Gorgeous Scanned Flower Images

– Posted in: Flowers on the Brain

I know you take pictures of your flowers, but did you ever consider scanning them? Yes, with the scanner that sits on your desk. I tried it back in 2007 but never did much with it. My friend and fellow ACNARGS* member Craig Cramer found it to be “the medium that would combine [his] love for art, gardening, and technology.”

On his blog Ellis Hollow, Craig would post scanned images of his flowers for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I learned through Facebook that Cornell was hosting an exhibit of Craig’s and Ellen Hoverkamp’s work, plus some students’ work. (They actually have a class called The Art of Horticulture which “helps students from all disciplines consider plants as the subject of art, as well as a material and artform.” Imagine that!)

Sweep of Light, the exhibit at Cornell’s Mann Library, ends on March 31st, so I knew if I was going to see it, I had to act fast. This past weekend the roads were clear and so were the skies, so I bundled up and drove over there. The images that follow were taken with my phone. I apologize for the glare (and my reflection in some of them), but they should give you an idea of what’s possible with this technique. I included the artist’s description of each image in the caption.

Craig especially wanted me to see this image.

Colchicum scans by Craig Cramer

“Naked Ladies” by Craig Cramer. October, 2009. Three varieties of Colchicum autumnale, also known as autumn crocus. They are also known as “naked ladies” because the flowers pop up in fall long after the leaves have died back in late spring.

I sent Craig some colchicums over a decade ago, and now they are part of an art exhibit!
Yes, I collect colchicums, but I also have a great fondness for narcissus, so the following two images were special favorites.

Spring Mandala by Craig Cramer

Spring Mandala” by Craig Cramer. April, 2016. A spritely mix of daffodils, hellebores, primroses and spring ephemerals.

May Day Bouquet by Craig Cramer

May Day Bouquet” by Craig Cramer. 2016. There are many reasons to celebrate May Day. In my garden it’s the peonies pushing up and the flowering of epimediums, frittilarias, daffodils, Virginia bluebells and summer snowflakes.

New Year's Eve Cyclamen by Craig Cramer

New Year’s Eve Cyclamen” by Craig Cramer. December 2012. Florist’s cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) are usually a short-lived gift plant from the supermarket shelves. This one continued to pump out flowers long after its expected lifespan, allowing me to show the progression of flower development in a single scan.

No Escape by Craig Cramer

No Escape” by Craig Cramer. June 2015. Garlic scapes form an impenetrable thicket in this four-pane.

Snakeroot Et. Al. by Craig Cramer

Snakeroot Et. Al.” by Craig Cramer. 2012. It’s always a challenge to have something blooming in the garden in late summer and fall. But there’s always enough to fill a scanner bed: Cimicifuga racemosa, Phytolacca americana, Vernonia spp., Allium ‘Blue Eye’, Physostegia virginiana, and Chelone lyonii.

You may have noticed that some of Craig’s images are sliced and diced to the point where the plants become abstract shapes and patterns. Craig describes how he manipulates the images here.

To make these images, you can’t use the lid of your scanner. Craig uses a black cloth draped over the scanner, while Ellen Hoverkamp scans in a darkened room. Perhaps that’s why her scans seem to look even more three-dimensional than Craig’s.

Woodland Vignette by Ellen Hovercamp

“Woodland Vignette” by Ellen Hoverkamp. Sampled from the lush, woodland garden at Rocky Hills in Mt. Kisco, New York. Featuring: Asiatic Primroses, Ferns and Moss

Treasures on the Vine by Ellen Hovercamp

Treasures on the Vine” by Ellen Hoverkamp. The fruits of late season vines are delightful sculptural forms. These are from Trout Lily Farm in North Guilford, Connecticut. Featuring: Koshare Yellow Banded, Tennessee Spinning, and Daisy Gourds as well as Cape Gooseberries.

Cornus Contemplation by Ellen Hovercamp

Cornus Contemplation” by Ellen Hoverkamp. Flowering Dogwood branches, gesturing diagonally, grounded by river rocks. Featuring: Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Brave’ and Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’

Beauty and the Feast by Ellen Hovercamp

“Beauty and the Feast” by Ellen Hoverkamp. So much of what is edible from the garden is as gorgeous as it is luscious. Featuring: Okra, Kale, Chard, Heirloom Carrot, Chioggia Beet, Onions, Cherry Tomatoes, Watermelon, Tomatillos, Pea Shoots

Autumnal Gleanings by Ellen Hovercamp

“Autumnal Gleanings” by Ellen Hoverkamp. Foraged souvenirs from Duck Harbor Road in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Featuring: Beach Rose, Bittersweet, Virginia Creeper, Oak Moss, and Oak Leaves.

Herbaceous Peony Denouement

“Herbaceous Peony Denouement” by Ellen Hoverkamp. The fleeting thrill of spectacularly sensual, herbaceous peonies, captured. Featuring: Big Ben, Bowl of Beauty, and Sarah Bernhardt peonies.

Want More?

My photos were pretty lousy, so I encourage you to go to each of the artists’ websites to see much better images of their work.

Most of Craig’s images are still up on his blog, and I linked the title of each image to the blog post it was featured in. You can see all of Craig’s scans here. And check out this video, where Craig describes his artistic development and also showcases some of the student work:

Ellen Hoverkamp’s website features a store where you can buy prints of many of her images, as well as luscious silk scarves.

*ACNARGS stands for Adirondack Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society, which meets in the Finger Lakes region (Ithaca), not the Adirondacks.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.

~Mitchell Burgess in Northern Exposure

Comments on this entry are closed.

Chloe April 10, 2018, 8:27 am

Interesting photos and “Spring Mandala” is very similar to some wallpaper I have just hung at a property 😉

Maria April 3, 2018, 5:39 pm

So gorgeous, and a great concept. Thank you for sharing!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford March 30, 2018, 4:30 pm

Kathy, I remember seeing this technique a number of years ago, but never did it. Now I want to run out in the garden and bring in some plant material and try it…RIGHT NOW!! Thanks for sparking me to get this tried.

Sharon March 30, 2018, 9:50 am

What a fun post Kathy! I never would have thought to do this

Kathy March 30, 2018, 7:18 am

I am a big fan of Ellen’s work. Ken Druse had her on his podcast one day and I was blown away when I googled her images. I especially love the images of feathers and bird nests. I am glad you caught the exhibit!

Oksana March 30, 2018, 6:52 am

Those are beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa at Greenbow March 30, 2018, 5:31 am

I have always admired Craig’s art. This exhibition is grand. It is nice to see Ellen’s scans too. I can see the difference. As you say Ellen’s seem more three dimensional. Wish I could go see them in person. Thank you for giving us a look.