As we go into winter ,the shorter days means we will be doing a bit less in the garden but that doesn’t mean the work stops. For now is the time to review what we did this year and to plan for next year.Whether it’s just new plants to buy, borders to renovate or a brand new project.
In mind of this, one of the things I enjoyed this year was photographing seating areas in various gardens. Once I started looking I found seats everywhere and was reminded of the importance of having a place in the garden where one can sit, relax and enjoy the garden. I know, I know this is easier said than done as most gardeners tell me the minute I sit down I see a weed and I’m off again. Of course the way round this is to hire a gardener and sit and give the orders.(he he he).
I’ll not get too much into the technical details but here are a few pointers if you are planning a seating area.
Position Where is the best view of your garden .Do you want a seat that overlooks it all or do you want to create a quiet oasis to relax in.
Comfort What sort of seat would you like a bench ,recliner or a swing seat. There are many options so get the one you find most comfortable as with any luck you will be spending a lot of time there.
Planting – If you are designing a specific seating area you will want to consider planting. Would you like to add some small trees for shade or perhaps some scented plants such as Lavender. You could also plant up containers with bulbs and when they are finished have some others ready planted to keep the colour going through out the year.
Here are a few more examples to help you decide.
Lollipop lollipop – a cautionary tale
A tale I often hear from people is, ‘I’ve had a shrub for years but it never flowers’. Well unless it one of those rare plants that only flowers once after twenty-five years it’s usually the result of pruning at the wrong time of year.
For example below are the lovely delicate flowers of Arbutus unedo more commonly know as the Strawberry tree.
It belongs to a new customer who told me it once bore a fruit many moons ago. She was quite amazed to see so many flowers on it. “What did you do to it?”, she exclaimed to which I replied “absolutely nothing”. For it doesn’t require a lot of pruning and is traditionally pruned in April or May if any is required.
Unfortunately my predecessor pruned it in lollipop fashion every October thus removing any flowering wood. So always try to find out what a shrub or tree is and then read up carefully on when and how it likes to be pruned, getting it right means you can enjoy it as nature intended.
The new breed
Following on from the piece on pruning I often hear of people wanting a ‘Proper’ gardener, that is to say one who knows what to do and when to do it. Unfortunately there are many ‘gardeners’ who don’t know all the ins and outs and so don’t bring out a gardens true potential. However I’m happy to say I was at Threave gardens recently and got chatting to one of the students who was working in the walled garden.
He told me he and his peers undertake a rigorous one year course of practical and theoretical gardening skills which gives then a solid basis in becoming professional gardeners. I told him he had chosen the best job in the world and would live a long and happy life. So to Alec and his classmates good luck on your respective horticultural journeys.
Photography – a little project
It can sometimes be hard to keep coming up with new ideas of what to photograph in the garden. However if you look closely there is always something going on. So today I thought I’d be seasonal and focus on photographing seeds heads.
This year I’ve left many plants to die down naturally and taking the time to study them and enjoy their slow decay. But what do I look for when I’m photographing seed heads. Well I look for ones that seem interesting to me. I also look for ones that have a good Pattern to them as below
For instance you can see here how the seed heads wrap themselves around the stem creating an interesting photo.
Or as above where the black seeds contrast with the paper like covering (these are Agapanthus seeds by the way). You might also focus on a plant which has both colour in its flowers and some that are decaying. Below is a Persicaria it has both pink flowers and fading seed heads at this time of year.
I firstly looked at the plant as a whole then slowly take my time to look for interesting heads that might make a good photo especially those that didn’t stand up straight .
It’s just a case of taking your time and looking at the seed heads from different angles before you take the photo. Anyway here is a slide show to give you some inspiration.
Bye For now
Well, I hope you found the photography tips helpful and the enjoyed the blog as a whole. Thanks very much for your comapny and I’ll be back on Thursday December 20th with my next blog and I’m sure it will be a cracker( a christmas one – see what I did there!!) Until then have fun with your gardening adventures, bye for now, best wishes, Dave