Flower Gallery: Orchids at Longwood Gardens

If Kew Gardens was a little more on my doorstep, I’d have popped in to see their recent orchid exhibition. As it isn’t, I’ve been revisiting pictures taken at an orchid display I did manage to see, around this time of year in 2013 at Longwood Gardens, near Philadelphia. The plants were in tip top condition, displayed against a wall with a natural green patina effect that created an interesting backdrop to the blooms.

When I checked out the Longwood Gardens website, I discovered this year’s Orchid Extravaganza is on until 27th March. If you can get there quickly, you’ll also be able to catch their blue poppies (Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’) at the peak of flower. 

The website maintains a great list of plants in flower now: I wish every garden had the resources and foresight to do this as it’s so useful for potential visitors.

I created this gallery of pictures to console myself for the fact that my sweetheart has been in Philadelphia for the flower show without me and is now visiting friends on his drive home, including Barry Glick, whose mountain of hellebores is in full bloom without me. Finding out that I’m also potentially missing more orchids and 200 blue poppies wasn’t the kind of news I was looking for.

What’s a girl to do? Count my blessings, of course, remember the practicalities (I’m thousands of miles away) and try to invent reasons why I might not have liked being beside my sweetheart as he experiences this plant bliss: it’s quite dark in the Philadelphia Flower Show so not ideal for taking pics; long road trips are not really my thing; I don’t like tamales; there might be snakes in with the hellebores, etc. Despite my best efforts there’s been an element of this about me.

There’s no escaping the pangs a long-distance relationship sometimes involves: those go with the territory. And my sweetheart has faithfully promised to bring back pictures and film of Barry’s gardens: I’d guess he’s doing that as I write – and I am grateful.

I need to try not be so greedy about plants – or more specifically, not to crave the chance to try to capture them at their peak of beauty, wherever they are in the world. I want my photography to bring more pleasure, not more regrets.

As I’m writing this, I’m gratefully remembering my blogging buddies too; thinking how often they share memories and glimpses of gardens and plants they’re growing or have seen; marvelling at how much of the world I get to see through their eyes. Perhaps one in a hundred of us (at best) will ever see the blue poppies in flower at Longwood Gardens in ‘real life’. That’s a given. We can’t all be everywhere. I rejoice for that one person: a room (or a field) full of blue poppies is a wonderful sight. The rest of us can see them elsewhere, or through pictures shared.

I know how often an image I see here on WordPress makes me exclaim out loud with pleasure, how often a lyrical description of a place or an inspired planting wakes me up to new possibilities. So what if that gives me a ever-increasing list of places I’d love to visit?

I’ll even bear the brief flashes of envy when I see a wonderful picture, though it’s not an emotion I’m proud of. In some ways, for photographers, that’s part of the pleasure, part of the way we try to be better, part of the way we privately credit others, those who have somehow made their way to the right place at the right time on the right day.

After all, if we went to the same places and events, there would be much less fun in sharing.

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