Five Minutes with Sweet-Peas

Five Minutes with Sweet-Peas

DesleyJane – a lovely arty scientist now living in Melbourne – is also a wonderful photographer and a huge macro fan. She has a new weekly challenge called “regularrandom for anyone to join in with which involves spending 5 minutes with the subject matter.

Choose a scene or an object and keep fixed on that object, and shoot for just five minutes.   You can move around the object or scene but try not to interfere with it. See what happens in that five minutes, what changes, how the light changes, what comes into the frame or leaves the frame, or what other parts of the object you can focus on or use to your advantage.

This year I had a head start with my sweet-peas, but not all the seeds I planted germinated so I wasn’t expecting as many flowers as last year. This is the first tiny bunch I picked in late June. Beautiful rich jewel-like colours and a pure white. All smelling absolutely gorgeous.

On a brief visit back home last weekend I picked dozens of the blooms, but didn’t have time to photograph them. I only hope by the time I get home again there will still be some left!

All photos were taken using my 40-1500mm lens, hand-held.

If you would like to join in then please visit DJ’s site where you will find more information and ideas about the challenge.

Garden Portrait: Edinburgh Botanic Garden

Garden Portrait: Edinburgh Botanic Garden

It is almost 9 months since my visit to Edinburgh, where I finally met the restless lady who takes us on regular walks in the north-east of England and the Algarve where she spends all most some of her time. After a morning of walking the streets of the city we got on a bus and headed out to the Botanical Gardens for an hour or two.

The entrance gate is quite stunning.

Being the end of the summer season the main interest in the garden was seed heads. I found a few interesting ones.

Crab Apple – Malus sylvestris

Insects were still busy collecting the pollen.

We walked and we talked and we finally found our way to the Japanese garden area where the large lily pond enthralled us both and the red bridge enticed us further into the garden.

The not so subtle smell of candyfloss was in the air (Cercidiphyllum japonicum, known as the Katsura Tree) and the leaves on the acers were turning.

Eventually we arrived at the huge glasshouses, but decided against paying to enter as it was such a glorious day after the cold, damp, dreich day before and we wanted to make the most of being outdoors. Besides we really didn’t have the time needed to really take in what was inside.

The borders near the glasshouses were filled with late summer planting and a variety of colourful penstemons lined the pathway to the entrance, but deep in conversation we really only fleetingly took in the beauty of this garden.

Pausing to admire the view over towards Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat in the distance. Places that in order to explore would mean another meeting as our time together drew to a close.

Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat

It was lovely to finally meet up with Jo and to share a walk with her, so it is only fitting that this post is linked to her walks 🙂

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Italian Garden

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Italian Garden

In addition to the Walled Garden is the more formally designed Italian Garden, close to the actual castle. The garden  was laid out by Countess Cecilia, the Queen Mother’s mother, c.1910 to designs by Arthur Castings. The fan-shaped parterres of formal beds are separated by gravel walks. Between the two gardens lies the Pinetum which was planted c.1870 and has a variety of exotic trees, many native to North America.

Other features include pleached alleys of beech, a stone fountain and ornamental gates which commemorate the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday.

Pleached beech trees

Like most formal Italian gardens there is a fair amount of statuary here.

And in September the beds were full of colourful dahlias of all sorts of shapes and sizes.

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Walled Garden

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Walled Garden

Glamis Castle lies in Angus, Scotland and is probably best known as the childhood home of the Queen Mother (Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon). At the age of four her father inherited the Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne and with it Glamis Castle and the family spent some of their time there.

It is the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and is referred to several times in the play: – “Glamis thou art” “and yet woulds’t wrongly win: thou’dst have great Glamis”. It is widely believed that Duncan was murdered here by Macbeth.

Today it looks more like a French Chateau having been extensively renovated in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The walled garden is reached via a short walk through the estate alongside the Nature Trail and Pinetum.

Once used as a fruit and vegetable garden for the castle it fell into disrepair and only recently has major redevelopment work started, including the installation of a spectacular fountain.

Even in late September the garden was full of colour. Roses were still blooming.

The wide gravel pathways radiate from the centre of the garden with deep herbaceous borders on either side. Sedums, monarda, heleniums, echinacea, rudbeckia and asters were dominant.

Trellises and pergolas were still covered in flowering roses and clematis and more dramatic colour can be seen in the brightly painted Japanese bridge and the vivid red door in the wall.

Naturally I was drawn to the lean-to Victorian style glasshouses, which appear to still require a lot of work. However, the dilapidation has a charm of its own.

Next time we’ll have a wander around the Italian Garden.

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.