When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils;

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: –
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth.

Spring has come early

Well at least as far as the flowers are concerned. Technically, it’s not supposed to be Spring until Friday 20th March.

The skies were a steely grey and the gusts of wind made it difficult to capture the plants.

The soft pink and white flowers of Helleborus Emma swaying in the wind.

In the 14th Century, the term ‘springing time’ was used instead of the old English ‘Lent’ or ‘Lenten’. This was referring to plants springing from the ground. It then became ‘spring-time’ and by the 16th Century was shortened to ‘spring.’

If you were to stand on the equator during either the spring (or fall equinox), you would see the sun pass directly over the top of your head.

Persephone was the Greek goddess of spring. She spent winters as Queen of the Underworld but returned in spring to preside over rebirth.

Corkscrew hazel with catkins. Soon Winter will be a distant memory …

Late Winter Colour

The sun was shining this weekend, so it was time to get out into the great outdoors and see what was growing.

Witch hazel.
Dogwood
Swathes of snowdrops.
I am not sure what this is, so please feel free to help me out.

Abstract I

It feels like it has been raining continuously here since September – what with work commitments and poor weather coinciding with weekends, I have hardly been out ‘in the field’ with my camera gear. So instead, I have been plodding through all the photos I took in those glorious Summer months, when I was too busy taking photos to edit the NEFs.

Here are some more unusual images which I took – with a bit of added Photoshop. The focus of most of these pictures was on plant structure.

Sissinghurst Revisited

A bit of colour and sunshine to lift the spirits in the depths of Winter.

Here are some bright red poppies – known as Papaver commutatum “Ladybird.’
A bee foraging.
Plants in the shade.
Pink foxgloves and climbing roses in the walled garden.

Green flowers – a strange sight to behold! Introduced by Vita Sackville-West to Sissinghurst. Known as Ixia viridifloria from South Africa.

A touch of Autumn

Yesterday, was one of those blustery days with occasional showers, but when the sun appeared from behind the grey clouds, the light was perfect to capture those Autumnal colours.

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

By Emily Bronte

Golden light reflecting off the ferns.

Tangerine orange leaves.

When the light hit these seed heads, they glowed like little lanterns.

Unravelling seed head in black and white macro.

Even the grass looked ethereal.

Maple seeds soon to drop.

Sunlight revealing veins in the leaf.

A walk along a country lane

Some images lend themselves to being heavily enhanced with software, like this cobweb in the sunlight.

Others, like this seed head blowing in the wind, look beautiful just as they are, the image straight from the NEF file, with no enhancements.

Some images need a little bit of modifying to enhance colours, like these seeds.

Are you a photo purist, or do you think a little bit of adjustment is necessary occasionally?

Autumn is creeping in

Over the last few days, I have noticed the leaves on some of the trees beginning to turn from green to orange. The garden is no longer in full flow and the windows are beginning to mist up early morning.

I have had a bit of a photography break over the Summer (apart from some photos taken on a trip to Europe). I love Autumn and went out with my camera for an hour this afternoon to capture some of the early changes.

Seeds blowing in the wind.
A bee moving systematically around a sunflower collecting pollen.
Blackberries ripening.
Drying thistle heads.

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.