The Temple of Flora is perhaps the most famous florilegium or book of flowers from the golden age of botanical illustration. It's a charming collection of deliberately idiosyncratic flower portraits that became the portrait of a nation.
Photographer Honour Hiers collects plants near her home in Western North Carolina, then presses the specimens and photographs them on a light table with 4x5 chrome film. Highlighting a plant's translucency and texture, the beautiful photographs portray familiar species in new ways. She began the Film Herbarium intending to collect all 2600 plant species in the region; she's since expanded the project to include native and non-native plants in and around the state.
A golden form of this ancient species (fossil records date back some 90 million years), Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ has dawn redwood’s signature pyramidal profile and feathery foliage. Needles hold their color throughout the growing season, then turn amber in autumn and fall from the tree (dawn redwood, like the similar bald cypress, is a deciduous conifer). Reaches 12 to 15 feet in 10 years. Zones 5 to 8.
I just can't help it – I love brown flowers. Maybe it's the irony; maybe I just have a thing for the color brown. But the malted-milkshake, silvery tones of Velour Frosted Chocolate are on another plane. Part of an award-winning series from Floranova, the flowers in this dainty little one are a bit smaller than its brethren, less than an inch across, with a shape more akin to wild violets. Blooms profusely on compact plants, fall and spring.