Photography Plants

The Language of Flowers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Yesterday I took what will most likely be my last photographs of the annual orchid show at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Though the flowers still charm, trying to focus all my attention through the lens while simultaneously avoid stepping on an elderly man, or rambunctious child, has proven too much and I decided yesterday the pictures taken will be my last.

The Missouri Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 150 year anniversary, and the show is focused on the Garden, itself, rather than on some whimsical tale or story. I think better of the show for returning focus to the Gardens, and for its simple and elegant design. In particular, I liked the foyer decoration this year, with its emphasis on Victorian and turn of the century gardens and flowers, centered on a collection of tussie mussies and an antique book the Garden people pulled out for inclusion in the show: the handmade booklet titled, “The Language of the Flowers”, given as a gift from husband to wife. The front of the book contains a lovely little poem, perfect for Valentine’s Day

There is a language ‘little known,’
Lovers claim it as their own.

Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;

And in their silent beauty speak,
Of life and joy, to those who seek.

For Love Divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.

Though the sophisticate may find the poem overly simple, he or she may change their mind when they look at the book where the poem is contained, and at the page after page of flower names and their meaning, all written out in the gift giver’s best copperplate, and each hand decorated.

Language of Flowers book cover

Language of Flowers pages

Language of Flowers poem

The language of flowers had its roots throughout history, but in Victorian times, flowers and their meanings formed a new language, a secret form of communication between friends, lovers, and would be lovers. One could not say, “I love you” to a maiden, but one could imply his love with a gift of red roses. Whether the rose had its thorns or not provided a separate message, as did the number of petals and leaves. Gentlemen would send entire bouquets of different flowers, all combined to create a complex message, and a favorite parlor game was trying to decipher the message so given. What an elegant form of communication.

In the language of the flowers, an orchid means beauty and refinement, so my gift of beauty and refinement for you.

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Orchid from MBG 2009 orchid show

Photography Plants

Little Tree

Bonsai tree

Insects Photography Places Plants

Easter photos

I spent several hours this afternoon at the Botanical Gardens, which is becoming my typical Easter activity. It was a really terrific day, still cold, but pleasant when wearing a jacket over a flannel shirt. It was sunny, but with clouds, which can make the best pictures. I went later, when most people have gone home.

I managed to catch my second bee picture of the year. What was cause for concern is he was the only bee I saw my entire trip.

Bumble Bee

I also decided to get a couple of landscape photos, show some of the architecture of the place. The first is one of the administration buildings–a lovely brick with classic lines. The second is Tower House, where the Garden’s founder, Shaw, used to live.

The maze in the foreground of the second picture is tall enough for most people not to be able to see over the top.

Brick Building

Tower House

The Garden was at the end of its spring blooming season, with crabapple and Kanzan cherry trees at peak.

Kansan cherry trees

I was surprised to see bluebells. That was the oddest thing about this season–very early spring flowers are still in bloom, though the late flowers, like tulips, are almost gone.


Unfortunately, due to the record breaking highs, followed immediately by several days of hard freeze, most of the garden’s fruit trees were loosing their buds. The latest report on the impact of this weather is that Missouri and Illinois have lost anywhere from 50% to close to 100% of this year’s crops for some varieties of fruit trees, winter wheat, early corn, and much of the wine grapes.

It’s been a devastating spring for this area.

fruit tree loosing most of its buds

I chatted with another photographer at the park, a gentleman from Michigan. He mentioned how the colds we were suffering don’t impact on their fruit trees and plants, primarily because the weather doesn’t fluctuate so much. The Great Lakes help maintain a consistent temperature in the surrounding areas: cold in winter, mild much of the rest of the year.

I’ve decided to make the “Lake trip” later this summer, because I’m not sure I can handle a Missouri August this year.

Japanese maple

No matter what the circumstances, the Gardens are, and remain, beautiful–thanks in part to the critters, including this handsome grackle. Still no picture of my fox, though. Someday.

grackle among tulips

The dogwoods in the rhodie garden were disappointing, another tree impacted by the weather. However, this lovely Dicentra spectablis was still in excellent form. This is a flower that needs a closer look, as it’s much more complex than would seem from a distance.

Bright pink flower

I actually managed to capture a picture of a raptor overhead. It’s not perfect, but you can see the details of its head and feathers. Lovely bird, death to the poor finches, though.

hawk overhead

My favorite shot from today (other than the building photos) is of this lovely tulip, still in excellent shape.


Photography Places Plants

Shaw Nature Center: daffodils

For the first time, I managed to make it to Shaw’s Nature Center when the daffodils are at their peak. The Center’s daffodils have grown wild, and as such they blanket the grounds.

In the past, I’ve typically taken photos of daffodils up close, brightly lit by the sun and shining with vivid color–a harlot among the more delicately hued spring flowers, all tarted up in their brassy yellows and bright greens.

I noticed yesterday, though, that the daffodil is really a very shy flower whose color is much more muted and subtle when you view the flower as part of the landscape. By itself and very close, it is a lovely flower and can cheer even the most determined grump. However, when the daffodils form part of a scene, just barely there at the edge of one’s consciousness, they draw the eye across the fields to to a distant edge you can’t quite see. A reminder of Spring, yes; but also a reminder that the seeming infinity of Spring is merely an illusion.











Critters Photography Plants

Orchid Show 2007