|Carpet of snowdrops in early March|
This evening I headed off into Hadleigh for a lecture on garden photography at the gardening club (second Monday of every month, in the Guildhall).
I only joined last month, kindly whisked off by our neighbours at the bottom of the garden.
As committee stalwarts they are keen to attract new members, and I suspect they’d also like to share the burden of my weed/not weed questions. Meanwhile I am keen on tea and biscuits and happy to learn about gardening, so its a win win situation all round.
Anyway the talk at the last meeting was by a bonsai enthusiast who rarely paused for breath.
The high point was when she set about a shrub with secateurs and a running commentary, and revealed its inner tree right in front of our very eyes.
I fear I will never develop the dedication needed to cultivate bonsai. Any plant that requires watering twice a day hasn’t a hope in my hands.
However, I do have a camera and love snapping away in the garden, so tonight’s talk by Clare Dawson on photography was of particular interest. Before leaving I had a flick through the photos I’ve taken in our garden so far this year.
I meant to post some pics before the talk, and before I’d been overawed by the slide show, but ran out of time saying “aaaah” over picures of roses.
However I managed to hold my nerve (just) and here are my favourites so far this year. I intended to post a top 10, and then got carried away, so brace yourself for a top 20.
The photo at the top of this post shows the snowdrops which were the first flowers in our garden earlier this year. Watching different bulbs appear over the weeks has been one of the joys of moving to a new house.
|Cherry blossom over the top of the garden wall|
The cherry trees looked incredibly beautiful in April, covered with clouds of the palest pink flowers.
This is the quince that wasn’t. I was utterly convinced it was a quince tree, based on the flowers and bulbous yellow fruit last year, but when Andy-the-Gardener came to hack back all the climbing plants he assured me it is actually japonica. It is utterly beautiful and in quite the wrong place in the garden, desperately reaching up and over a wall in search of the sun.
|Snake’s head fritillary and primroses|
Moving into mid April, the primroses and delicate purple fritallaries were out.
|Bluebells and wild strawberries|
Some of the bluebells survived into May, surrounded by a surge of wild strawberries, with their sprinkling of tiny white flowers.
|Mystery white bulbs|
We also had loads and loads of these little white bulbs, which closed up every evening, and only opened in the sunshine towards the middle of the day.
By mid May, the cornflowers were in full flower from wonderful buds like miniature pineapples. This bed had a haze of forget-me-nots behind them.
I love irises, and am so glad we have some in the garden. This photo was taken towards the end of May, when the wisteria in the background had recovered enough from drastic pruning to start flowering.
|Alliums, japanese maple and lilac|
If you look really closely at the left hand side of the photo with the irises, you might just make out the lilac bush which appears above. I loved the contrast between the purple pom poms of the alliums, the tracery of the japanese maple leaves, and the explosion of lilac in the background.
|After the rain|
One visitor and enthusiastic gardener did tell me the name of this plant, but as I couldn’t pronounce or spell it, I promptly forgot.
Whatever it’s name, I love the architectural spikiness of its leaves, and the way the light caught the raindrops after a storm in June.
|Lavender in the morning light|
The Hidcote lavender bushes were only planted just after Easter, but by the end of June they were in full flower.
|Rose by the back garden wall|
By the middle of June, the garden was a riot of roses of all sizes, shapes and varieties. This rose climbs up in a corner of the back wall.
|Climbing rose in the front garden|
This gorgeously deep red rose climbs high above the front garden, tangled in amongst the trees.
|Roses over the top of the trellis|
These roses are from the great big bush, bang in the middle of the back garden wall, and reach up above the wooden trellis.
Here are the wild strawberries again, this time covered in fruit towards the end of June.
|Vine growing up the kitchen wall…and over the window…|
This photo is actually taken inside the house, looking out. The grape vine that grows up the kitchen wall is hell bent on world domination. It had already been pruned in March, and had to be cut back again at the end of July so the rotting window frame could be repaired and painted.
If only the grapes grew big enough to ripen properly.
|Echinops and bees|
Thanks to everyone who let me know that these purple flowers are actually Echinops, when I posted the photo back in July. I still love it almost as much as the bees do.
|A very hungry caterpillar|
One of the few things I actually planted was some climbing nasturtiums, in the hope they would scramble up the trellis by the bins, look cheerful and shield the oil tank. A hoard of extremely hungry caterpillars did their best to foil my plans, by chowing down on the leaves with great enthusiasm.
Aside from the caterpillars, we also seem to have a very healthy spider population. I loved this spider web caught in the morning light, with the delicate tracery shimmering with dew.
Finally these are the of the roses, which just survived into October, but dropped before I had the chance to enter a specimen in tonight’s gardening club competition. Robbed, I tell you, robbed.
If you did get the chance to look at Clare Dawson’s professional flower and garden photographs, they are amazing. Examples of flower still lives, taken with a Hasselblad through suspended sheets of glass, here: http://www.claredawson.co.uk/stilllife.php
and more recent garden photography, as featured in Suffolk magazine, here: http://www.professionalgardenphotographers.com/portfolios/clare-dawson