Monday, March 08, 2010

New Guinea Busy Lizzie

click photo to enlarge
According to the Office for National Statistics seven of the 100 most popular names given to girls born in 2007 in the UK are derived from plants. They are (in order of popularity), Olivia, Lily, Holly, Daisy, Poppy, Jasmine and Rose. The number climbs to nine if we include Rosie and Hollie. In the equivalent boys' list there is only one plant-based name - Oliver. If we turn this idea round and consider how many plants are given non-scientific names that refer to male or female first names the pattern is the same: plenty of girls, but hardly any boys.

I was reflecting on this when we were buying some Black-Eyed Susan seeds, and it came to mind again when I was photographing the subject of today's image - a New Guinea Busy Lizzie. In the minds of many, for reasons that escape me, plants - particularly flowers - are seen as part of the feminine domain. Some men, perhaps those who are a little insecure in their masculinity, would no more be seen to have an interest in flowers than they would in embroidery or jam-making. As I pondered this theme I wondered if, one day in the future, there would arise a group of "male interest" boys' names equivalent to the plant names bestowed on girls. Can we look forward to parents calling across the park, "Be careful Turbo!", or "Time to go now Beer"? Will Poppy, Jasmine, Erica, and Hazel have brothers called Anfield, Beamer, Scrum, Torque or Camshaft? On further reflection one can only hope not.

The cold winter, followed by what is proving so far to be a cold spring, has set the garden flowers back a few weeks. Snowdrops and aconites are in fully out, but there's only a sprinkling of crocuses, daffodils and other spring flowers. Consequently I turned my attention to some of our indoor plants in my quest for colour. For today's photograph I laid the orange flower from one of our New Guinea Busy Lizzies on a mirror, the reflection of its underside giving the shape a symmetry of sorts. The cream background is a reflection of the nearby wall. As I studied the shot it reminded me of the sort of painted plant study that Victorian botanists would return home with having travelled the globe in search of new species.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro, (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/20
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: +1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off