I set off this morning – a perfect sunny Saturday – with the intention of focusing on the close-up or macro picture I need for Gardening Gone Wild’s May ‘Picture This’ competition.
The brief is to specifically look at the effect of effective lighting in close-ups and macros. I took 172 shots; I have processed 23 to share. Not all are for the competition; and some I took for the competition didn’t even make it to the shortlist. Above: Cotoneaster horizontalis. Verdict: not competition worthy.
From about the same position as the cotoneaster, I took the above shot down the Long Border towards one of the Swamp Cypresses on the Makou Dam. They will feature in the following shots as well.
The Swamp Cypress or Taxodium distichum is a deciduous conifer from the eastern USA. Its leaves turn a lovely cinnamon colour. but none of my close-ups qualify…
The interesting thing about them is that each tree marches to its own drum. Some turn early, some late. But year after year they are consistent.
As we make our way around the Makou Dam, there is the opportunity to photograph the progress at the site of The Garden Celebrating an Imperfect Universe. Don’t know about it? Find out more here.
The Bugle I bought on auction from which the water will spill – the Celestial Trumpet – has arrived, and I’ve discovered that the dogs’ water-bowl, a flat, rectangular copper vase that was demoted when I tired of having a plastic bowl in the middle of everything, has the proportions of the Golden Rectangle (1:1.618)… I do think that the trumpet should rise from it…(besides anything else, I like the progression: vase>water- bowl>symbol of perfection)
But I set out to take close-ups…
Here is The Avenue – the Tulip Trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) which make their way up through the Arboretum in a double avenue with azaleas between them and hydrangeas beneath them. (I took several hydrangea photos, but they don’t feature today.) The fallen leaves, in various stages of decay and catching the light, proved very photogenic.
A detail from the previous photo, this does not quite qualify for the competition.
But this one does…
…As does this one.
But this one doesn’t!
Many azaleas are blooming. As always in autumn, the semi-deciduous mauve ones are putting on a spectacular show… perhaps there is a competition entry here…
However I do anticipate my entry being an autumn shot…
This photo is exactly as it came off the camera. I’m not at all certain if it is an accident or was planned!
The Japanese Maples are an obvious choice, though. This one and the next are Acer palmatum ‘Tricolor’ and the pink/cream/green variegation results in interesting autumn shades as well.
Hmmm – those two are more similar than I realised. The next is almost not recognizably a Japanese maple.
I grew it from seed. It is a mutation, slow growing, actually rather messy in appearance, but fascinating. Instead of having hand-shaped leaves, they are reduced to just the central finger or, as in the leaf pointing upwards, separated into three leaves. In addition they are congested and appear at the end of twigs only, on a narrow, upright tree. It is now about 2.5m tall, and becoming more and more interesting. Although truth be told – it is more interesting in concept than in reality…
This glimpse, stolen across Freddy’s Dam towards a Parrotia persica coming into its own, is rather romantic, I think. And forms a modulation between possible entries.
One of my proudest possessions is this plane tree. Instead of having yellow autumn leaves, they are red. What is more, they start turning in mid February and last till mid May. That is three months of spectacular autumn colour. I found it in a rural nursery in KwaZulu-Natal amongst yellowing plane saplings, and sneaked it away nonchalantly…This photo was taken up into the light, with some leaves showing their backs and others their upper surface, I liked this so much I cropped it closer:
I like this photo. It might be called an elegant composition. Sparse. Simple. To the point: this IS what the red plane is all about.
One last photo, of the Japanese Maple avenue on my way home, before – well, before the very first photo I took. The one I believe might well be my entry. And literally the first of the day. There were several more of this subject, but the first, impulsive and unconsidered, was the best. Interesting…
These Elephant Ears , or Alocasia, came to me from England, of all places. I bought the seeds, from Thompson & Morgan, as I recall, because they were said to repel moles. I doubt that they have done so, but in the process I obtained a wonderful foliage plant of a family that does not cope – usually – with our cold winters. These grow dramatically outside the staff’s house as one enters Sequoia Gardens – thus the pinkish background – and I intend introducing it into a few of my borders in spring. For simplicity and effectiveness of composition, for textural detail as a result of the lighting, I think this is the best of my attempts to date. Think of the theme: Lighting: look closer.