The autumnal equinox is here and it’s time to officially bid adieu to summer. I’ll hold onto the memories of those humid July nights when the cold north east wind didn’t send me scrambling for a fleece jacket as soon as the sun dipped down. “It’ll come around again,” I reassure myself at this time of year. Besides, fall is a pretty nice season here in Newfoundland too. I welcome fires in the fireplace, lamb stews in the slow cooker and frankly I’ve always been more comfortable in a pair of jeans and a cardigan than short shorts and spaghetti straps. And then, there are the colours. Late September, October and November bring some of the most powerful pigmentations that nature has to offer. Fiery reds, bright beautiful oranges and the mellowest yellow leaves cling onto trees. Yes, the forest fireworks are a spectacular send off before we enter into a season of white. Still, I prefer the summer colour of flowers and can’t wait for their return. Puffy pink peonies, long lavender lupins, and the new blue corn flowers that popped up in the lawn just this year.
Flowers are a little bit of mother nature’s magic, aren’t they? And even when our local blooms fade, there are plenty of others in the world still displaying their charms. When I travel, flowers command my attention and I focus my lens in their vibrant direction. My favourite to date is a complicated mix of strength and beauty I first saw in the Dominican Republic. It has a soft pink petal with a bright yellow centre and sits on top of a thick, angry grey stem.
“Crown of Thorns” is no shrinking violet. Tender and tough, pretty and proud, this sturdy sprout isn’t interested in begin picked to join a bouquet. It’s happy where it is, at home in the Carribean. "Admire me, now leave me alone,” is the sentiment it seems to exude. “If you’d like to visit, I’ll be here again next year.”
I was enamoured by a more delicate floret when I first visited Amsterdam. Allium Giganteum is also known as Giant Onion. This tall purple globe made up of tiny, star-shaped petals is no match for the wind. It’d be a difficult one to grow where I live, an island in the middle of the North Atlantic. Winds here challenge gnarly spruce trees to keep their roots in the soil let alone elegant perennials. This flower would be another I’d remember fondly in travel photos and hopefully return to visit again some day.
In Hawaii, I remember the excitement I felt when I first clapped eyes on a bright red Anthurium growing wild just outside our guest house in Volcano Village. I had admired this luscious leaf (anthurium isn’t actually a flower, it’s a modified leaf known as a spath) in the cooler of my florist’s shop. On occasion, I’d even fork over the $12 or $15 a stem. Cracked, I know, but sometimes in the dead of winter, a bright flower in your kitchen can be all you need as a reminder that spring is just a few short weeks away. Anyway, on the Island of Hawaii, these Anthuriums are as common as dandelions in Newfoundland and it was a treat to see this tropical, heart shaped Hawaiiian classic in gardens and markets wherever we went.
Yes, flower power is undeniable. I look forward to more pleasing petals on future trips and here at home next year. For now, though, as a tribute to summer past, I’ll collect those last few blue blooms I see out on the lawn. The wind is picking up, I need a sweater and I’m afraid my flip-flops aren’t going to cut it much longer. No matter, there’s a cozy fire burning and that lamb stew is just about ready to eat. Well, hello fall, you’re just in time for dinner.
I’ve collected many of the flower photos I’ve taken on travels near and far and assembled a colourful collage. Please see the Flower Power gallery.
Until next time,