Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 31) – Japanese Flowering Dogwood at Longwood Gardens

03 June 2019


Japanese Flowering Dogwood, Longwood Gardens; © 2019 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this image. Prints are available upon request. 


In my part of the universe spring has been lush. This means that senses are on high alert. And each is challenged to be aware and present to emote this season’s gifts.

Truly, it seems changes are moving quicker than one can absorb the grandeur. Sights, sounds, aromas increase as I breathe the day’s arrival. And the pledge to awaken not only the landscape but our immersion into its rejuvenation is realized.

As a steward of the land, my days are driven by hands in the soil and a vision of my small part of the landscape. Daily I cradle tools to care and maintain the appearance of habitats created by me and are meant to encourage wildlife. But sometimes it takes another hint or view to stir my own “green” creative process.

Yesterday I took myself to Longwood Gardens to spy on this month’s rebirth and the newly planted. The staff at Longwood Gardens was out caring for the beds, solving problems and answering questions from the scores of plant lovers. As gardeners know, the work is ongoing no matter how small or expansive one’s charge.

I am cheered by the crowds who are drawn to this world-renowned horticultural center. Some come daily to stroll the grounds. Others will attend a few times a year, enjoying annual events or seasonal offerings. Since I live about an hour’s drive from this national treasure, I can go at a whim. No matter my mood, these gardens provide an inner glow–an inner glow that acts as meditation and salvation.

On this particular visit my attention was steered by early spring trees that are in full bloom. Longwood’s collection of aged are magnificent, graceful in their years. Some jewels of spring’s flowering are short lived, and others linger.

In the Lens section is a sample of the eloquence that can be expressed by tree’s seasonal performance. This Japanese Flowering Dogwood has such visual punch that I lingered, trying to appreciate every angle of the mature tree.

I perceive trees as spiritual wings of nature, lithe spirits that wager a promise to continue their earthly duties. Trees are networks of the natural world and their persistent messages echo to me: honor and revere and trust in their gifts. We must listen to them to sustain our planet and our own existence. Coexistence is one key.

What is part of the emotional lift in these visits is the scores of others that come to see nature in the raw, even as the displays and grounds are cultivated. And while I do not need inspiration for my reverence for Mother Nature, I leave these gardens newly awed by a discovery, sightings or thoughts.

Nature gives abundance to my days. And Longwood Gardens is a testament to the need humans have to carry the torch for the natural world. 


Yesterday The New York Times Book Review had its summer reading issue. Among the gems were suggestions about gardening and nature by Dominique Browning. From her list I selected this one to recommend. It’s the third publication in Peter Wohlleben’s series about the “mysteries of nature.”

Browning describes this final edition of Wohlleben’s trilogy:

THE SECRET WISDOM OF NATURE: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things (Greystone, $24.95).

“Here we read about the relationship between trees and fish, and how wolves and ravens share meat because the ravens keep watch for marauding bears. Wohlleben shares the story of a crow that thanked him for bird seed by leaving gifts on a fence rail. On the question of bird migration — are birds genetically (mechanistically) programmed for certain routes or do they learn from older birds? — Wohlleben reports on cranes that appear to decide collectively to alter their routes depending on the availability of food and breeding grounds. By the end of the book, it’s clear that it’s we humans who are extraordinary, in ways awful and awesome, dominating and exploiting the natural world, ceaselessly, ruthlessly, with little sense that we’re imperiling ourselves and the generations to come.”


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14 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 31) – Japanese Flowering Dogwood at Longwood Gardens

  1. Prior... says:

    I like how you said carry the torch of the natural world and your tree shot is wonderful.

  2. smilecalm says:

    nice expression
    of your nature walk 🙂

  3. This is the visual definition of silence. Please tell me the fire-flies came out that night.

  4. pattimoed says:

    Lush and gorgeous, Sally. I’m not surprised you found this tree in your favorite gardens!

  5. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful tree; and a wonderful shot Sally. 😀

  6. What an awesome tree, Sally!


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