Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style

Artwork of possum and flowers in Jackson MS

2020 was a year we’ll remember for the worst reasons, but there were a few highlights. I learned, for example, what this was.

The artwork was covering a window or gap in an alley in Jackson, MS. I immediately took a shine to it because of the fierce creature’s eyes, the flowers and the (almost) heart shaped nose. But I had no idea what it was – it could have been imaginary for all I knew. We don’t have opossums in England. The nearest I could think of was an alternative badger with a tail and a decidedly uppity expression. Continue reading “Garden Creatures, Mississippi Style”

Sunshine’s Macro Monday: Geranium Phaeum

Geranium phaeum with paler flower
A paler form of Geranium phaeum, backlit

Geranium phaeum commonly has dark blooms as its folk name, dusky cranesbill, implies and the dark splashed foliage that can be glimpsed in the foreground. Jazzier varieties include Geranium phaeum ‘Alec’s Pink’, Geranium phaeum ‘Kora’ and Geranium phaeum ‘Lavender Pinwheel’ – this looks like a mix of all three. I photographed it under the close direction of John Bent in his private garden, Weeping Ash, a few years ago. Continue reading “Sunshine’s Macro Monday: Geranium Phaeum”

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 “Anole In The Limelight”

Eutierria Mindfulness Garden at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019

Eutierria garden with textural plants and sweet chestnut decking

The Eutierria Show Garden (pronounced you tee air ia), designed by Neil Sutcliffe and built by Creative Roots, drew inspiration from the cliffs of the River Trent. It was part of the mindfulness category of mood-enhancing spaces at RHS Chatsworth that demonstrate how access to nature and our wellbeing are interlinked. 

Shade tolerant plants supplied by Miles Nurseries channelled the margins of woodland, but with gardenesque touches. White anemone ‘Ruffled Swan’, bronze ajuga, claret astrantia, blue geranium and a froth of tiny, chartreuse yellow alchemilla mollis flowers provided pops of colour against a green, textural planting of fern, moss, hosta, tiarella and brunnera. Trees and shrubs added architecture.   Continue reading “Eutierria Mindfulness Garden at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show 2019”

Gimme Shelter In A Peony Seed Husk

Peony foliage in autumn colours in a border at Trentham Gardens
Peony foliage in autumn colours at Trentham Gardens

Years ago, the RAC used The Rolling Stones’ haunting Gimme Shelter in a TV commercial where a lone lady’s car breaks down in the dark and a black knight on a shining motorbike pulls up to fix it for her. It was more atmospheric and persuasive than my summary gives credit: although I doubt TV advertising (like all intrusive advertising) works as well as the sales team would claim, in this case it triggered a purchase. I bought the (wrong) Rolling Stones CD to try to get a copy. I’m just that bit too young to be truly knowledgeable about the band and thought I was looking for 2000 Light Years From Home, a good title for a stranded lady.

Ladybird sheltering in a peony seed husk
Ladybird sheltering in a peony seed husk

Gimme Shelter sprang to mind when I spotted this ladybird.  I’d have cropped in a bit tighter but liked the dramatic effect of the wizened seed capsules, hard, almost ugly against the splendour of the fiery foliage; the feeling of disarray. Continue reading “Gimme Shelter In A Peony Seed Husk”