First rose of the season. No idea what variety it is, I inherited it when I moved here.
Here's a few shots from around the garden over the last month.
And with a bit of luck my pictures might get better from this month onward. My husband just won a merit award for his excellent teaching (he's a psychology lecturer at the University of Bath) and the award came with a modest cash bonus. As he didn't have anything particular he wanted to spend the money on himself, he very generously offered to get me a digital SLR camera. Then I can give him my existing camera, a Fujifilm digital compact, which has served my needs very well but frustrates me with its limitations.
Notwithstanding a lot of farcical arsing around at Jessops, I should within a few days have a nice shiny Nikon D40, which I mainly chose because I still have a bagful of old Nikon lenses from when I was a photography nerd in the 80s and 90s, and they might come in handy. When I say I used to be a nerd ... photography was my big hobby in the days when I didn't have a garden, and I took it very seriously. I'm astonished when I look back at what a spectacular amount of money I used to spend on film and processing during my youth. I was completely off my trolley. I would only use colour slide film because colour print film wasn't good enough, and that cost quite a bit. I'd also use black and white, which I developed and printed myself, crawling inside a kitchen cupboard to load film onto the developing reel in total darkness and then sloshing trays of chemicals around in the bottom of my shower cubicle. And just to illustrate that I really was completely mad, I got fed up with always having slide film in the camera when I wanted to take a black and white picture and vice versa, so I bought two identical cameras and carried them everywhere with me, loaded with different films. Two big chunky camera bodies and three lenses, in a bloody great bag which gave me backache everywhere I went.
And what was it all for? I have a huge collection of photographs of old gravestones, having had a lifelong fascination for them, especially the 18th century ones with chubby cheeked cherubs and skulls and crossbones. So many, in fact, that I've always intended to have "1/60th at f8" engraved on mine for the benefit of future churchyard snappers. I used to enter competitions, but the only time I came close (second prize) was with a print I made by mistake when I leaned against the wall in the darkroom and accidentally hit the light switch, fogging the light-sensitive paper in the developing tray and creating a weird arty effect in the half-developed image.
What a marvel it is in this digital age, to be able to photograph something in the garden and share it with people all over the world the same day, without it even costing anything and without sticking my fingers in disgusting chemicals. It was all immensely satisfying and fun at the time but these days I really can't be arsed. I take more photographs now than I did in my nerd days (there's over 7600 images in my iPhoto library, mostly of vegetables) but I now take for granted the convenience of plugging the camera straight into the computer and doing the 'processing' in Photoshop. There's just one thing digital cameras can't compete with, and that's the magic of watching a black and white print slowly developing out of the blank nothingness.
Allium christophii just coming into bloom
A view of the garden, with the new greenhouse (which I still haven't had time to blog about) in the far corner, shamelessly unmown lawn, and a Cheltenham Borough Council "green bag" for municipal garden waste collection ... what a godsend that is.
I've had mauve-flowered potatoes before, but I've never seen anything this purple. This is Mayan Gold. The flowers are smallish but abundant and delightful.
Plantain flower. Yes I know it's a weed, but isn't it beautiful?