Lotus lands

Brooklyn Botanical GardenWhile on a special mission to the Brooklyn Museum yesterday, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the spectacular July weather to pop next door to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the water lilies and lotus.



My first encounter with a pool of lotus was far different.  On a steamy July day in Japan, a friend and I took the train to Kamakura which is about an hour south of Tokyo.  In the same precincts as the Great Buddha of Kamakura is an exquisite lotus filled pond.  You can visit it also with this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mSWDXv2m5AI love that you can go ‘home’ again!

Lotus central pool BBGThere are only a few lotus plants in the pools at the BBG and happily, some are just coming into bloom.  These plants cluster around the urn in the central pool.Lotus pods

This plant has gone to seed. The seed cups are prized by floral designers.  In this picture, every stage of its development is present.  I’ve never seen anyone use these gorgeous leaves in a floral design but wouldn’t it be fun?

White lotus in the poolLotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is the national flower of India and Vietnam.  It figures hugely in Asian art and culture as the symbol of purity. The roots grow in muddy water of ponds or riverbeds but the flowers rise above clean and bright.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

At the BBG water lilies are also in bloom with the lotus.  This variety is called “Peach Glow” and for good reason, don’t you think?

Water lily "Colorado"Nymphea “Colorado” is a close cousin but more coral even in the midday sun.  I have a love/hate relationship with the plant tags that inform but ruin the photos.

White water liliesThe flowers are so fleeting that greater interest is generated by the variety of leaves floating on the surface of the water.

Beautifully striped water lilyWho can resist striped leaves?  With the added bonus of blue flowers and the reflected clouds, this speaks to the famous paintings of Monet.

Water lily "Black Princess"“Black Princess’ is my favorite. Isn’t it a stunner? It has exactly the color flowers and leaves I have in my garden right now.






About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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