Sunday, March 14, 2010

Succulent Flapjacks

Backlit Flapjack Plant
Kalanchoe luciae)
March 14, 2010
"I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns."
~Sir Winston Churchill

A few summers ago, I went up to Sarasota to Towles Court, a local artist enclave. A bunch of artists restored a few square block section of town to be devoted to the arts. Charming little homes are now galleries and small cafes, with courtyard parks. If you haven't ever been to their monthly art walks, do think about it. Wonderful art and really lovely place.

In my ramblings there, I found a photographer who had a wonderful collection of potted flapjack plants in her back courtyard. I was able to buy one, and after a short, somewhat unhappy tenure indoors here, it was moved out to the edge of my water garden. Since then, it's been thriving and reproducing remarkably fast. Babies now live in three more pots, and the original "momma" plant grows taller each season.

I like to meander out into the garden now and then and watch the plants and light play with each other. This photograph is the fruit of such a trip. Backlighting my plant subjects is a technique I often use, letting the sun illuminate the leaves and blooms. Magic often happens with backlighting, which is why I'm so fond of it. The sun made the soft flesh of this succulent explode in color. Magic, I tell you. Pure magic. Kind of like seeing mountain ridges ablaze in the sunset.

Flapjack plants have large paddle-shaped ears, which is why they are often called paddle plants, paddle wheel plants, dog tongue plants, and even desert cabbage.

And here's an interesting bit of info for you: these succulents are monocarpic, meaning that once they bloom, they die. Doesn't seem quite fair, but what a way to go.

Nikon D2x, Nikkor 60mm Micro, a tripod and perfect alignment with the sun.

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