After I looked at this image for some time, I realize it reminds me of flowers painted by Georgia O’Keefe. I am surprised how the subconscious canincorporate the inspiration of truly great art once seen in the past. Certainly there was no conscious intent on my part to achieve that comparison.
Of course a wide variety of other water lilies were presented. The form and colors of the central pistils and stamens are intriguing. Here are a few more.
Of course, lily pads are part of the display. These leaves achieve diameters on the order of 6 feet or more by my estimate. The steep sides keep out the water and appear to be 2-4 inches high.
A number of plants at the Conservatory were striking and unusual. One example Is this Aechmea with it’s spikey blooms in almost florescent pink and blue. Contrasting that gaudy appearance is the classic peace lily Spathiphyllum.
I’ve only recently become aware of a group of plants whose flowers appear to have many leaves painted on each leaf of the plant. Calathea come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have this essential element. I’ve seen old style wallpaper with this leaf pattern, and I now see where the inspiration for those designs came from.
The palm house offers a rich variety of textures and colors. One palm had a seed pod that resembled a pine cone, and another plant’s flower appears as a linked chain of red and yellow stalks. Sunlight illuminates palm fronds and produces geometric patterns among the segmented leaves.
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the leaf of this elephant ear plant is over 6 feet long! It’s close the size of a single bed.
Ikebana is the Japanese term for the art of flower arrangement, which they translate as “living flowers”.There are six “schools” of ikebana technique, and four were on display:Ikenobo, Ohara, Sogetsu, and Kofu.Several examples of this disciplined art form were on display at the Conservatory. They even offer classes at Longwood.
My first experience of ikebana was in a different form –Dale Chihuly’s Ikebana. I now understand where Chihuly got his inspiration, and while his glass art is breath-taking, there is something completely different when standing among a few dozen examples of this living art form presented by the Philadelphia Chapter of Ikebana International.
I’ve always wondered how a pineapple got it’s start, and now for the first time I’ve seen a pineapple bloom.
One surprising plant is the Titan Arum, whose trunk is very smooth and glossy. It’s spotted green coloration stands out for quite a distance, even amongst the riot of other plants on display. Meanwhile this philodendron has leaves which are yellow when young and range from pink to dark green as they age.
Longwood Gardens –