Monday, September 15, 2008

GBBD: Pretty as, erm, a picture

For a while now, I've been trying to remember what it is that cannas remind me of. The extraordinary colours, the frilled, extravagant petals, the sheer scale of the plants all seem to belong to another, more exotic age. At first, I thought they reminded me of the floating skirts worn by the dancer and choreographer Martha Graham and her company (right). But this morning, as I was photographing my cannas, it suddenly struck me that it was a more well-known image that was hovering on the fringes of my visual memory. It was Flaming June (above left) by Frederic Leighton, painted in 1895, the year before he died, and currently on show at Tate Britain. The name Flaming June always makes me want to laugh. It's not the name of the girl in the picture; the idea is that the nymph or whatever she is has seized the opportunity to escape the heat of the noonday sun and have a little snooze. These days, "Flaming June!" is the sort of thing you expect to hear people say in deeply ironic tones when the month of June has been a complete wash-out. Perhaps Lord Leighton should have called it Blooming September.
To find out more about Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, and to see a list of posts, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Canna 'Pretoria' in the garden this morning against a background of bamboo