This morning I decided to take my dog Takoda for a walk in Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. I usually never go unless there are semi-overcast conditions because direct light on flowers washes them out or creates harsh shadows. We have been under a fire alert every day. Finally I decided that I wanted to go for a walk there anyway, since I will be moving soon, and these have always been my favorite botanical gardens in Florida. I knew I would find at least a couple of flowers in the shade and would enjoy seeing if anything was alive in these conditions. At least I knew the flowers were probably watered there. I don't do that much at home, because I know the aquifer is being drained enough. When I got back to the native garden, I came across this beautiful orange and red day lily. Many of the other flowers were wilted, but somehow this orange and red iris was still managing to hang on and thrive.
Then I came across this incredible agave cactus that was starting to bloom. The magenta flowers were protected by these red saw tooth shoots that came off of glowing white stems. It made me think of the layers of protection nature and human beings put in place to protect their flowering essence that gives and begets life. I identified with this plant right away, was fascinated by it and wondering what lessons it had to teach me. I am often very open and somewhat naive. This plant did not fail to open its heart, but it made sure that it was surrounded by protection.
There were not many places to look for photographs with not a cloud in the sky, but then I looked down into the water, which served as its own filter and saw the reflection of dark bamboo leaves against the blue sky and greenery from the surrounding vegetation. The plants were no doubt suffering from the hot sun, but in the water life was right again. As always, I reflected on the necessity of water for keeping things alive.
A little further down along the edge of the pond, I came to an area with layers and layers of bamboo. Periodically a fish umped and disturbed the water creating even more interesting patterns. I loved the contrast between sharp stems and leaves against blurrier layers. The richness of life was immediately apparent, especially when it is all united by water.
Most of the orange irises were along the water's edge in direct sun with burnt edges to their petals. Then I spotted this perfectly formed one hiding beneath some other foliage. Sometimes that is what we have to dot to keep blooming–especially in challenging times.
The most incredible flowers I came across all day were these two passion flowers. I watched them unfold for an hour with Takoda. I couldn't believe he was so patient, or that I was for that matter. The upper one was open when I got there and by the time I made this image its petals were open as wide as they could be. The one in the lower quadrant had been curled in on itself but continued to open bit by bit while I watched it. I realized that the slow deliberateness it went about opening was something worthy of study. What I wondered, if conditions had been different, would this blossom have decided to do. If there had been no shade or if it was hotter or even drier, though that was unimaginable. Several bees and butterflies came to inspect it, but they landing only for a split second before moving along. Why, I wondered, could they not see how special this blossom was.