Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Monday, 7 June 2010


I don't like flowers. They have their place, of course. They look good in vases and there wouldn't be seeds without them. But when I think about what I like to have around me - it's bark and leaves. Between them, it's hard to choose. My first instinct was to plump for leaves. Then I thought about trees in winter. They look just as good as their summer selves so maybe my final, finely tuned decision is in favour of bark. Though I feel uncomfortable with it because leaves and stems are what I like to take photos of and I'm always moved by the little hairs that show up in pictures but which we rarely notice otherwise - and the veins and wrinkles and shapes that we may examine from time to time, or be startled by when the sun shines through them but which, most days, we ignore. (Of course we do. We none of us have time to work through a forest, leaf by leaf.)

It's a funny time of year for flowers round where I live. The burst of spring yellows and blues is over. Alexanders are tipping, as is the Hawthorn (May). Sloes and apples are clearly in place. Indeed, sloes are already their full size - though green. Thus, we have autumn embedded in summer.

Locally, tall, white, umbrels are what catch my eye most. Some are lovely. On others, the individual flowerlets are so densely packed they resemble nothing more than sickly cow pats on sticks; or perhaps white picnic plates.

Rape plants gone wild stand out splendidly from the dull, decaying mess and then there are buttercups - I like buttercups.

And the problem, for me, is exacerbated because I find yellow and white hard to photograph.

White flowers lose definition and yellow glares back so glaringly, images of petals get splodged with horrid white patches.

There are masses of garden bloggers who show white and yellow flowers, apparently without difficulty, but for me it's a labour. And for someone who doesn't even like flowers much, who prefers leaves and stems - it isn't even a labour of love.
So . . . in this post . . . I'm getting it over with. A flower post of white and yellow flowers which took hours to construct because I kept having to go and try again until any showed up at all.
I hope you enjoy it.
* * * * *

And you might like to tell me (and each other) - are you a flower person or someone who would you prefer to kneel in long grass and peer up at its seed heads against a blue, blue sky?


Helen said...

I love your bug's-eye view shots. And I'd like to be sitting on that bench right now, overlooking the sea.

Lucy said...

Thanks Helen - and, agreed, that is a wonderful place to sit and think . . . take a flask of coffee . . . watch the birds . . .


Anonymous said...

Hi Lucy, I like all parts of a plant, in all seasons, so that includes flowers. But I don't see the flower as the only thing about a plant. I like the seeds and roots and foliage, too. I like how it looks as a seedling, how the leaves furl out, how the seedhead looks, how the dead foliage looks. In woodies, I love bark and berries. I like texture and form and color and shape. Yep, I'm a geeky plant addict. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

leavesnbloom said...

I like that last one Lucy - its cool with the lovely whispy sky above the petals and grass seed heads.

I have to say that I love leaves in the garden - the ornamenal ones like heuchera, the coloured berberis shrubs, weeping pear tree and cotinus royal purple.

I too love lying in the long grass trying to get photos but our grassy wild areas are full of ticks and wood ants just now ..... I just wish I could see some blue sky today.

Mary said...

I love flowers, but also leaves and bark and the bare shape of branches against the winter sky... I guess I love to photograph any sort of nature, and if it has the added benefit of unique perspective or lighting -- all the better. :)

Getting the details right in white flowers is a bit of a challenge. That's where an incident light meter or Photoshop come in handy. I LOVE that last photo of the daisies against the sky -- just magical!

Gilly in Ariège said...

I love flowers for their vibrancy, their warmth, for the way they make me feel. But they are just one part of the wonder of plants. I love the skeletal structure of trees in winter against the sky, I love the lichen and moss that covers the trees and rocks and I love perhaps most of all the delicate looking but so robust grasses, both cultivated and wild, as they sway in the breeze, as they form a base, a background through which the flowers can shine for their brief moment in the sun.

Victoria said...

I like flowers but I find foliage more interesting. And I totally agree with you about white flowers being difficult to photograph. I thought that was a very clever solution to shoot the daisies from beneath.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

For somebody who doesn't like flowers, you sure take great shots of them. I especially like the last one, which is more about line & shape than floral beauty. Maybe that's a compromise position for you.

Rosey said...

Foliage is king. But flowers are queens to me.
I like the last photo and that angle...well I can just imagine the position you had to get into to capture that!

Anonymous said...

I love flowers-white, yellow and every other color of the rainbow. I agree white and yellow are hard to shoot, but you did wonderfully!
I also like bark and leaves. I have a whole collection of stump pictures. I love the gnarly shapes!

easygardener said...

I have trouble photographing purple flowers - the dark ones never look dark enough. I like the last picture - I felt very small looking at it :-)

Lucy said...

Hello Monica - yes, the unfurling of leaves is very special.

And thanks for the mention of roots. They are easily overlooked (or under-not-looked!). I think I'll see what I can do about that.


Lucy said...

Hello Leavesnbloom - of course you like it all! It's there, said in your name!

Heuchera - in the next post I take the opportunity to show the leaves of a Heuchera, even though this is a wild plant blog.


Lucy said...

Hello Mary.

Glad you like the last photo of the daisies. I have a more straight forward picture of the same ones and but I flung this one in instead because it's so dramatic and I like it and hoped people didn't mind - it's not really a dramatic blog! And it turns out to be the one people mention.

There you are, hit and miss, haven't a clue what I'm doing!


Lucy said...

Hello Gilly - oh yes, grasses and lichen. Uncultivated grasses can so easily be ignored because they are around us all the time and, when they turn up in gardens, are wrenched out as weeds instead of being appreciated.

Lichens - where I live, we are lucky to have clear enough air (of the right kind) for them to grow but not everyone has them. Worse, even here, they are not always appreciated. Sometimes, people even scrape them away.


Lucy said...

Hello Victoria, yes, I can see from the photos of your own garden how much you love leaves. Hurray!


Lucy said...

Hello Mr McGregor's daughter. Yes, that last picture is about colour and line so even non-flower people (like me) can appreciate it - which means you are right, it represents a compromise position.

I've been wondering whether hay-fever has turned me against flowers. I very much like sweet-peas but they can almost immobilise me - I sneeze so much I end up barely able to see. Having reflected, I decided (illuminated by your comment) that the problem (for me) with flowers in general is that they have fuzzy edges instead of crisp ones. Otherwise, I would have turned against grass as well. Grass pollen can, on occasions, make me wonder whether I will carry on breathing!

Bother hay-fever!


Lucy said...

Hello Rosey.

That's a nice suggestion, that leaves and flowers are kings and queens. Perhaps I prefer Prince Regents!


Lucy said...

Hello Jennifer.

What a fantastic name you have for your blog!

Stumps are brilliant, aren't they? And bits of broken wood from surface roots too.


Lucy said...

Hello Easy Gardener.

I remember you saying (a couple of times) about problems taking photos of purple flowers. I haven't tried but I imagine the problems are the same as with red ones - which I have given up on!


Pat Tillett said...

very nice photos..
are these with the new camera?