Aloe, Aloe, What Have We Got Here?
Early last week, it suddenly struck me that I had missed a great opportunity to photograph the stunning red-hot pokers and to publish them for this weekly theme. I rued the missed chance, because as I explained to the Authorbloglets, the flowers seem to be at their very best in early March.
Of course, we're almost in mid-autumn now and the clocks turned back an hour yesterday, so the chances of finding any red-hot pokers (properly called aloe or kniphofia) in half-decent condition seemed extremely remote, especially as the days get shorter and the cooler weather returns.
Then I had a stroke of luck. I was driving around a bend and I was using my peripheral vision to the best of my ability when I noticed a solitary bloom standing proudly among several that had withered and dried. I couldn't believe my good fortune.
Naturally, I pulled over, parked the car and reached for my camera. Let me tell you that shooting this single flower was no easy task. There was a strong and persistent southerly breeze, so my target was bobbing around like a cork on a wave.
As you can see, the blooms comprise several tassels of different colours, almost like long, uninflated balloons. The newest "tassels" are up the top, while the oldest ones turn from reddish-orange to distinct yellow. As this final shot shows you, they also open to reveal seed pods.
The shape of the yellow parts, as they break open, has always made me think they look like trumpets. I guess they are Nature's clarion call, telling us that summer is long gone.
Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.