Friday Flower – Will I ever get sick of Dahlias?… Nope

Blood red dahlia – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I’ve posted dahlias so many times now that I have nothing left to say, except that any attempt at photo manipulation of this image just made it look worse! It’s too perfect as it is.

For other Dahlias please click here.

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

Survival against all odds

Survival against all odds - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Survival against all odds – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I came across this tiny Autumn colored tree growing in Central Park and it reminded me of a bonsai. I’ve read that the purpose of a bonsai is to evoke contemplation in the viewer. Looking at this tree, I couldn’t help but think how amazing it is that a seed managed to grow in such an unlikely place. This tree will forever have to grow against the odds, fight for the chance to survive, and I will wholeheartedly cheer it on. Why? Because I always fight for the underdog, I lend my strength to those who are overlooked, I protect people from bullies….. That is who I am!

Flower Friday – Pointleaf Manzanita

The bleeding bush - Photograph by Laura Lecce
The bleeding bush – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This post today is not so much a flower but a really interesting shrub I saw while recently hiking in Sedona, Arizona. A shrub commonly named pointleaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos pungens), manzanita meaning “little apple” in Spanish. These plants make berries (that look like little apples, hence the name) which are a food source for various wildlife in this dry and harsh environment, and are also harvested to make jam in some parts of Mexico. They have gorgeously twisted, blood-red bark and branches ending in small green leaves. Even more fascinating is that many of them are a tortuous combination of dead (grey) and live (red) parts which look as though blood is streaming down the side of the plant. It is also fitting that an area famous for its red rocks has its very own red shrubs too. Happy weekend everyone!

Friday Flower – My Bleeding Heart Vine

My Bleeding Heart Vine - Photograph by Laura Lecce
My Bleeding Heart Vine – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This adorable little red flower is from a Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum thomsomiae), a native to tropical west Africa. This plant utilizes two reproductive strategies, dichogamy and herkagomy which mean that the stamens (male reproductive parts) ripen at a different time and are spatially separated to the pistil (female reproductive part), thus ensuring that this plant cannot self pollinate. Instead, the hard work is accomplished by butterflies and hummingbirds which spread the pollen to other plants. This also means that the genetic diversity of this plant is increased through combining the genes of separate plants, providing a higher chance of adaptation and evolutionary survival. Too much science for a Friday? In that case, happy weekend everyone!

Flower Friday – Dahlia

Dahlia - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Dahlia – Photograph by Laura Lecce

When I took this photo, I never imagined this was actually a dahlia, although now that I look at the buds and leaves more closely it makes sense. The dahlias my granddad used to grow always looked like giant pompoms (which is correctly spelt pompon in French, but was misheard as pompom by the English). Anyways, back on topic… dahlias have such a large array of variations because unlike most other plants which have two sets of chromosomes, they actually have eight! This allows for a multitude of genetic combinations and contributes to the wide diversity seen amongst these lovely flowers. Have a bright and cheery weekend everyone!

A Dark and Moody Sunset

A Dark and Moody Sunset - Photograph by Laura Lecce
A Dark and Moody Sunset – Photograph by Laura Lecce

As I was scrolling through my photo collection for todays post, this particular photo resonated with my current mood. I have a cold at the moment which is draining my energy, much like the waning sun at the end of the day. This image is dark and angry much like my thoughts at having to work even when I am sick, and not having the motivation to do any of the things I love. However this image also brings hope, hope that my cold ends with this closing day, and that maybe tomorrow I will wake up bright and happy again with the new sun.