Slowly Tipping into Spring, Part Two: Longwood Gardens, Showing the Ingenious and the Ravenous

22 May 2012

Lens:

I. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

1. Bud of Allium ‘Purple Sensation,’ Longwood Gardens, April 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

2. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ in Full Bloom from my Garden, April 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

II. American Pitcher Plants

3. American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Longwood Gardens, May 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

4. American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Longwood Gardens, May 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

5. Buds of American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Longwood Gardens, April 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

6. Flowers of American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia flava), Longwood Gardens, April 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

7.  Flower of American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Longwood Gardens, May 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

8. Leaves of American Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia), Longwood Gardens, April 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Let me know which is your favorite.

Pens:

Every flower, every plant is a clever invention of botanical technology. Each is destined for invasion, mostly the good kind: tiny creatures enter its vortex and during that encounter satiate an extremely tiny (aka nano) part of nature’s quest for survival.

Mother Nature knows little about how many of her luminous progeny satiate our human sensibilities. Usually we’re drawn to the showy, brightly hued. But sometimes there is much more to the visual narrative. On recent visits to Longwood Gardens a surprise  coaxed me, and I became an outright fan of insect-eating plants.

In April I meandered through the early Spring outdoor showcase at Longwood Gardens (see “Slowly Tipping into Spring, Part One: Longwood Gardens” here) where containers filled with carnivorous plants startled my sensibilities. As I strolled pass ceramic planters, I was introduced to a new species of plants that trap crawling and flying insects: the American Pitcher Plant.

American Pitcher Plant, Flower, Google Images

Equipped with a facade that hides a deadly secret, these plants are beauties with a mighty agenda. They conjure decay and rejuvenation, and are laden with an unusual mechanism for making their own meals.

What surprised me was their regal and stellar appearance. Buds were sensuously rich in greens and reds, and flowers appeared colored in sunshine yellows and crimson or orangish reds. All I could do was stare.

In the Lens section photographs # 3-8 captured their magnificence in various stages. Since the staff at the Gardens rotate the contents of the Flower Garden Walk and the container area adjacent to it, I was sure upon my return this past weekend that the pitcher plants would be gone.

To my delight, they stood beaming in the afternoon light: pitchers on duty dressed in dazzling intense colors. With their bold display, their success was eminent and ongoing.

The yellow dangling petals of #6 fascinates, the foliage of #8 intrigues, the innocence of #3 and #4 distracts. They represent seduction at its most crafty, most deceptive, most skillful.

Exotic designs and electrifying palettes are what draws me to them. Still, their existence depends on the production of nectar that attracts their prey and digestive juices that absorb each insect. It’s an example of the yin/yang in the plant world where beauty can be the beastly carnivore that is ingenious and ravenous.

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog, Visit Longwood Gardens online here.

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32 Responses to Slowly Tipping into Spring, Part Two: Longwood Gardens, Showing the Ingenious and the Ravenous

  1. RobynG says:

    The first image is my favorite of the post. Lovely composition and bokeh.

  2. Amazing macro images. I can almost touch the flowers. Beautiful, stunning effects that jumps out of the screen!

  3. No 4 shows the Pitcher off to its best. Well done Sally. Isn’t nature wonderful.

  4. Anne Camille says:

    I like the first photograph the best.

  5. Gracie says:

    Beautiful set, Sally, especially the first one. I love how the colors which are peeping through the bud stands out against the green backdrop.

  6. A good phrase: “beauties with a mighty agenda.” It must seem mighty to the little insects that learn what the agenda is.

    There’s a species of pitcher plant in east Texas that I’ve sought out and photographed on the rare occasions when I’ve been in the area where they grow. That region is also home to a couple of other types of carnivorous plant, like the sundew. The plant kingdom in Austin offers nothing so gruesome.

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

  7. I have taken so many photos of those alliums, but not one is as good as your first shot. Incredible.

  8. Eve Redwater says:

    Love the Pitcher plant, it’s so unusual!

  9. Nel says:

    I’ve been fascinated by pitcher plants as a child but never really got to look into all their species. That said, the pitcher plant photos are my favorites.

    Cheers,
    Nel

  10. marialla says:

    I can’t say which image is more beautiful. They are all so exquisitely taken and presented. But you might have to amend your views on Mother Nature”s knowledge – it could just be that she planned it this way all along??!! Keep up the great work!!! Mother Nature is undoubtedly beaming with pride too!!

  11. MoniqueE. says:

    Sometimes I have a favorite, but this time I like them all! I love your blog…I wish I could take pictures like these. They are truly beautiful. (And the writing is great too…)

  12. Amy says:

    You lens show so much of the beauty of these plants and your pens teach me to appreciate the plants that go beyond its beauty. I love the colors of the background and the details of buds of #1. The American Pitchers are so elegantly presented! Thank you, Sally!

  13. Northern Narratives says:

    My internet is not the fastest speed. The first photo is too big to download. I like the colors in the last photo.

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