An intricate challenge

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Richly coloured and intricately patterned violets. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015


1. having many interrelated parts or facets; entangled or involved:
2. complex; complicated; hard to understand, work, or make:

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Photographed at the Wintergarden, Auckland Museum. Species not known. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

Anyone who has stopped to take a photograph of a single, perfect flower, a cluster of buds or a fallen leaf will know how intricate are these small marvels of nature.

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Seen out walking, Te Atatu Peninsula. Species unknown. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

We humans are dependent on plants –for food, medicine, shelter and fuel –as well as less tangible things, like the calming scent of lavender, or the sheer joy of being given a bouquet of roses.

Asiatic lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Asiatic lily. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Over time, the properties of plants have come to be ascribed deeper meanings and significance. ‘Floriography’ — the language of flowers — may be less well-known today than in its Victorian heyday, but we still associate roses with romance and lilies with funerals. White violets apparently mean “let’s take a chance on happiness.”

In Victorian times, floriography was widespread; with dictionaries available to help people navigate this intricate language and send the “right” messages through their choice of foliage.


Pink roses, Parnell Rose Gardens, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

On occasions where I’ve chosen flowers for bouquets and arrangements, I’ve tended to do so on a purely aesthetic basis. I wonder now, what anyone familiar with floriography might have made of my choices? Perhaps:

“Respect! You’re a wonderful friend. I’m sincere” and “Could you pick up some bread on the way home?”

This post was written for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: intricate.