thoughts on “Of flowers and light

  1. It may be all about the light, but you are a magician with color, Lynn. Such glorious and balanced plant combinations. Oh, the Geum and daff with the forget-me-nots in the background – wow!
    And the pretty Deutzia….I was admiring one at the botanical garden I go to nearby, just the other day. I’ve always liked that clean, cool white. Love the way yours drapes across the path.
    Yes, things are in fastfastfast mode now, aren’t they? About 3 1/2 weeks more of increasing light. Too fast.

    Glad to see Angel keeping watch. 😉

    • Lynn, the geum and daffodil combination was a new one for me, I got very lucky with the synchronicity of color and bloom time – thanks for noticing it! With all of the rain this spring, many of the plants that were added 2 or 3 years ago have finally settled in and are showing off. The Deutzia is one of those – modest blooms last year, extravagant display this year.

      “Fastfastfast mode” is the perfect description – every day brings 5 or 6 new plants into bloom. What a joy to wake up every morning and go outside. What botanical garden do you visit? PNW gardens have always impressed me with their attention to color and texture details.

  2. Beautiful images, Lynn. Is it just me or are you approaching the flower closeups differently this spring?

    BTW, thought of you and your blog while photographing rhododendrons amidst the redwoods in far Northern California this morning.

    • Thanks, Kerry. Hmm, I’ve been thinking of the flower closeups like facial portraits; on the face, getting the eyes in focus in the key, and i’m finding that in a flower, getting the stamens in focus is the key. Also, I’ve been going back and shooting the same image in different light more frequently to get the look I’m after.

      Photographing rhodies and redwoods – sounds like a dream experience to me! I look forward to seeing the photos.

  3. Yes, for so many reasons, we need connection to the specific light in our lives; and owe it homage and gratitude: thank you, Lynn, for this glorious tour of your magical space. I’m really falling in love, more and more, with those white alliums! And, how wonderful are the paths that flow through your garden?! My inner Mary Lennox is enchanted. 🙂

    • Ah, Kitty, my inner Mary Lennox is never far from the surface 🙂 The white allium ‘Everest’ is a reliable bloomer and catches the light beautifully – I find that it needs a good backdrop to look its best. I have stands of them in front of dark purple sand cherry foliage, the green of the woods, and the light pink mass of the beauty bush. I admit a deep fondness for all alliums – easy to grow and I love the lollipop shapes!

  4. Love the dog, looking like the master of the garden! Beautiful pics showing that reflected light well. Thanks.

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