Stepping out into the wilderness felt like wandering onto a painter's palette. Nature served up shades of yellow first: thin pressed petals, hearty clusters and hazy blobs. The small eye-catching buds of achillea reminded her of lichen spreading across textured bark. When she saw such fascinating flowerheads, she always imagined herself being shrunk to a miniature scale. She would hop across each spongy pad with laughter; the bright landscape luring her in to explore further. She had a feeling she'd be leaving this place sated.
When she went very close to observe, the wind flapped a delicate poppy petal onto her lip. She moved her head back to find a subtle tingle where it had. She touched her lip to find a a lipstick-like smear on her fingertip. Retrieving her compact mirror from her pocket, she watched as her entire lips turned the same shade of red. It was unexpected, yet a pleasant surprise. She knew this wasn't a garden like any other and to leave room for enchantment. After all, how long would the spell last? It was time to appreciate magic while she could.
Borage hung like brushstrokes frenetically painted around poppies. Their fuzzy stems looked touchable, but she decided not to. She didn't know enough about this flower and a previous accidental brush with furry stalks turned out to be nettle; she definitely didn't want that sensation again. There were times when the foliage reached the sky. Above her, peachy petals fanned out like light sconces upon stalks. They radiated a peaceful energy and she really felt it when darkness began to descend. A fairy light glow to line her path.
A tiny pond. She placed her face underwater to see an abundance of spores open and close, open and close. Small sea anemone flexed their little floral buds. It was a constellation of creamy stars. She retrieved her head and gasped at the awe of it all. A huge leaf unravelled itself beside her. It had a towel-like texture and she got the impression it was there to dry her face. She was hesitant, yet she got the vibe that this fuzzy leaf wouldn't do her wrong. She brought the leaf closer and her face was cradled in its comforting warm surface.
The orangey-red florets of the crocosmia drew in insects from afar. The wasp relished in the nectar and sighed with happiness. After it had whizzed away, she ran her fingernail over the ascending petals. A symphony of notes played. She pinged a little one at the edge of the scale and flitted between each one. The sound changed in depth and she found herself ping some more to play a melody. The wasp found itself zoom back and hovered near the large, open flowerheads. It bopped in the air, appreciating the sweet sounds.
Down the path, a textured stalk was topped with a translucent white poppy. It fanned open by way of greeting her. She noticed the rich aubergine shade seeping into the white. Her index finger gently pressed the velvety surface. With that tiny touch, her finger nail coursed with colour to turn the same deep shade of purple. She gasped, glancing at this now-painted nail from all angles. She tentatively dabbed her other fingers onto the petal and found each one transform into matching dusky gradients. Instant manicure.
The starburst plant exploded as she walked past and she cupped her hand beneath it. The seeds began to dance in her palm. The stalks were still connected to the tiny black seeds and as they moved, she saw the transference of tiny smudgy trails on her skin. Ah, the perfect kohl. She retrieved her compact mirror again, lifted a stem and with a sweeping motion, lined her eyes with the rich black pigment. She also noticed her red poppy lip stain had disappeared. That must've happened when wiping her face with the absorbent leaf.
A slight gust blew and she saw the zinnias and dahlias release a soft powder. She went to tap each one and found dusty tendrils float into the air, catching the light. Her hands glistened in the sun from where the tiny iridescent specks had landed. There was no need to look any further for the perfect highlighter. She rested on her knees to tap the zinnia ball onto her collarbone. A bronze-tone shine came to dress her skin. The powder puff of a dahlia pressed a dewy pinkness onto the apples of her cheek. She felt ethereal.
Fluffy fleurs huddled together on a green carpet, spanning out across the field. These little pink flashes were statement pink lashes. Oh, it was time to get experimental with her look. She carefully prised a strand to find it peel off in a continuous strip. They had an almost magnetic pull towards her eyeliner. She audibly gasped when the lengths merged with her existing dark eyelashes. They took centre stage, long and luscious. She blinked to find this colour frame her view. Anyone would think she was turning into a flower fairy.
All this movement and energy around her was exciting. The citrus palm splayed its fronds, shimmying its leaves. Lilac globes swivelled on their stalks, resembling tiny worlds spinning on a finger. It was a frenzy of activity. This feeling seeped into her being. She inched towards the yellow poppy and picked a papery petal. A golden shimmer spread across her eyelid and then she swiped it across the other. The look was complete. She was happy to let the botanical hues last as long as they chose to. It was time to let the sunshine in.
All photos taken at the Cambridge Botanic garden.