When I heard tropical storm Claudette was headed to Atlanta, I panicked, remembering how past storms had bowled over my flowers. Those flowers never recovered. Years ago, when I moved to Atlanta, dodging tropical weather systems was not high on my list of concerns. But these days, I pay very close attention to the weather—Elsa just left a few days ago.
With Claudette approaching, I realized that my agapanthus was in harm’s way. The agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile—I like saying “agapanthus” because it sounds like something Ogden Nash would invent—is a celebrity in the garden. I planted three in 2014, and none bloomed again until 2017, and then only one. In 2019, a second one sent up two stalks, and I counted myself lucky for the show. However, this year, seven years after I planted them, all three had stalks, and I feared the storm might ruin the long-awaited burst of lavender plumes.
Along with the agapanthus, there was a wandering coneflower growing far from the others, so far that, at first, I thought it was a weed. Likely it is a gift of the goldfinches who visit in late summer to munch the seeds. This errant newcomer was just starting to bloom, and I wanted to capture it before it was blown over as well.
It was already starting to rain and quite dark when I realized I might have waited seven years in vain for my belated agapanthus and the guest-starring coneflower. Using film would have required a tripod and too much time in the rain, so I grabbed my Maxxum 7D and took the chance that the thunder was far enough in the distance to ignore.
I shot as many frames as possible before the deluge.