Photographs and Text ©John P. Walsh
My entire life I have always enjoyed being around flowers and gardens.
I started taking photographs of them in 2012. With so many other people everywhere, I have always enjoyed visiting and walking among the beautiful fragrances of earth’s bountiful and beautiful flora. Dangling, drooping, shooting straight up, bunches, single stem, of endlessly different shapes, sizes and colors—and places and settings—flowers and gardens embody life, creativity, and beauty. One of my earliest memories of gardens was on a childhood vacation to Jefferson’s Monticello and, in that summer’s heat, being surrounded with the scent of the boxwood shrubs. All these perennials and annuals are definitely worthwhile photographic subjects. To stroll (and bend and scrunch) among nature’s orchestra of leaves, branches, and blooms and photograph them is one of life’s pleasures.
The world of flora contains some of the most distinctive creations on the planet.
Fresh blooms are engaging, shy, forthright and protective. In their season, they exist to proffer their fleeting beauty and fragrance for the spectacular end of reproducing themselves.
I have taken photographs of many other subjects but flowers I return to again and again. It’s because flowers don’t disappoint.
Grace Kelly wrote a book on flowers called My Book of Flowers. “I love walking in the woods, on the trails, along the beaches, ” she said. “I love being part of nature…” This is one of the great things about searching for and finding flora to photograph: whether in the wild, semi-wild, in a nursery, or on the front porch or in the garden, the wonder of their presence leads to an experience of nature in its most vital form.
Grace Kelly became interested in flowers and their arrangements only in the last years of her life. It had been suggested to the American princess in the late 1960’s that as part of the festivities for Monaco’s centennial she might host a flower arranging competition, which she did. Though princess Grace admitted she “was the most ignorant garden president going,” her knowledge of flowers and gardening grew and, if only because of their shared passion for these precious blooms, she met many new friends. I too have found that I have made friends from all over the world because of our mutual love for flowers and the garden. One cannot underestimate flower power!
Most of my photographs of flowers and gardens are shot in the Chicago area.
Annuals, May 2018.
I am more myself in a garden than anywhere else on earth.
Red Chair and Pots, May 2018.
Chicago, Garfield Park Conservatory, December 2017.
Tulips, May 2018.
Lilacia Park, Lombard, Illinois, May 2018.
Henri Lebasque (1865-1937), Le Cannet, Madame Lebasque reading in the garden.
Lilacia Park, Lombard, May 2018.
Flowers lift the spirit & refresh the soul–Martha Lever.
Above: Saratoga Pinwheel, July 2017, and Daffodils, April 2018.
Henri Lebasque (1865-1937), Girl with flowers, 1909.
lilac, May 2018.
near Juneau Park, Milwaukee, June 2017.
From letter of September 1, 1842, published in Letters From New York, volume 1–Lydia Maria Child.
Dianthus, May 2016.
Garden, May 28, 2016.
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes — Mark Nepo.
Petunia “Black Magic,” May 2016.
Garden, Oak Park, Illinois, July 2013.
Alcea (Hollyhock), July 2013.
There are always flowers for those who want to see them–Henri Matisse.
Double Late Tulip “Dream Touch,” Lombard, Illinois, 2018.
“Frederick Douglass,” multi-petaled cultivar named for Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), American slave, abolitionist leader and author. Developed in 1972 by Richard Americo Fenicchia.
A flower blossoms for its own joy– Oscar Wilde.
Wheaton, Illinois, March 2018.
Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people though you never would–E.V.
gardener, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, May 2019.
Downers Grove, Illinois, May 2020.
Hans Duivenvoorden, FlowerPower II.
pear tree, May 2018.
To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow–Audrey Hepburn.
pear tree in bloom, May 2018.
garden pathway, May 2018.
peony and cicada, home garden, June 2020.
impatiens, home garden, May 2018.
Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air–Georges Bernanos.
Pot of flowers at the Fox River, West Dundee, Illinois, August 2014.
Orchids, May 2018.
Flowerbed under prairie-style window in a house designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1917, Chicago. Photograph July 2015.
Henri Lebasque, Woman reading with flower bouquet in a glass vase.
Maple tree, Western Springs, Illinois, October 2017.
Millennium Park (near Chase Promenade), Chicago, November 2017.
Henri Lebasque, By the tree.
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today–Chinese proverb.
waterfall, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Illinois, July 31, 2017.
Prairie Coreopsis Coreopsis palmata, Aster family Asteraceae, Woodridge, Illinois, July 2013.
Purple Cornflower Echinacea purpurea, West Chicago Prairie, West Chicago, Illinois, August 4. 2013.
Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, “Gifts” (Second Series, 1844).
Orange sulphur butterfly with wild clover, August 12, 2013, Water Fall Glen, Lemont, Illinois.
Ellwood House, DeKalb, Illinois, September 18, 2016.
Richmond, Illinois, August 29, 2016.
You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. Pablo Neruda.
Spring, April 2021.
Magnolia tree in bloom, April 2021, Lombard, Illinois.
“timeless” (sundial), April 2021.
zinnias and sunflowers, August 2015.
shades of pink, June 2014.
planting, State Street, Chicago, May 2021.