Miscellaneous

A walk around the local countryside and a garden.

Several fields are growing this crop of beautiful blue and purple flowers.
Hoverflies feeding on the pollen of blackberry flowers. Blackberries are already beginning to form, a sign that Autumn is not far away.
Pink flower with cow parsley.
The curious Peacock.
The last of the pink peonies.
A small meadow with cow parsley.
Barley.

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Steppe Planting

Here are a few shots of the Big Sky Meadow at RHS Hyde Hall. It is a 46 acre project to convert land to a perennial meadow and I’m sure you’ll agree it looks pretty amazing.

The plants are those common to the Eurasian steppes, North American prairies and African grasslands. The UK has lost 97% of its meadows. To read more about this project, please visit

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall/hyde-hall-blogs/hyde-hall/June-2016/big-sky-meadow

Blue Eryngium planum and yellow Galium verum.

When dried, the yellow flowers smell of freshly mown hay. These were once used to stuff straw mattresses. A yellow dye was also made from these flowers.

Grasses swaying in the wind. The weather was not favourable for photography – a light wind and drizzle.

Queen Anne’s lace, a member of the carrot family. Legend has it that Queen Anne of England (1655 – 1714), pricked her finger and a drop of blood landed on the white lace she was sewing.

Berkehya purpurea from South Africa is a drought tolerant plant, suited to areas with poor soils.

Red clover – in herbal medicine, this was used to treat skin disorders.

The Yorkshire Dales

A bit of landscape photography from the Yorkshire Dales. A tranquil scene of snowdrops growing beside a small stream, protected by moss-covered dry stone walls.

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There are many sheep farms. Worth a look … Yorkshire shepherdess

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Traditional farming landscapes of field barns and dry stone walls in the valley of Wensleydale. In Winter, cattle were kept in these barns and fed with hay. The landscape has been farmed for thousands of years. Prior to this, it was covered in woodland.

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The Yorkshire Dales is famous for its limestone scenery. The grey rock was formed from the shells and skeletons of billions of sea creatures, laid down millions of years ago in tropical oceans. Ancient glaciers moving over the landscape and then rainwater over thousands of years, produced the cracks (or grykes) of the landscape that exists today. In the distance is the Ribblehead Viaduct, built by 1000 navvies in Victorian times. It has 24 arches and is part of the Settle to Carlisle railway line.

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A dilapidated building in the middle of the moors.

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Dry stone walls are the largest man-made feature of the dales. There are approximately 5000 miles of them. They are ‘dry’ because there is no mortar holding them together.

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Egyptian geese

I noticed these birds last Winter because of their unusual plumage and (not being a bird-watcher) found out they were Egyptian geese. They were back again today, so I abandoned the flower photography.

They were introduced to the UK in the late 17th Century as an ornamental bird to adorn the lakes of country estates. They are originally from sub-tropical Africa and the Ancient Egyptians considered them sacred. However, these days in their native homeland they have become a nuisance because they eat crops.

Until recently in the UK, these birds were quite rare and were mainly confined to a small area of Norfolk. The birds tend to breed in January, traditionally too cold for chicks to survive, but as temperatures have increased over the last 20 years, so too has the population of these birds and they are now found in different parts of the UK.

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A carpet of snowdrops …

The snowdrops were out in force! Galanthus nivalis is one species which self-seeds and spreads quickly. Bees use snowdrops for nectar when not many other plants are flowering.

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Bleak landscape

These images were not intended to be beautiful and colourful. I wanted to capture the stark, British countryside during winter-time, with its dull, steely grey sky and harsh textures. They were taken on a cold, blustery, rainy afternoon using a high ISO and varying manual settings to deliberately enhance grain and noise. 

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Ground frost

The landscape was transformed this morning by frost. As the sun rose, patches of frost on the plants began to melt and it produced a sparkly, almost rainbow-effect on the droplets.

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