Thats enough introduction - on with the plants!
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... out in the garden.
21st April 2013
Erythronium 'White Beauty'
weather forecasters seem to have become trapped in some kind of trance. "Oh, it might be awful, but then again it might not. You never can tell.
That's the thing about weather. Still, better safe than sorry. It might be awful."
But it hasn't been, we have had a week in spring made up of
seven spring days. Temperatures went up, birds began to sing and I got out my sun hat. I haven't used it yet, but I am ready. It has a good broad brim that
deflects the rain just in case it turns out awful.
I wandered up into the garden looking for something photogenic and a tiny speck of white caught my eye in the distance. I didn't need to guess, I knew that the
Erythronium had opened. I have about a dozen flowers, it is a tiny miracle of poise and elegance, and this is the best picture I can manage. It will stay
in flower for a few weeks and I will get time to repeat the attempt until I get it right. As with snowdrops, good pictures come as a result of care, focus and
21st April 2013
Camellias are a different prospect to photograph. They sit in front of the camera like a road sign, staunchly efficient in their disposition.
The art (and I don't claim to have mastered it) is to inject something resembing interest into the pictures. It is just in the nature of the flowers
to sit there looking at you. I have been to a couple of Camellia exhibitions this year with rows and rows of flowers in little pots
hanging around disinterestedly. They are like the mothers who crowd school gates at the end of the day waiting for their children to be released.
Not animated, not surprised, just in the appointed place at the appointed time.
'Italiana' makes it onto the page this week because this is the first flower it has produced. I haven't been jumping up and down with excitement. It's time
has come and here it is.
21st April 2013
Romulea is a genus with two significant attributes. Gorgeous silky petals and unstoppable weediness. A few years ago I had a moment for them
and grew a lot from seed. Those that flowered were magnificent, some of them were correctly named, and many of them turned out to be slightly tender
in the rather extreme winters we have had recently. A few start in the autumn but the majority come in the new year and through until about May.
On the whole I like them in the same way I like christmas cake. A delight around christmas but by the end of january I have had enough of it.
Those that have survived sit on a bench at the end of the greenhouse. Without conscious intention I have moved them to the far corner
where I fee less guilty about ignoring them. It has been a cold spring, they were late to produce leaves and there was a weekend in february
when I nearly got out the wheelbarrow and threw the whole lot on the compst heap. It didn't happen, but it was close. A few purple flowers now
will cheer me up but there will be a day in july when the tatty leaves have dried to tatty straw and who knows what
will happen. Will I want christmas cake in july or space on the bench?
21st April 2013
Magnolia x proctoriana
Just as when photographing Erythronium or Galanthus, it all hinges on the moment. The right thing at the right time.
The magnolias demonstrate the point to perfection. When the first flowers open the tree is grey with the silky buds, odd
tufts of white petals dusting the topmost branches. Given some warmth they continue to open and the perfection of the
spectacle increases. There is always a day when a stiff wind or an april shower starts to damage the petals which get little brown
marks on them and the perfection is lost, the moment has gone. It doesn't matter how many open after that, they are never quite as
Magnolia x proctoriana is wonderful and I took this picture knowing how fleeting the moment can be. This one is vulnerable to the wind.
A few good gusts rocking the branches and the petals start to fall until they cover the ground like the puddle of mud round a duck pond.
All squelch and slime and a touch of acridity in the perfumed air. I have had four days of this wonder and I cherish them
To find particular groups of plants I grow, click on the genus name in the table above. Click on the "Index" box at the top of the page for the full list.
I have a lot of good intentions when it comes to updating this site, and I try to keep a note
about what is going on, if you are interested.
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