Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Have You Ever Really Looked At A Coleus Flower?

I spend a lot of time in my garden.

At 7:30, every single morning, I have an alarm set.  It tells me that I have to go outside to the yard to inspect the irrigation system.

There's a ritual here.

I stand up, put some water into the French Press coffee mug I have and call Rack The McNab SuperDog if he isn't paying attention.

Usually he has beat me to the back door by now.  Only if there is an active thunderstorm will he hold back.

I open the sliding glass door with a "Hi Oscar" to the parrot, and walk outside.

That coffee mug gets emptied into the garden with a chuckle.   I've been told "it's Gardener's Gold and must not be wasted.  Parts of my garden is more than half coffee grounds and the rest is that beach sand that passes for soil here.

But I do have to go out, inspect the swimming pool and make sure that the pots are getting watered.  They have a short, ten minute time period, where the irrigation pump is dribbling water into the orchids, mangos, various cuttings, onions, and green onions, and all the rest of the things that I have in a little terra cotta prison.

They get drip fed their water, and I walk around and enjoy them.

It also is what the photographers know as the Golden Hour.  The sun is up, now in mid May, but not up so much as to be harsh.  There's a golden glow on everything.  Shadows are prominent.  Flowers are back-lit to a brilliance that the noon sun's harshness would overpower.

Everything is burnished in gold.

If you are fortunate, you will get to see this.  Just at the right time, just at the right angle, simple things become amazing.  The forgettable becomes something to remember.

I was fortunate that day.

Inspecting the Milkweed plants that were being turned into stumps by baby Monarch caterpillars, I looked closely at every single pot.  I wanted to know if my green onion was going to be the temporary home for a pupa, as it has happened before.

My showy leaves on my involuntary coleus were shining.  Usually their reds, greens, and yellows were more muted, but this particular morning, at this particular time, they were radiating a glowing show of colors.  My friendly office plants that insist on dropping seeds into pots that I would rather not have them in so thickly were singing a chorus of beauty.

Then I spotted it.  The Inflorescence.  Coleus bloom dozens of little pale purple and lavender flowers on a flower spike, called an inflorescence.  This one inflorescence was backlit perfectly.

I had to remind Rack that I had pictures to take, this was too good to miss.

When I got back inside, I looked at the tiny flower.  There were hairs that were radiating as if they were shine lines on a comic drawing.

I had taken the time to smell the Coleus flowers and it showed me a side of it that I have never expected.

Sometimes, the very things that you have in abundance that have faded to become mundane, can be so beautiful you have a new appreciation for them.

They're all over my yard.  I have been pulling them up and tossing them in the thick tangle that is the utility easement behind the pool.  They taunt me by growing even back there in the shade.

I guess that if they can grow in a ninth floor north facing single pane window in a cold Philadelphia winter, they can gather enough sunlight to grow here in the riverine wetness that is South Florida.

And if you are lucky enough, you just may be treated to their shine.


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