Looking At Flowers Close Up

Side view of a very double clematis, with pointed petals

Cee has invited us to share close up pictures or macro shots as part of this week’s Fun Foto Challenge – who could resist? My first is a close up of the extremely double Clematis ‘Josephine Pink’. The flower changes considerably as it opens: at this stage, mounds of overlapping inner petals are almost obscuring the bigger ones that form an outer ruff, with still more petals to come.

The great thing about a close up is the textural quality it gives. I hardly know whether the pointed petals would feel stiff or soft if I could reach my hand out and touch the flower.  Continue reading

Virtual Streptocarpus Collection

Purple flowers with creamy lower petals

Streptocarpus ‘Gold Dust’

Although I have never grown a streptocarpus, I do collect these generous plants after a fashion, by taking pictures of them and sharing my virtual collection here. Much of my material comes from Dibleys Nurseries’ award-winning displays at the major UK flower shows that attract me like a bee to honey. Their plants always look in wonderful condition, each flower jostling with its neighbour for our attention. Add in the variety of colours, patterns and forms and you have a flower photographer’s treat.  Continue reading

Toad-Lily With Grasses And Nicotiana

Tricyrtis flowers and buds with grasses

High up on my photogenic flowers list comes tricyrtis, also known by the folk name toad-lily. This one is all the more picturesque for the curtain of grasses and backdrop of nicotiana (those pale, drooping, trumpet-like flowers).

Layered symmetry is a big part of a toad-lily’s charm. Looking down at the main flower, beneath three forked tongues joined triskelion-style, you’ll find a ring of legs with shoes that appear to be dancing. Well, they might if, like me, you’ve been keeping up with this year’s Strictly. The three narrow petals have a delicate smattering of freckles and are positioned between three darker sepals, their ends curling back. The yellow splotches (almost hearts, if you squint enough) give this particular form a sunny glow.  Continue reading

Atmospheric Flowers: Blue Asters

Masses of small blue, daisy-like flowers

Some plants don’t just add colour, mass and form to a border, they add atmosphere, nostalgia even. Take old-fashioned blue asters, for instance. Individually, the small, daisy-like flowers are on the raggedy side but their profusion packs a punch. If you can look at this picture without imagining a hum of pollinators foraging the flowers for nectar and pollen, you’re not getting out enough.

When I was a child, I used to know places nearby where asters like these grew wild. In those days, my eye didn’t appraise a plant for mildew or an ample coverage of foliage: I took pleasure in the blue daisies and assumed the grown ups (or Mother Nature) would take care of the rest. I poked a few stems through buttonholes to decorate my cardigan and called them Michaelmas daisies without understanding anything of the long history wrapped up in the name.  Continue reading