Blossoms with a Twist
“A flower does not bloom for itself, but for the world. Do likewise.”
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.”
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”
“I loved the flowers that die, I loved the charm of the sky.”
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.”
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 🙂