Fascination of Plants

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

I’ve been deepening my friendship with the camera this past year and using it to discover the beauty in my garden from new perspectives. As April shifted into May, the daffodils were replaced by Alliums and Camassias, bringing blue and purple hues into the garden. The grape and lemonade bed remained full of blooms until mid-May

but it was the graceful details of the Camassia flowers that drew my attention.

Alliums always remind me of giant lollipops on tall stems and they grow everywhere on the property, ignored by deer and rabbits.

Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere. ~Blaise Pascal

On closer inspection, those lollipops are globes of hundreds of small florets, each equipped with stamens full of pollen

beloved by bees.

A few late tulips reigned for weeks in the garden. Double tulip ‘Angelique’ is a favorite – her ruffled petals in shades of pink and white are a prelude to the peonies that follow.

A closer look at ‘Angelique’ in the garden

convinced me to cut a few blooms and photograph them on a light table to reveal the delicate translucence of her petals.

The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats

Almost black tulip ‘Queen of Night’ is another favorite and is still blooming in the garden. It’s sleek shiny flowers add deep notes to the color scheme

and captured the attention of Miss Pixie, who only sniffed and didn’t decapitate – she’s almost two now and has become a good garden citizen.

Columbines grown from seed pop up throughout the garden and are always welcome – the flower shapes with curving “tails” fascinate me.

Columbine ‘Wiliam Guinness’ was so covered with tiny spider webs and dew that it positively glistened in the morning light.

Iris season has begun, first with the dainty historical iris whose name I have forgotten but who always blooms first at the top of the hill overlooking the garden.

A closer look reveals subtle veining and her delicate yellow “beard” that gives Iris germanica its common name of bearded iris.

Bearded iris ‘Tiger Eyes’ looks as handsome in bud  as it does in flower.

When our native ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) unfurled their long fronds, I took a closer look through the lens to discover all manner of shapes and patterns.

Ferns are well known as an example of fractals in nature – not only are fractals aesthetically pleasing but also thought to be stress-reducing. Looking into the heart of a fern is endlessly intriguing to me.

If you are as fascinated by plants as I am, you might be interested in the Fascination of Plants Day which was celebrated this past week on May 18. Founded by plant biologists as an annual celebration to raise awareness of the diversity, beauty and usefulness of plants, it has inspired plant-based events across the globe. (Special thanks to Steve Schwartzman of Portraits of Wildflowers for introducing me to FOPD) Whether you are a scientist or an artist or both or anything in between, enjoy and appreciate the wonderful world of plants. I wish you all a May filled to overflowing with the wild and elegant beauty of nature.

What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? ~E.M. Forster

For more on growth patterns of plants and some musical fun, see my post on the Fibonacci number series in nature and music.

All photographs and text ©2023 by Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved, except where noted.


27 thoughts on “Fascination of Plants

  1. We also love the Camassias. At present the white ones are magnificent, coming out a week or two after the blues. As a retired Maths teacher, my wife is often referring to the Fibonacci sequence in plants. Nature’s wonderful order and detail. We have been enjoying an excellent Chelsea Flower Show this week. Best wishes for your garden, Lynn.

    • How interesting, Richard – my mother was a math teacher and made me aware of the Fibonacci sequence. I have been watching BBC’s coverage of Chelsea on my BritBox subscription – there is a definite change to looser and wilder gardens, which I love. I also fell in love with Sarah Price’s garden – did you see it? If so, I wonder what your thoughts are about it. Enjoy the rest of May in the garden.

      • Yes, Sarah Price’s artist’s garden was lovely. Sir Cedric Morris’s colour palette and the special bearded irises made a calming space, set against those pastel tinted walls. I also enjoyed Clare Austin’s irises (in the Pavilion). Her website has an enticing selection of bearded iris. I wonder if some of your’s are featured there.

  2. Just have others have said, the photos of your flowers and garden are lovely, such a pleasure to see, especially as we are going into autumn (although all seasons have their beauty). I enjoyed seeing your garden, and your extremely well behaved dog.. in truth I am envious, my daughter’s similar looking dog is still a scamp aged three!

    • Thank you, Gerrie. It is always good to have virtual garden friends in the opposite hemisphere – we enjoy your spring when we’re in winter and visa versa. Pixie is growing up and lives to please 🙂

  3. Happy Fascination of Plants Day, which your garden betokens every day. “Fascination of Ferns” works well, too, and adds alliteration.

    All the quotations you cited are good; this math teacher particularly resonates to the one by Pascal.

  4. These photos are wonderful! I especially love the ones of the ostrich ferns…and Angelique on the light table. Then, of course, I always love seeing what Miss Pixie is up to, with her good garden manners!

    • Thanks Mary – yes, this time last year Pixie was biting the flowers off the stems as she was running through the garden, now she is a model citizen 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the photos, it’s been a great way to study the intricacies of the plants.

  5. Lynn! Once again your beautiful photography and words have blown me away! Your garden is, as always, such a delight to see. My best to Bill as well as you continue to enjoy this Spring!

  6. Gorgeous photos, Lynn! I just ordered both Queen of the Night and Angelique tulips yesterday, along with one named Ronaldo(!). Excited to see two of them alive and gorgeous in your garden!

    I love columbines in the spring, too, and scatter dwarf irises around to discover like little treasures. It’s glorious to be in the garden again. Thank you for the continued artistry and inspiration. 💕

  7. Oh my such amazing photography. Thank you Lynn. The Einstein quote has been on my bulletin board for years. It is insightful for so many situations. Be well.

  8. Beautiful garden and photos, Lynn. Aren’t ferns captivating? A staple in my gardens, I love their form and deer resistance. I would have more tulips if not for those voracious ruminants. 😦 Love your Angelique tulips, always a favorite.

    • Eliza, I do find ferns fascinating – I have several kinds but actually had a deer uproot several new ones last year! Now I only plant larger specimens. The tulips are behind the deer fence so they are protected – they last so much longer than the daffodils, I have been enjoying their color clear into May which is a treat.

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