Half-term (it’s no good, I can’t call them terms, or worse “term-lets”) has afforded me the chance to download from the camera and upload onto a well-known social networking site, some of the pictures I’ve taken this year. We decided, after the mysterious disappearance of our old camera, to invest in a rather better one. We did the sums for booking a photographer for our summer wedding blessing (you can read of the snow-bound original elsewhere on this and other blogs) and realised that upgrading the camera was a better long-term option. So we now have a Lumix DMC-FZ45 with a lovely Leica lens and I’ve had great fun playing with it. Putting pictures into virtual albums does make one look more closely at the relationship between the images. Take this year’s record of life in the garden here at The Cottage.
It’s been very odd, hoticulturally speaking, this year. A gloriously hot April brought full summer perennials like delphiniums up much too early and then the gales in May brought them down again all before they should even be making an appearance. We had the added “pressure” of the wedding blessing to think about too. Amongst the guests were several seasoned gardeners who I knew would run a critical eye over the borders and I did not want to disappoint. So, the album includes the first season of a new bed I made in one overcast early May afternoon. It’s small and trapezoid in shape and is there to help detract from – if not completely mask – the oil tank. Thus sweet peas were chosen, and lavender, to take the edge of the faint kerosene whiff. This they’ve done rather well. There were also delphiniums, sweet williams and one of my absolute faves, lady’s mantle.
Lady’s Mantle (alchemilla mollis) is wonderful stuff. Ravishing foliage that actually looks better when it’s been rained on and acid green and impossibly delicate flowers; plus it’s tough as old boots. I bought one plant for £1 four years ago and this has now sired one other large patch and three smaller ones. An austerity staple if ever there was one. I’ve also noticed that lady’s mantle is often planted in the grounds of catholic churches, I have no idea if this is customary but would love to know if it is.
The new camera possibly makes this year’s beds and borders look rather better than they actually did but isn’t that why we all go for the most pixels money can buy? At least we do when it comes to photographing our foxgloves, perhaps we prefer a blurry mobile portrait of ourselves to one that can pick up every wrinkle. Certainly in one photo I took this year you can actually see light glinting off the sticky end of a stargazer lily’s stigma and the dusting of pollen around it. I think possibly it was rather too “The Garden” for our local produce show where it lost out to various hazey images of children in paddling pools and sleeping labradors. I’m not bitter. Obviously.
So maybe The Cottage garden doesn’t quite deserve a capital G yet but, like I say, it’s been a difficult year. I’ve already started thinking about a potager… and thinking about it doesn’t make my back hurt or chip my nail polish. ‘Til the double digging starts I have my photos to keep me going.