Hello everyone and welcome to another blog, as we move into a time of year where in this part of the world, the days are shorter and sometimes very cold indeed.
Firstly, some really good news. You may remember my story from last time; ‘We had joy we had fun’. I’m sure you will all be pleased to know that Rory had the piece read out to him by his son over the phone from America, and it cheered him up no end – so a very happy ending indeed.
This time of year, it’s all about enjoying the garden as we get it prepared for spring, so I’ll be giving a few tips on jobs to tackle and how to make them as easy as possible. Before I do that, I want to invite you all on a visit to Threave Gardens once again, to enjoy the autumn weather.
No matter how many times I visit, there is always a new horticultural pleasure to enjoy. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a National Trust of Scotland property and boasts fine gardens, woodland walks and a wonderful glasshouse.
Now normally, I head straight for the walled garden (no surprise there!), but on this occasion I thought I’d get out of my comfort zone and explore the woodlands. It was wonderful to see all the trees with their myriad of colours and it’s also a great time to get up close and admire their leaves and some exciting ornamental bark and berries. What makes it even more interesting is that the trees are named, so if there is one you particularly like, you can write the name down and plant it in your own garden. A great way to spend the afternoon. Rest assured I made a slide show for your enjoyment.
A Few Timely Tips
There is a lot to do in the garden at this time of year. Here are a few ways to tackle jobs.
A quick warm up
On a cold morning my favorite job is to rake up leaves; it soon gets the blood flowing and allows me to enjoy the garden atmosphere. Don’t throw away your leaves, just pile them up in a convenient corner, and I’ll give you the low down on what to do with them next time.
If you have a Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) growing on an outside wall you may want to trim it. Decide on a pruning level, then cut it back at this time every year to keep it under control.
Although it looks great just left to ramble, the downside is, it can find its way under the slates of your roof and lead to problems in the future.
If you are doing any digging, for instance in the vegetable plot, stand on a sturdy board as you dig. This not only keeps your footwear clean, it also stops the soil getting compacted.
The joy of garden photography. Anatomy of a shoot with special guest The Mystery Garden
Believe it or not, I actually got into photography by necessity. My son was going to do my photographs for the blog, but then moved away to take up a job with a photographic agency. Out of desperation, I grabbed one of his cast-offs and started clicking. It’s been a revelation and a steep learning curve, but throughout it all, I’ve enjoyed myself immensely. I’ve started looking at things in more detail, taking my time to enjoy my surroundings and I’m actually learning how to get the picture I see before me.
Recently I found myself in the mystery garden with an hour to spare and began walking around and snapping. I set myself the task of conveying the atmosphere at this time of year. Luckily, just as I arrived the weather turned from bright and sunny to overcast and chilly, which created just the right mood for the shoot.
The fun then comes in looking at every detail closely and losing oneself in trying to get the right image. The great thing about gardens is that they change daily so you see something new every time you visit one. I always take a photo of the pond but try to vary my perspective to give variety.
This shot of the pond is now framed by two trees. This adds interest to the photo.
Now the scene has been set, I get in close and look for some of the smaller detail which makes nature so interesting. Just look for things of interest and try to emphasize their characteristics. In the next few photos I took pictures of rose thorns, the idea being to show how dangerous they can be but also how quirky and captivating their shape is. Their stark, bleak form conveys the season.
Next I looked for things that show how at this time of year the garden is about a slow, gentle decay. Seed heads are great for this.
You can also show the mood of decline by capturing a few of the remaining flowers.
Well I hope this has given you a few ideas for your own shoot. With that, it’s time to leave the mystery garden once again as it continues its slow decent into winter.
It’s also time to say goodbye but I’m already looking forward to your company for my next blog out on Thursday November 26th. I’m hoping to be showing you some of the photos of David Roney who photographs wildlife in the local area, and telling you about the red squirrels which frequent our locale. I’ll also be getting excited about leaf mould, taking you on a visit to a local estuary garden, as well as enjoying the season in general. Until then best wishes and embrace the garden. Happy times Dave
A tranquil autumn scene by The River Tarff (taken 05/11/2018)