Human Flower Project
Friday, June 27, 2008
Flowers That Go Boom
Dig out the picnic basket (the earplugs, too). And settle in for some summer fireworks, flowers of the sky.
Photo: Ali Jafari
During the summer months more than half of North Carolina heads for the coast (joined by surf-pilgrims from landlocked states nearby, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio). Wilmington is making ready for the throngs and has planned its usual blow-out for Independence Day, next Friday. It’s not too early to set the mood – so the Wrightsville Beach paper today published an enticing article about fireworks. And guess what?
“Fireworks are made to emulate and re-create flowers in the sky,” Lansden Hill Jr., president of Pyro Shows Inc., told the paper. Pyro is in charge of Wilmington’s 4th of July display. ”In Japanese, in fact, the word for firework is hanabi. The translation is ‘fire flower.’”
Jessica Haywood’s article includes thumbnail photos of the main fire-flower forms (two are actually trees): peony, chrysanthemum, dahlia, palm, and weeping willow.
The article definitely lit our rocket! We launched out looking for other fireflowers to show you. Readers who know more about botany may find more exact comparisons – if you do, please let us know. Above, a dandelion puff sizzles in the night sky.
Here’s a fine stand of pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana), waving in the wind about Seattle’s space needle. And in England, of all places, we found a fiery banana tree.
Photo: Jon Sienkiewicz
This looks like love-in-a mist (Nigella damascena) to us, with an overhanging tree obscuring the top half of the “flower.” (Too bad it doesn’t leave one of those spiny seedpods behind in the sky—a prickly spaceship.)
Photo: Tammy Fischer
This looks like the fire-spittin’ image of Hakea laurina, a peculiar species that Daniel Mosquin of the UBC Botanical Garden had to help us identify a number of years ago.
Photo: Craig Saltiel
A splendid Cactus Dahlia…
Photo: Errant Pixels
And here’s a Texas favorite, come late summer—the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata).
Photo: John Carlin
Cooling on a summer night, how about this dreamy white chrysanthemum?
For more floral fireworks, here’s a whole garden of them.
Papaver as Fireworks
Photo: Harold Davis
Working the other way ‘round, Harold Davis took a fading poppy flower and photoshopped it into pyrotechnical brilliance. He explains how you can turn your own flower into a July 4th spectacle here.
If you’d like to try taking some fireworks photographs next weekend, this site includes loads of links with suggestions about shutter speeds, tripods, and the like.
If only fireworks were as quiet as flowers.