Light, Shadow and Form

Sometimes plants are much more interesting in black and white. I stumbled across a mass of these carnivorous plants (Heliamphora minor) in the High Altitude House at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In color, they were just a sea of green foliage. Interesting plants, but not doing much for me in terms of traditional plant photography. Yet, I was attracted by the plants' unique shape, as well as the strong light and shadow (which is so often a problem in garden photography). It was those very elements that made these plants perfect candidates for black-and-white photography.

Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White. All rights reseved. Photographed at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Move in Close

My favorite shots are often the simplest shots. Those where I can move in very close to my subject and just focus on the details that give it character. That was the case with this hedgehog plant (Agave stricta). Aptly named, I was first drawn to this plant not for the planting combination, flower, or shape of the plant, but for the spike-like foliage that does, truly, remind me of a hedgehog.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Photographed at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame'

This striking annual adds a bright splash of color to the garden. A 2006 All-America Selection winner, Zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' features multiple layers of yellow-tipped reddish petals surrounding a central red and yellow cone. The petals are pinkish-magenta when they open, but gradually turn to a strong red.

The plants are 30-36 inches tall and 24-27 inches wide and are among the easiest annuals to grow from seed. Cut the flowers frequently, as they make excellent cut flowers for arrangements, and cutting them back will quickly produce new buds.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Photographed at Park Seed Company.