How delightful it would be, I thought, to have close by one’s dwelling a little bit of the field, the lane, or the wood; to extemporise a little forest dell, or dingle, by one’s very door; to see, in one’s garden, the flora of riverside or brookside; to bring, in short, within the region of the town a fragment of ‘the country’ – the real ‘country’- a reality so dear, so prized, so loved and longed for, in these days of hard toil, exhausting brain-work, and never ceasing worry!

Francis George Heath from the 1800’s

Secret smoker?

Not smoke but water vapour evaporating from a mossy tree trunk on a cold frosty morning. The volume of water vapour was considerable, it was billowing from this sunlit Oak tree, I must have seen it just as the bright morning sun fell upon the soggy wet mosses and rapidly warmed them driving off the…

Oca – OK?

Oca roots, just harvested in November.

There’s a fashion at present for re-visiting South American vegetables that were rejected in favour of the Potato back in the day. Oca is an Oxalis, the leaves are a total give-away and when they flower it’s even more obvious. The tubers are on the small side, can be eaten raw or cooked up like…

Teasel tease

Green flowers on a teasel – not really, the seeds germinated in the seed head. All due to the moist warm Autumn the seedlings had enough moisture to develop to this stage without drying out. This was last year; I watched to see what happened and the seedlings all perished when the severe frosts arrived,…

Short shoots

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Not a brief photo session but a scientific term for the stubby little leaf bearing twigs that some conifers like Larch and Cedars have. It’s a clue to the antiquity and ancestry of Ginkgo, although deciduous and not needle bearing it’s a Gymnosperm along with that huge raft of evergreens like Yew, Juniper and all…

Phoenix tree to be?

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Almost a year ago I visited Knoll gardens just after the extreme gales. The massive Eucalyptus up by the pond had just blown over and Neil was debating what to do about it. I’m so glad Neil decided to allow the tree to stay and have the chance to become a Phoenix tree. Today I…

Candle snuff

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You can find them any time of year but mostly in late Autumn on dead branches and old coppice stumps. They tend to occur on wood that is already well rotted, other fungi having had the first munch. These are less demanding and can get nutrition from wood that is already part decayed. These fruiting…

Stacked Lichen

Getting in close is fun and revealing but depth of field can be a problem, especially with very three dimensional subjects. Poor light means wide apertures and lens physics makes the DOF shallower the closer you get, as result you can find yourself with just a few millimetres in focus….unless you use focus stacking. The…

Content aware and the Lady’s Slipper

Lady's Slipper Orchid

Deep in a shady mixed woodland in the Dolomites we found several glorious clumps of Cypripedium calceolus. Most of the flower heads were rather randomly orientated, there was not much we could do about that without excessive gardening, however, Photoshop has dealt well with the peripheral blooms that were ‘photobombing’ the shot. Content aware fill…

Galanthus nivalis

Galanthus nivalis

As the New Year begins to gain speed the Galanothophiles start to swarm – Snowdrop fever takes hold. Variants of the common Snowdrop change hands for  hundreds of pounds and photographers stalk these modest, yet delightful little flowers, after all what else is there to photograph in the depths of Winter. This is the common,…

Fertile

Thrusting

This image came second in the IGPOTY Macro project 2013. The fertile parts of Hemerocallis flowers have been photographed endlessly, they are bold and always fresh due to the short life of the flowers. I wanted to push the abstract approach as far as I could yet still have a recognisable image for those who…

Web time

Teasels and cobwebs

My photography is very seasonal, like everything at Furzehill Farm the seasons dictate what we feel like doing. So, I have a kind of innate calendar that I enjoy as the annual repetitions do the cycle. Just now its ‘Web time’. The first chilly nights reveal millions of cobwebs all bejazzled with tiny dew drops.…

Geum ‘Mai Tai’

Geum 'Mai Tai' from Hayloft

A delightful, new variety of  Geum that I have recently added to my collection. This plant came from Hayloft bare-root and is a testament to that time-honoured method of propagating and supplying perennials. The plant only arrived about a month ago as a nice fat root with a couple of shoots. Potted up, it rapidly…

Hive bee visiting Celandine

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I find lesser Celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) challenging to photograph. They are remarkably bright, even with a diffuser the petals can easily burn out and it can be very hard to get sharpness in the shot. The bees were working the Celandines today, there’s not a lot else for them.

New Forest Fall

Brookside Beech near Bramshaw

I’ve been playing around with a mobile phone app. that does a pretty neat job of HDR – no need for a tripod. It’s fun when out walking to avoid the hassle of lugging round loads of camera gear and just enjoy the place and the simplicity of a fixed lens.

Salvia ‘Amistad’

Salvia 'Amistad'

‘Amistad’ came to me from ‘Hayloft’ plants as a large plug-plant. It grew rapidly and when the flowers appeared I knew it was a winner….and so it came to pass! S. ‘Amistad’ won best plant introduction for Wyevale nurseries at the recent Four Oaks show. I have no idea how hardy ‘Amistad’ will be, however…

Violas in pots

Violas in terracotta pots

This Spring I have gone heavily into Violas in Pots, about 20 varieties. These are all modern, ‘bedding’ strains from the big seed houses – I have found surprising variation in suitability for pots, some of them tending to stretch very quickly in the hot weather.

Polyanthus (not Primroses)

Polyanthus

People often ask what’s the difference. Polyanthus bear many flowers on a single stem. Primroses have many flower all with their own stem arising from the centre of the plant. It gets confusing because in warm weather Primroses can ‘pretend’ to be Polyanthus.

Marvellous Mirabelles

Mirabelles (Gypsy) with Red currants (Rovado)

Plums are wonderful fruits,  you can get at least three months of cropping if you have a selection of varieties. Here is the basket, along with some Red Currants are ‘Gypsy’ Mirabelles. Mirabelles or Myrobalan as they are also know are early plums, they can be ready as early as late June.