Earlier in January, when I asked friends for photos of indoor plants, Sandra Millikin sent three from her home in England. All were roses in vases, each bouquet distinct and inviting. Her titles and evocative captions added context. The words and images suggested significant stories behind the roses’ arrivals and arrangements.
Selecting from seventy or so photos of plants inside my home from recent years, I tried to pare down to seven for this post. So I grasped for goals to guide me. The pandemic here and now in January of 2022 has made me go for photos that show the living space where few people are free to visit.
Here are labeled photos by Tina Gram from this summer in her spectacular garden in Somerville. She selected, described and sent them in response to my recent request to friends to share their photos of plants they value. My goal is to present the photos and words in ways that convey the alluring qualities of the plants from the photographer’s perspective. While still facing technical challenges in the process, I’m thrilled to explore new possibilities for sharing the pleasures of plants.
“For ( Ekua) Holmes, the sunflowers represent a radiance that “sustains us even when things are not how we want them to go.”
From the start of Pleasures of Plants, my intention was to share plant photos by friends and family, not only by me. For a few months I was trying to get comfortable with new features in the format I had selected. I hesitated to involve anyone else during that phase. Though still learning the basics of this blog, I’ve begun asking people to send photos of plants they value. I’m very grateful for their responses,* support, and patience as I try to present those photos in a worthy way.
One of my first posts ( January 2021) focused on photos I took as an enthusiastic but infrequent visitor* to Northampton Street Community Garden. This sequel adds views of an insider, someone who has worked the soil there for several years with attention to significant events in her surroundings. As I requested, she has selected from her own photos and provided her own words to identify or explain them.
On neighborhood walks this spring and summer I began to notice tended gardens in the narrow strips of earth between sidewalk and street. For instance, I felt the sense of shelter from traffic as I climbed the slope of Upland Road lined with clusters of flowers or grasses around saplings or established trees.
Some ways I’ve share roses of Sharon in recent years:
• dig up and transplant selected saplings that grow up below the original bush…
• sweep and scrape loose shriveled remains fallen on the sidewalk .
• take photos of successive stages of a blossom…
• take short videos of blossoms lifting/shifting in warm winds …
• cut branches with buds and blossoms ( a source of tiny active ants) to fill a vase… .
Last week a surprise gift bouquet with botanical notes about hydrangeas got me to start noticing their variety in my neighborhood. I marveled at the many different forms of delicate clustered blossoms among their handsome hardy leaves. Wikipedia affirmed that worldwide there are more than seventy species of hydrangea, including shrubs, vines and truly tall trees.
Until two years ago this tall graceful birch was a welcome landmark of a nearby park, reliable in my routines. When I became aware the birch was gone, I missed it and wondered why it was cut down, but I never sought out answers to that recurring question.