Archive for the ‘garden’ Tag
The sun has finally made its appearance! So in honour of this rare occurance I donned my gardening gloves and ventured into the shed, located my somewhat spiderweb encrusted trowel and rake and headed into the unknown….after several minutes acclimatising to the rather strange sensation of sunshine on skin I remembered just what hard work gardening is! But it is another of my absolute passions, getting you hands dirty and breaking nails all totally worth it to see those new shoots appearing from beneath the soil, gardening is in our blood and was something my Grandfather and Grandmother all taught me about from a very young age. One particular plant is absolutely stunning at the moment, a brilliant yellow Forsythia, all sticks and shoots until 3 days ago when it burst into the most glorious of yellow flowers from top to toe! Instant Summer! The house I live in does not have the best garden, mainly due to the poor quality soil which would suit clay pottery studies better, but having toiled over it several times I now have a border that is ready to accept the first seeds of the season. Hopefully comes Summer the border will be a riot of wild flowers, playing host to bees and insects, butterflies and bugs….my neighbours even kindly donated some rooted cuttings from a fabulous climbing plant that I have admired several times, so hopefully in a few months I will be sharing some of my efforts on here! Green fingers crossed!!
On a recent visit to a English Country House I took a wander into a very special greenhouse. I believe its actually called a hot house and boy were they right! On a cold crisp English Spring day I sought shelter in its warmth, opening the door of the hot house that has stood for over a hundred years and stepping into a subtropical world. The warmth was so welcoming, with every step further in I felt myself carried to a far away island, the scent of the plants from distant shores, oblivious to the freezing world beyond the window panes. My layers of clothing suddenly began to feel heavy and unnecessary the further in I walked, the flowers reaching up to the blue sky above yet their scent hung low and intoxicated your every breath. Through a second door and the temperature rose substantially, almost sauna like conditions prevailed here, plants resembling bananas, flowers more like aliens and exotic fruit trees bursting into bud. Within seconds my camera had completely steamed over! As I cleared the lens I looked down and below the Camelia tree was a single fallen Camelia blossom, still beautiful but in the early throws of death, petals turning a subtle shade of brown against the radiance of the creamy heart, the gold tendrils like a crown still strong and proud, lifted to the light, still hoping for attention, timeless beauty now against the clock of nature, the cycle of birth, life and death in a corner of a hot house, on the coldest of English days……
I dont know if you are anything like me but flowers always make me smile. It started at an early age, my Grandfather George used to carry me around the garden and tell me all the names of the plants and flowers, sometimes stopping to let me smell them. It was a real show garden with perfect borders, expertly mown grass lawns and showstopping roses. My Granny’s garden was somewhat different, city based and functional with vegetables and herbs edged with bricks and a concrete path down the middle and a railway line behind a privet hedge, but it would flower into life with scented sweet peas, bluebells and cottage garden flowers self set by seeds dropped by the birds that flew overhead and the rhubarb picked fresh was a treat! And so began my life long love of all things flora. Colour, scent, texture and pattern you cannot ignore them, even so called weeds can be utterly beautiful, maybe we should all make more room in our gardens and our hearts for flowers…….
I’m afraid that my target of a post each day has somewhat fallen by the wayside, although I do have a good excuse! I was away last weekend and am now in the process of moving home. Its becoming a challenge to actually reach the computer as it now sits nestled behind a wall of cardboard boxes full of possessions! So in-between the bouts of wrapping, packing and boxing up all that I possess ready for the transportation to my new abode this coming weekend I have finally managed a window of 5mins to go outside and find an image for this post. I will endeavour to continue the blog over the next 2 weeks although I may be missing again for a short while whilst I unpack my computer and reassemble in the new house, fingers crossed that I remember where all the wires go! You could say that I have been and will be busy as a bee!
I’m not actually going to say too much about this image as I think it will speak for itself. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is an herbaceous perennial that can grow to a height of 3 feet and has stunning 3-inch wide daisy-like purple flowers with a brownish-purple cone-shaped centre. This native North American herb was originally part of the prairies of Georgia, Louisiana, Iowa and Ohio and native Americans used the flower to treat everything from colds to snakebites. The medicinal herb is still used to treat Illness such as arthritis, colds and ear infections. It is still found in the wild but more commonly now it graces the borders of many gardens and this was was photographed in the grounds of a beautiful old house locally. Purple coneflower dies back to the ground in winter, but comes back to life every spring and I hope that you agree but its simply radiant!
Many weeks ago I bought a guide book to circular walks in The Cotswolds, a beautiful place frozen in time with chocolate box villages and stunning scenery. Last night I made a discovery in the guidebook that led me to a location I have driven past many times that revealed a secret, and a subject hidden from view, a subject that I have on my list of things I want to photograph! I was joyous! Having had Sunday lunch at my parents we all set off on the 60 mile drive to a village called Snowshill, near Broadway, the location of a 3rd generation Lavender farm in the heart of the limestone Cotswold hills. Its a gem of a place hidden away 1000ft above sea level, and the family use a steam distillation process that is unique in Britain, with its products being sold around the world. For a small entrance fee you can walk freely along the furrows growing with many different varieties of lavender, the heady scent lifts your spirits and you feel a sense of calm as you wander. Today was simply a dream for me, I couldn’t have been happier, the sun shone and and my parents walked arm in arm as I reeled off more than 150 photos! My timing was perfect too as next week they harvest the fields, but amazingly the ticket allows you to return as many times as you want through the season, so I am positive I will be returning to this little piece of heaven!
Ooh I do love a dramatic headline! I was reading the newspaper round my parents house this evening and noted how the more dramatic hadlines grabbed my attention, so I thought Id apply the same logic to my post tonight. Plus I have to say that the colour’s going on in my Dad’s containers are simply riotous! Pansies are a fairly widespread garden flower and I remember as a child planting them out with my Dad’s careful guidance and then once they had flowered and the seed heads dried out I used to collect them and scatter the seeds in the hope that they would return the next year, and happily they did! Only Id manage to scatter the seeds all over the patio and so most of the new flowers were appearing in the cracks between slabs! But I love pansies, the flowers always seem to look like faces smiling up at you come rain or shine, a truly cheerful little flower. The other images are of a slightly more hybrid flower, the Fuscia, my Mum’s favourite. I always think they look like tiny ballerinas twirling and pirouetting at the end of the stems, so delicate yet quite a long lasting flower (weather permitting). The problem with these is that they require quite a lot of management especially over the Winter as they really don’t like a hard frost. But the rewards of careful effort are stunning, where would we be without flowers?
Sat in my office today the weather was lovely….amazing, I actually saw the sun for the first time in what seems like forever! Blue sky and people wearing t-shirts and shorts! I arrived home late this evening after having one or two things to do and guess what? Yeap you guessed it….its raining again! So, not to be beaten I wandered for a short distance down the road and found the remains of some poppies that I shot earlier in my blog. Unfortunately they looked somewhat past their best with all the petals on the floor and just the seed heads reaching up to the skies. The contrast of the seed head against the dark green of the rest of the garden seemed to work nicely and once I managed to get the angle right it actually produced quite a nice unusual image, almost ghostly, appearing to be quite colour-less, but I like it! Another strange effect created straight out of the camera, I’m learning so much by shooting for this blog! This one is going up on the wall!
I read a magazine at the weekend that inspired this shot. It challenged you to use your camera in a non technical way….in any other words throw the rule book out the window and have fun! Photography can be so over complicated with some photographers going to extraordinary lengths to set up a shot, then spend hours manipulating it! The only rule was that you had to smile as you took the shot! I like that theory! Wouldnt the world be a far better place if we all stopped worrying about perfection and just smiled a little more? So here is my shot, I’ve entitled this one Zoom! Purely because as I lined up the shot my hand slipped and I zoomed towards the bed of flowers at the same time that I hit the shutter! I quite like the effect!
For what seems like an eternity we have had rain, even on days when the forecaster says that we will have dry weather it has rained! My garden has become a bog, waterlogged and squelchy (not sure that’s a real word!) Any flowering plants that I had have given up and hang low over the edges of the lawn which I have to say is looking the greenest it has ever looked! The good thing is that the local cats who seem to think my borders are their own personal toilet have also given up due to the pools of water that they would have to negotiate! But this resilient little poppy has developed its own way of dealing with the deluge…..its hung on to the green leaves that contained the petals and has created its own rain hat, making it appear to be sheltering under them in the same way that we would place our hands over our head! Very clever poppy!