Garden Project 2020

I have never found myself with time. It is for most of us one of the most precious commodities, we never have enough of it and when we do come up for air we are often exhausted. We snatch a few moments here and there to pursue our passions and hope that is enough.

This summer I find myself intentionally without work and therefore with time. The lock down is forcing me to spend that time at home. I am lucky enough to have some green space that I can call my own and I have never spent so much time weeding and tidying up as I have the last few weeks. I also have the opportunity to get to know my garden with my camera in hand, something that has never bubbled to the top of the 'to do' list prior to now. It's early days but I am loving getting into the weeds (hopefully not too many!) and watching what's happening each day. Plants are changing so fast as the days lengthen and I notice already things I have missed as well as the possibilities of things yet to come.

I have written a short blog focusing on a single day taking a few shots which can be found here but as the days roll by I realise that I want to document my visits to my flower beds in more detail and over a longer period of time as things change. For me this project deserves more than a couple of blogs. I will use this part of my site to record my Garden Project 2020 and plan for this to be a 'live' page with frequent additions and reorganisations as I move forward through time.

To give myself an additional challenge I have decided to box myself into a corner and make all images Monochrome, something I haven't tackled for many years. Here goes...  xx

May

I am starting to realise what a colossal project trying to photograph my garden could become if I don't start to relax a little. It's not that my garden is particularly big or supports a huge range of flowers and plants, it isn't (and doesn't!), it's more the fact that things change so quickly, it's difficult to keep up!  There is a danger that I lose sight of the purpose of the exercise which is to find joy in being able to spend time in my own private space and appreciate the fact that I have an opportunity to get my camera out and just play. I found myself getting stressed about the fact that the Alliums I concentrated on in April hadn't been photographed again for a few days so I had 'missed' some of their changes, I had been photographing other things. If I can get stressed about this sort of thing then I need to give myself a bit of a talking to!

So, the reality is and will continue to be that this project will be a bit random, if something catches my eye then I will put together a little mini-series of images and then move on to something else. Hopefully this won’t be the only year that I have time to appreciate my own 'great outdoors' and each year my attention will focus on different things. We will see…

This week however I have been prowling the borders and found a little patch of greenery which looked interesting. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of the plant other than 'it looks similar to an Allium', search engines can't help you with that one! I have had a happy time making images anyway as you don't need a name to get your camera out. Last night however at some ungodly hour I awoke with the word 'Agapanthus' at the forefront of my mind!  After a quick scramble for my phones' voice recorder in case I forgot by the time morning rolled round, I was back off to sleep again. Not sure what that was all about.

Anyway, this is a series of images focusing on Agapanthus leaves made such that their delicacy and abstract nature is highlighted. They were certainly worth photographing with or without a name.

Still May

I made the most of the lovely warmth over the weekend and had a roam around the borders looking to see if anything interesting was happening. I have a couple of Hosta which are mostly in full leaf at the moment. I have one which is always a bit slow, it's in deep shade and the soil is probably a bit poor as it doesn't get much attention so it's always a bit behind. The leaves were still quite tight spirals so I had a go with the Macro lens again with the aperture wide open so that very little of the leaf was in focus. I left the images for a few days and was really excited about what I was seeing when I found the time to take a quick look. I didn't take that many at the time so I dashed back out again today to take a few more to add to the story but the leaves have grown to such a degree that they are far less interesting now. Amazing how fast things change at this time of the year. I am really pleased with these though. Hope you like them…  xx

April

I have a clematis in my garden which is obviously very happy currently stretching across 3 fence panels. I do try to cut it back a little each year but I am conscious that there are little birds which nest in it every year so I don't want to disturb it too much. It flowers profusely with little yellow flowers towards the end of Summer. I am not sure of the variety as the label disappeared many years ago. The seedheads are quite special. Late autumn they are soft and fluffy and any that are left at this time of year are harvested making those little nests quite luxurious. Quite right too. There are a couple left and I have been having some fun photographing them at different times of the day as the lighting changes. This is probably my favourite, for now anyway.

Tangutica 1

After a visit to Kew last year I decided that I needed to plant some Alliums ready for this summer. I am now enjoying watching them grow and develop, It's all so very fast though! I thought I would be able to track their changes by photographing them once a day but twice a day has been the absolute minimum if I want to capture the journey in enough detail. Different Alliums require a variation in approach so I have focused on a single variety for this series of images. I will add to the series over time as we move forward through Spring into the Summer.

I have also spent quite a bit of time looking at the details of what's been happening close to the ground as some of my plants wake up a little later from the winter.

I have quite a bit of Alchemilla Mollis in various places around the garden. I have never noticed how beautiful the tiny little leaves are when they are very young. They have a structure which I don't remember seeing in other plants and it's been a joy to photograph them. Here is a sample of what I have found, all made fairly late in the morning at the end of quite a few weeks with no rain so the little sparkles of what look like rain drops I think must be late dew or sap from the leaves themselves.

I have photographed them in the rain too but those images are yet to be perused. I think these are quite lovely.

I know there are plenty of negatives associated with the lock down, personally I am desperately missing family and friends. It is however forcing me to explore my own space and that for me is very much a silver lining.

Stay safe everyone

xx

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