Summer

In Chinese astronomy, Summer ends on or around August 6th. In the Northern hemisphere, Summer officially ends on Monday 23rd September, so in this part of the world, we have just under 8 weeks left. However, the Autumn chill often begins to set in earlier than this, when it feels that bit colder in the morning and the mists roll in across the fields, followed by the bright sunshine as the day warms up and you know that you are in that transition time. So here are a few pictures to celebrate Summer.

Sunset in the countryside.

Roses in full bloom.

A bee underneath the leaf of a plant.

White and pink Astrantias.

Straggly but charming pink flowers.

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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.

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.

Sissinghurst Gardens & Castle – Part I

A visit to the world-famous gardens of Vita Sackville-West and a chance to experiment with manual settings and light and shade.
Vita often wrote of Sissinghurst: ‘The heavy golden sunshine enriched the old brick with a kind of patina, and made the tower cast a long shadow across the grass, like the finger of a gigantic sundial veering slowly with the sun. Everything was hushed and drowsy and silent but for the coo of the white pigeons.’
Sunshine lighting up flowers.
Irises. If only Monet had been alive to see this garden …
Chamomile flowers growing in the vegetable garden area.
Beautiful, delicate flowers.
Sunlight highlighting a flower in the shade.
Meadow flowers and grasses swaying in the wind, in the wilderness of the Orchard area.
Interesting capture of light and shadows.
Light.

Green Island Gardens

A few weeks ago, I visited these lovely gardens. One side is predominantly woodland, the other side is more formal gardens.

In the woodland were bluebells, azaleas, rhododendrons and red campions.

Young leaves growing on an Acer tree.

A close-up of a bluebell.

A close-up of a Rhododendron flower.

Young Acer leaves with sunshine behind them.

A Bluebell close-up.

Close-up of small white and pink flowers.

The Water Garden.

Complementary colours

Recently I took several photos on bright, sunny days and was attracted by the more colourful contrasts, because I knew the pale, delicate colours would be washed out. Occasionally, I also like to sketch and paint and I recently bought a colour wheel. This got me thinking about the use of complementary colours in photography and their effectiveness. When opposite colours of the colour wheel are placed next to each other, they can produce an eye-popping picture.

ladybird

A seven spot ladybird on a bluebell in macro.

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An orange poppy against long, green grass.

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Red poppy anemones blowing in the wind, with a hint of green in the background.

The Fibonacci sequence in nature

I saw this plant and for some reason, the term ‘Fibonacci sequence’ popped into my head. I had heard of it and knew it was linked to patterns in nature, but really knew little about it. So I did some investigating. The Fibonacci sequence starts like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 and continue to infinity. Each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. 

It appears throughout nature – for example, in the design of shells, the way tree branches grow out of trees, the development of leaf veins, the pattern of seed heads, the positioning of flower petals (such as roses) and is even in the shape of tropical storms. It has been described as “the code of nature” and runs through the cosmos – appearing in spiral galaxies. Isn’t nature clever?