Diaphanous – A Word for Wednesday

Word of the Day in Pictures

Alocasia Macrorrhiza, Light and Pattern

diaphanous |dīˈafənəs|
(esp. of fabric) light, delicate, and translucent : a diaphanous dress of pale gold.
ORIGIN early 17th cent.: from medieval Latin diaphanus, from Greek diaphanēs, from dia ‘through’ + phainein ‘to show.’

So pretty, see the family.

This plant really does give the impression of fabric, from the gentle folds, the intricate leaf veining and mottling, and the prominent raised veins looking like cording. And below another fabric-like leaf, the tufted looking hydrangea.

Light and Wings

A Veil of Moisture

A Threaded Rainbow of Color, Light, Water and Transparency

A Sheet of Water gracing the Monarda leaf supported by webbing.  Such delicate lacing and weave work, yet so incredibly structural and expertly engineered. The water is not touching the leaf but barely raised above it.

Dark Becomes Light, the Husker Red leaves glow.

Light and Translucency of an Oriental, layer upon layer.

translucent |transˈloōsnt; tranz-|
(of a substance) allowing light, but not detailed images, to pass through; semitransparent :
ORIGIN late 16th cent. (in the Latin sense): from Latin translucent- ‘shining through,’ from the verb translucere, from trans- ‘through’ + lucere ‘to shine.’

Petunias have a wonderfully veined flower with which to pass through light or make a handsome home for garden spiders.

transparency |tranˈsparənsē|
noun ( pl. -cies)
the condition of being transparent : the transparency of ice.
ORIGIN late 16th cent. (as a general term denoting a transparent object): from medieval Latin transparentia, from transparent- ‘shining through’.

Light and Transparency

What have you got that says diaphanous? The sun helps convey the feel of light and weightlessness, and with the flowers, convey the delicacy and intricacy of detail.

We are a day early (Eastern Standard Time, that is) to give YOU an idea….

You can get in far more deep with the concepts and use in design. Try posting about light, transparency, and translucency in the garden, there is so much to say as an abstract, as a grand concept and gesture, or as in living life with ideals. Translucency can be literal in the use of stained glass, or conceptual in a screen of airy and strategically placed planting. A garden can have a view through a sheet of water or through a lighted veil of colorful foliage. In design, translucency on a bigger scale is an important concept and often less literal than you would think.

But transparency has famous literal manifestations, (but trust me, both designs are much more indepth conceptually, way more than to get into here), in architects Phillip Starck’s Ghost Chair or Mies Van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. Think how transparency can be used in gardens, or in conjunction with the two examples above. Add an object with which to see out of or through and you magically frame or contain a desired view.

The simplest is by views and relationships. The inside/outside connection is most often viewed framed, but the illusion of inside/outside is blurred. Not blurred literally but psychologically. A window to the world, not just a window to illuminate. Or illuminate in the greater and alternate meaning of the word. Say, that is a good word for next week!

See the post Bucolic – A Word for Wednesday for some images sent to me by Lynn from, From Lynn’s Garden for some Bucolic images. And here are two images from Lynn for today’s post on Diaphanous.

And check out The Adventures of Tufa Girl. She had a post on Bucolic – Deserves Another Day.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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35 Responses to Diaphanous – A Word for Wednesday

  1. Ginny says:

    Wonderful post – beautiful photos and inspiring, too. I love the word diaphanous.

  2. Donna says:

    Incredible post Donna. The photos are magnificent as usual. I love the idea of transparency in the garden. I have designed many of my gardens so I can view them from the inside of the house and thereby they extend in and out. I love the early morning light playing through leaves and catching flowers, webs etc. too. BTW I do love the new header…beautiful

  3. Chad B says:

    I see lots of webs, but no spiders. That makes me happy! And Donna was right – your new header is really cool.

  4. debsgarden says:

    Gorgeous photos! I love the shots of the watery webbing and the spider web. Little details like these deepen our enjoyment of the garden.

  5. The Alocasia photo is frameable, definitely. Very nice capture.

  6. loved all of the back lit pix and the words. I’ll work on sending you a pic.

  7. shaheen says:

    Wow – your photographs are like paintings.

  8. Holley says:

    Light can do some amazing things to pictures. Most of the time, I’ll take a picture then later think “I didn’t know the light was doing that!”. I suppose I should pay more attention. Your pictures are beautiful. Luminous.

  9. GirlSprout says:

    Donna, I love seeing your photos. Your Alocasia photos made me gasp. Very breathtaking! The interplay of light, form, and texture is remarkable.

  10. My garden in its entirety is – in my head – diaphanous. Whenever I sit down and relax, looking out over any part of the garden, it begins to blur, to dissolve, revealing at the same time the present and my hopes for the future, and occasionally even other gardens I have somehow felt attached to. A purple clematis against the covered terrace becomes the long-gone clematis that graced my parents’ terrace when I was a child; a red rose becomes a vision of a large rose bed and arbor at some time in the future in my own garden. My garden is what it was and what it will be and what it might be, with small glimpses of other gardens of my life.

  11. That first image is simply stunning Donna, and definitely frameable.

  12. Donna these are just incredible photos (as always) but the way you captured the light through the leaves and blooms is stunning! I love this post and the word diaphanous!

  13. One says:

    I thought my photos or paintings were nice till I see yours. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous!!! The cob web is the best. Did I already tell you that I love your new header? I had meant to.

    Thank you for letting me know about Photo Elements. I’ve been using Picasa for a some time but today I use it differently. Normally I crop the area in focus. Today,the focus is the area not in focus.

    • You should be proud of your images. They are always outstanding and I look forward to your paintings. I hope you find joy in it and finally go the Elements route. You will have so much fun and you can start following the many tutorials, even mine.

  14. Love words as much as your pictures, Donna. All stunning because the clarity of your shots show the true nature of diaphenous. Are you going to make this a meme? Anything with a theme helps vaguer bloggers like myself to focus!

    • I would love to make this a meme. I do not know how much interest it would garner considering how many memes are out there. It is hard for people to come up with a photo to post so specific to a word like this. It is more in the vein of a GGW monthly post. Any suggestions? I really think it is a good theme. We did this as an exercise in college in art, architecture and photography classes. To capture the essence of a word in a design. It is a powerful motivator and inspires creativity. And it allows for interpretation too. That is the creative part. Maybe the key is not having a specific word to follow like we did in college, but allow bloggers to make their own word for Wednesday, then link to my main post each Wednesday. What do you think?

      • andrea says:

        I think this is a lovely idea but why on a Wednesday, when busy people just post photos when they dont have time via Wordless Wednesday. It might not be going in harmoniously with WW. What about on a Monday or first of every month? But i am not so good with adjectives, i dont even use diaphanous, haha!

        • A Word for Wednesday did not start as a meme. It was just a play on WW because I really never do WW because I ALWAYS have something to say. I too thought maybe once a month as a meme because it may take a bit of time to get a photo to match a word. Next week when I post a word, maybe I will have an idea what others think and go with that. Then I can plan a meme for a day or once a month.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Donna, I like the way you have grouped images around a single word. It would make a good blog party to use and single word as inspiration. It also has to be said that the pictures in your post are just wonderful.

    • Well that is one vote for a single inspiring word. Thank you Jennifer. Next week I will announce it on my site that it will be a meme and see how people think they would like to participate, one word predetermined, like illumination, or a word of their choosing. The great thing about using one word for all, is that everyone gets to see others’ interpretation. In college we did this as a critique. Everyone presented their work in front of the class and ‘defended it’. Blogs are kinda like that except the comments are always encouraging. Not so in a college critique.

      • I would definitely prefer it to be a predetermined word so every participant has the same starting point. I’d be surprised if two people interpreted a word the same way…

        And I once thought I was going to be an architect, and we had to present our projects in plenum as well, which could be awesome and could be grueling…

        • I was lucky in Critique and rarely got any criticism, but it is downright brutal. We lost more than half our students the first year because of this process. I also student taught design and could not personally subject the kids to this pointed scrutiny. I always tried to suggest a good point and one on which to further elaborate. We had kids in my class have a nervous breakdown. And one was rumored to have committed suicide. It is the holier than thou mentality in the design world. I never subscribed to that in school or the profession.

  16. Malinda says:

    Just Beautiful!

  17. Another thoughtful essay with beautiful photos. Sorry I haven’t been keeping up lately. Will be fully back soon.

  18. andrea says:

    I laughed at One’s comment above about her photos. In my case i always see my photos as mediocre because i normally follow blogs of artists or professional photographers and designers like you. But this way, i hope i learn to improve my own, I am very glad I can always ask you how something was done. However, as most photographers say, “it is in the eye of the one holding the camera”, which might not be fully given to me! I am still groping to learn about light and its effects on my photos. I always love your photos, and you know that.

    By the way, are you sure the first photo is Alocasia, to me it looks like just a big Colocasia sp.

  19. This is a beautiful collection of photos. I think my favorite is the first photo and the one of the dragonfly. I LOVE macro photos, and the details captured in the dragonfly are great!

    (LOVE the header.)

  20. tina says:

    I saw this post on Blotanical and sure thought it was beautiful. Reading all the comments about a meme are is interesting too. I tend to not participate in memes myself because they get to be too too many out there but I think your idea of showing a word in photos is very neat. The fact you did as an exercise in photography class also really cool.

  21. NHGarden says:

    Beautiful! Love your use of light in the photos!

  22. Joy says:

    Donna I am having a hard time leaving a comment .. I think your site dislikes me ? LOL .. I just had to try and stop to say how gorgeous your pictures are here !

  23. dona says:

    Your fisrst photo is terrific! The Alocasia macrorrhiza leaf looks like a Murano glass…
    BTW: Congratulations for your Latin and ancient Greek.

    • No Latin spoken here, Dona. That was right off my computer dictionary for the origins of the words. I barely remember German after having eight years of it between middle school, high school and college. And I am 100 percent German too.

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