Once in a generation!

This week there was a surprise flowering at the Cambridge University Botanical Gardens. The plant known variously as Titan arum or Corpse flower bloomed after a gap of 11 years. Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) are native to Sumatra and are one of the worlds stinkiest and largest flowers described as rotting meat, moth balls, old socks etc.

_DSC5697_8Thankfully the worst of the smells are in the night time and I conveniently missed it! The photograph above is a HDR of 3 bracketed shots at -2, 0 and +2 stops. Shot with a 35mm f/1.8 Nikon lens on a Nikon D7000. Processed in Photomatix Pro.

Wildflower diary – Solanum dulcamara 

Found these growing on a hedgerow and it took a little while to identify as the bittersweet nightshade, a relative of deadly nightshade (Solanum nigrum). S. dulcamara  is also poisonous but not as much as S. nigrum. 

Straight off the iPhone camera with no post processing.

  

Respect the thorns..

He who wants a rose must respect the thorn – Persian Proverb

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Click on the photograph for a larger version on Flickr

Such a simple proverb but with such deep meaning!

Photographed in 2009 at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, a property of the National Trust.

 

The Four Seasons – Winter

In the New York Botanical Gardens stand 4 imposing 15 foot tall painted fibre glass statues sculpted by the famous Philip Haas. Each statue represents a particular season of the year, and have been inspired by the renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The picture is of Winter, a foreboding season of creeping ivy, mossy scarred bark and bare branches.

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Winter – by Philip Haas

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Winter – by Arcimboldo

This picture is a HDR composite of 3 bracketed photographs at -2, 0 and +2, processed first in Photomatix Pro and then in onOne picture perfect suite for final adjustments.  Please click on the image to see the picture in large size.

Agave – the “fake” cactus plants

Agaves are commonly mistaken to be cacti due to their appearance – spiny thick succulent leaves etc. However, Agaves are not related to cacti or Aloe, with whom they share a passing resemblance. The agave plants are monocarpic, which means that they flower only once in their lifetimes after which they die. As the flowering cycle could be decades, some species of Agave are also known as century plants.

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Agave bovicornuta

The photograph above is that of Agave bovicornuta from the New York Botanical gardens taken with an iPhone 4S and post-processed in Adobe Light 5.0.

 

Ephemeral

The ephemeral beauty of a dandelion seed head. All that is needed is a puff of wind to send the seeds floating to begin their adventurous journey. Many won’t make it, but those few that do will continue this cycle for the rest of us to admire and enjoy.

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A dandelion seed head.