Flowers with backlight effect

Pink daisy flowers made translucent by sunlight

Pink flowers – possibly some form of echinacea – tumbling over each other as if to watch something. They’re at a concert and the ornamental grass is performing on stage, perhaps, or at a football match. An exciting one.

But we know that’s just fancy. Unlike us, the flowers don’t need a reason to be like this, they simply respond at a cellular lever to the sunlight, the soil and whatever moisture they can seek out. Continue reading

January Squares: Mixed Lights

Atmospheric lighting and a modern stained glass window

Liverpool pizzeria’s mood lighting

I’m sharing a few days’ January Squares, with twin themes: places where we can eat and/or drink; each picture to represent a word ending in light.

The first could be daylight or windowlight (apparently that’s a word). I was interested in the colours – how the light seems to leach them out from the modern stained glass and paint them on the sills and surfaces, and the way the barstools carry them through into the room. The hanging lights have coloured wires too or appear to have through a trick of the light.   Continue reading

RHS Campaign For School Gardens, Chatsworth Flower Show

Mayflower Primary School’s sensory garden, It All Makes Sense, was one of my favourite corners of the Chatsworth Flower Show 2019. If there’s a child in your life, you might like to take some inspiration from these recycled tin cans, painted with cheerful motifs. Pop a herb or a flower in one and you have a tiny garden to enjoy, with potential lessons in art, the environment, nature, nurturing and cookery along the way.

While my secondary school had a small greenhouse, I only have the vaguest memories of going inside it. We never did anything as exciting as making a garden for one of the RHS flower shows. I love it when I see some of the kids who have been involved at the shows, proud of what they’ve achieved and excited to explain to visitors what they were thinking about in this or that part of the garden.

I’m one of the lucky ones. Although my schooldays preceded the RHS Campaign For School Gardens by decades, my childhood was filled with small lessons like these as part of family life. Caterpillars in jars that turned into butterflies. Rose petal scented water. A succulent that grew in a pattern. Owl pellets to pull apart, looking for bones. Flowers to plant. Potatoes to dig (well before their time as we were too excited to wait). Pebbles to pick out of streams. A bat cave to explore. Continue reading

Anole In The Limelight

Shadow of an anole lizard seen through a backlit leaf

All photographers learn to enjoy light. These upright elephant ears (some form of alocasia) are so beautifully backlit they would be interesting even without the patterned raindrops and veining and the anole’s shadow.

But I’m not complaining about the photobombing anole. I like the spreading toes (I’m scared of snakes, so lizard toes are always a reassurance) and it interests me how our minds interpret height from the strength of the shadow. We know the head is raised because the shadow is softer – it’s a three dimensional shadow, not a flat one.

This green anole lizard was benefiting from the vision and hard work of Jesse Yancy, a literary gentleman who has raised a garden / wildlife haven on land around the edge of a small, concrete car park that he does not own in Belhaven, Mississippi. Continue reading

2020 is The Year Of The Hydrangea – Hurray!

Hillside of hydrangeas at Holehird Gardens

Part of the National Collection of Hydrangeas at Holehird Gardens

When I posted yesterday’s picture, I hadn’t realised how on-trend I was. In celebration of this being the Year of the Hydrangea, I want to show the difference between mophead and lacecap hydrangeas.

While mopheads and lacecaps are much the same in growth, habit and overall impression, their flowers have different forms. For most of us, this is a matter of style rather than of botany, as we’re not likely to try to grow hydrangeas from seed.

Pink mophead hydrangea

This mophead hydrangea has big blowsy flower heads

Mophead hydrangeas have round heads packed with individual florets, much as the name implies. They’re the classical hydrangea flower shape, if you will.

Bright pink lace cap hydrangea

A lacecap hydrangea has a lacy cluster of fertile flowers surrounded by a ring of showy bracts

Continue reading

January Squares: Light Pink Roses

Cluster of pale pink, single rambler rose

Becky at The Life Of B is hosting a new challenge throughout January with the topic of light, or any word ending in light. The main picture has to be square. I don’t find it easy to crop square, unless the picture was originally taken that way (relatively few are), but it’s good to be challenged.

So why this picture? Well, the roses are the lightest shade of pink; the flowers seem like tiny satellite* dishes, catching and reflecting sunlight, and I’m claiming they make a delightful sight.

Continue reading