Friday Flower – A close look at a zinnia

Zinnia close up – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Sometimes it’s more interesting to look at something familiar from a different perspective to gain renewed appreciation. Have you ever looked at a zinnia this close before? I discovered a tiny forest of golden furry trees arranged in a perfect circle surrounded by a bed of brilliant red petals. Each yellow tree has a trunk filled with nectar that attracts bees, butterflies and moths. Each visitor gets a secret powdering of yellow pollen to transport to subsequent flowers, unknowingly becoming a pollen postal service. I go the garden to relax, unwind and refresh my mind, and while everything around me may seem tranquil, it is in fact the opposite – each and every flower, every insect and every plant is very hard at work.

Red zinnia – Photograph by Laura Lecce
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Friday Flower – Ironweed with a monarch

Ironweed with a monarch – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Ironweed is a species of plant within the larger genus of Veronia. They have very distinct and intense purple flowers, which are a fantastic pairing of colors for this stunning orange monarch butterfly. I was very lucky that this gem sat still long enough to get a photo of it’s wonderful spots. When summer ended I made sure to take my camera to the local flower gardens to catch the last of the butterflies before they depart during the colder months. Ironweed is a great addition to your garden to make sure that the butterflies come to visit. For other posts on butterflies please click here.

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday Flower – A bright star Allium

A bright star Allium – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This sharply pointed, geometric flower belongs to the Allium genus. A spring flowering bulb related to garlic, onion and chives that comes in varieties of pink, whites and purples and different sized flowers. The flowers cluster on the top of a single long stem and once opened, they appear as a bright firework of color. Many of them also have a glittery shimmer on the petals, catching the light and adding to their stunning beauty. This flower is a wonderful addition to any garden since purple flowers against a backdrop of green always looks so impressive. Its great to be back, have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday Flower – A sunny Dahlia is irresistible to bees

The sunniest dahlia – Photograph by Laura Lecce

A bright sunny dahlia such as this is absolutely irresistible to bees…. and to myself. Bees (as am I) are mostly attracted to bright colored flowers, which is why wearing a brightly colored shirt may also attract bees, and also why beekeeper suits are white. Bees also have favorite colors which are yellow, blue and violet and dislike red which they actually see as black. They can also see the ultraviolet part of the spectrum which human eyes cannot detect. The world must look very different in the eyes of a bee, but despite this, we share a common appreciation of bright sunny dahlias. Happy weekend everyone!

For other beautiful dahlias please click here.

Friday Flower – The adorable aquilegia

Aquilegia (columbine) – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This beautiful flower which belongs to the adorable aquilegia plant was staring up at me, proud to be the first to open, surrounded by slower growing, unopened flower buds in various stages of development. The name aquilegia comes from the Latin word for eagle because the petal spurs look like an eagles claw, although you might know this plant by the more common name of columbine. The nectar filled spurs attract moths, butterflies or hummingbirds to pollenate the opened flowers and different species of this plant have adapted the spur length to attract certain pollinators over others.  The flowers of some aquilegia species are edible in moderation, however the roots and seeds are incredibly toxic and can cause severe gastroenteritis, heart palpitations and even death. Despite it’s ominous nature, this plant stuns passers by with so many different varieties of colorful, bright and attractive flowers.

Friday Flower – Yellow magnolia

Yellow magnolia – Photograph by Laura Lecce

It is indeed cherry blossom season in New York and the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is on this Saturday at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens…. Which is why I went to the gardens LAST weekend. The cherry blossoms were very beautiful, but while everyone was taking photos of the blossoms, with the blossoms, in front of the blossoms, around the blossoms, I was taking photos of this glorious yellow magnolia. This giant tree was covered in large, golden, sunny flowers, but could not compete with rows and rows of pink fluffy cherry blossoms. However, I concluded that it was well worth my attention, and the photos certainly brightened up my day. Have a golden weekend everyone!!!

For some pink magnolias please click here.

Friday Flower – Sweet Little Phal

Sweet natured phalaenopsis – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Todays flower is an adorable little phalaenopsis with a very sweet personality. I know that flowers cannot have personalities, but I love to imagine what they would be like if they did. This orchid would be skipping around in a yellow flowing dress with pink streamers flying from her curly hair, a huge cheeky smile on her face and an infectious laughter which brightens up the day of everyone she meets. I hope she brightens up your Friday, happy weekend everyone!

For other orchid posts please click here.