Blossoms with a Twist

“A flower does not bloom for itself, but for the world. Do likewise.”
Matshona Dhliwayo



Each May here in the low country of South Carolina, our world is enhanced by the beauty and fragrance of budding magnolias. This year I was determined to capture some of these glorious specimens before their ephemeral nature caused them to disappear as always. 



“If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.”

Georgia O’Keeffe

Interestingly, one of the challenges we face when shooting magnolias is the local deer population. For some reason deer are prone to chewing the blossoms that are within their reach. They don’t eat them, they just seem to enjoy the chew – much like we humans and gum. Of course, that means most of the remaining blossoms are above the heads of those who, like me, are trying to photograph them.  Fortunately I was able to find several trees with blossoms taller than most of the deer but still within my reach.



“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.”

Gerard de Nerval

Creamy white petals, dark green leaves and popping yellow centers make the magnolia blossom a wonderful specimen for the eye or the lens. Sadly though, their beauty is extremely short-lived; based on my completely unscientific observation between 4 to 5 weeks.  Perhaps this is one of the things that makes them so special. 



“Though you watch the petals shrink and change colour, you cannot help treasuring them”

Munia Kahn



“I loved the flowers that die, I loved the charm of the sky.”

Ssantosh Kalwar

Like their human counterparts, aging magnolias have a special quality all their own. Their petals begin to brown, creating an entirely different look – one which I find equally beautiful. Eventually the falling leaves litter the ground beneath them, creating a gentle mulch and a weed barrier, both of which are good for the tree.



“Every flower returns to sleep with the earth.”

Suzy Kassem

While it may look like a new bud, the image above is a magnolia whose leaves have fallen, leaving behind only the blossom’s receptacle.  (So named because it includes many stamens and pistils). Plant experts who study the evolution of flora believe the magnolia to be among the most primitive; some of the oldest fossil flowers discovered are similar to magnolia blossoms.

Those who know me know that although I treasure and admire a beautiful garden, I am totally inept in that area.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I so love the annual appearance of these lovely flowers – Mother Nature grows them all on her own with no help from me or anyone else. As usual, she knows exactly what she’s doing 🙂


WPC: Twisted

76 thoughts on “Blossoms with a Twist

  1. Magnolia blossoms… is there any more definitive representation of the southern United States…. besides Kudzu, that is. >grin< Beautiful photos! Planning a trip to North Carolina in the fall, Asheville area.

    • Kudzu—-ugh!!! Thanks John, we love our magnolias down here. BTW there is a marvelous Chihully exhibit at the Biltmore Mansion this summer. Check it out if u have a chance Sent from my iPhone


  2. These are beautiful and we have a few in our neighborhood, but the California variety isn’t as fragrant. Magnolia is one of my favorite scents (I love the strong florals like plumeria, jasmine and night-blooming jasmine) plus they are all so beautiful for macro photography. Love your quotes, too, Tina. Feel free to link this post on Sunday Stills this Sunday (there is a link-up if you are interested.), “aroma” is the theme to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. And enjoy your weekend!

  3. These are wonderful Tina! The twists and curves in nature is the most inspiring of all. I love the clarity and detail in your photos.

  4. Amazing magnolia shots, Tina. Lovely to see some of them here, a bit different but crisp shots as usual. 4-5 weeks full bloom is a short time. But I guess they are not shy about putting their best look forward during this time to shine 😊🌼 You sound like you like to garden 😁

  5. Pingback: Twisted – Buttercups | What's (in) the Picture?

  6. Beautiful flowers, Tina! As for beauty in dying flowers, I too think there is, and feel it is somehow more precious than a flower ‘in its prime’.

  7. Lovely magnolia shots, Tina. Didn’t realize that about the deer. No wonder it was always so hard to find good blooms. The composition of Beauty in Beige is quite appealing. Of course, I am imagining some of these in monochrome.

  8. Petals with a twist is my second favourite, but Last Look is stunning, crisp and beautiful.

    Pesky deer.

  9. Stunningly beautiful. I love the magnolia tree for its elegance and gracefulness, as it holds those beautiful flowers high for all to see. It looks like a tree filled with prom wishes, for the are like corsages in the trees.

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