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Summer Flowers in the Church Garden: A Photo Essay

Simon's background is in biomedical and health science. He also writes about fashion, nature, and photography.

Mesmerizing Summer Flowers

In late August, on a Friday morning, I was in downtown Kingston, Ontario for a photo shoot. My original goal for the shoot was to capture the city's art sculptures. However, when I was walking past the Greek Orthodox Church on Johnson street, I noticed a lush, bountiful, colourful garden. Its flowers were screaming to be photographed. I couldn't resist. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of these delightful flowers. They were the perfect subjects. They were easy to shoot, didn't complain, and remained beautiful throughout the shoot. I amassed a pretty representative collection of flowers that day.

The following photo essay depicts the various gorgeous summer flowers growing in the gardens of the Greek Orthodox Church.


The first flowers that I instantly recognized in the garden of the church were the Cosmos. They were growing so abundantly and luxuriantly that they were overflowing past the garden perimeter. These Cosmos were all of one type. They were the pretty purple variety. I was just thrilled to be able to capture them with my camera.

What I particularly love about the photo below is the crisp focus of the off-centre Cosmos flower. You can see the fine details of the flower such as the texture of the petals and the disk of the flower.

The colours of the flower are also very significant. The vivid purple and yellow create a very energetic and cheerful mood. When you look at it, it evokes an uplifting feeling. Furthermore, the two colours, yellow and purple, are complementary colours. This means that they are contrasting colours that tend to showcase each other.

One problem with the photo is the background. It is somewhat distracting. There is a lot going on in the background—almost too many blurry flowers. That is the one flaw of this photo.

Purple Cosmos

Purple Cosmos

Pot Marigold?

Hiding behind the other flowers were these bright yellow flowers. They weren't growing as lush as the cosmos, but their bright colour certainly attracted my attention. They were also a bit smaller than the Cosmos. At first, I thought they looked like daisies, but I wasn't certain what they were. I tried to identify these flowers, researching online and using a plant identification app. The closest thing that I could find that looked like this yellow flower was a pot marigold or Calendula. So, for now, they will be called pot marigolds.

Clearly, the focal point of the photo below is the central pot marigold flower. Here, the sharp focus is placed on the disk of the flower. We can see all the incredible details of the tiny structures in the centre of the flower.

The colours in this photo are also worth mentioning. There is a clash between the colours of the flower and the background. The yellow flower is warm, whereas the green vegetation is much cooler. The warm and cool colours oppose each other. However, within the flower itself, there is harmony in the colours. The disk of the flower has warm orange and red hues. This is congruent with the warm yellow of the petals. In terms of colour, there is harmony in the flower and opposition between the flower and the background.

I believe this is a pot marigold!

I believe this is a pot marigold!

Bush Mallow

The other most abundant flower in the garden were these hibiscus-like flowers, which I believe is called bush mallow. There were purple ones and pink ones growing in the garden. These flowers were quite large in size and they were growing on rather sizeable bushes. They are beautiful as they are, but I love how they also reminded me of hibiscus.

The photo below of bush mallow flowers depicts the plant at almost all stages of its growth. We have some that are in buds, others that are not yet in bloom, and one that is fully in bloom.

What I especially love is the delicate texture of the petals. They resemble thin wrinkly cloth. I also like how they are intricately wrapped up in their non-bloom stage. It has very interesting patterns.

In this photo, we can also see the red bricks of the Greek Orthodox Church in the background. The brick background lends a nice backdrop for the flowers.

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Pink Bush Mallow

Pink Bush Mallow


The final flower is a dainty, tiny red flower that grows in a cluster. I had no idea what these flowers were. I tried to identify this flower online using Google and also a plant identification app. One plant kept coming up in my searches. It was smartweed. Although smartweed and the tiny red flowers at the church looked similar, I am not confident that it's smartweed. Smartweed prefers wet habitats, so I wouldn't think they would grow in the garden. Despite not knowing the true identity of these small red flowers, I still appreciate their small-size beauty.

The photo of these smartweed-like flowers below shows their relative size. It may not be obvious at first glance how small these flowers are. However, if you look at the background, you can see a blurry image of a Cosmos. In comparison, these tiny red flowers look like they are ten times smaller than cosmos.

Even in their small size, you can see they have all the parts of a larger flower. They have little petals and miniature white stamens. It appears as though someone shrunk normal-sized flowers down to these little ones. They are truly amazing flowers.

Smartweed-like flowers

Smartweed-like flowers

Capturing the True Beauty of Flowers

I was thoroughly impressed with the flower garden at the Greek Orthodox Church. It was kept fecund and flourishing. This garden had a variety of flowers, some of which I couldn't identify. Despite some of them being nameless, these flowers were still stunning. The above photographs show just how beautiful they really are.


Simon Lam (author) on October 31, 2017:

Hi Mary!

Thanks for visiting and for your comment. For me colour is usually the first thing I see and it affects me in a big way. So I'm always noticing things about colours.

You're definitely right. Flower photography is tricky to get right. Looks easy but is quite difficult to get good shots. It takes a lot practice to become a skillful flower photographer.

Thanks again for your feedback! Take care!

Mary Wickison from USA on October 30, 2017:

A photographer looks at the world differently. For instance, I loved the marigold image but can appreciate what you mean about the flower being warm and the background too cool.

Flowers, although beautiful can be tricky to photograph. Some are better from a head-on shot and others from a side angle. Then there may be wind, insects or a bud which is past its best in the background.

Although everyone can see a beautiful image and appreciate it, not everyone realizes just how difficult and time-consuming it might be to get that perfect shot.

Great idea for an article.