More From the Conservatory
This cactus has a very blue cast. I wonder what those two furry places are in the center - the beginning of flowers? In any case, this cactus is an attention getter, with its big size and fuzzy textures. I’m not one for anthropomorphizing or getting cute, but I have to say, this cactus has the look of a Sesame Street character.
Long ago I had a temporary job in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden – what a gorgeous, magical place to work. I loved it, hard work and all, but weeding the beds in the desert houses is tricky – at least once I got a bottom-full of cactus spines after squatting down to weed in a narrow space.
This is a Tillandsia, a kind of “air plant” that obtains moisture and nutrients through the air, using other plants as a support. These dry looking plants have beautiful gray green color and pleasing symmetry.
This is some kind of Bromeliad. They also absorb moisture from the air, collecting it in the central rosette, where there is often enough water to harbor insects, or even animals, which depend on it. The shiny red and deep green leaves in this species are not at all subtle! The flower is in the middle, and that’s Spanish moss in the right-hand corner.
As I took the photo on a longish exposure, I turned the lens to zoom out, creating the blur. You could do this with a tripod and get the center more perfectly in focus but I have little patience for tripods.
Next time I have to be more disciplined about noting the names…this is an I-don’t-know plant, in the cactus house.
Another Tillandsia. The image was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. I moved the camera a little when I took it, to emphasize the exuberant feeling of movement in the leaves.
Also in the Cactus House, I’m pretty sure this is an agave. These succulent plants bloom only once, and were an important food source in the drier, warmer parts of the Americas where they grow. I zoomed the lens again to blur the image, then made the digital color photo into a black and white image in Lightroom.
All photos taken recently at the Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle. It’s looking greener and greener outside here – no need to depend on a conservatory for botanical inspiration. Soon I’ll go out and dodge the raindrops for photos of buds, blossoms and branches.