Beautiful flower portraits from long ago

Night-Blooming Cereus from "The Temple of Flora"

I like to periodically stop in and check out Sheree Rensel's provocative blog. She's a Florida artist with an outspoken attitude, both artistically and verbally, which I appreciate. The other day she had a post and stunning photographs of the Night-Blooming Cereus in her yard. I had never heard of it and was amazed to see that the flowers grow on ratty looking vines and bloom just once a year and for one night only. While searching for more information on the plant, I ran across a wonderful book called "The Temple of Flora" by Robert John Thornton, first published in 1799. Mr. Thornton spared no expense, to his financial detriment, in commissioning the great floral painters of the day in documenting many exotic plants in unusual and romantic settings. I highly recommend leafing through the book at the link above. It's a real visual treat.

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