photo of the week

Late Bloomer

This American Lotus (aka water lily) is one of the last blooms we’ll see in my favorite lotus pond.  It’s in plain sight in view of hundreds, perhaps thousands of human beings who drive past the pond and lotus colony daily.  Most of these folk never see it or pay the least bit of attention to the blooms.  The colony could care less.  It is concerned only with survival.  The beauty it produces in the process is coincidental.  I shot this picture in a fresh breeze.  The winds are distorting the petals as if the Almighty's intention was to make a porch for the attendant bug.


Sunday, August 30, 2015
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author's Note:

Since August 2013, I have eagerly awaited the re-awakening of my favorite colony of the American Lotus (ala Water Lily).  In June of 2013 I started watching the colony spring to life and continued my observations until it withered and turned brown in September.  Hoping for a repeat performance in June 2014 was a big disappointment since our end of the world was in serious rain deficit, the pond was low and the colony barely made a showing.

In 2015, the rains finally arrived but so did some aquatic weeds, which all but choked out the Lotus.  I saw only two blooms.  All that said, this week I am taking you back to early August 2013 when the season had peaked out and the lotus began making babies.  It’s my answer to Lotus deprivation.

I am now waiting for 2016 and hoping fervently for a return to Lotus Glory.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this re-run.

Joe Dempsey 


'Make-Babies' Mode

By mid-to-late July, the lotus colony seriously goes into its “make-babies” mode.  The blooms drop their petals and take shape as seed pods, mature their seeds, turn brown and call it quits.  If you look closely, you can see the entire gamut of lotus life-cycle conditions in this image… well, except for a bud that I cropped out.

Dependable Harbinger of Fall.

First Published on Sunday, August 11, 2013
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Most people will agree that when you start to hear the term “two-a-days,” fall is not far away.  I am one of those so afflicted.  It is with unashamed giddiness that I anticipate the season’s first “running through the A”.  There is, however, a far better and more dependable harbinger of fall, to wit:  the life cycle of the American Lotus.

In these parts, you begin to see the first leggy buds in June.  In a few days, you begin to see blooms, more buds, more blooms, more buds, more blooms — you get the drift.  If you are a close observer of these plants, you will notice that by around 3:15 p.m. the blooms are beginning to close for the day.  By 4:00 p.m. they are closed for business, though in daylight time, the sun will not set for several more hours.  Someone obviously forgot to tell the plants about daylight time.


From Bud to Brown

It’s August and what once was a garden spot now is a cluttered nursery up close and personal.  From left, a new pod, just recently denuded of it petals.  Second from right, the pod nurturing its growing seeds.  Center, the pod with virtually mature seeds.  Top and far right, dried pods.  From bud to brown in 90 days give or take a few standard deviations.

By the middle of July, you begin to see the trumpet-like seed pods that once were blooms.  By the first days of August, you begin to notice that the pods are now dry and brown, and the huge “lily-pad” leaves are curling up and turning brown.  By the end of August, it’s pretty well all over.  Time to call in the dogs and — in more acceptable terms — ”extinguish the fire.”  The blooms are gone, the pods are brown, and most of the leaves are curling.

The show has gone on — and gone.  In 90 days or so, this perennial plant rejuvenates, dazzles us with its best, takes care of business, turns ugly, and goes into temporary retirement for nine months.  As regular as clockwork, “two-a-days” notwithstanding.  Go Hawgs!


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