The Power of Yellow

England, Gardens, Wildlife

Goodness, we all need some brightness in our lives just now. The unremitting bad news every time we turn on a news bulletin. The fiasco calling itself the British government. And if all that’s not bad enough, the clocks turn back at the end of the month, leaving us plunged into the darkness of winter.

Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #221 this week gives us an opportunity. Ann-Christine asks us to showcase our favourite flowers. Well, that’s a bit of a task. But what I do know is that a yellow flowers always brings me cheer. The earliest aconites. The first bright-faced daffodils poking through the ground at the beginning of spring. Primroses. Celandines. Even dandelions and fields of rape. Vivid gorse bushes pointing our way on a country or seaside walk. Or – and this is where we’ll begin, summer sunflowers. They always bring a smile to my face as they gradually turn their faces throughout the day to face the rays of the sun. Bees constantly scramble over the heads crammed with seed that will feed the birds – and us – over winter.

Even their hangdog look as they droop and die is characterful.

For the rest, I’ll just give you a small gallery of some of the yellow flowers that bring me cheer year after year, in public places, in gardens, in farmers’ fields and in city streets.

Staying Local

Gardens, North Yorkshire

This week’s Lens-Artists Challenge invites us to stay local. After a bumper month of travelling, that’s not at all a bad idea. But how local is local? I decided I’d confine myself to the sights we see just a few metres from our house: or as Boris Johnson might say, a few yards.

When we came back from France eight years ago, we needed a base from which to hunt for our Forever Home. We found something interesting to rent at the edge of a village just beyond Ripon. It ticked not a single box: it wasn’t within walking distance of shops and amenities; it had no garage (for junk-storage, not the car), and it had no garden of its own. Still, for a few months, it would be fine. We’re still here, and have no plans whatsoever to move on. And one of the reasons we love it so much here is that we share the use of this walled garden with our landlords.

Aren’t we lucky?

Don’t take selfies! Enjoy the flowers!

Gardens, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Here’s Harrogate yesterday, enjoying the first true week of spring.

The building with the turreted clock is the famous Betty’s Tea Room. But we won’t go there today. Instead, we’ll have a picnic later, in the Valley Gardens. That white rectangular frame you can see is a favourite family-photo spot. If you haven’t got your family with you, best take a selfie …

Next stop, Valley Gardens. It’s all tricked out at the moment for a Fire and Light Experience. We’ve been to one of these festivals before, in 2016, and it was fabulous. But we’re still too post-covid flattened to feel like an evening out. So we’ll just enjoy the braziers and installations set in place …

… and focus on the blossoms and spring flowers instead.

Just a short walk. But it’s enough to change our mood and lift our spirits.

For Jo’s Monday Walk

and Debbie’s Six Word Saturday

Orange you glad…?

Blogging challenges, France, Gardens, Ripon, Spain

This month’s Life in Colour invites us to look at orange. Happy to help. I’ll grab your attention in the feature photo, with a rather orange sky.

When I got my new phone, my not-at-all top-of-the range, bargain-basement smartphone, I discovered that it had a feature called ‘spot colour’. I tried it out in the garden, and in the woods, making orange my spot colour of choice. Here are some results:

Now let’s abandon the gimmicks, and simply go for a walk along Ripon Canal on this early autumn day:

And let’s remember past moments in Valencia, and in Le Jardin Extraordinaire for Becky’s Past Squares:

Shall we end with a single perfect rose ….

… or with a bit of fun – the play food I made for William and Zoë’s kitchen?

Le Jardin Extraordinaire Revisited

Ariège, Blogging challenges, Gardens

When we lived in France, a must-visit in our diary every September was a flight-of-fancy wild garden, worked on for months by artists, gardeners and imaginative people of all kinds, but open only for a few days each year. Let’s revisit it today, for Fandango’s Flashback Friday.

FOR TWO DAYS ONLY: LE JARDIN EXTRAORDINAIRE AT LIEURAC

September 2010

2009 was a first for us at Le Jardin Extraordinaire. This weekend, we were back, and we’ll be back next year too, and every year.

The members of Artchoum enjoy growing flowers, vegetables, plants of every kind. They relish creating beauty, fun, intrigue, from anything – a discarded table becomes a woodland creature, an ancient trainer a Grumpy Old Man, a few stones in the river a symbolic gathering.  Professional artists work alongside interested members of the public for months and weeks beforehand just for this one weekend in September.

And we all turn up, in our hundreds, to explore this very special walk through woods, or along the shaded river bank, in this normally secluded spot.  Families, couples, groups of friends all come to share the atmosphere –  friendly, fun, joyful, peaceful, reflective.  Have a look at the photos, and enjoy the walk too.

For further visits to Le Jardin Extraordinaire, look here, and here.

Lilac and clematis, all at once

Blogging challenges, Gardens

Last week, I showed you wisteria on the front of the house. Today, we’ll sneak into the walled garden and look at the clematis framing one of the windows in our neighbour’s house – there it is in the featured photo. And here’s the lilac, just coming out:

And here’s the view from the kitchen window – the lilac’s still budded, but soon it will be fully out – for one week only – before becoming once more a rather unremarkable shrub.

I may produce more lilac for Jude’s Life in Colour: two shades of purple to go at in just a few days. But I promised another window view for Ludwig’s Monday Window. So here we are.

Wisteria Windows

Blogging challenges, Gardens

This is the time of year when the outside of our house, and the one to which we’re attached deck themselves in scented clouds of wisteria.

There’s lilac below the kitchen window: that’ll bloom very soon: already the tightly furled buds are loosening and hinting at the soft mauves and purples that will emerge. That’ll be for next week then.

Life in Colour #18

Monday Window