A Strange Flower

I’m always surprised when I rediscover just how much more I see when I have a camera in my hands. I’ve been walking by this plant for over eight years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever really looked at it very closely until I decided to photograph it.

At first I was trying to capture the mandala-like structure of the plant and flowers,

ornamental spurge

which is not easy to do because you have to look straight down on it to see the pattern, and it’s a fairly tall plant. It took a lot of blurry shots to get this shot.

In the process of getting the shot I wanted, I also noticed this fly (I’d guess) that I’ve never seen before. That shifted my focus to trying to get a good shot of it, and this seemed like an awfully good shot to me.


Someone who knew their insects should certainly be able to identify it from this shot (possibly a Tachinid Fly.)

When I decided I wanted to write an entry about the flower, though, I decided I needed to show the flowers that you can’t see in the first shot,

ornamental spurge

and it looks quite different in this shot, doesn’t it?

Strangely enough, all the red flowers actually began as leaves, though the yellow bud didn’t. I’d never noticed before that even the big leaves have an orangish cast to them, though I’m pretty sure that they never turn entirely orange like the first leaves did.

I’ve actually thought about pulling these plants out because they are rather invasive, taking over a larger and larger part of the front garden every year and I’m not fond of digging up the bulb-like roots every Spring.

Now I’m not sure; the closer I look at it, the more I like it. Strange how that works, isn’t it?

7 thoughts on “A Strange Flower

  1. Hi! I’ve been following your blog by email for a while (I liked the material on Theodore Roethke you posted a long time back, and it turned out you were local to me and interested in the same sort of stuff). Now I can tell you a thing! Your plant is an ornamental spurge, though what species and hybrid I couldn’t say. They *are* awfully invasive, and they tend to discourage neighboring plants, but they’re pretty and I can’t help keeping a few around. Perhaps in a big pot?

    • Thanks.

      My readers tend to be smarter than me, at least as a group, so I thought someone might be able to identify this plant. I’ll go back and post the change under the headings.

  2. Loren, your line about seeing things more intensively with a camera in your hands got me to thinking the same is true when one is “thinking” about writing. When you’re actively on the lookout for or receptive to things floating into your consciousness for the purpose of writing about them, you pay a little different, a little more concentrated attention to the world; it becomes more alive and ripe with possibility. You sink more observantly, with more of your senses open and receptive, into your experience.

    So: the trick is either to carry your camera everywhere or PRETEND you’ve got it with you always, watching, watching…

    Also: fine shots, as always!

  3. I know what you mean about actually holding a camera. I’ve got a small one that’s handy to carry round that I’ve had now for a couple of months now – and I’ve taken loads of photos.

What do you think?