The French may have designed the first formal gardens in the 17 century, but many garden designers around the world emulate the style today. Visit the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh for the Spring Flower Show to enjoy the symmetry of the flower beds, bursting with colorful tulips.
Who started this trend? Andre Le Notre designed the formal gardens at the Palace of Versailles from 1662 to 1700. I’m sure you have visited many beautiful formal gardens in your home town or in your world travels. I would love to hear about your favorites.
“Ghost Tulip” is my own affectionate name for this unique tulip that reminds me of the Ghost Orchid, the elusive tropical orchid that blooms in Florida in mid-summer. Seasonal Florida residents can’t catch a glimpse of the ghost orchid, since they have months ago fled to northern climes.
My good friend Sharon was patient with me as I composed, focused and captured 64 photographs at the Phipps Conservatory Spring Flower Show. I shared with her my thoughts on photographing flowers.
“I’m mainly concerned with finding good compositions here. The background must be simple yet show some depth. If I choose a single flower to dominate the composition, it’s helpful to have a second flower play best supporting actor, to echo the main actor, but play a secondary role, as in this composition,” I added.
Later, “I mentioned that a star pattern is always a good thing, as is an S curve or a diagonal.”
“Why?” she asked. “Ha, ha, good question,” was my reply.
These yellow bells caught my eye at Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory. Look at the twisted tufts of green leaves at the base of the stem, sprouting like a fountain. At the top of the long stems, the yellow bell shaped flowers almost look like shower heads, topped with another tuft of green leaves. Who designed this flower? Can you name it?
If your city offers an indoor botanic garden in a conservatory, you have an escape from winter in your backyard. The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh offers lush and exotic vegetation displayed with artistic vision at all times of the year. In a recent visit, I found a Japanese theme in a long gallery, where 24 mm lens created a compelling composition.
Through the years, I have also enjoyed photographing Chihuly glass and gargoyles harmonizing with the plants.
Make a visit to your conservatory today. My favorites are the New York Botanic Garden and the Naples Botanic Garden. Feel free to share your favorites.