Ever since I discovered the macro facility on the point and shoot camera I’ve been a fan of close up photographs. Flowers lend themselves to this art form perfectly.
But since I’ve being using the DSLR camera these shots have not been possible as we don’t have a macro lens. Then last week when we were visiting Fountains Abbey Gav pointed out some wild flowers and asked me to take some close up shots. I of course said I couldn’t and that’s when he pointed out that the kit lens that came with the camera has a macro facility! And I never knew it.
So I had a go at taking some close up shots.
I like this last one the best. That hint of purple within the grass. Lovely.
A work in progress but so glad I now know the option is there.
In the wood behind our garden there are two huge Viburnum Opulus shrubs. They flower their hearts out and this year I was determined to gather a few stems while the flowers were still beautifully green. The little pompoms emerge brilliant lime green and turn pure white as they grow and mature. As the little green heads they make wonderful additions to a flower arrangement so I wanted to take advantage of that.
So I went out the other day and cut some stems. Along with the Viburnum I picked a couple of other foliage plants from the garden.
I set up my table ready to treat the stems of the plants. They were seared in boiling water, hence the mug on the table and then left in deep water overnight.
The following day I scoured the garden for flowers to go in the arrangement but there just wasn’t anything that was right so I had to resort to buying some roses. They were fairtrade so I felt better about it but it isn’t what I want to do. I want to fill the house with home grown blooms. I blame the lure of those Viburnums!
Here is the arrangement before I added the roses.
I actually like it just as it is.
But I added the roses.
Not totally satisfying. It needed many more roses and another flower to give it the wow factor. On reflection I think I should have left it without the roses but at least I got a vase of those Viburnums in the house this year.
This year I have noticed how amazing the fields of buttercups are around where we live. Perhaps it has something to do with the late start to the season and that has made them more vigorous or just appear to be.
And every time I drive along a certain road I see this particular field and want to stop the car and go and pick buckets full of these pretty flowers. But I never do.
However, I found a patch in the wood the other day and picked those instead.
I love them sat on the stove in their little white jug. Not just weeds. Free flowers. Now that’s something I love too.
I love bees. And nestled in the middle of that photo is an Italian honey bee. Okay I’m guessing a little about what kind of bee it is. But I’d bet that it’s a bee from our neighbours hive and if it is then they are Italian in origin.
When our neighbour told us she was getting a hive I was thrilled because I love bees! They have been in residence for about four years now and we have three lots of honey and a few swarms along the way. It sounds scary but it isn’t, just best to shut your windows and keep poochy inside. Watching this event is actually pretty amazing and the sound they produce is incredible.
I got this photo last Saturday when some of the bees swarmed and then settled in a tree bordering our two gardens. They are looking for a new home because a new queen has hatched and you can’t have two queens apparently. So the old one rallies her troops and leaves for pastures greener. Folks that keep bees like our neighbour doesn’t really want half of her bees flying off so attempts are made to stop this happening and one of them is to remove any new queen cells. One must have escaped notice because a swarm did occur.
Our neighbour donned the bee suit and got them back into a little hive and moved them back over to her garden but they were set on leaving these parts and swarmed again the next day. It is a complicated and interesting business. Fortunately although some have flown off there are still several thousand of them buzzing away over the fence.
Not a honey bee but just as adorable here is a little Bumble Bee flying in for some pollen or nectar or something….. I said it was all complicated.
Here is another shot of that honey bee.
And an interesting fact I got out of the Sunday paper. If we had to pollinate all our crops in some way other than how we do it now, or rather how the bees do it for us, it would cost about £14 billion. Gulp. Apart from the logistical factor of how we would pollinate all the crops that is quite al lot of money those little bees save us.
I’ll try not to get on my soap box but I will say is that we should be taking a more responsible approach to anything, like pesticides, that may be affecting the bee population. We should try to plant bee friendly flowers to help them along because they are vital and in essence…
We should all love bees.
It’s been a little quite on the bloom front from an arrangement point of view these last few weeks but in the garden I have been planting like crazy.
It is that most wonderful time of year where the calendar says YES! Get those plants into the ground. Although there is still the risk of frost and with a spring like we have had anything could happen but I can’t wait any longer and out into to the garden they go.
Here are a few I was planting the other week.
So far I’ve planted about 12 Ammi, 6 Cerinthie, 12 Calendula and 8 Salvia.
Also 12 Helianthus, Sweet Peas and 6 Antirrhinum.
And left to go in, when I find more room, are more Helianthus and Cosmos.
The Knautia I sowed last year are doing really well. They are in one of the little raised beds along with a couple of Euphorbia. I’ll grab a photo of it because it is everything I want from a cutting patch. Abundance! I also let two Alchemilla grow in another of the small beds with the idea that they’ll provide foliage for a few weeks then can be cut back to hopefully re-grow for another burst of green later in the summer.
Although I was reluctant to cut all the Erysimums and Honesty there are still the other biennials I sowed last year, Sweet Williams, yet to flower. As you would imagine I await their flowering eagerly.
Oh yes, it is all coming along great.
The sun was shining. Buds and I had been on a long walk and it was only 8am when we got back. We went out to feed the birds as a Pigeon was doing his Pigeon little walk on the lawn. I was transfixed by the calm beauty of the day. Swifts overhead screeching a little and a Blackbird chirping. I opened the greenhouse door and was greeted by that warm composty smell, a good smell not bad.
I wandered down the path and looked up to see the moon. Hello moon. Dare I even say hello silvery moon? I went back inside for the camera at that point. The day was too wonderful not to capture.
While I was taking photos of the moon I could hear a buzzing and found that I was standing next to a blossom tree that I had forgotten all about. And it was alive with bees.
And while I was snapping away Buddy had meandered down the garden eating grass along the way and stopped for a rest.
And to round off perfection here is the amazing Clematis,
And a moody Aquilegia.
What a perfect start to the day.
He was watching Gav mow the lawn from the safe distance of the sofa. And the second he sees the camera he usually turns his head the other way – no honest he does! But I managed to get a good one and with his eyes open too showing that beautiful thing of portrait photography, the holy grail if you will.
A wonderful light caught in the subject’s eye that makes the photo come alive. Thanks Buds.