I’m not certain this is what she had in mind, but it’s what I’ve got:
Dragon heads resting on a table.
Dragon dancers resting on the lawn.
These Chinese Dragon dancers ended their performance just before Stanton’s Thursday Night Band took the stage. We arrived in time to watch them rest and pack up. I was unable to get any photos of them dancing.
Amoeba O’Ceallaigh and I were talking tonight after dinner. I told him I am very prudent and very practical. He appeared to be quite stunned by that news. I asked him to explain. Instead, he replied, “You bent over in the middle of the road today to take a photograph and a pickup almost side -swiped your butt!” Don’t you just hate it when men do that? There you are talking about one thing and they go and change the subject to another?
Anyway, onto the post you’ve been waiting for … The Cannonball Tree:
There are many wondrous and amazing plants at Foster’s Botanical Garden, and I am certain that while I oogled one, I missed seeing two or three others. I know that has to be true of the Cannonball Tree, because the moment I saw it I lost all concept of place or time. All that mattered was me, tree and camera.
The flower is the first thing that caught my eye. I had never seen anything like it. As far as I can tell it didn’t have a scent, or the scent was too light to compete with the Magnolia Blossom.
Cannonball Tree Blossom
Almost immediately I was frustrated. The tree was in the direct sunlight and my photo quality was nil. To top it off, I couldn’t get close enough to the dang thing. The chain-link fence around it encompassed much more space than most of the tree protecting barriers.
That irked me. I had no intention of harming the tree. I just wanted a few photos. I looked right. I looked left. I looked front. I looked back. Then I stepped over the barrier and approached the tree.
Blossom & Buds
Most of the flowers were over my head. The tree stood next to a lovely garden wall fashioned from lava rock. I climbed up on the wall to get the shots I wanted. Being prudent and practical, I looked first for loose rocks or cracks in the mortar.
Blossom & Buds
On the backside of the tree I found a beautiful flower right at face level, and there was no slanting sunlight to screw up my shot. I took photos from near and far, paying close attention to where I put my feet, because coconut-sized nuts covered the ground. A couple of the nuts had broken open. They contained a pulpy fruit that mynah birds apparently love.
Cannonballs on a Cannonball Tree
The typical Cannonball fuit is six to eight inches in diameter. My subconscious related them to coconuts and — while I was snapping photos of them at least, I never gave it much thought — and then:
I saw the sign and immediately wondered how badly a thump on the head one could get. I reached down to scoop up a cannonball. My hand closed around it … and I dang near fell over. I had to shift my weight and lift the ball. It probably only weighed 3 or 4 pounds, but I expect that to be more than enough to cause a headache. I looked right. I looked left. I looked up. I looked down. Then — proof that I am prudent and practical — I retreated to the safer side of the barrier. Besides, it wasn’t like I needed any more photos anyway.
I was walking through Foster’s Botanical Garden and came to a convergence of paths. Which way to go? I studied the beginning of each trail for clues of what wonders might be. The paths are winding and one did not look more promising than another. Straight ahead? Right? Left? Eeney-meeny-miny-moe … I discarded the idea of going left. Left would lead me back to the clearing and the musical bandstand. Been there. Done That.
Right? I knew that the Chinese Garden was in that general direction. Straight ahead? I dug the crumpled trail guide out of my back pocket. The path straight ahead lead to first an herb garden, then wrapped around and came back to the Chinese Garden. Fine. Straight ahead it was.
I took two steps. Two — and stopped dead. My head tipped back. My nose went up. My eyes closed. And pure joy permeated my soul. Magnolia. Heavenly. And the scent was coming from the North.
I was surprised. I had already been north. I was north when Amoeba played his concert here, and I was north earlier that very day. I didn’t remember seeing a Magnolia Tree, but I followed my nose just the same.
Well, it turns out I was completely correct. The path I was on did, indeed, lead to the bandstand, but between where I was and the bandstand area, was a whole different world of giant ferns, huge boulders, and one — just one — magnolia blossom and one burgeoning bud.
I felt as though I had stepped into the land of the giants. This fern was easily 10 feet tall. I had to back off the trail and into the bushes to capture it in its entirety. I have no idea why I didn’t photograph one of the rocks.
Anyway, back to the Magnolia blossom — it was the size of a dinner plate. One open blossom and one opening bud, yet I smelled them from yards away. I followed my nose and then stood in awe I don’t know how long before it finally dawned on me to take a photo! I had to climb on a bench, jump onto a huge rock, and stand on my tippy-toes at the edge (literally defying gravity and certain injury) to get this photo. I am amazed it turned out as well as it did. I wasn’t even looking through the view finder. I just held the camera in the air over my head and clicked!