Tibet and Its Flowers

This is my third page of photographs of Tibet and flowers. The first two pages focused on wild flowers and here you'll see some more of them, but also some flowering trees and other beautiful plants.

Tibetan iris clump on mountain

My friend Alice, who took these pictures, labeled the photo above as "Wild irises near Pubonka Ridge". Hiking in the mountains around Lhasa is great once you get used to the altitude. Just make sure you take along plenty of water to stay hydrated, and set a reasonable schedule for the amount of oxygen your muscles will get!

Tibet blue flower

Blue flower in Tibetan sunshine

Tube-like purple flowers in Tibet

These purple tube flowers probably have a stodgy scientific classification and a beautiful common name, but to me they look like colourful cable TV plugs.

Tibetan blue mountain flower

On any Tibetan hike, there are delights of nature to be discovered: a clump of flowers, a yellow blossom, a hare darting across the path, and (on one of my hikes) a herd of big-horned but sleepy-eyed yak blocking the trail.

Yellow Tibetan flower

Yellow flowers in Tibetan rock

Yellow slipper flower in Tibet

Here we see some Tibet flowers that look like yellow slippers scattered in the blue field.

Yellow slipper flower between Tibetan rocks

Yellow slipper wildflower

Tibetan pussy willow

The pussy willows familiar in many parts of world also grow at this altitude. Pussy willow branches give an impression of abundant developing life, which is one reason why they are used in around the world in celebrations of Easter and Spring. Many of the hillsides in Tibet look quite barren, but finding these symbols of life in Tibet flowers and plants is a reminder that even here life develops.

Tibetan lilacs covered with snow

Branches heavily laden with flowers have special significance in a place like Tibet where life of any kind can be hard. In the 1950s life expectancy in Tibet was less than 40. Even today it is about 67, compared to 80 in my home country Canada.

It is hard for the nomads to deal with the cold in the mountains and some move into the city of Lhasa to pass the coldest months.  Lhasa occasionally gets a snowfall and in the spring you may see scenes like in the photograph above, which was taken in April 2006. The lilacs were already out, and the covering of snow completed a picture of life struggling to survive the elements.

This series of three pages on Tibet and its flowers is in memory of Alice Laarman, an English teacher in Tibet for many years. All of the photographs were taken by her. I visited Alice a couple of years ago when her cancer was in remission long enough for her to take us out in British Columbia to admire the beauty of the forest there. I'm sure she is happy that her photographs here will help you to appreciate Tibet, flowers, mountains, and the blessings of life.