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Wednesday’s Flower: Clivia

Orange clivia glowing in late afternoon sun.

Orange clivia glowing in late afternoon sun.

Clivia are a form of lily, commonly known as Natal lily or bush lily. As you might guess from these names, they are native to southern Africa. Specimens were collected by the British explorers William Burchell and John Bowie in 1815 and 1820, respectively. Clivia nobilis became the first named species when in 1828 the Kew botanist John Lindley named it in honor of Charlotte Percy (née Clive), Duchess of Northumberland (1787–1866), who was for a time the governess of the future Queen Victoria. (source: Wikipedia)

Here in Sydney, they are popular in public parks and in front of buildings, generally seen massed in borders and clumps. They flower late winter to early spring.

Clivia also comes with yellow flowers, but they are less common (in Sydney, at least).

yellow lily
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Yellow lilies: a reminder of sun in the midst of Sydney’s ‘storm of the decade’

Yellow lilies artsy

Yellow lilies artsy

After three days of torrential rain and gale force winds, of broken umbrellas and wet feet, of disrupted transport, fallen trees and floods, of a storm billed variously as “the storm of the decade” or even (eek!) “the storm of the century”, I was feeling quite worn down as I trudged to the train station after work today.

Two things lifted my spirits: a woman busking in Martin Place (a soprano singing “Vissi d’arte”, her pure tones floating over the rain) and a bunch of yellow lilies at a flower seller. I gave the busker a donation, and bought the lilies.

Processing the photo of the lilies, I was not entirely happy. My photo had not captured the cheerful, daffodil-like yellow that caught my eye. But I quite like this rather stark result (above) of experimenting with the processing — with its dark colours and moody background, it’s undeniably artsy, just right for the theme this week at A Photo a Week Challenge. The original is below, for contrast.

Yellow lilies

Yellow lilies original