On Being Green

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge It IS Easy Being Green! I’ve obediently tried out a gallery. The format allows us to compare and contrast the great variety in greenness, as in any colour in nature, but it doesn’t let me explain what the pictures are – and you’ll be hard pressed to make out much detail on a smartphone. So here they are a bit bigger, with descriptions:  Continue reading

Beware of the Flowers…

Floating hellebore flowers

…cos I’m sure they’re gonna get you, yeah.

You’re not sure what that refers to, perhaps? That bit of punk pop rock fluff from the 20th century passed you by, even though it’s reputed to have been voted the nation’s seventh favourite lyric of all time in a 1999 BBC poll? Lucky you have me, then.

You do recall this is the same nation that overwhelmingly voted for Boaty McBoatface as the name of our spanking new polar research vessel (and still imagines more popular votes might be helpful)?

If you were expecting something more meaningful to accompany these floating hellebores, don’t worry, I’ve got that covered too. Continue reading

Weekly photo challenge: Atop

Garden silhouette

In the valleys of North West England, blue skies are elusive. When one does deign to grace us, it inevitably arrives with an entourage of fluffy clouds. So, for me, an unbroken expanse of blue sky is always something of a miracle.

That may be what motivated me to try a few experimental shots of trees and their canopies as dusk was falling at the wonderful San Diego Botanic Garden. If only this was a technique I could practice back at home! If there’s such a thing as blue sky envy, I’ve got it.

Sunset at San Diego Botanic Garden

Continue reading

Hidden in Plain Sight: Primrose Hearts

Common primrose | Primula vulgaris

When I saw these common primroses hidden under a shrub in the gardens at Bridgemere Garden Centre yesterday, I marvelled that each petal is a heart. They looked so dainty and exquisite that I wondered if I was looking at one of the latest new cultivars.

I’d been admiring the Victorian-style, gold and silver lace primulas and some ruffled, rose-like doubles on the garden centre benches just a few minutes earlier – and, I confess, wrinkling my nose at a couple of the less dainty cultivars that are being offered this season.

Checking online, I see that every common primula (Primula vulgaris) has heart-shaped petals. How could I have forgotten in just a few months?  Continue reading

Pattern

When I was a nipper, Mama and Papa (Mum’s parents) lived nearby in a stone-clad end of terrace house with high ceilings and an unusual, wrap-around layout. My little sister and I spent lots of time there. Mama and Papa patiently entertained us with family games such as marbles, “Ey up, milady!” and “Kings”; tended and groomed us to keep us presentable; fed us with pies and other homely dishes; and gave us small treats or chastisements as our conduct decreed.

Mama liked patterns. She knitted. She had patterned wallpaper, but then everyone did – it was well before the days when minimalist, Scandinavian style would throw a magnolia coloured spanner in the works of a thriving wallpaper industry by making neutrality the only safe way to go. Continue reading

Holehird Gardens: A Peek Inside A Walled Garden

Holehird: Inside the Walled Garden

There are so many excellent reasons to visit the English Lake District, but if you love plants, make Holehird Gardens part of the road taken – you won’t regret it. Holehird is home to The Lakeland Horticultural Society, and has an unusual commercial model. The members tend the gardens themselves, which means that visitors who don’t feel able to pay can be offered free parking and entry, though a donation to help with upkeep is much appreciated.

While there’s much more to Holehird than ‘just’ a walled garden, it’s this that draws me back. I can rarely resist the chance to see flowers tumbling together in a beautiful setting. Weathered brick walls provide shelter, make a backdrop for the plants and support several climbers, including roses and clematis.  Continue reading