The Sago palms on our property are big things, having been in the ground for years. I’ve been drawn to photograph them many times in the past, their prehistoric structure and beauty always appealing to something within me. So it was with some trepidation that I watched them turn yellow and die after the hard winter freezes that we experienced this year.
I’m drawn to plant death and decay in my personal photography. For whatever reason, I find beauty in decay more frequently than in healthy, living plants. Like people, plants get more interesting to photograph as they get old and acquire character. I have lots of images of various plants around the property in some stage of death or dying. But the Sago palm didn’t yield any of those images in death. The tough, spiky palm fronds simply turned broomstraw yellow in splotchy places, making the whole plant look ugly.
My wife, who is the gardener in our clan, got out her pruning clippers and chopped off the old stalks. The results were visible within a very few days: new, tiny spikes, sworling up from the plant center, began to emerge. Wow! These were serious, don’t-mess-with-me babies, ready to burst forth into what I knew would be the heat of our summer.
I found the most interesting images up very close, the spikes and plant center becoming almost abstract in their growth pattern. I’ll keep a close eye on these as they grow. I have a feeling there will be more opportunities for images down the road.
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog