Today when it was time for Sabbath School to start I didn’t have any kids in my class yet. So I stepped outside to check for this little beauty, Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum). In the past it has not bloomed until August (or I haven’t noticed it doing so), so even though it’s what I was looking for, I was a bit surprised to see it.
The only photos of this species they have at the Wikimedia Commons are ones I have submitted in the past couple of years. The problem with them is that the background is too busy. The first ocuple of shots I took today also had the busy background (gravel on the ground, brick behind), so I decided to make an artificial backdrop. I went back into my classroom and found a scrap of cloth in the closet (leftover puppet-makin’s) and something to drape it over. I think it came out much better this time. I uploaded it to the Commons, so there’s a hi-res, uncropped version there.
I also tried using a black canvass bag and a piece of poster board, and though those made better backdrops, this one was still the best shot of the flower itself. When I zoom way in on this shot, I can see transparent little pollen grains. It’s pretty cool.
This will only stay in bloom for a couple of weeks, and then it’ll be another year. I don’t know of another stand of them anywhere either, but I sure would like to have a bunch at my house.
After a little while, one of my students showed up and that was the end of the photo shoot. I did invite her out to see the bloom, and we found another like it, plus one that had dropped to the ground. We picked it up and pressed it so she can take it home preserved next week.