Saturday, February 6, 2010

Portrait Study: 'Elvias'

The subject of this post is a departure from the winter skies and landscape themes that have more or less dominated this blog since I've been here in AZ.  Unlike the virtually spontaneous nature of those subjects, however, this one was planned months ago, and after great anticipation, has finally come to completion.

Who is 'Elvias'? Not who, but what: a Dutch hybrid Hippeastrum, also known by its common (and incorrect) name of Amaryllis flower. Hippeastrum species and cultivars are tropical flowering bulbs of the family Amaryllidacae. They are usually available during the Christmas season sold as gift sets, and available from your local grocery store to specialty nurseries and garden shops. I own two of these beauties at home, both given to me as Christmas gifts, and they are truly the gift that keeps giving - a splash of color when spring is still months away.

Last October, I was on a routine grocery shopping trip, and as I walked past the floral department of the grocery store, the stacks of small boxes with AMARYLLIS and a color photo of the flower each was to produce proved irresistable for me. After much consideration, I settled on two different hybrids:
'Star of Holland' and 'Elvias'. 'Elvias' is a double-flowered bi-color hybrid.  Not wanting to miss out on the flowering, which would happen when I would be in AZ, I had them shipped out here. 

By the time I finally got around to planting the bulbs, 'Elvias' flower scape was already well on her way to producing a flower, pot or no pot! After soaking the roots, planting in a new pot with new soil and set on my south-facing bedroom window, she needed no further prompting.

On February 1, the flower began to open. I wanted to capture the progression via photos, and it didn't take long. I had to wait until yesterday to take photos of both opened blooms due to a full day of rain.

With the exception of the first photo, the photos were taken with natural light and a tripod.  Here are a few images that I feel capture the beauty of this flower as it went from bud to open flower:

Feb 1st - Morning
This photo was actually taken inside, hand-held, with *a flash* - usually not a combination that will result in anything worth keeping, let alone displaying.  However, with some PP adjustments, it turned out better than expected. 

Feb 1st - Afternoon
A few hours later, this is what the flower looked like.  A third bud has now revealed itself as well. 
Feb 1st - A Close-up
This cropped view shows the color and texture detail of the flower.
Feb 2 - The Second Awakening
Over night, the second bud was transformed into an open flower.
Feb 4th - In Full Form
In this view, the second flower shows its layers of petals and final shape.
Feb 4th - Towards the Light
This 3/4 view gives a good sense of the fullness of the flower, and shows the graceful curves from the rear.

'Star of Holland' should be making her debut in the next 1-2 weeks...

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