The same plant with a better context...
Can you tell I couldn't get quite get enough of this little gem?
I personally found the Salvia to be BEYOND "compar", but taxonomy prevails. The Caucasus are the mythical site where Prometheus was pinned to the cliff and eagles ate his liver all day long, only for it to grow back in the night. I am quite sure this is where my distant ancestors condemned Tantalus to reach for the rich banquet that always receded. The banquet of three weeks of gorgeous plants is receding into my tantalizing past, and a few items, like these, are taunting me: fortunately we did get seed of 100 and more accessions that shall assuage our longing!
It would be wrong if I didn't mention that everywhere you look in Georgia you see ancient fortifications: It's a wonder the Georgian people have survived--they've been overrun by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Turks and of course the Russians (and who knows who else!): the vast valley between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus has been a corridor of human migration from long before higher Civilization even came about. The very origins of farming and the first cities are in the vicinity of these very mountains. Many peoples, not just "caucasians" have traversed the region. I am so grateful I've had a chance to do so myself!
In addition to being a plant lover, I have a strong interest in Byzantine art and architecture: Georgia's ecclesiastical art is a cousin to Greek Byzantine: I would have loved ot have time to visit more churches--especially those with frescoes such as this one...
The frescoes are often damaged: this is an area of great seismic activity, after all. And the Ottomans and Communists did the churches no favors. They are being restored in earnest now: it appears the work is conscientious--much restoration often destroys the value of the original. It's worrisome!
I could go on and on: I did take thousands of pictures after all! But all good things must end, and four blogs about this trip shall have to suffice. I couldn't resist including this closeup of a peony in a woodland in the lesser Caucasus.
And this image from the steppe near Lagodechi should convey some of the grandeur of the setting. This is actually a corn field! The Caucasian corn poppy is much larger and showier than even the European P. rhoeas.
|Panayoti with poppies|
|Here an anomalous one without the usual black splotch...|