22 May 2012
I. Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
II. American Pitcher Plants
Let me know which is your favorite.
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.
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.