The Canny Gardener

how to be a smart gardener


Leave a comment

Colours of a generous season

More than spring, I love autumn.  There is a smokiness in the air from the wood fires, it’s not too cold when you can walk in the parks and there are still days of sunshine when it is not too cold to sit outside.  Nature is settling down for a sleep over winter and there is quietness like when someone is preparing for bed and mysterious shadows especially in the afternoons.  Animals are busy gathering food to last over the winter and we are also busy foraging and preparing chutneys, jams and other delicacies from the bounty that nature presents in autumn. Autumn is a season of great generosity from nature. What I enjoy the most are the autumn colours which are quite unlike spring when branches are still bare.  The trees and shrubs display their most amazing colours in leaves, berries and barks.  Soon these will become nature’s own special compost.  I have been walking around in London and Cambridge, taking photos of autumn scenes.  I feel so energised when I go out to the park.  I hope you like these photos!

D31A066A-EEA5-4F76-9DC2-A5EE1913A46A.JPG

IMG_4849IMG_4847IMG_4845IMG_4853


Leave a comment

Life after death

Recently at Kew Gardens, there was an exhibition called ‘Life in death’ which featured an installation made of dried flowers, itself inspired by garlands found with mummies in Egypt. There was a solemnity and dignity about the work, while reminding us about the fragility and beauty of life.  I was immensely touched by this exhibition by Rebecca Louise Law, an installation artist based in London.

IMG_5068.JPG

IMG_5074.JPGIMG_5076.JPG

It also stirred up my childhood memories of working with seeds and pressed leaves and flowers.  Fresh flowers can be fleeting joy but correctly preserved, flowers can give pleasure for a long time as the garlands from the Egyptian tombs show.   I try to bring back flowers which are meant to be thrown out after just a few hours in an event- such a waste not just of the flowers but also the artistry that made that bouquet.  Recently, I was attending an event with a lovely bouquet at my table made of white or pale flowers. It reminded me of both life and death.

I brought the bouquet back home and after a couple of days, the flowers started to dry up. Normally I would have thrown the entire bunch in the compost but these struck me as having a touch of fragile beauty, a whiff of life with a whiff of death about them.  I photographed them before it went on for composting. Here are the results-

IMG_5231.JPGIMG_5232.JPG

I hope these two encounters with dried flowers will rekindle that spark I used to have for them!


Leave a comment

Natural beauty

My friend Jonathan went out and found these lovely autumnal colours in the local park.

Autumn leaves.jpg

He took these photos and I wanted to share these with everyone because of what someone decided to do with the fallen leaves.  Ephemerally beautiful, arranged in the manner of the art of Andy Goldsworthy, these are worthy natural artworks by an unknown creative.

14691947_10154789918583968_4786104178814172485_o.jpg

But this kind of beauty is also found in many smaller seasonal vegetables and plants that I have been photographing recently-

IMG_3283.jpgIMG_3352.jpgIMG_3350.jpg

Spring is not the only time to find beauty in nature! In case you are interested, BBC has done a short film about why leaves change colour in autumn, which you can find here.

 

 


Leave a comment

Photographing gardens

Photographing gardens and plants are something we can all do. These stunning photos taken by amateurs and professionals prove that it is the eye that counts- we must try to see the beauty that may be invisible to most. Many of these photos have been taken with a smartphone, many are on the spur photos. But the attention to detail and composition make them stand out- this requires ‘being in the moment concentration’. So do get your camera and start- I feel inspired to take some myself and will be sharing those with you in the coming year.

International Garden Photographer of the Year: Winning photos of nature’s beauty