Well Friday has rolled round again and what a week it has been. It started off on a positive note but unfortunately went down hill, however this seems to be the norm at the moment and so when Friday comes around it’s a relief. The tension in my neck and shoulders seems worse than ever and I think I need to see about some serious massage therapy, but until then I have my flowers to cheer me up and put the smile back on my face. Gardening has always been an outlet for me, more so now I have the greenhouse! This evening has been a treat as although it is cool, grey and damp the droplets remaining after the rain storms look beautiful on the emerging flowers and leaves, the plants seem as relieved as I do that it’s Friday, their stress has been lack of real water for weeks and so now they look refreshed and revitalised. Here is the sole surviving Allium, sadly last years terrible slug fest seems to have destroyed the other bulbs, but this one is a treat, I hope you like it! Have a lovely relaxing weekend and thanks again for all your views, likes and comments!
Wandering around there are signs that Spring may not be so far away although looking out the window this morning it seems as if Winter is making a return yet again. Speaking to my dad yesterday it feels as if winter has gone on and on and still has something to throw at us, as I look out the window it is snowing! But, last week I enjoyed a taster of whats hopefully to come, the sun shone all day and it felt warm to the skin. Birds were singing high in the tree tops and hedgerows appeared to have a hint of green about their spindly branches, crops are starting to emerge and the once brown fields now sprout a green stubble. At this time last year I posted images of snowdrops, this year I have found the riot of colour provided by the humble Crocus too good not to share, especially when planted in abundance, pale purples with a blase of yellow reflecting the colour of Easter eggs in the confectionery shop windows, a welcome cheeryness in an otherwise greying landscape.
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!
Following on from the accidental blurred banana post I decided to try the same sort of thing out in my garden on some unsuspecting Lupins. The poor flowers have recently been attacked by Blue Aphid (Id never heard of them either!) and so I’m quite lucky to have them still standing and still flowering! So, I set the camera exactly as I had done that fateful day and started to shoot, hand held, whilst moving the camera side to side. A strange experience for a photographer as the general rule of thumb is that you hold the camera absolutely still whilst shooting! I guess this is a more artistic way of panning…..I then tried the same thing but by moving the flower rather than the camera, replicating the high winds we have had of late….after several shots (ok more like 30 or 40!!) I had something quite colorful to upload. I’m actually beginning to quite like this impressionistic style of photography…….its certainly more interesting and a lot more fun, less serious you could say…….and it covers a multitude of photographic sins!!! Well, rules were made to be broken?!
Wandering round the garden today in a fleeting moment of sunshine I stopped to inspect the plants growing in the borders and see how much damage the recent rain storms have done to my young runner bean plants. The beans seem to have faired quite well and are rapidly climbing the sticks so Im really optimistic that I shall have a good crop before too long. Unfortunately my Lupins and Geraniums have taken a battering and were flopped all over the lawn, but having risked a rather huge spider in the shed I located some canes and propped them back up to face the sunshine again. Ive taken some images of the flowers but Ive tried to change the perspective from the normal flower shot and shoot along the lines of a bumble bee approaching the flower……just to see what they may see!
I seem to have a bit of a thing for flowers at the moment. I wonder whether its because for many months now we in the UK have been somewhat deprived of anything remotely bright and colourful. January and February can be such grey months although we do get the occasional sunny day, until the first snowdrops appear and then the first daffodils trumpet the arrival of Spring we live with bare branches and salt sprayed verges. So, my garden is leaping into action, the bluebells, azaleas and these gorgeous aquilegias. You dont get to see the best part of this flower as it hangs its head low like a bell, funnily enough they are also known as Grannys Bonnet or Columbine, so I have tried to take a photo of the best bit, by laying on the grass and aiming skyward!
Friday 30th March and Im sat in the lobby of the hotel waiting on the taxi to collect us and send us on our way home. Hotel lobbies are a wonderful place to people watch……people arriving, people leaving, greetings and goodbyes all around. The reception at this hotel is actually quite nice, bright and airy it has a conservatory feel to it and so what would be better than an orchid to grace the glass tables and displays……there were in fact orchids all around the reception area, more evidence of that Parisienne chic that abounds this city (no tatty chrysanthemums here!) ….palest white petals dark green stems and delicate purple detailing giving a touch of paradise found. The way the light streamed through the glass roof acted like spotlights finding the star of the show, only this performer was perfection itself…..
Well it was back to work for me today although the day seemed to fly by, and even though I have been glued to my camera over the last few days my quest for a different image is still ongoing. Parking ouside my house I got out the car and walked towards the door, now some months ago (in fact it was before Christmas) I planted some tiny seedlings as they were descibed as winter flowering Pansies. A nice splash of colour I thought for the long dull winter days….but for months they have remained tucked away behind the lip of the hanging basket that adorns the front wall of the house, keeping their heads down, no sign of a colourful flower, no sign of the characteristic smile that violas and pansies usually give you! But then tonight, without warning they have risen above the edge of that basket and are cheekily peeking over the edge, smiling brightly at me, wintery colours of purple and lilac, but happy and cheerful! So thats my shot for today, a cheeky peeking pansy!