Viburnum flowers in black and white

Strange Days and Simple Things

While life seems to have been turned upside down and we’re all preoccupied with worries about the coronavirus, nature is quietly getting on with the business of spring. The warmer weather has brought leaves to the trees, opened colourful flowers and encouraged new growth everywhere.

It’s reassuring to get on with the small, familiar garden jobs that this time of year brings. Cutting back the stems of last year’s perennials feels both soothing and satisfying.

I have time to notice how long and curled the stems that carried the swirling butterflies of the gaura’s flowers became. Or that the shrubby sage (which has wonderfully bright magenta flowers in early summer) needs cutting back to prevent it from becoming lanky. As I trim back all these old stems, I find the new seedlings of the Canary Island geranium which have been sheltering under the old growth during the winter. Soon their large, dissected leaves will be impressively handsome.

Meanwhile, the daffodils have gone over and are being dead-headed. Now the tulips are flaunting their glorious colours as the low angle of the late sun glows through their petals.

Not all of the flowers are as bold as the tulips though. There are the smaller, much more modest flowers of viburnum (top photo) and the plum tree that we planted last year (below). I’m particularly pleased to see the flowers on the plum tree – there’s lots – because last year it looked a bit sad and sorry during the drought. (Despite regular watering.) Maybe we’ll eventually get a few plums.

I’ve been entertaining myself by playing with black and white and a bit of digital toning with these photos. There’s plenty of time for a few experiments at the moment. I hope that you’re finding things to keep you happily occupied at this very strange time.

Plum Blossom-5017

20 thoughts on “Strange Days and Simple Things

    1. Thanks Indira! Yes, nature is benefitting from the cut in pollution. And here we have a campaign for grass verges alongside roads to be left uncut, to allow wild plants to grow and wee beasties to have a habitat. Now they aren’t being cut anyway and the hope is that some councils might decide to leave them uncut in the future. 🙂

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      1. I really love photographing zinnias! So I should really grow some… 🙂 Sunflowers are so smiley – fun!

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  1. Hi Ann – love the beautiful post work on the flowers – really turned out very nice. Glad to hear your flower garden is getting whipped into shape. I need to work on mine but it is starting to get some nice blossoms for Spring.

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    1. Thanks Syd! We’re into the spring blossoms now too – the cherry tree has just begun to flower. Meanwhile, my garden has kindly produced lots of weeds to keep me busy, hehe!

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  2. I have a hard time appreciating black and white nature photos (even though I do appreciate landscapes, like those of Ansel Adams and others). But I do like the tones of these. They seem a little warmer, and even a bit old-fashioned, like some of the old family photos I have that show a bit of blue or sepia in their images. In any event, a few projects and explorations are good now. These are very strange days, but they do offer some opportunities that we might otherwise miss!

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    1. I’m glad you like the tones – they’re easy to do in Photoshop. Much simpler than doing it in a darkroom and no nasty chemicals… 🙂

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  3. These pictures look fab in monochrome and with what you’ve managed to do with them. Nature certainly is getting on with spring business as usual. Our days have turned much colder this Easter Monday and a local temperature of minus 5 was recorded this morning. A bit chilly for my new seedlings.

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    1. I hope your seedlings survive OK…I’m keeping an eye out for a possible frost on Tuesday night. We’ve been working outside today but it feels cold after the glorious weather on Saturday and Sunday, brr!

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