"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Lilies of the Epic Kind (2 of 2)

From The Lilies by Henry Percival Spencer:

‘Tis passing strange this life of ours,
Nought in this world can we explain;
We are helpless as the flowers
Forced into life by April rain.

What reap we for our joy and pain
Except the hour in which it lives?
He who can fathom Loss and Gain
Can tell us what the Future gives.

The Lily comes, the Lily goes….

From Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi:

“Sooner or later every gardener must face the fact that certain things are going to die on him. It is a temptation to be anthropomorphic about plants, to suspect that they do it to annoy. One knows, after all, that they lead lives of their own: plant the lily bulb in the center of the bed and watch it come up under a brick near the edge; pull up a sick little bush and throw it on the compost heap, and ten to one, it will obstinately revive.”


Here are a few more photos of my Tiny Epic Asiatic Lilies — some from the previous post along with a small handful of new ones (those whose backgrounds were very cluttered in the originals), all reprocessed on black.

Thanks for taking a look!

Lilies of the Epic Kind (1 of 2)

From Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi:

“Some lilies are more vigorous than others. The June-flowering Asiatics don’t care what you do to them. They can be cut quite close to the ground and still return in full force the following year. The others seem to know they are more beautiful and expensive… and to cut them severely is to court their oblivion.”

From The Garden Triumphant: Victorian Garden Taste by David Stuart:

“You would know by the scent of the lilies that summer was here.”

The lilies in the galleries below — a variation of Tiny Epic Asiatic Lilies — are not actually tiny but they’re definitely epic. The flower petals unfold to the size of the open hand of a small person (me!), and with their striking colors and textures, they make great subjects for close-up photography. The petals are quite thick and silky to the touch, and you can almost feel tiny bumps where it looks like they’ve been sprinkled with cinnamon radiating from the center.

Unlike some lilies, these blooms lasted nearly a week — which gave me plenty of time to aim a macro lens at them and try different combinations of light and different camera settings before I settled on these photos. I’ve featured them here before (see, from last year, Epic Lilies (1 of 3), Epic Lilies (2 of 3), Epic Lilies (3 of 3)), so this time I concentrated on photographing just one or two isolated blooms and getting the focus, color, and textures as accurate as they appeared to me in the garden.

Thanks for taking a look!

Bernadine Clematis, 2022 Version

From Plant Families: A Guide for Gardeners and Botanists by Ross Bayton:

“[The Clematis] flower bud is enclosed by the sepals, which protect the inner workings of the flower. As it grows and expands, the sepals open up and become much more colorful, just like the petals within.”

From The Language of Flowers by Anne Pratt and Thomas Miller:

“Many plants, besides possessing tendrils, have a stem and leaf-stalks, which grow in a spiral slope, when the plant requires the support of another. Thus the traveler’s joy, or wild clematis, that beautiful ornament of our summer hedges, by its stems as well as tendrils, so clings to the bushes that it is impossible to sever a large portion without tearing it. The large clusters of flowers, and the numerous dark leaves, seeming to belong to the brambles among which they entwine, so closely are they interlaced by the convolutions of their stems.”

The fabulously oppressive heat and humidity that settled on large portions of the U.S. last week made outdoor activities — including photography! — possible only in short bursts, but it did give me some indoor time to work on a backlog of photos. This week is supposed to be even hotter, though much lower humidity may mean outdoor-things are more possible, especially in the mornings. Yesterday and today I heard the upcoming high temperatures referred to as a heatwave, heat blast, heat bomb, and heat dome — but I really think that if they’d just call it a “heat igloo” we’d all feel a lot cooler…. or not!

Earlier this year I posted photos of flowers from one of my clematis vines — see One Clematis, Two Clematis — but somehow I forgot about pictures I’d taken of another one: the Bernadine Clematis whose images appear below. My third clematis plant — a President Clematis (see President Clematis, from 2021) never bloomed this year: it started producing flower buds very early during a warm February, but they all got crinkled to death by a week of freezing temperatures shortly after. That’s a weird new weather pattern that This Gardener hasn’t quite figured out how to work with: early year temperatures in the 60s and 70s cause some plants (in my garden: clematis vines, hydrangeas, and ferns) to respond to the warmth by putting out delicate new growth too early, then they never quite recover from the freezing that follows.

I’ve posted photos of Bernadine here a few times; so this year I just took a double-handful of new photos, and focused on getting sharpness, color, and texture as correct and accurate as possible. This Bernadine blooms into a striking mix of blue, purple, violet, and magenta, in stripes that emanate from the center. The center structure features the deepest purple, so rich in color that it always reminds me of purple marzipan with a tiny yellow frosting cap. But I did not try to eat them, I promise; I only took their pictures.

Thanks for taking a look!

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