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Thursday, 18 September 2014

September flowers - having fun with florals

Where has this week gone?! It's been quite warm and sunny and I've enjoyed seeing two new species of dragonfly visiting my pond. More about that another time as for now I am sharing a selection of flowers taken over the course of the month, some with bugs on them but that's more because there are always insects about, rather than I was specifically trying to capture them. Many of these photos I have had fun with, either with the shooting or the processing - with bugs I want them looking natural and lifelike, but with florals anything goes, so I am trying to make myself push those sliders and press those effects buttons, go garish or muted or add textures, or all of the above! And shooting towards the sunlight in the early morning when it's all misty and dewy with autumnal light produces some great effects and bokeh.

Bidens and a spider.

Bidens and a Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus).

Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' and Golden Oregano
(the latter has flowered really well and for ages, thanks to the rain in August).

All the purple leafed Sedums are flowering late, having survived an early attack by Ermine Moth caterpillars.

Zephirine Drouhin. Images taken 3 days apart, in different light and with different processing.

A Dahlia, one of several which I inadvertently grew from seed last year,
thanks to a packet of mixed flower seeds for attracting butterflies.

This one looks better viewed large as the little ant doesn't show up very well here; however the
crab spider was a really tiny one and I couldn't get a sharper shot than this.

Dahlia 'Bishop of Llandaff'. I know the name of this one!

Mating Flesh Flies on an annual Coreopsis.

Coreopsis again, also known as Tickseed. This one is my favourite annual.

Veg patch this year - there are veggies in there too!

Sunflowers are fun and the bees love them.

Pollinator Meadow year 3 in the early morning light.

Same view taken from behind a Dill plant.

Dewy Mirabilis jalapa, before the flowers close up for the day.

A Dahlia with a spider waiting for an unsuspecting pollinator.

A Grasshopper amongst the Rudbeckia 'Goldsturms'.

Cosmos in the veg patch.

Borage with a Honey Bee and on the right, a Heineken Hoverfly (Rhingia campestris).

This is a strange year! Verbena bonariensis is usually my main butterfly nectar flower but this year
hardly any have been attracted to it. Here's a Green-veined White (Pieris napi) having a drink.

Looking towards the garden through the trees early in the morning.

From the other direction - I still don't know what the tall yellow flowers are!
They spread like crazy just like the Bidens next to them.

Then there is ICM, which stands for Intentional Camera Movement, an effect you can create in camera by moving it whilst on a slow(ish) shutter speed. My friend Marianne has been trying to teach me how to do this and it requires a LOT of practice! I'm still mostly getting duff pictures but it's great fun trying.

ICM - the stems top left are my Bronze Fennel which hosted so many
Swallowtail caterpillars and there's also Sedum 'Autumn Joy',
the pink flower in the background (which is usually covered in butterflies,
but not so this year. Sob).

And a few harvest pictures that didn't fit in with other posts....

Thanks to heavy rain in August I actually got some edible peaches!
They doubled their size although they are still much smaller than
the commercially available ones.

And everyone loves rude veggies. :-)

And now I am awaiting the forecasted thunderstorms and heavy rain which the garden sorely needs, yet the sun is shining outside, I can hear a Robin singing and I'm torn because when this mini heatwave is over, that will truly be the end of summer. But roll on autumn! :-)


  1. Wow. These are simply amazing. Thank you for sharing your beauty with us Mandy

    1. Thanks Virgil you sweetie - nice of you to comment in two places. xx

  2. Fantastic display and you are getting really good with the camera. One of the most interesting Blogs I have seen too.

    1. Many thanks Anonymous - I have no idea who you are but you must know me from your comment. :-)

  3. FabULOUS!!! my favourites are the cosmos and dill with the back-lighting.

  4. Absolutely wonderful! !!SO lovely :-)

    My favorite is the Dill (number 1) and seeing your veggie patch with that wonderful array of colors, sizes and shapes of flowers! All in all.... A very enjoyable post :-)

    1. Many thanks Marianne - I love having the space to grow annuals in amongst the veggies and they grow so much bigger and better in that richer soil! Just picked up a trailer load of well rotted horse manure the other day from my neighbours for digging in during the winter. I liked the dill lit up like that too. :-)

  5. Gorgeous pics with the light in them and I'm jealous of your marmalade hoverfly. And my, what enormous....noses.....those veggies have :o)

    1. Thank you CT - I hadn't even tried to photograph them this year until that photo but I did get some good pics of Marmalade hoverflies a couple of years ago. Cute little things. As for the veg - I haven't grown carrots for several years but mine nearly always fork (whether I've composted the soil or not) so I just put up with it and enjoy the fun shapes I get. :-)

  6. Fork carrots eh? Better than...fork..handles/candles, I suppose ;-) Sorry, couldn't resist referencing an old 2 Ronnies sketch!

    Well there are still enough nicely photo'd bugs here to hold my interest. Besides which, I can and do appreciate the flower shots too-especially the early light ones and back-lit...something I like to do myself from time to time...that's the great things about sharing these blogs though isn't it, we can feed off each others ideas ;-)

    I particularly like the view towards the garden from the tree-also how those spiky heads of the borage look. Interesting how you have decided to try these movement shots using the camera, when it would be so much easier, but less fun, to do them in PS or whatever later ;-)

    How many of those flies does it take to make a jar of marmalade Mandy?

    Another nice update to your blog that I very much enjoyed...

    1. Oh ho ho, sadly I'm old enough to remember the Two Ronnies! ;-)

      Thanks JJ - well I always try to get a few bugs as well on my flowers but I do enjoy trying to shoot other things too, though always nature related, not street! That sort of thing doesn't do it for me. Out of bug season is good for things like droplets/reflections in them or frost (if my hands can cope with the cold!). And I don't have Photoshop and wouldn't have a clue how to create the ICM type of effect even if I did. I had an ancient version of PS on my old PC but barely delved into it.

      I'd say about 500 hoverflies for a jar of marmalade, whaddya reckon? ;-)

      Thanks very much, JJ. :-)

  7. Your roses are still looking fabulous. Ours are mainly species roses up here and most of the flowers are long gone. You make me feel I should be more adventurous with my camera!

    1. Hi Elizabeth and nice to meet you! Actually the roses are looking rather tatty here but there was just a burst of new growth/flowers on that plant so I took advantage of it! I'll check out your blog tomorrow - found it by clicking on your profile which took me to G+ (I'm on it but not been posting there much over summer, just too busy). Thanks so much for visiting. :-)

  8. A really beautiful post Mandy. I was trying to pick the best image from it but I am struggling to do so.
    Maybe the pollinator meadow year 3 or the dahlia you know the name of.
    Was it a cold morning when you pulled that carrot.{:))

    1. Aww thanks so much Roy. I wondered if a post of flower photos would bore my new buggy/nature friends but obviously not! But I'm a mad keen gardener and the bugs are just a part of my love of nature and gardening, and photography covers the whole lot. :-)

      As for the carrot, it was funny cos my hubby prepped that carrot to eat and he left the 'willy' whole......tasted good.....hehehehe ;-)

  9. Great photos Mandy, love the early morning photos and the flower covered in dew. Your garden is so nice must take allot of work. Have found some Sedum plants growing wild this week, I like this plant might have to get some.
    Amanda xxx

    1. Thanks Amanda! Well it is work and I'm not very good at deadheading the annuals - that's way too time consuming and needs doing regularly, so they start looking messy after a while. Sedums are cool - I have some of the flat ground cover ones too and they are all liked by bees etc, so a great plant to have. :-)

  10. I have just finished reading you blog from the beginning. It has taken weeks as I have little time but I have to say that it is fantastic. Your knowledge of bugs is impressive to say the least (my caption would be beetle, butterfly or bug!)
    As you have the same interests as me I have enjoyed it so much, but I have serious photo envy. My point and shoot is fine in a limited long as the sun is not out (which it mostly is in Bulgaria) as then I can't see the screen. That coupled with being less than mobile, short of time and especially money to get out and about much causes a deal of frustration. So I shall enjoy your French life through your posts and stunning photos and this might make me make the time to try harder to capture the stunning wildlife here.
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Wow Debrazzaman, that's quite a feat! Thanks very much and it is a great compliment and so nice to get feedback like this too.

      I know what you mean about shooting via the screen of the camera when the sun is shining - not easy at all. I don't get out and about that much myself so I'm glad I have plenty of wildlife (at least of the insect variety) in my garden. I have only learned about them all due to taking photos - I like to know what everything is and spend far too much time trying to ID species.

      Well thanks once again and I shall visit your blog and see what you are up to in Bulgaria - that sounds very interesting and exotic compared to France! :-)