Tree Series #24

Butser Hill, a chalk hill in Hampshire, close to the Surrey/West Sussex county borders, is the second highest point of the South Downs (Blackdown is the highest). It is located within the borders of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, situated about three miles south of the historic market town of Petersfield. Once close to where we lived it provided the location for a lovely walk with amazing views as far as the south coast towards Portsmouth on a clear day.

The name Butser comes from the Old English Bryttes Oran meaning Briht’s slope. Oran or Ora is Old English for flat topped hill and/or steep slope

 

Tree Series #20

A magnificent small garden tree for year round interest its most prominent feature is its tactile, silky, polished bark. The smooth, mahogany bark peels in translucent cinnamon and honey coloured sheets to reveal a fresh new hue of bronze-red gloss beneath. Caught in autumn sunlight this tree almost glows. This multi-stemmed one is a highly  prized specimen.

Common Name: Tibetan cherry tree, birch bark cherry, birchbark cherry, paperbark cherry

Tree Series #17

A new addition to the Tree Series to welcome in the New Year – wishing everyone a happy, healthy and stress free year ahead.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan by night

For the next couple of months Macro Monday will be replaced by my Tree Series – trees that mainly showcase their structure in the months without foliage.

Five Minutes with snowdrops

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.

Bearing this in mind during a recent visit to a Cornish garden (Trebah) the following are my 5 minutes with snowdrops.

Having wandered around the garden for an hour or so, I found a clump of snowdrops high enough on a bank behind a bench that I could focus on. Fortunately there was hardly a breath of wind, but the sun was behind a cloud to begin with and then came out again. Although my focus was on the flowers themselves, I did become a little distracted by the water droplets on some of them.

All photos were taken using my Olympus OM-D E-10 camera and Macro 60mm lens. First time out this year. There were more shots taken in the five minutes, but some were a lot less than perfect. Methinks I need to practice.

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

Wild flower portrait: Winter Heliotrope

Winter heliotrope (Petasites fragrans) is found in damp places such as hedgerows and woodlands where it forms large patches of heart or kidney-shaped leaves. Petasites is from the Greek petasos, a broad-brimmed hat worn by shepherds. Fragrans of course means fragrant. It has hairy stems and pretty star-shaped flowers that have a delightful vanilla scent, though only male flowers are produced in the UK. True heliotropes are in the borage family, winter heliotropes in the daisy family. Though heliotrope is also used to describe the colour ‘pink-purple

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It was introduced, as an ornamental from the Mediterranean and North Africa and is now naturalised in lowland Britain though not frost resistant so very rarely found in the north of the country.

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It is one of the earliest sources of nectar for insects, flowering in January through to March. I discovered these clumps in the hedgerow near Trencrom Hill.

My first wild flower of the year. And not one to introduce to the garden as apparently they spread at an alarming rate and are difficult to eradicate. They are pretty though.