Month: March 2014

March Posy

March PosyMarch’s flowers in our garden have been a beautiful Spring colour palette of yellow, violet and fresh Spring Greens.

Anemone Blanda Hues

I have chosen to grow a lot of native wild flowers. This month we have had a good show of native primroses – primula vulgaris. Pretty PrimrosesThese are a beautiful pale cream yellow. Primroses always symbolise to me that Spring is on it’s way. My Uncle picked a small bunch of primroses from the woods for my mum when she was born in March. Now whenever I see primroses I think of mum! We often remember her birthday with a woodland walk.

 

Church House Pitton

I have another variety of primrose in bloom in the garden called `Emily’ which is a slightly darker yellow colour. There are also cream primula flowers and a delightful pink and yellow variety.

Primula

Emily

Pastel Pink Primula

 

Pretty Primrose

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty in Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a child I dreamt of creamy yellow primroses in a posy as a wedding bouquet.  I am a very romantic soul!  I imagined myself picking woodland flowers and flouncing about in a Jane Austin inspired Regency Wedding dress. I hadn’t even read any Jane Austin aged 8! When we walked in Grovelly Woods to see the primroses as a child I remember a derelict cottage I dreamt of renovating and restoring. That’s where I would have flounced off to the church in my Empire Line Dress with my Spring bouquet of primroses and violets!

Regency DressI did enjoy the grounds of The Baytree Hotel in my Empire Line Dress on my wedding day. Relaxed StrollIn reality primroses were too small for my bouquet so I opted for yellow roses instead. The idea of something picked straight out of the garden arranged in an informal way stayed with me. I opted for informal jugs of Spring flowers on the tables including Spring Green Viburnum opulus and yellow Forsivia.

Baytree Hotel Conservatory

Just Picked Look

Our March garden has also had a good display of vibrant yellow daffodils with dainty, minature Tete-a-Tete being my favourite.

Tete a Tete

Herald of Spring

 

Spring Heralds

The other flowers in bloom have been violet, mauve and blue in colour. We have clumps of the native woodland violet.

Violets

 

Violet

My Gran’s favourite perfume was Yardley April Violets which has a very distinct sweet smell of Parma Violets, which she loved. Yardley April VioletsThe delicate purple flowers of the parma violet plant also gave their name to a delicate, violet-scented sweet Parma Violets manufactured by Swizzels Matlow.

Parma Violets

Apart from violets I have some dainty Viola flowers in my Spring pots by the front door. These are in a range of purple, violet and mauves and look very pretty against the pale yellow primulas. The lilac edged one is called Viola purple picotee.

Primula

Mauve Viola

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viola Purple Picotee

Viola

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front garden has a beautiful carpet of Anemone blanda in shades of violet-blue and white. Mellow MauveAnemone BlandaAnemone Blanda Isn’t it amazing how nature combines the complementary colours of mauve and yellow together in one beautiful flower? For those of you unfamiliar with complementary colours let me explain.

Colour Schemes

As an artist and  flower photographer I am absolutely passionate about colour and how different hues can be combined together to create beautiful colour palettes. A  Colour Wheel is a simple tool to work out how to combine different hues. It is an invaluable aid as an artist and can be used when planning colour schemes for interior design, for weddings and when planning a new border in the garden.

Colour Wheel

A Colour Wheel is created with the 3 Primary Colours  – Red, Blue and Yellow – equally spaced. The primary colours cannot be made by mixing other colours. The Secondary Colours of purple, green and orange are created by mixing the primaries together. Colours can also be classified into tints, shades and tones. Tertiary Colours are made by mixing primary and secondaries together. Tertiary colours are the neutrals.

Colours can be classified even further with tints, shades, and tones. These are key because when you are creating a colour scheme, you may want to use a family of hues not just one.  I found an invaluable Blog Post by Sara of Burnett’s Boards which explains Colour Theory wonderfully and is a really useful resource when planning colour schemes. I have used a few of her diagrams here as they are so clear to understand.

Tints Shades and Tones

I wish I’d seen this diagram before I started painting dusky lilac roses! I can now see that mauve or lilac are pastel purple tints and these are created by adding white to a purple hue. In watercolour paints are applied dilute so the white of the paper shines through making them appear tonally lighter. This creates what is known as a High-Key palette. High-key paints are usually transparent, high chroma and painted lightly. This is the effect I like to create when painting flowers so I favour transparent pigments. Low-Key paints are often darker, more opaque and painted more heavily. Shades are created by adding black. A Low-Key colour scheme contains hues that are at the dark end of the value scale. Another invaluable reference book is The Encyclopedia of Colour for Watercolour Artists by Jan Hart. It is absolutely full of colour and a mine of information including details about High and Low Key Pigments.  Tones are created by adding greys or neutrals. This is what I needed to add to my brilliant violet hue to create Dusky Lilac roses. I needed to add a neutral grey rather than a beige or brown.

There are so many ways of creating beautiful colour schemes.

Monochromatic Colour Schemes.

For a monochromatic scheme choose one colour and use the tints,shades and tones of this one hue. Using my March flowers as an example you could pick Spring Yellow as your theme. I have been amazed by the number of different yellow hues in my daffodils and primroses.

Primrose Hues

Yellow can be very vibrant and High-Key in colour so you may find you need to add in a few neutrals to tone it down. Green foliage or grey or simple ivory would work well.  The daffodils outside a local florist were displayed to great effect in silver grey buckets.

cheerfulnessPantone 2685C

Apart from yellow flowers in hues raging from pale creamy primrose to zingy daffodil yellow we have a garden full of purples. Purple is a very popular colour scheme for weddings at the moment and it tends to suit most people. Many brides have been choosing `Cadbury’s Purple’ (Pantone 2685C) when I asked them at recent Bridal Fairs.  The violets, anemones and viola flowers in the garden have given me all these lovely colours. This makes a wonderful palette with an ivory neutral. (I took the ivory from the white Anemone blanda)

Anemone Blanda Purple Hues

 

My painting of a `Pretty Pink Bouquet’ was for a bride who chose a monochromatic scheme based around the colour pink and it’s various shades and tints.  With this colour scheme you pick one colour and stick to it.  Sujinan had a variety of pinks in her bouquet including soft pink Sweet Avalanche roses and darker pink bombastic spray roses. Her shoes were vibrant pink and the groom had a tie and shirt in shades of pink.

Pretty Pink Bouquet

Pink Colour SchemePretty Pink Bouquet Hues

Complementary Colour Schemes

In a Complementary Colour Scheme you combine colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel. Simply choose a color and go directly across from it on the color wheel to find its complementary color. Pick one color to dominate and break it down into its tints,shades or hues. Add a supporting complementary colour and then add a neutral. This month the garden is singing out with the Complementary Colours of Yellow and Purple.

Anemone Blanda Hues

I think it is absolutely amazing that colours work so well in nature. I don’t know why we have so many violet and primrose yellow flowers in bloom at the same time, but the combination is delightful. So many purple coloured flowers have a yellow centre or highlight such as my violas and Anemone blanda.

Mauve and LemonYellow and Purple Wedding InvitationInvitation by http://www.zazzle .co.uk

Analagous Colour Schemes

To create an analogous look pick two, three, or four colours on the colour wheel that are next to each other. You can either use them equally throughout the look you are creating or use one as a dominant color and the others to support it.  The Memory Lane Bouquet I painted was based on an analogous colour scheme of pinks, mauves and violets. Amy chose a vintage inspired bouquet of dusky lilac and pink roses with accents of purple veronica. The accents of green were aromatic eucalyptus.

Memory Lane Bouquet

Memory Lane Bouquet  Hues

Split Complementary Colour Schemes

Colour Wheel

Now things get a bit more complicated! For my wedding flowers I wanted a colour scheme of Peaches and Cream with accents of Golden Yellow as these are colours that suit me. They are Light Spring Colours.   If you look on the colour wheel Peach, Cream and Gold are analogous hues. I considered putting my bridesmaid in a cheery primrose yellow dress. She refused as my bridesmaid does not look good in yellow. My bridesmaid has lovely bright blue eyes and although light colours suit her like me, she does not have my Spring colouring. She is a light, Summer.  Many of the light pastel colours that suit me work well on her, however blues work better on her then any colour biased towards yellow. A person with Summer colouring does not look good in yellow, gold, orange or peach. This can be a problem if your bridal party includes several people with a bias towards particular colours. In the Colour Me Beautiful Book `Be a Beautiful Bride’ there is a list of several colours which suit everyone and this lists includes purple, turquoise, emerald and true red. I decided on a Split Complementary Colour Scheme. I used the analogous peaches, coral pinks and creams I favoured and contrasted these colours with a lively complementary aqua colour. Peach and aqua are a fantastic combination. Whenever I see these colours together they seem to sing!

Peach and Aqua

Sunshine BouquetWedding Invitation
Baytree Hotel ConservatorySpring Sunshine Wedding Hues

March Posy

When I was choosing how to photograph March’s Posy I wanted to celebrate the Complementary Spring Colour Scheme of Yellow and Purple. My first photo simply shows off the flowers in all their beauty with no attempt to use any other props. I chose a simple glass posy bowl which was clear in colour so as not to distract from the flowers.

March Posy

I then had a go at creating a Spring image suitable for Easter. I picked a vintage tablecloth with pretty pastel floral embroidery and bought lots of coloured Easter Eggs and chocolate rabbits.  I would highly recommend a book called Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Aemendariz. There is a whole chapter on props for food styling. `Used effectively props add colour, movement and shape to images, but the opposite hold true, too: used improperly, they can clutter and detract.’ Creating this months Posy of the Month had me developing an understanding of how to use props effectively. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is to ask myself `What am I trying to say? What am I trying to convey? What is the purpose of the image?’ I was trying to create an image which showed off my garden flowers to their best advantage in a posy and shouted out `Spring is Sprung!’ Therefore the important thing to remember was  – `it’s all about the flowers’. The props were there to enhance the flowers and not distract. As much as I loved my pretty Easter eggs I discovered I couldn’t use them all as the image was then about the eggs and not the flowers.  I think this image is a bit too busy and over-propped.

Happy EasterI also need to keep in mind the size and shape I need the image to be for publishing. My cards are 145 x145 mm square or 125 x 175 mm rectangular. Many of my images end up as being 145 x 175 mm which just do not work for printing purposes. This may mean sometimes I need to step back and allow room for cropping. Sometimes I need to put text on the image later so it pays to keep a bit of negative space blank. There is nothing worse than having text over an image where you can’t read the text.  So often this happens in magazines where you can’t read the important text. In this case the image has lost it’s purpose. I found this was so true. I had created quite a few images which  were incredibly pretty, but for some reason it was impossible to get Happy Easter written on the image in a pleasing way. If my purpose was to create an Easter Card then this needed to be addressed when taking the photo.  Next time I am going to create myself cardboard viewfinders with the correct dimensions to help with my composition.

Easter Treats

The props need to enhance the image and work with the flowers. I tried to use a couple of baskets as props with my Easter eggs in them. The handles came up too high so I was left with too much blank space at handle level. I thought this would give me space for text. In reality I found I had too much handle and the flowers were then too small to be the main focus!  I had an issue of what level I needed to be at to photograph. I bought some gold wrapped chocolate Easter bunnies as props. That meant I needed to be at eye level with the bunnies to make the image work. However I then couldn’t see the eggs adequately and only the wickerwork of the basket! I also had a problem with exposure. The shiny gold foil paper tended to blow out the highlights. When I compensated the exposure for the shine the white tablecloth was too grey!

Easter Posy

I concluded that I had far too many props for the flowers.The big eggs in a basket were too big for the flowers as were the large Lindt Chocolate Easter bunnies. I settled on using smaller eggs placed directly on the tablecloth. The ones that worked well were the lilac and gold foil covered chocolate eggs as the colours complemented the yellow and violet flowers. Unfortunately gold eggs were in one packet and lilac in another so I had to buy two packets!  Mr Smiles was happy as we had chocolate eggs and rabbits to eat! In fact I had another problem in that we eat too many chocolate props! I concluded the rabbit with the primrose yellow ribbon complemented the primrose flowers best. However we eat it and there were no more in the shops that size so I had to go with one with a green ribbon. For some reason I didn’t like the colour of the green ribbon aesthetically as much. (Never mind it was hazelnut flavoured Lindt milk chocolate and was yummy!)

I then changed the posy bowl to a pink one. I suddenly decided that pink would work as a contrast to the complementary colours of yellow and violet in a loosely defined Triadic Colour Scheme.  In a Triadic Colour Palette colours are used that are equally spaced around the colour wheel. I had bought a cute, pink Spring Bird by Gisella Graham and there was a dash of pink in the embroidery. The bird was just the right height for the flowers.  A couple of the smaller eggs had a touch of pink in them. Finally I had a composition and colour scheme that worked! Hurrah!

March Posy

Anemone Blanda HuesSo here we have it March’s Mosaic of yellows and violets. I hope you have enjoyed March’s colours as much as I have.

March Mosaic

 

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Blossom Heaven!

Blossom Branch

One of the things I love at this time of year is beautiful dainty white and pink blossom dancing on the trees announcing the arrival of Spring. I have been eyeing up the trees in the local area for the last couple of weeks and today I had the opportunity to get out with my camera and capture the heavenly blossom.

I have processed my images with digital textures. A texture is an image merged with the original photo to visually enhance it. Textures can be used to create the romantic, pretty style I love. I aim to transform my photos to look like they have been painted artistically on canvas. Ironically I want my photos to look like paintings and my paintings to look like photos and truly three dimensional!  If a texture layer is applied without thought or care the image can look dirty and drab. You can definately spot a heavy-handed texture `artist’!

I have used Renaissence textures purchased from Sarah Gardner. I highly recommend Sarah’s highly practical book `Working with  Digital Textures – Art Beyond the Lens.’ Sarah’s images are always an inspiration to me – pretty, feminine and flowery. Lovely!

For obvious reasons I can’t publish the textures I used here as Sarah has the copyright. However I picked my favourite slightly pinky hued textures SJGP Renaissence 02 and 10. I have found before that a pink texture brings out the pink in whitey pink blossom. Without this warm pink processing the white blossom can look stark and cold.  An example texture layer might look something like this:-

Frosty Texture

I took this texture in the Winter through the frosty windscreen. The sparkle is the street lamp shining through the frost. This texture would give an image a sparkly orange and lilac grey hue when blended together.

My Blossom Heaven photo started out like this:-

Unprocessed Blossom Image

It’s not a bad blossom photo. I took a lot that were! It is difficult to photograph blossom when the flowers are dancing merrily in the breeze. A lot of images were out of focus due to movement of the flowers. Textures will never make a bad photo good, they can only enhance a good image. I was pleased with this original photo. It does have a shallow depth of field but one blossom flower is sharply in focus including the stamens. To process the image I cropped the image to create a more pleasing composition particularly focussing in on the flower I liked. I then blended my two textures over the top in Photoshop. My original image was a bit grey so I used the brush tool to blend in the pink from the texture. It’s like painting, but digitally and the good thing is you can easily start again with out mucking up the original unlike painting!  Here’s what the image turned out like:-

Beautiful BlossomThe textured layers have got rid of the dull grey twigs in the background and replaced the grey with a dainty pink. I have kept the sharpness in the main flower to make it stand out from the others. My aim was to process the image in a way that enhanced the prettiness of the flowers and I think I succeeded!

So here are the rest of my Heavenly Blossom images.

Pink BlossomBlossom HeavenWonderful WhiteWhite Wonderland

I need to order some more Greetings Cards from Iris Print so I’d love to know which of my Blossom images is your favourite!

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Spring in Bloom!

Spring In Bloom Event

Last week I spent a wonderful evening in Oxford’s new White Company Store at their Spring in Bloom Event. Matthew Taylor and Gary Cooper from Fabulous Flowers were giving an informative demonstration on how to arrange flowers beautifully. I regularly visit my local Fabulous Flower shop in Abingdon where Gary provides the flower posies for my Bridal Fairs.  Gary Cooper & Matthew Taylor

Patsy Smiles Bridal Fairs I am always impressed with his knowledge and attention to detail. Gary knows that I will always want to know the precise name of each flower in an arrangement! I am also impressed that no job is ever too small or insignificant. My simple jam jar posies are just perfect. They are not ornate or elaborate as that doesn’t reflect me or my work. However I have also seen photos of their flowers at numerous weddings and their arrangements are stunning and reflect the personalities of each couple wonderfully.

The White Company - Waiting for Spring to Bloom!

As we waited outside for the event to start there was an air of excitement. One of my aims this year is to learn more about floristry and how to make the flowers from my garden look their best in my `Posy of the Month’ challenge. I was hoping `The Spring in Bloom Event’ would give me lots of inspiration and it did!

Yellow Rose Topiary Tree

The guys started with Topiary Trees Arrangements.  A tree branch was secured in a terracotta pot and a ball of florist oasis planted on the top. The topiary tree base was covered with moss.  Oasis is a trade marked name for floral foam used for flower arranging.  It soaks up water like a sponge and acts both as a preservative to prolong the life of the flowers and a support to hold them in place. The foam’s structure is similar to that of plants and has a capillary action to move water to the surface and up the stem. I must buy some oasis as I am sure it will be useful in my posy creations. A simple idea for country style village fete themed weddings is to place a garden rose in oasis in eclectic pretty vintage china.

Vintage Tea-Cup Arrangment

 

Matthew started by pushing foliage into the oasis before adding the flowers. Topiary Tree in the making I have seen the same type of arrangement with simply flowers and no foliage. I personally prefer the addition of foliage as I feel it looks more natural. A good deal of foliage was used so the oasis was hidden. Garden style blowsy roses were then added. Adding the flowersThe overall effect looked like a standard rose you might grow in the garden in a pot. Topiary trees can make a dramatic statement. They could be placed at the entrance to a venue or used as a dramatic table centre. They work well as a table centre as guests can easily converse across a table without their line of vision being obscured by the flowers. They also add height in a room with high ceilings.

Topiary Rose CentrepieceTopiary Rose Centrepiece

 

Dramatic Pablo Large Vase Arrangement 

Pable Large Vase

Gary produced a fabulous Spring arrangement in The White Company’s Large Pablo Vase.  This vase is HUGE! They call it a vase but it really is an enormous glass jar. Gary used lilac Delphiniums and zingy lime green Viburnum opulus.

Pablo Large VasePablo Large Vase The colour combination worked really well together. I used Viburnum opulus displayed in pretty jugs on my wedding day. I combined the zingy lime with Spring yellows such as forsythvia and golden avalanche roses.

Spring Colours

 

I must admit I was hooked on the White Company’s Pablo Glass Vases  after the demonstrations.  Pablo Small VaseI’m a girl who loves frills and prettiness. I wrote a previous Blog Post on my style being very  Natural and Romantic.  I’m not so keen on sleek, understated elegance. The Pablo Vases are understated and elegant.  However I can now see that they are purely a vessel to arrange your flowers in the style you favour. I actually hate flowers which have been mucked about with, dyed and embellished. I think flowers in their unadorned natural state are truly beautiful and a good vase or container should enhance this beauty and not prove a distraction. I can see now that the White Company’s glass vases do exactly that. They enhance the flowers without being garish or dramatic. I must admit that the big Pablo Vase needs a BIG setting and we would need to move house to show it off to full advantage. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a big house where the Fabulous Flower team came each week to create stunning floral designs!          ( Actually I’d be a nightmare client because I’d want to take over and do it myself!)

Hydrangea and Amnesia Rose arrangement

 

The smaller Pablo Vase is pictured with a hand-tied arrangement of white hydrangeas and Amnesia Roses. These antique lilac roses are so unusual. I have painted them in my Memory Lane Bouquet commission and it was such fun to re-create the colour in my sketchbook. Matthew said the outer petals look almost tea-stained and the centre petals are a dusky lilac. Mixing dusking lilacs and beiges in watercolour for flowers is always a challenge as I never want them to look dirty!

Amnesia Rose Colours

Creative Pots 

White Rosemary Pot

In addition to using the White Company’s vases Matthew and Gary were creative with their pots. Cheap pots were decorated with rosemary and even asparagus. This arrangement hid the ugly pot and made an attractive base. White avalanche roses were used along  with white lilac in the rosemary pot to make a simple, but effective pure white arrangement. I asked Matthew to name one plant he will definately grow in his new garden and the answer was rosemary. `Herbs are a fabulous addition to any arrangement or bouquet as they are so aromatic and the added advantage is they are useful in cooking too!’

Gary made a pretty pot with asparagus arranged round it tied with raffia. The flowers were beautiful peach spray roses and pink Astilbe. So pretty! As a lovely thank you I got to take this one home. Those guys know me well – just the kind of pretty feminine arrangement I love!

Peachy!

Pink Rose Candle Ring

Fabulous Flowers showed how the White Company’s large rose scented candle could be used to good effect in a flower ring. The rose scent from the candle would work well as often flowers grown for cutting have less smell than roses from the garden. Fabulous Flowers have also produced flower rings with strawberries in the middle for an afternoon tea look.  Yum!

Fabulous Flowers!

White Company Rose Candle

Rose Flower RingLittle Jug

Pink Tulips

Wonderful Spring tulips were placed in The White Company’s little matte Enamel Jug. I love tulips and small jugs! Little jugs are so useful for showing off a few select blooms from the garden!

Elderflower Bonanza

Pretty in Pink!

All the pinksWe finished off the evening with pretty pink flowers.  A mixture of pink spray roses and garden roses were used. Spray varieties are any kind of rose that have several buds on tiny stems branching off a main stem. They work well together with big, blowsy roses in an arrangement or bouquet as seen in my painting of Sujinan’s bouquet. The bride wanted a mixture of pink roses for her bouquet and included blowsy soft pink Sweet Avalanche roses and darker pink bombastic spray roses.

Pretty Pink Bouquet

Artist at workWork in ProgressPastel PinksI hope you enjoyed seeing Matthew and Gary’s Fabulous Flowers as much as I did. I am definately going to enrol on their next Flower School Workshop!

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February Posy

February PosyInspired by The Quince Tree’s Blog  I have decided to pick flowers from my garden each month to create a beautiful posy. I am setting myself the challenge that all the flowers and foliage must have been picked from my own garden. I am planning a couple of floristry courses this year and am looking forward to learning how to cut and arrange flowers.  My aim is to photograph each months posy as artistically as possible. I love images which are pretty, full of light and celebrate colour. Photographers I particularly admire and am constantly inspired by are Jacky Parker and Mandy Disher. Their work is absolutely beautiful.  I want to experiment with table top photography and this seems a brilliant way to celebrate the flowers I have grown. It also means I can collect more vintage vases and table linen to display my blooms to full advantage. I am not so sure Mr Smiles will be keen on me collecting more lovely things though as we are beginning to need a bigger house!  I am also going to experiment with lighting my posy to best advantage. I think Mr Smiles may be keener on me acquiring more gadgets for photography as he does like a gadget!

This months gadget purchase was an economical Photo Soft Box Light Tent Cube. Photo Soft Box Light Tent  I hadn’t a clue how big a light tent to buy so plumped for the biggest one I could fit on our small kitchen table – an 80 cm cube. I often find when I am photographing a still life indoors I get distracting details in the shot I don’t want such as a radiator or kitchen utensils. A light tent solves the problem. Previously I have used a big sheet of white card propped up. I found the light tent very useful at an affordable price. It does have limitations. You need to be aware that the tent flings itself out of the case explosively. However if you know that it’s fine! It folds down to a small and convenient size when you know how! I strongly suggest watching a YouTube video for instructions.  The Soft Box did what I wanted – I got rid of distracting details and the light was more diffuse and uniform. Soft Box However I have learnt that it is too light weight to use outdoors as it blows about in the wind, which rucks up the backdrop. I may try it outside again on a calm Summer’s day. I also found the opening to position my camera lens through was too high if I wanted to be on a level with my still-life.  I solved this by keeping the front flap open. Later on in the year I will experiment with different sources of lighting in addition to my Soft Box. I may also experiment with making pretty back-drops.

February’s Posy is a simple arrangement of my  Hellebore flowers in a white dish. I found that floating the flowers in a dish of water meant I could see the beauty of each flower. In a vase they tend to droop and you are unable to see the fabulous centre of the flowers.  I found the flowers were beautiful enough so didn’t need a fancy vase to show them off.

DSC_7992

February Posy

 

Each month I am also going to create a Monthly Mosaic of my best seasonal images to share with you. I have been inspired by The Quince Tree’s Monthly Sampler Project. So here we have it February’s Mosaic:-

February Mosaic

 

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Spring Sunshine

Candy LoveAfter all that rain I have enjoyed spending a few hours in the garden today and even caught some sunshine. I had a jolly good tidy up. I managed to plant out my broad bean plants and peas which have been overwintering in the greenhouse in the raised vegetable beds. Last weekend I had dug in some manure and compost so I hope the plants appreciate my efforts! ( I really should check when I am meant to dig manure in. I don’t want to though – just in case I’ve got it wrong and I should have been out there in the Autumn!) Potatoes are chitting indoors. I also planted a few more pea seeds, Kale and Lettuce. I’ve discovered packets and packets of flower seeds which I’ve obviously bought at various shows and forgotten. I ran out of time with my planting plans so the flower seeds will need to be a job for next weekend.

Today was a day to enjoy the sunshine. We had 4 Great Tits trying out our nest box for size. Great Tit Sketch I have bought another couple of nest boxes which are currently sat on our kitchen table waiting to be put up. Another job for next weekend! Gardman Beach Hut Nest BoxOne is a very posh one from Waitrose which I think there is now a waiting list for quality accomodation in our garden. Mr Smiles said `That looks very John Lewis and no we cannot paint the shed duck egg blue and make it look like a beach hut!’. I disagree! Maybe that is another job for me for next weekend!

I had a very enjoyable afternoon taking photos of the flowers blooming in the garden. A couple of weeks ago the garden seemed quite barren.Now the yellow daffodils are looking very cheerful. I have a few brash, bold trumpet variety and then quite a few clumps of minature Tete-a-Tete. These beautiful dainty dwarf daffodils are a golden yellow with swept back petals. If you would like to know more about different types of daffodil do check out last years Blog Post – Heralding Spring!

Garden Daffodils                                     A host of Daffodils   Tete a TeteDaffodils The other Spring bloom which always does well in my garden is the crocus. They really do bask in the sunshine when they can and look beautiful when back lit.

Colourful Crocus Flowers

sunlitcrocus_card

Sunbathing

The show stoppers in the garden at the moment are the Hellebores. I recently purchased two new varieties to plant out in the front garden. Helleborus Winter Sunshine and Candy Love are virtually indistinguishable at the moment, both having pretty creamy pink flowers.  Candy Love does seem to have slightly smaller flowers.  I am the proud owner of 6 different Hellebore plants now. I would highly recommend them as they do provide some interest in the garden before the other Spring plants come out in a Blaze of Glory.

 Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter Sunshine’ 

Winter Sunshine

 

Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Candy Love’

Candy LoveCandy LoveCandy LoveCandy Love

Helleborus x ericsmithii `Winter Moonbeam’

Winter MoonbeamWinter MoonbeamWinter Moonbeam

Hellebore orientalis Tutu

This one is a such a beautiful frilly double form of Lenten Rose it really does remind me of a ballerina’s tutu.

Hellebore Orientalis TutuHellebore Orientalis Tutu

Helleborus (Rodney Davey Marbelled Group) ‘Penny’s Pink’ 

Penny's Pink Penny's Pink

Helleborus orientalis Double Queen

Helleborus Double QueenI’d love to know if you have Hellebores out in your garden at the moment and if you have a favourite?

 

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