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11 photos of flowers growing in unusual places

From snowy meadows to trash dumps, flowers seem to spring up just about anywhere.

May 23, 2016 | Latest Photo Prev Next
May 23, 2016 | Latest Photo

There's nothing like a flower budding in an unexpected place to get you in a hopeful mood. Something about the promise of new life and beauty in a chaotic world just turns on the warm and fuzzy – flowers are the kitten photos of plants. And these plants are happy to oblige our warm and fuzzy whims in the most unusual conditions. See for yourself:

Flowers in a junkyard in Philadelphia.A junkyard in Philadelphia. (Photo: Dick Swanson/Environmental Protection Agency)

This photo, titled "Flowers Bloom in a Junkyard," was taken in 1973 and is currently kept at the National Archives and Records Administration. It reminds us of another decades-old work: 1950s poet Allen Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra," a poem about a sunflower growing in a locomotive yard.

"We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside," wrote Ginsberg.

flowers in israelSnow can't keep flowers from blooming in Israel. (Photo: Brian Negin/Flickr)

You might not normally associate the Mediterranean with snow, but Jerusalem was actually hit by a formidable snowstorm in 2013, the heaviest snowfall in the region in 20 years.

In some parts of Israel, more than 15 inches of snow piled up. Temperatures dipped below freezing, airports closed and many people had their first snowball fights. And one lucky photographer happened upon these gorgeous flowers.

Junk Yard at Philadelphia's 2011 Flower Show.'Junk Yard' at Philadelphia's 2011 Flower Show. (Photo: Dyogi/Flickr)

At this Pennsylvania flower show, one exhibit imagines "a junkyard reclaimed by gardeners," wrote Dyogi, the photographer, on Flickr. "I loved the assortment of fresh vegetables in the exhibit, but I question the organicness of plants growing out of cars and well pumps and other industrial leavings," Dyogi continued.

Flowers in the middle of winter in Idaho's Kelly Canyon. The middle of winter in Idaho's Kelly Canyon. (Photo: David Bush/Flickr)

A flower pokes through the snow in Idaho's Kelly Canyon, an area particularly famous for its ski resort, the Kelly Canyon Resort.

This resort lies across 640 acres and encompasses 26 trails and six ski lifts. Plus, hot springs are nearby ... not bad for a day trip. The resort offers trails for both beginners and advanced skiers, and even has night skiing, which sounds a little terrifying – might want to bring some fancy ski goggles along.

Metrosideros polymorpha flowers growing through dried lava in Kalapana, Hawaii.Metrosideros polymorpha flowers growing through dried lava in Kalapana, Hawaii. (Photo: Wikipedia)

We always knew flowers were resilient, but we did not know they could grow in lava before we saw this picture. Indeed, these Metrosideros polymorpha plants (called "ohi'a lehua" in Hawaiian) are growing up through dried lava from an exploded volcano. They apparently crave the stuff and are typically the first plants to grow atop newly dried lava.

These plants grow in regular soil, too, and they can even become trees. Native Hawaiians used to make houses and tools out of the wood, and they turned the plant's flowers into leis.

Boat sailing through a sea of flowers in Bodrum, Turkey. Boat sailing through a sea of flowers in Bodrum, Turkey. (Photo: Alex Berger/Flickr)

Alex Berger shot this photo in Bodrum, Turkey, while on a trip that also took him through Istanbul and Kos, Greece.

Berger found this boat abandoned, sitting in a lot by the side of the road. "It had definitely seen better days and most of it had rotted away a long time ago," Berger told From the Grapevine.

"However, it had been transformed into something beautiful by the wild flowers growing in the open field. Looking at it, I felt like if I positioned the camera right for the shot, it would look like the boat had taken sail again, this time on a sea of flowers."

An overgrown piano in Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania. An overgrown piano in Pittsburgh. (Photo: Steve Elgersma/Flickr)

What is it about Pennsylvania and flower shows? This extremely green piano was actually a piece in Pittsburgh's Spring 2014 Flower Show "Rhythm and Bulbs" at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

The Phipps Conservatory has a good deal of exhibits, including a summer flower show that's currently going on. "From the brilliant red hibiscus to the eccentric Amaranthus tricolor, each plant has its own personality – and they all come together in awe-inspiring displays that offer something for everyone," read the conservatory website.

Garden cress growing through computer keysGarden cress growing in London's Chelsea Harbour. (Photo: wetwebwork)

Garden cress can grow just about anywhere, including through old keyboards. It's a fast-growing edible herb that tastes a little bit like mustard, its botanical cousin. The raw plant is full of nutrients and contains vitamins A, C and K, as well as some dietary minerals. It's largely grown in the Netherlands, France, Scandinavia and England.

Overgrown tombstone in an abandoned cemetery in Terezin, Czech Republic.Overgrown tombstone in Terezin, Czech Republic. (Photo: Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock)

These flowers brighten a normally dreary image: an overgrown tombstone. This grove is located on one of many early 20th-century Czech cemeteries that have since been abandoned. Photographers frequent them for their heavy, yet gorgeous signs of decay.

In this photo, the bright red flowers symbolize new life, drawing the eye away from the black and white background and into a living world of color and beauty.

Flower sprouting by office building in Alabama.Office building in Alabama. (Photo: Pat David/Flickr)

This Alabama office building may look geometrical and lifeless, but nature eats through the cement. "In the face of adversity, life finds a way to go on," wrote Pat David, the photographer, on Flickr.

"This sad little yellow flower was poking up through a crack in a sea of concrete outside my office. I was struck the first time I saw it, because that flower was canary yellow and fully open in an expanse of otherwise depressingly colored concrete."

giant flowers on tram platform in downtown Jerusalem.Tram platform in downtown Jerusalem. (Photo: Courtesy of HQ Architects)

Jerusalem decided to install massive, mechanical flowers near a central train station. These flowers, which are 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide, bloom when passengers get off the train and signal shoppers to hurry if they want to catch the tram. Plus, they provide shelter from the sun and rain, and they illuminate at night.

This magic is made possible by science, which has somehow managed to convince the flowers to inflate and deflate on demand, kind of like flowery moonbounces.

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