Hoya Carnosa bloom. Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

The Upside-Down Flower

Learning to see with our “wholeness of being”


I first saw it tucked under the weathered-grey planks of an old potting bench in one of the little family-owned nurseries which I frequent. Its waxy rounded leaves did not seem to fit in with the other succulents it was surrounded by — which is precisely why I bought it.

I love growing succulents. Their blooms, arching into lipstick-orange fireworks or candied pink buds, always delight me with their showiness. The plants, beautiful in-and-of themselves, really outdo themselves though when it is time to flower. I’ve often wondered how the goddess could even imagine such intricate beauty. It seems like no two blossom stalks, let alone the individual flowers, are ever the same.

So, when I bought the humble hoya carnosa, I imagined it might produce some sort of blossom, but it was hard to say what it would look like, since the plant really didn’t look like a succulent at all.

I potted the hoya carnosa up and placed it outside the door to my back porch and admired it for a few years, not for its elaborate flowers (it didn’t seem to flower at all), but for its steadfastness. It was, honestly, not a very flashy plant. It was a surviver, but never looked as if it was flourishing.



Erika Burkhalter

Photographer, yogi, cat-mom, lover of travel and nature, spreading amazement for Mother Earth, one photo, poem or story at a time. (MA Yoga, MS Neuropsychology)