So many flowering plants are lascivious little creatures, seducing us with their flamboyance their stamens yearning to be touched by the wayward, industrious bumble bee or by the edge of your pant leg as you stoop to inhale an aroma that you hope will be there—and usually is. The flower easily reduces even the most irascible schmuck or impermeable soul, if only for an inestimable moment, to accepting pleasure. We all give in to temptation, though some of us prefer to maintain a more uncompromised position with respect to the art—and yes, it is an art—of seduction.
But I…well, I like to work for my pleasure. Instantaneous pleasure is surely appreciated, but effort heightens and extends gratification. Effort rarely alienates; indeed, it attracts.
And so I do like to get down on my knees. Yes, the view from down there can be quite sublime.
How many people miss the wondrous little white flower of the May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum)? Sure, its umbrella-alike foliage transports you to the beach, and a sea of May Apple suddenly looks like an aerial shot of Waikiki, albeit an oddly monochromatic photograph of uniform green umbrellas.
Or Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum communtatum)? Or, despite its name, the Large Flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) with its narrow, butter-yellow bell-shaped flowers extending downwards? Or, as pictured at the top of the post, the Asian Fairy Bell (Disporum flavens)?
The latter three’s flowers are harder to miss, not positioned as they are beneath large canopies of palmately lobed leaves. Yet they face downwards, much like a New Yorker,and thus present a challenge for those who want a more intimate experience. Without getting down on the ground, without expending a bit of energy, you miss their tubular structures and lovely, elongated petals which gently curl to protect the sexual element from the more promiscuous amongst us, but to attract those who like a challenge.
Effort, these kinds of plants teach us, is so often worth the rewards, even if those rewards are not always so readily visible.