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

Festive Fun: Decorating The Blog For Christmas

Crimson flowers with yellow streaks forming a star

It may seem far too early, but cut me some slack: I’ve decided this blog needs some festive cheer. Not the cheer-on-a-loop designed to sell things, but pure, just-for-the-fun-of-it cheer. In this post, I’ll be putting up some festive blornaments (= blog ornaments; see definition at the foot of this post). Alternative ones.

For my first blornaments, stars, I’ve chosen the annuals pictured above, found tumbling from a hanging basket and preserved in pixels to brighten a moment. To my way of thinking, if the flowers featuring the stars are miniature trumpets, so much the better.  Continue reading

One Perfect Rose

Perfect rose at a flower show arranged against foliage

The exquisite bud-within-a-flower form of this rose makes it a winner on the show bench. Labelled Rosa ‘Dr. John Dickman’, this flower only has a hint of the mauve colour I’ve seen in other pictures – perhaps that’s the effect of the light level in the marquee, or it may be that the flower will develop more pronounced mauve tones as it matures. It’s a miniflora rose, which means that the leaves and flowers are larger than a miniature rose but smaller than a floribunda.  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

Name The Colour Of These Flowers

While visiting the flower shows this year, I was drawn to a colour thread represented by the flowers I’m showing here. I’d filed the pictures as Clarets thinking ‘Anyone for claret?’ would be a good post title, but reluctantly concluded that claret was stretching things too far…

Heads of small bright pink flowers with lighter centres

Achillea ‘New Vintage Violet’

though not quite so far as the liberties taken in naming this ‘New Vintage Violet’…

Hydrangea flower and foliage with a lime green fern

Hydrangea ‘Dark Angel Violet’

or this ‘Dark Angel Violet’. Plant names are a minefield at the best of times, even before you add colour into the mix.  Continue reading

Square In September: Last Hurrah

Rose with rounded shape and droplets of rain

Rosa ‘Olivia Austin’

This is my last week to share square pictures of pink roses and, to celebrate, this week’s roses come with extras for those who were part of the challenge, or kindly indulged my weakness, even though they are not quite as keen on roses. First, a pink rose named for a lovely lady. It ticks the strongly fragrant box and though I don’t know this variety quite as well as some of the others, with further acquaintance, I suspect it would be one of my favourites. Though I can’t claim this is a bud, it is only partly open and will eventually become a rosette.

Flowers in shades of pink with starry shapes

Pink astrantia

This celebration of a flower is for Becky, for hosting the challenge so gracefully, and for all those who took part, many of them sharing a square cropped picture with varying amounts of pink in it for the whole month. Well done! I’ve loved seeing them all appear in The Reader.

Paphiopedilum in shades of white, pink, crimson and cream

Paphiopedilum collection (Venus slipper orchids)

For orchid lovers, here’s a collection of them, In The Pink, and artfully arranged with moss, slate and logs.  Continue reading

Square In September: Rosebuds

Pink rose within a ring of rosebuds

Rosa ‘Wisley 2008’

I do try to keep my promises, but some are harder than others. If I promised not to eat smoked salmon, for example, that would seem easy. Smoked salmon is pretty much the worst food you could offer me. There may well be things I like less, but I have not so far been invited to partake of them. [Though dim memories of my friend Paul inducing me to eat wasabi peas do float to mind, and feeling the urge to roll around, pawing my face afterwards, like a dog might if it tried something it didn’t like. He meant it as a kindness.]  Continue reading

Delphinium ‘Flamenco’ from the Highlander Series

Delphinium with pink double flowers, streaked green

During the summer, I dedicate more time to taking photos than to sharing them. If you’re a flower stalker too, you’ll understand the temptation. After all, a delphinium waits for no man (or woman), blooming in response to triggers we understand at an abstract level rather than feel happening at a cellular one. It’s somewhere between a pleasure and a frenzy to be in full-on photo gathering mode, so, as September taps on the door, it feels good to slow down and enjoy revisiting summer’s photo stash.

This plant wasn’t labelled at RHS Tatton Park, where I saw it, so I’ve had to look it up. Delphinium ‘Flamenco’ is part of the Highlander series of Scottish-bred delphiniums. Continue reading