Summer has arrived in South Cumbria

Grassgarth village, Cumbria www.photogardener blog.com

Rambling through the delightful hill and dale scenery of the southern Lake District the other day I chanced upon the tiny hamlet of Grassgarth, near Ings, and this typical image of the English summer.

Whilst the east of the country is suffering rain and cold winds, the west is enjoying ‘flaming June’ in all its summer glory. The frothy, semi-natural vergeside planting and cosy-looking cottages set off by Clematis montana scrambling through the garden hedge made me feel that summer has well and truly arrived. The hot sunshine helped too! The question is (as ever)…will it last?

A simple iPhone shot – I tend to leave the SLR at home and travel light when I’m out walking with friends.


In Defence of the Humble Dandelion

Dandelions are the scourge of many a fine lawn and their gaudy yellow flowers make them an instant and easily spotted target of hate for fastidious gardeners. The word ‘weed’ could have been invented just for them.

As a photographer (and in common with generations of wish-making small children) I view them differently. Once their admittedly brash flowering heads have done their job, they’re replaced by a seed head of incredible beauty that is wonderful to photograph. In isolated close-up their symmetry and delicacy is breath-taking, especially when set against a backdrop of colour – here provided by a carpet of de-focused forget-me-nots.

Dandelion photograph by Garden Photography School

Of course, each individual seed, as beautiful as it is, is now set to disperse with the first breath of wind and go once more into battle with the Nation’s gardeners….


Planting Design, Wildflowers

Impressionist Garden

The annual wildflower meadow at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire reached an autumn crescendo last week: swathes of red and yellow Coreopsis, dotted with blue cornflowers, white umbellifers and statuesque Red Orach, combining to create a rich tapestry of colour and texture.

Wildflower meadow at Trentham Gardens

The overall view was reminiscent of the great paintings of the Impressionist period – a sea of coloured dots sparkling in the late afternoon light. Breathtaking!

Gardens, Wildflowers, Wildlife Gardening

Wildflower Meadows at Ness Gardens

Wildflower meadows in the UK are increasingly under threat and today cover only a tiny fraction of the area they once did. So when, a few years ago, the curators of Ness Botanic Gardens on The Wirral had the opportunity to re-purpose a large expanse of rugged land running down from the main garden to the banks of the River Dee, it was an easy decision to turn the area over to wildflowers and the ‘Wilder-Ness‘ project was born.

Wildfowers at Ness Gardens

As a result of the project a number of new wildlife habitats have been created, enabling the introduction of a wide range of wildflower varieties that were once a common sight in our meadows, marshes and hedgerows.  The local wildlife has given the Wilder-Ness area a huge ‘thumbs up’ too, with a notable increase in recorded species; two new butterfly species to Ness have been spotted already this year.

You can keep up with the latest wildlife sightings by following the Wilder-Ness blog.

Wildflower meadow photograph by Michael Turner
Taking in the wild view…