An Ocean of Foxgloves

I went for a walk in the local forest a few weeks ago and came across this glorious patch of purple. This area had been cleared last year, and the foxgloves seem to have wasted no time in colonising!

Foxglove 5Unfortunately, there was no way to get a better view (though I did consider sending Alex up a tree), but hopefully these photos will convey some of the drama.

Foxglove 6

Solitary Pale Bloom

A lone spire of white amongst the purple. 

Foxglove 3

Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove)

Foxglove 4

Wilsey Down Forest

Foxglove 2

Clearing in the conifers


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Chelsea Physic Garden

I recently paid a delightful visit to Chelsea Physic Garden, the first time I had been there in many years. For those who love plants, this is one of London’s great hidden treasures. Being someone who is inspired by natural forms, I found many unusual shapes and textures that can serve as inspiration for my work but the garden is a great place for anyone to visit.Physic_garden_3Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the oldest horticultural establishments in the world. It was founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries as a place to train apprentices in growing and using medicinal plants.Physic_garden_8Physic_garden_9Physic_garden_10 Physic_garden_5Physic_garden_1 Physic_garden_6 Physic_garden_4 Physic_garden_2 Physic_garden_7Despite its long history, the garden only opened to the general public in 1983. Prior to that time it was almost exclusively a place for scientists and students to study and today the garden remains a centre for education and scientific research.

Back to Eden

Thanks to the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying, we’ve taken full advantage of our Eden Project Local Passes. I always spot something new and unexpected, which makes the visits fantastic for firing up my imagination and creativity.
I thought I’d share some of my photos for those of you who are a bit further afield – I hope you enjoy!

Eden Project PlantEden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project PlantEden Project PlantFor more Eden photos, have a look at these posts (back when the weather wasn’t quite so good!):
Gardens of Eden
More Eden

Fantastic Fungi

As a child I was always fascinated by mysterious old Chinese medicine shops with all their weird and wonderful bits of dried and shrivelled Nature. Most interesting of all were the different dried mushrooms that, depending on type, could be used for correcting health problems, or added to an unusual and healthy-giving dish in the kitchen. I still love the look of fungi today in both their living and dried forms. (Or more accurately, as my husband tells me, the fruiting bodies of fungi.)

Lingzhi - The mushroom of immortality!

Lingzhi – The mushroom of immortality!

The last time I visited Hong Kong I photographed some fungi in a health shop which stirred up even more childhood associations. These were the mushroom known as “Lingzhi” which featured in many of the books I read in my youth. This rare fungus (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years and many accounts attributed it with life extending powers. In more recent times it has found a regular place in literature as a fabled elixir of life, and featured in many of the Martial Arts novels I read in my teens. Seeing them lying in a shop, piled in an old cardboard box, rather spoiled the myth!

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) Legend of my youth

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) Legend of my youth

Another type of dried fungus

Another type of dried fungus

I also love fungi growing in nature, where they can suddenly appear like exotic aliens overnight. I have now tried to start photographing any new types I see, though our voracious Cornish slugs seem to attack and disfigure many before I get there.

More Eden

Here are a few more photographs we took on our visit to The Eden Project last week. This time we present some of the more unusual / abstract / eccentric images we came home with. Hope that they inspire you!

The roof of the education centre

Gardens of Eden

Alex and I went to visit Cornwall’s world-renowned Eden Project last weekend. This was our first visit for a couple of years and it was interesting to see how the various parts of the site are developing. “Eden” is marketed very much as an experience in horticultural education (and there is much of interest to be learned there) but I always find my experience of it is more as a work of art.

The iconic Eden domes

The iconic Eden domes

Art is certainly important to the creators of Eden (there are sculptures to be found everywhere) but the entire experience seems to be primarily an aesthetic one for me.

The Eden Project is situated in a disused china-clay pit

The Eden Project is situated in a disused china-clay pit

Most interesting has been seeing the changes in the developing plantings over the years. The Tropical Biome (as the giant greenhouses are named) seemed mature from very early in its life but I can recall when the Warm-Temperate Biome was a rather barren affair with little plants struggling to be interesting. Now this area has matured into a very pleasant space with a warm, calm feel.

The Tropical Biome at Eden

The Tropical Biome at Eden

Only some areas of the outside plantings now leave me feeling a bit underwhelmed. This is partly a lack of any mature trees but is also the problem of some mass plantings looking a bit like the sort of horticulture found around municipal car parks. Another serious issue is where too many different displays have been packed into too small an area, so that they are out of scale with the grandness of the architecture.

Nice autumn colour but there is still a great lack of mature trees

Nice autumn colour but there is still a great lack of mature trees

More Raindrops on….

There may have been no raindrops on my roses the last time I posted on this soggy subject but there certainly are now. With constant rain and gale force winds all the flowers in my garden have been given a real battering. Yet even depressing weather can yield some beauty and when it did clear up a bit today I went out with my camera and got some more nice shots of pretty droplets:
Clematis after the rain

The Achemilla delights as always:
Achemilla mollis after rain

All I need now are some “whiskers on kittens”:
Rose "Claire Austin after rain